Reader of this blog and The Writer’s Guide to Weapons book, Aaron Marshall, is working on a WIP featuring a critical scene involving firearms and alcohol. Here’s the question he wrote to me, as well as my response. Continue reading
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
TLDR: If a character is supposed to know something about firearms and knives, abide by common sense safety rules.
Not every character is or needs to be the embodiment of safe firearm and knife handling, but some should demonstrate a basic understanding in keeping their backgrounds. When this doesn’t happen, it’s a clear “tell” that something is wrong with the writer (in the weapons area, since it’s safe to assume writers wouldn’t be writing if there wasn’t something wrong with them in the first place).
Here are the basic safety principles accepted by the firearm and knife worlds.
TLDR: Dramatic movements after being shot are caused by a secondary effect, such as an involuntary muscle reaction, not from the force of being hit by one or more projectiles.
If you’ve read my book, The Writer’s Guide to Weapons, (you have right?) you know that characters hit by gunfire wouldn’t fly backward several feet from the force of being shot. It’s simple physics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If the target flies back several feet after being shot, the shooter should, too.
For the sake of space in my book, I couldn’t take the next step in that discussion. When characters are shot, they can still make movements that make it appear as if they’re being manipulated by the force of the shot. Here’s why.