Foot Traps

caltrops.jpgCaltrops

 

  • This was a weapon used to maim or kill infantry, and/or others not shielded with armor. Caltrops specifically had two or more sharp nails. In the past, caltrops were used against foot troops and cavalry. Today, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles. We’ve all watched high speed chases!
  • The name of this device if from Latin. The original meaning is “foot-trap.”
  • Caltrops have been used in heraldry. Mainly as charges in the shields!

Top Tier Polearm

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Glaive

  • It is a European polearm. It’s decorated with a single-edged blade at one end of the pole. The blade is similar to that of an axe head – not a straight blade or as curved as cutlasses or swords.
  • Some of the blades were crafted with a small hook somewhere on the blade-end of the pole. Sometimes on the opposite end of the blade. This was used to catch riders. (This is a running theme in our weapons of choice!)
  • The glaive was a highly rated weapon in the polearm class/other hand-to-hand combat weapons of the time. This rating occurred in 1599.

A Ceremonial Club

What is so incredibly special about the weapon we are talking about this week is…it’s still in use! Maybe not for battle, but for ceremonial purposes and the pictures found online are of these traditions! Carry on…


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Rungu

  • This weapon originated in East Africa. It was used in battle and in hunting originally.
  • It also serves as a ceremonial tool for male warriors of the Maasai culture. The ceremonial rungu are decorated in beads sewn in by the local women.
  • It’s similar in shape to a club, mixed a bit with a baton. The end of the club was typically a heavy knob or a heavy ball.

The Iron Claw

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Zhua

  • Zhua literally translates to claw. And this weapon represents that entirely. It is an iron claw attached to a 6 ft. pole. Sometimes it bears a weight at the bottom to be used as a bludgeon.
  • Some of the better reasons to use a zhua in battle is to disarm someone of their shield or grabbing riders off their horses.
  • This is an ancient Chinese weapon and was a known weapon of Sun Tzu, a warrior and general.

Whipping a Blade

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Urumi

  • It’s a sword. It’s a whip. It’s very easy to hurt yourself when wielding this weapon.
  • Before dabbling into the art of the urumi, one is supposed to have knowledge with a sword. It’s meant to be the last weapon learned in a certain type of martial arts.
  • This originated in South India/Sri Lanka in the Sangam Period, or the 3rd – 5th century BCE.
  • The Urumi is best used against multiple enemies, if swarmed in battle.

Hand-Wood

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Macuahuitl

  • If you couldn’t tell from the pictures above, the macuahuitl is a club with blades made from obsidian (okay, we didn’t expect you to know that.) Obsidian was used in creation since it was known to produce a sharper blade. It came in two different sizes: a larger club and a smaller.
  • The name is derived from the Nahuatl language (a native tongue of Mesoamericans.) It can be translated to “hand-wood.”
  • Clubs are usually a close-combat weapon, so this weapon falls in that category as well. It was distributed throughout Mesoamerica. Aztecs, Mayans, Mixtec, and Toltec were some of the civilizations who utilized this weapon.
  • This weapon could inflict a fatal laceration. Or used in ceremonial matters.

Daggers of Nobility

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Katar

  • The katar is considered a push dagger. It has a hand grip shaped like an ‘H’, forcing the wielder to clutch the blade above the knuckles. Sort of like Wolverine from X-Men. According to fighting styles, its compared to boxing a lot. Anyone using a katar aims for slashing the head or upper area and puts their whole weight into it.
  • Believe it or not, these daggers were used in worship from time to time. More importantly, they were used as symbols of Indian nobility. Katars utilized as decorations such as this were dressed in enamel, gems, or gold foil. They even could bear figures or scenes.
  • Mentioned briefly, this weapon was first crafted in India. Many speculate it was done so in Canada or England, but nope…India! Interesting enough, because of the weather of India, sheathes were not made of usual sheathe material, they were made from silk or any other soft material.

Not Your Average Bee Hive

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Nest Of Bees

  • This was a rocket battery used by the early Chinese Ming Warrior, warriors in existence during the Ming Dynasty (1368).
  • It’s a long range weapon. It cast 32 arrows in one shot, which were tipped with rockets. The arrow tips themselves were tipped in poison or something flammable – to increase enemy kills. They traveled up to 5 football fields away.
  • The nest itself was a hexagonal tube, equipped with a shoulder strap so warriors wore them like backpacks. It protected them from flying debris.
  • If this weapon sounds familiar, that’s because as time continued on…the nest of bees evolved into rockets/missiles of our modern era – which continue to evolve as we speak.

Breaking Down Sci-Fi

Note: Although we are focusing primarily on the genre of science fiction, most, if not all, points mentioned in this post can be applied to other genres in writing!


  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Octavia Butler
  • George Orwell

These are only a few names known in the realm of science fiction (sci-fi from here on out.) Our own worlds have broadened because someone took the time to travel to the futuristic unknown rather than entering a fantasy world. But what are some key components to writing sci-fi? Let’s get talking!

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Like any other creative writing project, planning and mapping out your story is crucial and necessarily before you dive into your tale. Not only for plot purposes but you always need to question: “how will this affect that?” You know, the usual. Depending on your sci-fi story, you’ll get the opportunity to create even further. For example, settings are new, language is different than what we know on our planet, races vary even more so than skin color…there are so many details to account for! We always recommend doing research into other novels within your genre range. Take it a step further and watch shows and movies. It’ll help further stimulate your creativity.

Something to help you indulge in your research is looking into scientific journals, new discoveries by labs or space teams, etc. This can influence your story in any way you want it to. Shaping your universe with new discoveries and current-world situations. Not only that but you’re expanding your own knowledge. what a way to kill two birds with one stone!

Our last point we’d like to highlight pertains to another question you can ask yourself. What if…? Utilizing the knowledge in the journals you find and articles you read, you can mix this with the creative details you’ve mapped out thus far. Apply your ‘what if’ question and add more depth to your story, add a new element, or a new plot line. Whatever the case may be, you’re adding something to the story by asking what if.

So what if…you start writing now?

Language 101

We can all agree: languages are fun to write, sometimes. Other times, they’re difficult to work with. There are a variety of languages, accents, dialects, and so on we have to keep track of while writing our dialogue. There is a way to write them effectively, so let’s talk about it!

The readers of this day and age don’t typically take a liking to phonetic spelling. It may not be the route to take if you want to build an audience. These readers may not want the challenge in reading non-standard English. The real downfall is how much time they’re going to spend deciphering what the characters are trying to say without diving into the deeper meaning.

Any language can relate…no one speaks their language the same way. This is where dialect plays a huge role into how language is spoken and can be portrayed in writing. When anyone learns a language in grade school, they aren’t learning the different dialects of the language…but one can learn through native speakers in certain areas. Depending on region and ethnicity, everyone speaks differently. Utilizing modern language with minor change to the dialect and phonetic spelling here and there will improve the quality of your story. This is only important if communication between your characters is a central point in your story. Most characters interact with others – but sometimes the language in which they speak…speaks volumes for the story.

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Some important bits to remember when writing in other languages or dialects are diction, syntax, and idioms. All of these key components help the conversations between your characters become unique to them. Even if things sound strange to you, it may be best to detach your experiences from that of your characters speech.

Always remember: you want your characters to come off as unique through dialogue, especially if you want your reader to be able to distinguish who’s speaking. We also want less boring and more relatable characters so you have to find the perfect balance!