My wife and I are junkies. On our days off, you will find us roaming the aisles of a Goodwill, antique shop, or junk store. Soon after entering a location, I search for the book section and scour the shelves for books on theology, writing, or a fantasy novel. It’s not unheard of for me to preoccupy myself in the book section until Amber gets ready to leave. (Don’t worry. She looks over the bookshelves too.) However, on a recent trip, we went to a store with a glass display cluttered with many knives. One caught my attention. It was a dagger. I felt the surge of inspiration when I looked at the shiny two-edge blade with a black handle. The inkling of a fantastical story was laying before my eyes. I called the clerk over, asked if I could hold it, and within minutes I’d purchased it and was walking out the door.
After some daydreaming, the phrase “the Curse of the Oskaran Blade” kept coming to mind. I was reading Ronald B. Tobias’s 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them around that time and I came across the revenge plot. Although I risk stating the obvious here, but Tobias explains that in this type of story, “Your protagonist seeks retaliation against the antagonist for a real or imaginary injury.” When I looked at this dagger, I felt this was the story it was telling me to write.
I’m still working on some details, but here is what I have now. When Oskaran raiders ransack his village and kill his mother, a teenage blacksmith’s apprentice Wren Westfletcher wants to avenge her death. But can he avenge her death when Joktan, the famed Blackheart knight, claims he is responsible and challenges him to a fight to the death? It’s a work in progress, but it all came from a dagger in the junk store.
Of course, there will be a fight scene at the climax, so I have researched medieval dagger fighting. (This is where my love for research and Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) come into the mix.) For a sneak peek into how exceptional HEMA dagger techniques are, I’ve included a video below.
Have you ever come across an object that inspired a story? Let me hear about in the comments section.