Rugby and Razor Blades: Thursday’s Children

Welcome to the Thursday’s Children Blog Hop, where writers come together to share whatever inspires them throughout their writing journey. I’d like to thank our lovely hosts, Rhiann and Kristina, for inviting me to participate. Thank you! Make sure to check out the other bloggers via this Link List: We’d love for you to join us!

On Friday I went to my son’s high school rugby match. Both the A-side and B-side played a match. Each match is two 30 minute halves. That’s two hours of battle. The players wear no pads, no helmets. There are no time-outs. Play doesn’t end when a player is tackled. The match is constant, fast-paced, and brutal.

And absolutely glorious.

Rugby is often described as “elegant violence”, and it truly is. Some of the players remind me of birds of prey. Ever see a hawk gliding on the breeze without seeming effort, then suddenly dive for a kill with a speed that takes your breath? And the phrase “when two forces collide” takes on new meaning in rugby. Like I said, there are no pads. It’s a primal dance of muscle and sinew, and when flesh meets at such speed, the sound rips through your gut, calling to some primitive essence hidden deep within your DNA.

Rugby has what’s called a maul. It’s when the player in possession of the ball isn’t tackled, but held up by his opponent, and both sides converge upon the two. Watching this, I’ve come to understand the human desire to participate in the “bar room brawl”. Players come out of this maul dripping blood and sporting bruises. My son has this t-shirt:


Monday while showering, I cut my leg shaving. I absolutely hate when that happens. It’s a stinging pain unlike any other and it hits every nerve in your body while the cut bleeds every-fucking-where.

The timing of these two things couldn’t be more apt, as the MC in my current story is an assassin. Trying to get into his head, I mean really insert myself into his whole being as he stalks and dispatches his victims, has been problematic. You see, he enjoys it. I’m passive by nature, and while I like watching violence, in movies or sports, I’ve never felt violent. Except briefly during my son’s games.

So, I gave my MC some really cool retractable blades on his bracers—ones that would inflict the pain I’d felt while shaving—re-captured the blood lust that teased my senses on Friday night, and wrote a scene.

What experiences do you use to get inside characters that are vastly different from yourself?

26 Responses to “Rugby and Razor Blades: Thursday’s Children

  • There is a wonderful artist in Blue Hill Maine who does statues of Native Americans. He’s done an amazing one of a rugby player (or whatever the NA’s called it). His art has inspired me just by looking at the emotion on his statue’s faces.

    Laughing about the razor cut. Have you read The Red Glove by Holly Black? There is a place where the mc cuts himself. I wonder if she was inspired by a shaving mistake?

  • Here’s a link to the art. Now that I look at it again, the rugby looks less aggressive than some of the others. But that could just be because it’s hard too get the full effect in a photo.

  • LOL. Or it could be because I’m an idiot and am getting ruby and lacrosse confused?

    • Haha! I think it’s lacrosse, but you’re NOT an idiot. The artwork is amazing! And I’ve not read The Red Glove. Yet. *adds to TBR list* Thanks!! 🙂

  • Good post. It’s amazing how real life translates into fiction. Something about how writers think. 🙂

  • Wow. I’m shocked, LOL. I don’t know HOW you could write a story about an assassin when you see yourself as completely different. That must be extremely challenging!

    There must be a way to connect the feeling of killing someone to something you ARE familiar with. Something that gives you a similar feeling, to give you a bit of inspiration.

    But an assassin? Very cool. Good luck!

    • It’s both challenging and fun. He’s such a complex character. And yes, I have to get creative in linking what I’m familiar with to what he’s familiar with. Thanks! 🙂

  • Great post, Kate! I’ve never been to see a Rugby match. One day:) The blades sound really cool!

    • Thanks!! You can watch a match on YouTube. Or just a collection of “hits”, lol! 🙂

  • The closest I’ve been to that kind of organized brutality is a mosh pit. Scared the crap out of me. Can’t imagine watching one of my kids involved in that. *shudder* OTOH I think we all have the killer instinct. I think I’d access it quite readily if someone hurt my children. Or started snapping gum too close to me…just kidding. Your story sounds uber-cool 🙂

    • I’d be scared in a mosh pit too. And I agree about the instinct, especially when protecting kids. Thanks!!

  • Since my husband is an Englishman I’ve been forced to watch lots of rugby in my life, but I have to admit that I can’t ever really get into it. I will admit that I do like boxing––I guess we all have some bloodlust deep down. When I’m trying to get into the head of a character that is very unlike me, I’ll look for paintings or other images that I think he/she would like and I’ll reread passages from books that remind me of her/him. Great post!

    • Lol, the only boxing I’ve seen is Rocky. Images are good, hence my addiction to Pinterest!! Thanks!

  • The news is often a great source of asshat-ism for me. Which I hope I am not in real life :0)

    • The news is definitely good for that! And I don’t think you’re an asshat, lol 🙂

  • Oh I like a good assassin story! Having retractable blades is the perfect weapon! And yes, I’m a fairly passive person myself, but there are times (like watching sports) that I get into it.

    • Oh, yay!! Still working on perfecting them though, lol. Thanks 🙂

  • I have to be honest – I’m not sure I could handle watching my kids play rugby.You are far braver than I am!

    You know, I’ve been thinking about your question all day since I got called away from your blog right after reading it, and I don’t know how I got about getting into the characters that are so vastly different than me. I just sort of…do. Which is a terrible answer. 🙂

    • It’s not terrible, lol. I actually get what you’re saying 🙂

  • We love watching rugby – although I never forget the first time I watched my husband (then boyfriend) play. The game finished and he was lying at the bottom of a maul – his back looked like mincemeat. But he loved it!

    Glad you’re challenging those experiences!

  • I’m playing catch up while my computer is behaving 🙂 The only rugby I’ve ever seen is that Friends episode where ross plays all those huge British guys, lol.

    My friend’s hubby plays and at one point (in college, I believe) he broke his eye socket! I mean, really? How does that happen?! O.o Primal indeed…

    Great post – sorry you cut your leg (hate that!!!), but glad it sparked inspiration.

    • I haven’t seen that episode! But I’ve heard of the eye socket thing. Gross, painful, OMG. *shudders* Thanks for visiting!! 🙂