Guns & Fiction, me guest hosting Writing Excuses 

I recorded this at LTUE. Because I’ve got a reputation as the Gun Guy in the writing community, they wanted to get my opinion on what writers get wrong when writing guns. I could have talked for another couple of hours on this topic, but we covered the big stuff. Maybe with this interview I can help prevent some future stupid Glock safeties, guns that malfunction only when you want to have some kung fu drama, and the fact that no action heroes ever need hearing aids after their six gunfights in enclosed spaces per book for a ten book series.

I forgot Earth Day!?!
The Burning Throne, Episode 24: Two letters to Ide Todo

12 thoughts on “Guns & Fiction, me guest hosting Writing Excuses”

  1. My BIGGEST peeve is when authors call a magazine a clip. It drives me bonkers. Depending on how well I like the book I may or may not put it down never to pick it up again and same goes with the author. I invariably will let the author know of their mistake and why it is a mistake, which I’m sure the just love because I never get a reply. That and the glock safety.

    If you don’t know something about something do a little research or don’t write about something you don’t know anything about. That’s what *I* say!

  2. The problem with the magazine/clip argument is that I’ve seen folks who know firearms ask for a clip when they’re talking about a magazine. I know that a semiautomatic handgun takes magazines, while my M1 Garand takes clips, but I still misspeak. Clip is a conveniently short word.

    The distinction I’d draw is that in narration you should take care to use the correct term, assuming the character whose POV you’re in knows the correct term. In dialog, play it according to how the characters speak. Most importantly, know the difference and use the words consciously.

    That last piece of advice applies to almost everything we do as writers. Know words, and use them on purpose!

  3. Do you think you’d have the time in the near future to expand on this topic as a blog post, or did you already post about it and I just missed it?

  4. Larry, great post. You sound exactly like I picture you sounding. Something that bothers me is the knock-down power associated with firearms. A shotgun blast will take you air born 10-15 feet, and getting shot anywhere results in loss of conscious. Handguns seem to do much more damage than they should; rifles are not accorded enough respect.

    Also, handguns and rifle bullets apparently do not create exit wounds or fracture, but instead stay nicely in round shapes that are immediately sight-identifiable, and able to be removed in entirety with less equipment than I use when I catch and release a bass.

  5. When I was eighteen, in 1962, it was lawful for persons eighteen and older to buy and own handguns. I had a pistol expert rating before I was twenty-one. (Hey, pistol practice is the best fun a man can have whilst standing up and with his trousers on.) At that time, no one seemed to care about ear protection on an indoor range.

    At this writing I am badly enough hard of hearing to require a hearing aid and an amplifier on my telephone at least, as well as subtitling on DVDs. I have no use at all for sound-enhanced websites or podcasts.

    1. Hearing damage is no joke. I can’t pick up high frequencies and if there is a lot of background noise in a place, I’m pretty much screwed. Lots of people think they can get away with shooting without hearing protection, but hearing damage is permenant and cumulative. I always tried to explain to people that any noise loud enough to make their ears ring had just done permenant damage, and when that ring went away, it would take a range of hearing with it.

  6. Regarding the Navy Seal with 3 malfunctions of his gun.

    I’ve never heard of anybody doing that kind of job that didn’t carry at least 3 weapons. If the universe did conspire to strand him with only 1 crappy weapon, he should have picked up the last target’s AK.

  7. Mr. Correia thank you for bringing up hearing loss, that has always annoyed me when it is ignored. As a combat vet I have about 15% loss of hearing myself.

    Also, even if you are a writer who calls a magazine a clip it still only has so many rounds. please no more twenty round six-shooters/ endless belts of ammo. Make the magazine change.

  8. One of my favorites happens more often on television and movies, I guess because people think it looks cool. The “punctuate my sentence by pumping my shotgun” maneuver.
    There’s an episode of DS9 (Past Tense) where Sisko goes back in time and ends up with a group of people that all have pump-action shotguns. Every time one of them gets angry, they cycle their shotguns, but they never seem to run out of ammo.

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