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How sword fighting is like writing

A big part of my spare time is dedicated to HEMA. I'd write more books if I didn't swing swords, but I also wouldn't be as happy so those books would be full of existential despair instead of vampires and dragons in space.

Better writers than me have talked about the way other physical exercises help the craft, but swordplay is a more specific metaphor, and so if like me, you need abstract models to help tackle difficult tasks, this post might help you too.

Any idiot can swing a sword and get a few hits in (citation needed) and watching this is similar to watching a drunken brawl. There is some perverse pleasure in seeing people hurt each other (citation needed) but in the end, there is no suspense. Sure there can be surprise--chaotic systems are bound to throw up an unexpected result now and then, but like jump-scares, they are cheap and soon forgotten.

Instead, what we love to see happen in a duel is what we love to see characters do on page or screen. Intention, and reac…

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