Saturday, April 28, 2012

Research Therapy

Many writers go to great lengths to research the subjects touched on in novels.  Some of us actually write what we know, while others make it up as we go along.  For me, I am a big fan of making it up as I go along.  Stepping outside of the bounds of my comfort zone is not exactly what I am game for... even in the name of writing.

I have always had a soft spot of the military, law enforcement and "protector" types.  For me there is a nobility in actively putting your life on the line for a stranger.  Literally.  Men and women are out there giving the ultimate sacrifice for people they have never met.  And, while there are all different reasons and sides to many stories for why the military/law enforcement do what they do, I would still like to think that there is a measure of heroic loyalty at the core of it.  So, in all honesty it is no surprise that in ALL of my books I have featured a cop, US Marshals, Marines, and other such military involved in them (and they always seem to end up being the hero/heroine).  I have a love affair going for Navy Seals.  It's all imaginary and yet very steamy.

Most of the time I guess/fake what goes behind the firearms in my stories.  I don't like killing off characters, nor do I like the action of squeezing the trigger.  Can you see why sometimes I might have a few hang ups writing?  For a born and raised peacemaking pacifist, the entire gun loving side of the world is completely foreign to me.  Oddly enough I married a man who likes guns.  Opposites do attract and they can be happy together.  I am living proof.

Regardless of my personal aversions, I own a shotgun and I go skeet shooting often.  I will never kill anything with it.  I don't like hunting, but I can obliterate a clay disc and wrap my head around it just fine.  If there ever was a zombie apocalypse, I may be able to hold my own and will try to remember to do the necessary double tap.  What I can't seem to do is hand guns.  Or so I thought.  A good friend of mine took me to the shooting range and for the first time in my life, placed a 9 mm in my hand.

There is something about the raw, massive power and responsibility behind the hand gun.  It is such a small device.  The weight of the cool metal in my hand felt like the weight of the world, the weight of a soul.  It was unnerving.  What was even more unnerving was that I found out pretty quick I was really good at shooting it.

Check it out:

Yep.  That's me.  Taking aim at that poor defenseless target in the shape of a body.  The first couple of shots were all over the place.  Once I got used to the sights, the chest rattling displacement of air that comes with the resounding BANG and got over the idea that this small metal instrument could take away a human life forever, I started hitting consistent marks.

Like this:

That wide gap I am pointing to is five shots I put in the same hole.  AND this was the first time I had ever shot a hand gun.  Kinda freaky, eh? 

Tonight I am starting a massive rewrite on a book I put on the back burners for two years.  I couldn't get the right feel to the army of angels St. Peter had backing him and the duty of the Angels of Death with their soul reaping weaponry.  I feel I am ready to begin anew.  What they do, what it means to take a soul and the sheer mental weight of the gun will now create a new depth I could have never faked without going to the range and experiencing it first hand.

Amazing what one will do for the power of the written word.  Be careful my writer friends.  It is a precious right and responsibility.  Don't abuse it. 


  1. I am impressed with the 5 head shots, through the same hole.

    Nice shooting.

  2. Impressive shooting. It is amazing what we do for the written word and how the written word can spring forth from things we did without thought to writing. All our experiences are there in our novels, even if we've never been in the situation we are writing about.

    1. I totally agree, my dear. We take it all in with our writing... or at least we should!