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  • gardnerjg

At the Intersection Between Rhythmic Gymnastics and Fantasy Novels

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

I was recently a guest on Dungeon Crawlers Radio, and being a fan/geek podcast I thought it was OK to get down in the weeds a little bit and talk about some of the quirkier ideas that are in my debut novel. One of them that still makes me smile is how watching the Summer Olympics when I was much younger gave me the idea for one of Thorne's hallmark weapons as a Paragon: his energy whips.

When I was watching the events, there was often a large chunk of time dedicated to gymnastics. I wasn't really that interested in the sport, but one day they broadcast women's rhythmic gymnastics floor exercises and one of the competitor's apparatus was a pink ribbon. As she twirled the ribbon in huge graceful arcs I was struck by a thought, what if that ribbon was somehow dangerous? As the idea took hold I imagined this gymnast having to weave the ribbon around her body and not get hurt, but then somehow being able to lash out and strike some invisible enemy. I dreamed up this combination of ballet and karate that was somehow both delicate and deadly.

That idea cooked for many years, but now can be seen in the novel as one of the ways that Thorne fights, with graceful arcing energy whips. Normally you don't think of wizards are particularly agile, or as front-line fighters, and I wanted to have a story where Thorne was both. It never sat right with me that traditionally wizards had to be brainy, but weak, individuals destined to sit on the sidelines while the more physically powerful characters got to smash and bash their way to victory. Likewise magical swords are far to common, so I wanted Thorne to have something a bit different.

I still like the idea of rhythmic gymnastics being turned into a magical martial art and hope that I can explore it a bit more in future stories.

Thanks for stopping by.

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