The Myth of the Magic Swordsman (Or Why There Had to Be a Training Montage)

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I’m a sucker for battle and swordplay in fantasy novels. It probably comes from my own martial arts background—I studied the Korean art of Tang Soo Do for five years and earned my first-degree black belt, then moved on to kung fu where after two years, I earned an intermediate rank in the White Lotus style. Shortly after that, I took up foil fencing at a studio in Southern California. While the studio is best known for stage fencing, I, having a bit of a masochistic personality, asked for the strictest teacher they had and ended up with a former Russian Olympic coach whose favorite word seemed to be “Again!” Between having gotten soundly beaten in my Chinese weapons training and being quickly humiliated by my fellow students in this western martial art, it became pretty clear to me that all the depictions in fantasy of farm boys who pick up a sword for the first time and show a preternatural ability with it are just… well, fantasy.

That’s why when I decided to use the weakling-to-warrior trope in my own novel, I wanted Conor’s progress to be based on something other than wishful thinking. Enter the training montage section of the book.

Sure, a lot more is going on in the time that Conor spends with the Fíréin brotherhood than just learning the sword (I’m really not giving anything away here… after all, the book is called Oath of the Brotherhood), but if I was going to have him fight some spectacular battles, I was going to make sure that he had legitimately earned the skills to do so. It’s one thing to be able to pick up a sword and defend yourself against the average landholder who doesn’t fight for a living; it’s another to hold your own against professional warriors. I gave him some natural talent with which to accomplish these feats, but mostly I gave him single-minded determination and a compelling reason to become one of Seare’s most skilled swordsmen.

While the making of a warrior might be a common theme in fantasy novels, the making of Conor into a warrior was based in sound, if somewhat brutal, reality.

Do you enjoy fight scenes in adventure, fantasy, and suspense novels? Which book has your favorite one? Comment below for your daily entry to win your own copy of the limited hardcover edition of Oath of the Brotherhood and don’t forget your extra one-time entries as well!

Oath of the Brotherhood HC Release

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  1. Lavay Byrd says:

    AHH! Swordfights! How exciting! I especially love how Connor will grow in this book, especially the fact that he is more than willing to learn new skills to join a band of brothers! I cannot wait to see how his (and Aine’s) journey plays out in the entire trilogy!

    Fighting scenes are the best in fantasy novels, hands down! The one favorite scene that pops in my head is the scene between the Prince and the Serpent Gillian Bronte Adams’s “Out of Darkness Rising”. My breath practically stills each time I read that scene… even though you know who’s going to win in the end! 🙂

    • Carla says:

      I haven’t read Gillian’s book yet… it has to go on my list! I’m SO SO behind. (I guess that’s what happens when you plan to release FIVE books in a year. lol) I think you’re going to like this one. 🙂

      • Lavay Byrd says:

        Ha ha! That’s understandable! Gillian’s books are really great, especially her “Songkeeper Chronicles”, and she’s coming up with a new trilogy soon!

        And yes, I think I WILL love your books!

  2. Lila Diller says:

    I’m not a super huge fan of fight scenes. I took mixed martial arts for a few years and learned some basic self-defense, but I don’t like violence in general. I don’t even read suspense. I do like some fantasy and superhero books and movies. I think my favorite fight scenes are in Tolkien’s LOTR series, like the final fight in the Return of the King with a bunch of different scenes going on with each individual character that I’ve come to love.

  3. Madisyn Zeller says:

    I love fight scenes. As long as they are realistic – no scrawny wimps wielding a claymore with one hand – the more the better. My favorite is in “The Return of the King” when Eowyn and Merry face the Witch King of Angmar. Second to that is Samwise defeating Shelob.

  4. bn100 says:

    could be exciting

  5. Caryl Kane says:

    Ahh fight scenes are awesome!

  6. Brenda Smith says:

    We learned something new about you! Thanks for sharing this insight! I’ve just started the book.

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