No, this series of blog posts will be about more than just swords, but sword fighting is an art form, and since we’re talking about learning to use weapons in your writing, I felt it was appropriate.
When writing moments of action in your novels, one of the things that you want to learn is how to create believable fight scenes. You want to focus and make sure that you don’t pull the reader out of the story with something unbelievable, but you don’t want to be afraid at the same time that you can’t write it realistically so why use it.
Fight scenes are easy, as long as you take the time to research them just like you would any part of your story. Weapons have histories, techniques, do’s and don’ts, and even their own stories. Do the due diligence to know what your weapons are if you put them into a story. Think about how your character acquired their weapons – is there an attachment? Is it a family weapon, or something they snatched out of a pawn show? Do they actually know how to use it? What bad habits have they learned? What made them feel they needed to get it if they come into the story already with it? Will the weapon become a “character” in the story? For instance, in Supernatural Dean’s pearl handled guns are a piece of him. You see them in the trunk of the Impala, and you know who they belong to and their significance. Do you want your readers to see your character’s weapons like that?
Is the weapon magical? This comes with it’s own set of stories and rules that you can create, but you will still need to know the original weapon before it was made magical and how it worked.
And then beyond the weapon, you need to look at the character’s body and how they move. If they have never picked up a sword, their body is going to hurt more than if they have trained with swords since they were a child. Practice will change how well they use it, their aim, and how their body feels after the adrenaline has faded away. So how do you learn all this if you’ve never picked up a sword or held a gun? Find someone who has. There are plenty of websites that can guide you to those who have the experience with weapons that you need. You’d be surprised at what someone will tell you when you mention that you’re a writer trying to do research.
If you can, try and get your hands on the actual weapon: feel the weight, how it sits in your hand, little details that you may find you want to add into the details of your story. Swing the weapon around a few times and feel the way your body moves with it. You’ll find with more research and some hands-on work, you’ll find the right weapon for your story. Some conversation will lead you to learning how to choreograph the scenes believably, and in the ends, your readers will tell you if you got it right or not.