Your Character Has Been Shot: Now What?

writing fiction gunshot foresensics

BANG. A character is struck by gunfire. The shot itself only takes a few words, but the effects can last for the rest of the story. Here’s what to consider.

Back again with another great guest post is Joshua Hood. You may remember him from this terrific piece about the M16, or maybe this one about misconceptions about the military in fiction. You might’ve picked up one of his thrillers, too. 

This time, Hood draws on his real-world experience in the military and in law enforcement to detail one of the most common questions writers have when it comes to weapons: What happens after a character is shot? His responses to my questions are below.


~Ben Continue reading

What Writers Should Know About the M16 and Its Variants

Military guns fiction writing tips

A U.S. sailor is pictured with a M16A4 rifle in this Department of Defense photo. Fiction writers would do well to familiarize themselves with this ubiquitous firearm.

On the heels of his terrific guest post, 10 Things Authors Get Wrong About the Military, Joshua Hood is back with more insights from his background as a decorated combat veteran who served five years in the 82nd Airborne Division. He’s also the author of the novels Clear by Fire and Warning Order, both published by Simon and Schuster.

Today, however, he’s writing about what writers need to know about one of the most ubiquitous U.S. military firearms in fiction, the M16. Enjoy!


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Hands-On Research: How a Gun Shy Writer Pulled the Trigger for a Novel

I’m thrilled to bring you this interview with E.M. Kokie, author of the survival novel, Radical. Kokie knew she needed to learn more about firearms in order to write her book, and the story of how she went about it is a terrific lesson for writers who find themselves in a similar situation. Enjoy!


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Reader Question: What are the Advantages of Compact Handguns Versus Full-Sized Models?

Writing Fiction: Beretta Pistol Sizes

jennifer chase crime writerThis question comes from crime writer and criminologist Jennifer Chase. If the name sounds familiar to you, you’ve either discovered her terrific Emily Stone series of crime novels or been paying attention to her excellent criminology posts in service of the writing community.

She recently wrote in with this question: Continue reading

You Made a Mistake. Now What?

Correcting mistakes writing fiction weapons

Once an error is out there, it’s out there. Sure, an e-book can be corrected on the fly, but what if it’s been months or years since the mistake was made? (Image by T A via

It happens to the best of us. You read this blog, dive into books about writing weapons in fiction, visit sporting goods stores, consult the experts and train to become a full-fledged Terminator. Despite all that, somehow a mistake in the firearm/knife/weapon department makes it through to the published version of your work. What’s an honest writer to do? Continue reading