Small-Scale Numbers

My story is apparently small-scale.

My current work is what most would call fantasy (though without magic), and armies are most definitely involved. The numbers in the upcoming battles are purposefully disproportionate (5000 vs. 1000), but I was trying to figure out if they were realistic.

The 5000 soldiers are part of a Persian-like army, so I did a bit of Googling on that front (it's been a long time since I read either Thucydides or Herodotus) and discovered this:

Is that not enough to make an author feel small and lowly? The battle takes place on a peninsula; there's not room for over a million troops. *sigh* I console myself with the fact that the people they are attacking make up a very small country (in the eyes of Cosia, my Persian alter-ego) and wouldn't necessitate that many men.

As for my 1000 Ellan troops, I'm still trying to decide how big the forest has to be that they can hide in. Can that many people hide in a forest, silent and swift though they may be? How long would it take to cross?

I write fantasy and dystopian to avoid painstaking research, to be honest. Seems it's going to follow me wherever I go. (Kudos certainly go to John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series. Because of his books, I know more real-life facts about the draw weight of a bow, military tactics, and other various trivia to keep me well-satisfied. I now realize how much hard work he has done!)

What genre do you write, and how much research have you found yourself doing? Where do you get your most helpful information? (Books, websites, documentaries, other?)

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Jessica Bell said...

Ah well, it's a learn as you go thing, innit?

I write women's fiction, but in my WIP I have an archaeologist. I studied it for a while but not long enough to write about it freely, so I basically use the internet. :o)

Anonymous said...

I'm more of a website copy writer at the moment. If I wrote fiction, and I might, I would probably do something in fantasy. I'm thinking about something related to China, so that means I might have to do research.

Melody said...

What does website copy writing consist of? I've heard the term thrown around, and it sounds intriguing!
Ooooh, China! That could be very cool. :) I'm behind you all the way!