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Storytelling and Writing Craft > Crafting Action Scenes #6 - Managing Body Counts

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message 1: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Principle #6: Managing Body Counts.

How many bad guys did you start with? Why does it matter? Once again it goes to managing the supension of disbelief.

I used two basic techniques.

[1] I set up a excel spreadsheet with the various teams and body counts vs scenes.

So teams across the top. Scenes down the left axis. Body counts as you go.

The reason this was important was that I had story with four separate (but co-ordinated) groups attacking the heroes who were in a defended position.

There were multiple waves, without reinforcements for the villains. Hence they ran their forces down and eventually broke and retreated.

The survivors were then added to a new group (when reinforcements did arrive) to launch a final attack against the heroes.

I needed to know the numbers as we want to keep it real for the reader.

[2] Put colour coded place markers in the text like

Gray smoke bloomed as he sprayed the bar with rounds from his MAC-10. [2 dead] ...

Colour code the [n bodycount] for specific opponents if you have multiple attackers of different types, it also makes it stand out in your text for easy removal during the final edit.

So you might end up with....

The rocket propelled grenades exploded in a volley along the alleyway. The zombies, [4] ghouls [2] and the vampire officer [1] were splashed over the cobblestones.


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11776 comments Graeme, for me, what you are describing sounds like part of a battle scene, so maybe separate thread. As for keeping tally, that method seems as good as any.

As for your last example sentence, I think a little expansion into the "show" mode might be preferable :-) (Yes, I know it was merely an example, but I couldn't resist.)

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