Bellator is latin for warrior.
I’ve recently contributed to a collection of short stories entitled Bellator. All the proceeds go to The Wounded Warrior Project. My story is entitled ‘With Our Own Blood’. The lovely Mia Darien has been coordinating capable authors in the genres if sci-fi and fantasy.
I’ve heard the phrase ‘write what you know’ many many times. I agree with it. It’s a bit strange to write on a topic or within a genre you have no passion for. It’s insulting to be unwilling to do any research. I also agree with the phrase, ‘write what you fancy reading’. It’s unfair to subject readers to something you wouldn’t enjoy yourself.
My short story revolves around a ‘warrior witch’ called Diana. She lives in the woods, her favorite method of killing involves using a knife (close quarters) Diana can destroy human remains with her bare hands. She’s cold, she’s a loner, and anyone who threatens her beloved siblings or parents is as good as dead.
So, write what you know, yes, but stories would be rather dull if authors only attempted to create characters that they themselves could perfectly imitate.
Still, when it came time for Diana to do some killing, I stopped writing for a bit. I really needed to think and research. Luckily I came across some great reference material, and memoirs. I learned the distinction between ‘fantasy violence’ and ‘gritty violence’. This was mainly thanks to Rayne Hall’s Writing Fight Scenes.
Writing gritty, brutal, realistic, detailed violence is not for me. As much as I enjoy Lord of The Rings, the Hobbit, etc. even the fantasy violence was a stretch. But I kept at it.
Finally Diana’s knife came out of its sheath. Understanding from professionals and experts how men and women traditionally differ in violent situations was also a great turning point in getting Diana ‘active’. Male fantasy warriors are cool, but I think fighting (and writing) like a girl is pretty awesome and I wanted to explore that.
I’ve read a few memoirs of military folks, special operations people, etc. As inspiring as I find their stories, it’s a world that is way more foriegn and unknown to me than fantasy or sci-fi tales of ‘warriors’ in the Bellator anthology.
I actually live in the Middle East. In a very expat filled, western friendly, holiday destination type of place. Not the terrifying, religiously and politically complicated battle zones that service people risk thier lives and die in every day. When I’m there, amongst comfy surroundings I think of what is just over the border in far less friendly countries it’s…a little strange. Funnily enough I finished ‘With Our Own Blood’ in my native Midwest.
I’m a privileged lady who gets to escape the Middle Eastern heat and spend the summers in the US and UK. Both countries have issues, but oh my goodness am I glad and proud to have ties to both places. Since being back in the West, whenever I’ve seen military men and women or retired warriors who bear the scars of thier service, I want to go up and hug them. Of course I’m a shy civilian, and I reckon hugging people who don’t know you might freak them out.
I’m not capable of doing what they do, what they have done. But I am so grateful that they have. I can’t imagine having a spouse who has been through what they have, so my heart goes out to wives, husbands and children connected to folks who are willing to die to keep us safe.
I’m certainly not capable of what Diana does, but I’m glad she came to life for me. And if her story is part of a collection that benefits Wounded Warriors, I’m honored. I think she would be too.
Bellator (edited by Mia Darien) is a great collection of short stories. It is available on Amazon (for print and kindle) Smashwords, and Nook Press. ‘With Our Own Blood’ is included in the collection.