Writing Process - Preparing

FC14 Panel: The Pen vs The Sword

FantasyCon2014 010

Following the economics panel, I went to the pen versus the sword: a panel which included ‘demonstrations’ and a lot of discussion about how to choreograph fight scenes in novels.

Panellists were: Marc Aplin, Fran Terminiello, Juliet E McKenna, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Clifford Beale.

My Notes

– I was pleasantly surprised when one member held up a buckler — surprised because I recognised and could name it (thanks Diablo…)

– A novice cannot just pick up a sword and fight. They’d be more likely to cut their own ear off than harm their opponent.

– If you have two experts, no fight would last beyond 12/13 strokes.

– A sword will not break armour. Aim for the openings.

– Striking the abdomen may kill them, but they can still fight for 20 minutes before they fall.

– One of the main risks in wearing armour is heat exhaustion, and if it’s not made to fit you, drained stamina.

– Rapiers (dress swords) were often a fashion accessory and thus often held by people who could not wield them.

– The context of a fight will drastically change the fighting style, time and motivations.


FantasyCon2014 016I took a few videos on my phone of some of the demonstrations; which were useful when I think of my own sword and sorcery draft.

After this, I headed for a panel focusing on thieves and tricksters (and why we love them).

Have you ever read, or written, a sword fight that you’d researched/felt was realistic?

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