Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blood Thirsty Writing and Youtube

Confession time: I've always been fascinated by medieval weapons. When I take my kids to the museum I always seem to gravitate toward the display of ancient weapons. Knives, daggers, swords, scimitars and katana, even a poleaxe or spear will do. If it's long, shiny and sharp I want to see it!

Archery also falls in to my basket of things that fascinate. A bow is a beautiful thing. I'd love to draw a feathered arrow to my mouth and see it arc through the air to impale itself in the bullseye of a target. As it is, I think a Wii sport archery competition is the closest I'm going to get to the real thing for some time yet.

Due to the nature of the book I'm writing (YA fantasy) I've had to write a few fight and small scale battle scenes. I'm loving it! Who knew I was so blood thirsty?

The scenes I'm writing not only have to read well, they also have to be credible and believable.

I don't want to write a fight scene that will cause a reader who knows a thing or two to say, "There is no way that move would have worked!"

In an ideal world I would have joined a medieval re-enactment group and got someone to show me how to use a sword, but in the little city where I live there isn't one.

So instead I turned to Youtube.

When I needed to know all about archery I watched videos on how to make your own arrows, lessons on how to string your bow, hold a bow and arrow, and how to shoot.

When I needed to know about throwing knives I watched videos about different knives, the different throws you can make and how to pull them off.

Fighting with a sword and shield? Youtube came to the rescue again with videos explaining how to hold a sword and shield, how to make your stance and how to move when you're fighting, as well as different attack and defensive moves.

Not that any of this would mean I could defend myself if someone came at me with the real thing. Nor would it help much if someone put a bow in my hand and said "Shoot that target over there or I'll drop your laptop from a great height." I think we all know I'd shortly be weeping over my lost manuscript and filling out insurance forms.

However, it has given me the knowledge and understanding to write (I hope) a good fight scene that's not only believable but wickedly exciting!


  1. Wonderful post, which makes you wonder how writers coped without the internet. The web and you tube have helped immensely with my research too.

  2. Maybe they wrote fewer fight scenes? LOL!

  3. Yes, what would we do without the internet. Your story sounds intriguing and the battle scenes I'm sure will turn out perfect. Lovely post. :)

  4. Ah, swords are my favourite things. I recently got a new sabre and enjoy using it. Whoever thought a typical housewife like me would be so blood thirsty too...

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one Vanda! It's nice to be in such good company.