Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rewriting a battle scene

I got back into the next novel of the House Divided series, of which A Fine Likeness was the first. As I mentioned before, travel and a nonfiction deadline made my writing get stretched too thin so it's been a couple of weeks since I've been able to work on any fiction. It was nice to get back into it!

My first project was to rewrite a battle scene that's been bugging me. It's a fight between the USS Essex, captained by Richard Addison's son (whom we only met through letters in the first book) and some bushwhackers on the banks of the Missouri River. The bushwhackers have a cannon and for plot reasons I realized I needed to move that cannon from the south bank to the north bank.

It changed the dynamic of the fight completely! Just one little detail like that and I had to do a major rewrite of the entire scene--shifting paragraphs, editing the descriptions of who was doing what when, where they were looking, and who was posted where. If you're writing a complex fight scene, take my advice and get it right the first time!

Colored engraving of the Battle of Vicksburg courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center - Photo #: NH 76557-K. My battle isn't as grandiose as this one. :-)


  1. Rewriting a battle scene would be no fun!

  2. Did you know that Milo James Fowler (author) at In Media Res is talking about a new genre or subgenre which would use old flintlock style weapons in a time twist tale (I thought you might be interested)

    Your blog came to mind as a good reference for stories like that, when I read it at:

    Hope you don't mind the suggestion.


Got something to say? Feel free! No anonymous comments allowed, though. Too many spammers and haters on the Internet.