48 Comments

  1. Hello! I shot a gun once with my dear friend Shelby. It was years ago up in the mountains where we had gone camping. I don’t remember much of the technical aspects, but I clearly remember the rush of excitement when I shot for the first time. It’s exciting and empowering and I felt proud in a way, and I knew Shelby, who was teaching me, was proud too to see me shoot. Hopefully this helps a little!

  2. Liz Kershisnik-Gwynn

    I have never shot a gun. I have always been a bit wary around them. I do think I would shoot one at a range, if given the opportunity… But I don’t think I would seek it out.
    I would likely seek out someone who has had a similar experience and go from there. But I haven’t written fiction since… I can’t even remember…

    When I think of the 1950’s I think of “Grease”, but I know the 1950’s you’re writing about is very different. Also, it’s worth mentioning that I cannot wait to read what you’re writing!!!

    As far as wellness goes, I’m still working on increasing my water intake, but I also want to start going to bed earlier. Easier said than done. Especially because I don’t really have a game plan. So we’ll see how that goes.

    I hope you’re having a happy Tuesday!! And good luck writing!!

    • I feel the same way you do about guns, Liz. Larry’s suggested we go to a shooting range before. I’m not opposed, but until now I’ve never had a strong desire too either. Looking at it as research has piqued my interest some. Also, your answer about the 1950s made me smile, because my first impression comes from Happy Days and then the movie Grease. The sleeping goal is a good one, but challenging. A couple of years ago, I gradually increased my hours in bed to seven per night by bumping my bedtime up in 10 minute increments per week. That seemed doable and has stuck. Your situation is probably complicated by having a little one in the house. Mine is only complicated if I get in the middle of some good TV watching! I love you. Happy Tuesday!

  3. I was afraid of guns and am still nervous if one is pointed at me by accident while it’s been cleaned or shown, even if I’m told it’s empty. However, a few years ago I bought myself a revolver and got my concealed carry permit. I never leave home without my gun! I learned to use it and go to the shooting range to practice. I have shot an older revolver. Compared to mine, it is much heavier and larger. In these days and times, I feel safe with it and know that should I need it, it will be there to protect me and those I love. And believe me, I never dreamed I would own and carry a gun! Continued good luck on your transformation challenge!

    • I’m impressed Dee that you took the initiative to learn to shoot and get your permit, knowing you had a fear of guns to begin with. What do you recall about the first time you fired a gun? Was it with a professional instructor or did someone else teach you?

      • I was a teen the first time I shot a gun, target practicing with my boyfriend using a revolver and I was mostly afraid it would kick back and hit me in the face. I never touched another gun until about 5 years ago. My son taught me all about guns, how to load and unload, etc. I target practice with him. I ended up buying a revolver as I don’t have the strength required for a semi-automatic pistol and if it got jammed then I’d be in a jam! I have shot his semi-automatic pistols as well as his regular hunting rifles, shotguns, and AR-15s.

  4. In answer to your question about shooting a gun–or writing about something with which you are totally unfamiliar: I’m a non-fiction writer and I know what I do in that situation–I find people to interview who are experts or knowledgeable about the subject. I once tried writing an article pre-research just to see where the big blanks were. That helped inform my questions.
    hope this helps, and that Joan doesn’t shoot herself by accident..

  5. Hi, Christie – I am not a fiction writer, but Penpen’s suggestion makes great sense to me. Interviewing someone would work way better for me than actually going out and shooting a gun myself. Good luck. Please keep us posted!

    • I like the idea of interviewing too, Donna. I had thought of interviewing people I know who shoot, particularly about how it felt the first time and what their fears or expectations were. Now I’m wondering if I should try to track down an expert with older firearms to get a better understanding of the technical side of things.

  6. Hi Christie, good for you for sticking to your goals! It is hard to find time to write without goals- it is so easy to put if off because it is important, but not pressing and something more urgent always seems to come up.
    I have shot a gun, but it was a rifle. I was surprised by the weight of the gun and the kickback I felt. Also the noise is louder in your ears that when you hear a gun shot from elsewhere.
    I think there are always things that you haven’t experiences personally when you write fiction. Your plans to research and ask and good. If it is an extremely crucial scene, then I might say go shoot a gun. If it isn’t the pivotal moment, then just do some research and get on with it.

