While this is mostly a problem with screenplay writers, authors of adventure stories may also benefit. It is not worth writing a battle scene to be dramatic when the thoughtful half of the watchers or readers will gag at the lack of believability.

Battle Elements Edit

  • Know your weapons, including what was available in the time period. If you have sharpshooters in the American Colonies, you will earn some rolled eyes from people who know that you couldn't aim across a room with a gun of the time and hit your target.
  • Know the rituals of battle for your culture, such as whether the leaders meet beforehand to exchange insults or what is done with captives. If this is an invented culture, research a few different real ones and create realistic rituals.
  • Know your terrain and how this will affect the weapons and strategy.
  • Know how hand-to-hand fighting is done. On this subject, try to keep your characters from killing enemies behind their backs and so forth.

Plot and Characters Edit

  • Kindly spare us from mid-battle kisses. This is not the time for a kiss unless your character is attempting suicide.
  • Do not forget the high chance of friendly fire in close battles, particularly if visibility is not good. This problem can be an excellent (if sad) way to move the plot or character development along.
  • If one of your main characters is in a battle for the first time, it is not likely that he/she/it will be able to rise to the occasion without some difficulty. How your character reacts to the bloodshed can be a way to develop the character. However, do learn about and consider post-traumatic stress. This can also be an interesting addition to the story, and it will earn appreciation from people who have been in the military or a dangerous fight or have had the disorder themselves.
  • Never allow the only people to survive a battle or ambush be your main characters unless there is a very good reason for this, and then beware that this is a Mary Sue indicator. While your main characters may not be able to die for the sake of the plot, if they happen to be the sole survivors, readers will wonder.