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Musings, Writing

Authors – If you want to write about weaponry, do it properly

Chuck Wendig has asked readers what turns them off, what spoils a book for them, what might cause them to actually not even finish it. For me, I get annoyed by authors that are writing weapons-based fiction, and who don’t have a clue about weapons.

1) People ARE NOT blown off their feet by shotguns, let alone pistols. That’s pure film. It’s also simple physics, i.e. if the person being hit by the weapon is blown off of their feet, then the shooter should also be blown back.

2) Clips and Magazines are completely different entities. A simple Google will explain why.

3) Assault rifles are assault rifles, don’t ever bloody refer to them as ‘machine guns’. It’s so sloppy it’s ridiculous.

4) You can’t get bolt-action assault rifles. If it’s bolt-action i.e. you have to work the bolt every time to eject the spent case/shell and load another round, it’s a bolt-action rifle. If it has selective fire and can fire semi-automatically, burst fire and fully automatically, and has detachable magazines (see 2)) then it’s an assault rifle. Simple.

5) Anything which says ‘he launched a flurry of blows’. Piss-poor laziness. Work out the fight in your head and describe it. I want to SEE the fight. Not imagine some bloke wafting his sword around until he gets lucky.

6) Don’t confuse a bullet with a round or a cartridge. They are different. A simple Google will explain why.

7) Covering missiles, rockets etc in flaming material will not cause them to explode in a matter of seconds. Again, that’s piss-poor Hollywood schlock. Work out a different way to remove the Mark 4 Behemoth Battle Armour (copyright Matthew Sylvester 2013 :))

I could go on, but these are just some of the pet-peeves that really spoil stories for me, especially if the authors thanks someone for their ‘military expertise’. Just in case you’re wondering ‘WTF do you know?’, I have been in the OTC Royal Engineers, a Special Constable, and a Door Supervisor. And I’m also a former cadet marksman.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


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