14.28: Warfare and Weaponry

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

How do you write about warfare in your stories when you’ve never fought in a war? How do you describe brilliant tactics when you’re completely untrained in military movements? How can you portray the emotions of someone on a battlefield without having been on a battlefield yourself?

In this episode we tackle these questions and more. (Hint: the answers include “research”)

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Invent a powerful, NON-technological weapon for your setting.

The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey, narrated by Flinty Williams

9 thoughts on “14.28: Warfare and Weaponry”

  1. Great to see Shadiversity mentioned on here. My first thought when I saw the title was “they ought to get Shad to co-host this one.” (Of course, flying him from Australia to Utah might be a logistical mess, but still…)

  2. It was difficult to hear the list of Youtube channels mentioned in the podcast. Would you guys be able to put links to those channels in the show notes?

  3. I love this topic. I’ve always been interested in writing a space military novel. Something I’ve found with sci-fi/fantasy warfare and weaponry is that, even though they are using technology or magic we don’t have in the real world, they often take inspiration from real war.

    I think it’s interesting how Star Trek and Star Wars both deal with space combat, yet they approach it from different angles. Star Trek is more like old naval warfare, with two capital ships blasting away at each other and trying to outmaneuver. Cloaked ships mimic modern submarine warfare. Meanwhile, Star Wars takes its inspiration from World War 2 dogfights.

  4. Would someone who understands the homework question be able to explain it to me? I feel a little lost. A weapon by nature is inextricably bound to “technology”. Even something as crude as a rock shaped into the form of an arrowhead could be considered technological. The only things you’re left with if you leave out weapons derived from human intelligence, all your left with is organic weapons created by nature, or magic system separate from technology. Neither choice is all that original.


  5. Off to see the elephant? Well, Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab talked about how to write about combat, fight scenes, warfare, weapons, and all that even if you aren’t a super soldier who’s been there and done that. Online resources, beta readers, adding technology or magic salt so that you get to figure out how it works… And don’t forget to give the reader someone to care about. It’s all in the transcript, available now in the archives. So go read about it!

  6. Dude, this article ROCKS! I really enjoyed the entire eighteen minute podcast–I love the website as well. Howard, you definitely shared some powerful information that is motivational to me. I was thinking about a new genre to write in, and I think I just found it. Thanks, guy.

  7. A man I worked with decades ago was a US Marine Sargent in the first wave to Omaha beach on D-Day. He told me that the most coveted commodities of the soldiers were cigarettes and dry socks. The taste of the cigarettes would help to cover the smells of the carnage of battle. I can’t even imagine.

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