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  1. shadowblade

    shadowblade New Member

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    I need fantasy words!

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by shadowblade, Aug 12, 2020.

    Hi, I’m new here and I’m writing a fantasy book, but there’s a problem: I don’t really know much about swords and knives and daggers, I need help with that, and also, I suck at writing battle scenes. If you have any advice, please reply, like any fantasy advice, anything relating to fantasy at all because I love it!!!
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    My suggestion to you would be read some of the stories in the Fantasy section of the Workshop. Not a lot will be served by giving you a list of words. I could kust main-gauches, pauldrons and besagews, onagers and arbalests, but it's not going to mean much without context.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    read some bernard cornwell - the arthur and saxon stories... its not fantasy per se but he does give good battle scene ... my advice is not to get too bogged down in technical terms, you want to show vibrant action, not write a learned treatise on sword play
     
  4. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Active Member

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    For writing battle scenes, read fantasy that has battle scenes you like. You'll have to do a bit of looking. It's pretty hard to write genre without reading it first. I personally haven't read A Song of Fire and Ice, but my brother has said that its combat scenes are amazing. Don't just focus on the scene itself, however, think about the build up that lends it meaning. It doesn't matter what kind of scene it is: it will be boring if it doesn't have some kind of significance.

    It also seems you're using the term fantasy to mean broad medieval period fantasy. That's fine, most people do. Personally I recommend some general history of commodities and empire. Stuff like history of salt, coal, iron, etc... really shines a light on the technical limitations and lifestyles of those times. Not for the purpose of jamming it all down the reader's throat, but to add leagues of verisimilitude to the story (and even help with plotting, for example a salt works would be an important strategical landmark worth skirmishing over, but how many fantasies talk about salt as an important resource? It's always gold this and lumber that:wtf:, but I digress).

    How much you'll research weapon types/deployment depends on how much to care for your story to be reasonably 'realistic' (quotes because that's an infinitely debatable thing anyway). Honestly, your paying audience likely isn't bothered that mr/mrs spaghetti can manage a few dozen ~100lb bow draws without breaking a sweat. It does make me cringe, but not enough to put down the book. Anyway, start with Google, perhaps learn about some good books from there. Broad knowledge doesn't hurt.
     
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  5. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Prince of Typos Contributor

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    Because it's my genre of choice, and because my ability to recall words when I need them is lacking, I keep a medieval/fantasy word list. If you think you might write more fantasy stories you might consider starting one of your own.
     
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  6. shadowblade

    shadowblade New Member

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    Thank you!
     
  7. shadowblade

    shadowblade New Member

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    Thanks so much to everyone that replied. :)
     
  8. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    Entrails. Entrails is a good word.
     
  9. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Misericord. A long, thin dagger designed for putting wounded knights out of their misery.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. PaperandPencil

    PaperandPencil Member

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    I always imagine Knights being equipped with a regal cutlass which is a slightly curved short sword. Another great source for great weapon names is RPG's - computer/console games like the Final Fantasy series, or card/dice games like Dungeons and Dragons.
     
  11. Richach

    Richach Contributor Contributor

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    Apart from the specifics, you will need to research to write your battle scene, remember the fundamentals of writing an action scene. Place the reader and characters in the scene. Ask yourself what's at stake, what is the point of the scene, is it relevant to the book. Consider how to build action, too intensify it. Allow the reader a lull/rest and to take stock. Figure your endpoint so that the battle scene flows naturally into the next scene. There will be a lot going on so make sure you stop and plan as much as possible and research where necessary. If it gets messy, take a step back and recheck your plans. If it were me I would plan a simple short scene and build on it.

    I think the others are right, reading will be very helpful but I think writing your own drafts as well as being well-read on a subject is a great combination.
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There is nothing more off-putting to me, as a reader who DOES occasionally read and enjoy fantasy, than battle scenes (especially as opening scenes) which have no context and no content other than slash wallop thud, fancy swordplay, charging horses, etc.

    Battle scenes need to 'matter.' They shouldn't just be an excuse to show off expertise with weaponry and battle tactics, if you want to engage the general reader. Why is this battle being fought? What are the stakes? What happens if side A wins (or loses.) What is the attitude of the people fighting this battle? Are they desperate? (Why?) Are they confident/overconfident (Why?) Are they being well or poorly led? Was this a planned battle or one that just broke out spontaneously?

    We need to know what's at stake, who's involved, and why it matters. It's not 'intriguing' to just watch slash wallop thud blood. We need some investment in the origin and the outcome, as well as the battle itself.

    I'd say don't focus overmuch on the weaponry. Focus on why this battle is being fought.
     
  13. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I hear what you're saying, but often opening battles are character establishing shots. Show don't tell that Hrod is a mighty warrior as he thuds, whallops, and slashes his way through the fray. Think of the opening of Highlander. The battle is unimportant, but it shows that Connor McLeod is immortal and Kergan is going to be the primary antagonist. Those other random Scots will be worms' meat one way or another before the story even really starts, whatever their quarrel was.
     
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  14. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, but that's very character-driven, and you focus on them, don't you?. I'm talking about the kinds of battle scenes where nobody stands out, and it's just armies whacking hell out of each other because it's fun to script a battle.

    I didn't mean the whole history of the run-up to the battle needs to be there. But SOMETHING does. In the case of Highlander, it establishes the protagonist and the antagonist as people, one of whom is immortal. That'll do to be going on with. But in a movie, this will be done via focus shots, facial expressions, etc—we may initially be drawn to one of the characters and repelled by the other, and may be able to figure out their emotional state and how their minds are working. The trick is to do this in writing, when you're opening your story. Don't just describe he whacked, he slashed, he got bloody, the other guy whacked and slashed and HE got bloody and it went back and forth for ages and then one of them got killed. Chapter Two....
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
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  15. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    In The Illearth War, by Wreybies' favourite author, there are several battles, but I think the best one is the final battle - which takes place entirely in the background. It provides a backdrop for what the POV character is doing at the time (desperately trying to save his army from being annihilated).
     
  16. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Can you be more specific, though? Rule number one when it comes to melee weapons is that context is very, very important. Like, do you have any particular questions about swords and knives and daggers?`
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  17. Astrea

    Astrea Member

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    If I were to write battle scenes, first I'd watch fantasy movies with battle scenes. Then if there was a book published first and the movie was filmed from the book, I'd see how it was written in the book.
     

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