Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Insane Writing Hours, Guns, and Stuff

It's almost 3:30 a.m. on a work night / work morning, and I'm mucking about with the third episode of Thieves' Honor, still not happy with the results. (See sidebar for the original first few episodes of the series, which has now been picked up by Raygun Revival online magazine.)

The beginning and the end were easy to write, but that darn middle, where all the action is, is proving difficult. I feel like a choreographer might, if he (or she) had to move armed pirates around on a small vessel--in this case, a private yacht--that allows little room for actual fighting.

A word about the fighting: guns. And, since this is science fiction set in the sorta distant future, I get to create the names and functions for the weapons. 

Political Incorrectness Alert! This past weekend, I told Dad I was fortunate to have grown up with guns in the house. I think that startled and scandalized his wife, but it's the truth. I watched Dad and uncles and family friends clean weapons, break them apart, load them, carry them, use them. I witnessed correct handling and near-death stupidity. I listened to adults talk about guns, tell stories about their favorites, debate various makes and ammunition. 

When I was old enough, I target-shot lightweight stuff, but never owned my own gun or carried a weapon when hunting, though I did accompany my dad sometimes into the woods during deer season. He is nearsighted, and I was a good spotter, often able to see the game before he did.

Anyway, back to the story: There was one specific weapon mentioned in Episode 2--lightweight cannon on small law-enforcement vessels--but, in this episode, I'm introducing several more makes and styles. However, along with the logistics of moving pirates around on a yacht, there is the problem of discussing weapons without weighing down the story with unnecessary details. Does it really matter what the name is on the gun?

And yet, for the sake of verisimilitude, I feel compelled to insert the brand names into the action: The brawny bad guy carries a Ginchon-make shotgun; the nerdy engineer prefers a Tattersall's Special in his shoulder holster; a henchman hefts a Pike's pistol a/k/a hand cannon; a trio of "good pirates" like the Cavanaugh Cutlass, "the Mariner's Choice", in either handgun or rifle form. See what I mean? A person could get lost among all those guns.

The end is probably the best part of the episode, and is the first place the title of the series comes into play. Episode 3 won't be published for a couple more months, though, so you'll just have to wait till then to find out what's so special about it. (So there.)


Anonymous said...

I do like to hear the brand names of weapons in a action or mystery story. A Glock or a Weber may not bring an immediate picture to mind(I'm woefully firearm ignorant)but they do sound good "on paper". I like the name Tattersall, by the way!

BT said...

I would gloss over those bits, as they'd mean nothing to me I'm afraid. So there you are, 2 polar opposites!


Jade - Just giving something a name implies a whole history; it gives the thing weight and substance. It makes it real. I guess that's why I'm hung up on the various styles of guns.

BT - Thanks for stopping by! I need to venture back to your page; I've been slack in my blog visiting of late. And thanks for offering an opinion about the gun thing.

I'm still working on the episode, so there will definitely be alterations; hopefully, none of them boring.