El Viejo wrote: I had thought that the descriptions of space combat would be the easiest bits to write, but it was the other way around. I think that you have to be either really brief, or really detailed… there is no middle ground.
Well yeah, I tend to find it all depends on focus. You can enthral the audience for a paragraph with the finest detail. Maybe even an insignificant detail, if your hitting a cliff hanger then you can get away with staring at the cliff edge for a moment or two. Or turn it into a new dramatic peak of the ongoing dramatic crescendo.
Consider; Two paragraphes describe the same action. (this is a way of doing it, I'm sure you have 101 better solutions, sorry I find humility important around my elders and betters, I show view points and nothing more. )
"The ship evaporated the shrapnel pinging off the hull"
"the ship evaporated, so close that the captain could almost feel the heat of it's destruction. He twisted the yoke violently, desparate to avoid the deadly shrapnel surging from the detonating hulk. The lights flickered as the engines chewed up the space borne remains of the ruined krait. They spluttered back into life. The ship was safe, they were safe."
yeah, it's a bit wordy but you get the angle I'm coming from yeah? Still doesn't detract from the fact in pretty much every other way your about three times better than me.
Anything or everything other than repetition, repetition says "I can't do" or even worse "I can't be assed to do".