    • Thank you, Michele, for sharing your experience and advice. This is an important scene, but the experience of shooting is not in itself pivotal. I wouldn’t want to write something that would be distracting for a knowledgable reader, but perhaps it’s not worthy of holding up the story for personal practice. This is why I love asking my questions in this blogging community. Thank you.

  7. I have shot a gun, a luger. I wrote about it in my Torschlusspanik list. I kept jumping. Ha! (Tho was quite a good shot!). I used to host First of the Month Fiction where you wrote a 100 word story each month. I might start that up again. I’ve written a few short stories, some published. I think you can put yourself in other people’s shoes. Maybe you get it wrong but most readers won’t know….#MidlifeSharethelove

    • Hello Lydia! Thanks for sharing your experience. I am actually more naturally inclined to writing shorter pieces. This is my first novel, and it’s been quite a stretch for me. I appreciate your input on putting yourself into other people’s shoes.

  8. Hi Christie – I think interviewing someone would give you useful info for your writing. I read that many actors do this as part of their preparation for their roles in a movie. Congrats with your writing progress and fitness progress! #MLSTL

  9. I would definitely interview someone, especially a woman, or women, who has been in that situation. What you don’t want is to write something that doesn’t ring true to people who know the subject. I don’t own, nor do I have any desire to own a gun but many who do seem to be pretty particular about how they are portrayed and the accuracy of the info. You don’t want the rest of your book dismissed because of a technicality.

    • Thank you for that advice, Janis. You are correct that I wouldn’t want to turn off anyone who is knowledgable about guns and shooting. It’s not a central theme of the book, but I don’t want it to be a distraction either. I like the idea of interviewing women about their experience–the physical and emotional experience.

  10. I’d skip the guns. I don’t think you have to experience everything to write about it. I wrote a scene about a young girl overdosing on drugs, something I have absolutely no experience with nor desire to learn. So, I read and did some research. My problem is that sometimes I use researching as an excuse not to write. Procrastination!

    • You are absolutely right, Christine, there are some things you do not want to experience firsthand, but you can still right about them. I have the privilege of having my mother close by, and it’s her life I am basing the story on. She has been able to share much with me, but some of the details are sketchy. It was nearly 60 years ago. It struck a chord with me when you mentioned researching as an excuse not to write, I do the same thing. In this case, it feels almost like I tried to skip over the research, so I could hurry and finish writing. Perhaps because I am so close to the end.

    • It’s true, Sue. Unless you happen to be writing strictly about your immediate experience, there has to be research to make the story feel real to readers, especially those who have had similar experiences themselves. In this case, I am writing about homesteading in Fairbanks, Alaska in the 1950s–none of which I am even remotely familiar. I have had the pleasure of visiting Fairbanks in the winter to get a small taste (from the comfort of a hotel room), and I do have my mother to interview (my role model for the novel’s heroine), so that helps. Still, it has been a challenge for me to stay in the culture of the era. Throw in that this is my first serious attempt at fiction, writing dialogue, and all that goes with that, and this has definitely been a learning experience for me–one that has stretched me and pulled me from my comfort zone.

  11. What an accomplished person you are Christie!! I haven’t written a novel or anything like that, just a few short stories as creative writing exercises. I have shot a gun, when I was working in the bank and we had to do training (not sure what for now that I come to think of it). Very interesting post again! #mlstl

    • Thank you, Debbie. This first attempt at writing a novel has definitely been a learning experience for me, one that has pushed me far from my comfort zone. That is interesting that you took a firearms course to work at a bank. Did you even have a gun with you at work? What do you remember about that experience? Were you nervous going in? What were the physical sensations of shooting? The emotional reaction? Anything you can share would be helpful. On a side note, I also worked at a bank for about five years. I was the executive loan secretary and sat just outside the bank teller area. Luckily, there were no robberies during that time. The bank was in downtown Salt Lake City, and we did have an interesting cast of characters come through. Maybe my next novel should feature some of them!

  12. Hi Christie – I guess the interview thing seems to be the way to go. Or can you find a youtube of someone learning to shoot (maybe even shooting the sort of gun you’re writing about) and describe what you see and then translate it into the first person account you’re writing? I’d never thought about this part of writing – interesting learning by association!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • I agree, Leanne, and I am gathering some firsthand descriptions now. Responses to this blog have given me some leads. Another wonderful thing about blogging! I actually really like the idea of finding a YouTube training/demonstration video. One more assurance that I understand and am accurately describing the steps in aiming and firing. Thank you for the suggestion.

