A Fighting Edge

I like swords.
Being all into the fantasy scene, I guess that comes as no real surprise, but despite my admiration of them, I only have one sword. It’s a simple red and black wakizashi that my Dad bought for me when I was a teenager. It hangs above the doorway into the kitchen, but it’s kept company by my husband’s much larger collection.

Agnes, my husband’s first sword

He’s got a nice assortment. A jian, some longswords, couple katanas, a wakizashi or two, a claymore, a flamberge, and I don’t even know what else. Either way, his swords are peppered throughout the house as part of the decor, with a few of them put away in a closet until we figure out where to put them.

I never knew much about swords until my husband started educating me. It wasn’t until then that I realized that, as a fantasy writer, knowing this and that about bladed weapons was kind of an important thing. You get a little leeway in worlds you’ve created, but it’s still easy to stumble into a weaponry faux pas (Is that a broadsword or a longsword?) that could have people who know their stuff snickering at your amateur mistake.

It’s important to make sure your characters have a sword that fits with the story you’re crafting, instead of just giving them a katana because Japanese swords are cooler. To that effect, it’s also important to remember that some types of sword receive their names because of the region they’re developed in, so if your story isn’t happening in an Earth-setting, you may need to rename them. Zweihänders should probably just be called great swords, or you can think up a special niche for the weapon and give it its own shiny new name – The heron-mark sword Rand wields in The Wheel of Time is really just a katana, after all. (Because katanas are just better, right?)

The more I’ve learned about swords, the easier it’s become to determine when a writer doesn’t know a whole lot about them. All in all, it’s just another reason that research is always important.

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