  13. Christie,
    I immediately thought the same thing as Leanne… find a training video on YouTube. But you’ve got some other good suggestions. too.

    I’ve often wondered if I could write fiction because of the need for the research. I have a story laid out, but like yours, it’s set in a time/place I would need to research to make sure it was authentic. I remember years ago, my husband was really annoyed when reading a novel and the hero “took the safety off” of a gun that has no safety. Hubby is a gun enthusiast so he knew the gun details. I am afraid of guns, so he keeps them out of site (and locked up). That difference also makes me wonder if your heroine would treat the experience different depending on her fear/fascination level.

    Good luck with the writing!

    • Pat, your husband’s experience with the faulty description in a novel is the very thing I am trying to avoid. I think I can find the technical details on YouTube. I see Joan as nervous about shooting a gun, but also empowered by the idea of overcoming her fear and being able to protect herself. Thank you for the input. As for your novel, I understand the trepidation. I had my mother to get me started, and it has still required quite a bit of research, and a few times I tripped up and had to go back and remove something that was not widely available (or expressions not popular) in the 1950s. Hopefully, I caught them all!

  14. Believe it or not, I am licensed to carry and have a 38 special. I don’t shot well but it does give me a thrill to shoot. I think it is hard to shoot straight. The gun is a little heavy in your hand plus it has a kick and will make your hand jerk up if you aren’t careful. I am not sure I could write about something I have no knowledge about.

  15. Great post! I think the key to writing something we aren’t familiar with or can’t experience, is about asking those who have to read your writing to see if it feels authentic. And good for you for sticking to your workout goals!

  16. I admire your dedication to writing your novel, Christie. I love to read and I always read the acknowledgements at the end of books that tell where the authors get all their information, and expert advice. A lot of authors out there have to do the research, and I think from what I’ve read, it comes from interviewing someone who is an expert on the subject. Good luck with figuring out the shooting the gun experience. I’m not that brave. Maybe it’s what you have to do, though, to get the experience through the eyes of the character.

    • Thank you, Christine. I also enjoy reading the acknowledgments in books and the dedications. I love having that little glimpse into the author’s process. When it comes to my own research, I tend to think since I’m not a published novelist, the experts won’t want to speak with me. That’s probably not a fair assumption. As it turns out, in this case, I am getting most of what I need from people I know. I’m going to try YouTube first for the more technical details. The input and advice from all of you on this post have been incredibly helpful.

  17. Having lived in Alaska, her learning to shoot makes a lot of sense. I spent 7 years in Anchorage, the largest city in AK and bears and moose are all over the city. But also, in AK, even still they do a lot of hunting and fishing for their meat, and I can only imagine that in the 1950’s it would have been even more so because they wouldn’t really have had grocery stores. It would have been more like the general stores that you read about in from the 1800’s.

    • Fairbanks was pretty primitive in the 1950s, and you are right about them relying on hunting for meat. I have spent brief periods of time in Anchorage and Fairbanks, once during the summer and once in the late fall. It certainly is beautiful country.

  18. Hi Christie

    About the gun. Interview a “female” pro, soldier, or police woman. You could probably find any of those women at the shooting range. Ask around and see if you can interview a woman who has shot the gun you are describing. How did the gun feel, smell, sound. How did your interviewee feel the first time she even picked up a gun. Why did she pick it up. Each persons experience is different. Maybe interview several people A man’s point-of-view may be very different than that of a woman with any gun.

    Good Luck
    Laura

  19. Christie, I could not add to the great suggestions here. It is very good to put out a question for input, it also builds a lot of interest in your upcoming book. I am glad that you have a plan to get the book finished. Very proud of your persistence to get it written.

    As an example and help to other writers, we will feature your post on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

    • Thank you Kathleen. I am pleased to be featured on Blogger’s Pit Stop. It’s such a great resource. Thank you. I have been so happy with the input I have received on this question so far. It has been extremely helpful in getting unstuck and moving forward.

  20. On our list of things to do this year, is to get a permit, a gun and to go to the range. I have never wanted a gun in my home. However, things are changing, the world is changing and I have changed because of it. I will be purchasing a gun and getting a permit to carry. TFS.

    • I would love to hear about your experience when you go shooting for the first time, Clearissa. I’ve never touched a gun, but I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos of people’s first time at the shooting range as research for my book, and I find their reactions and description of how it felt pretty fascinating.

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