1. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    I need your help, what is this called?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MassThinker, Dec 10, 2011.

    How to write gun sounds. The actual noise that being made when somebody fires a revolver or a rifle. The "boom" how to picture that in a text?

    "A shot rangs off" sounds lame. Isn't there anything else.. I am trying to write down the sound of a flare gun going off.. but the MC has no idea that it's a flare gun. He just hears something he assume is a gun going off.
     
  2. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    "what sounded like a gun and a firework at the same time"

    reference: just watched a few youtube videos. sort of sounds like a cross between a gun and a firework being launched. hope this helps!
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    You really do not need to go into crazy detail. People already know what a gun shot sounds like from movies, television and the real world.
     
  4. TorpidHues
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    TorpidHues New Member

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    Flare guns are kind of a THHHIP sort of a sound.
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree, sorry. Well, my father was a Royal Artillery officer and we often lived near firing ranges, so I would do! People may think they know what a 'gun' shot sounds like, but often the sound effects are not very accurate, and there are loads of mistakes about artillery in movies, e.g. before the mid 19th century shells did not explode on impact (sometimes they failed to explode at all). If you want real atmosphere and verisimilitude, especially if you write short stories and novels set in historical times like I do, it can be really helpful to research the true sound of shells/mortar/rifle/handgun. The classic rifles all had a distinctive sound, e.g. the Martini rifle gave a crack, followed by a weird whistle (and the barrels got smoking hot very quickly). The Enfield gave a kind of low bark. If you read accounts of battles, you will see that eyewitnesses choose their words carefully to describe the sounds. Winston Churchill was a cavalry officer, but he described the experience of being in a battle really well, and 19th century writers like Henty are great for this kind of detail, too.
     
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  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's throwing up double again.
     
  7. Fashionista Poet
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    Fashionista Poet New Member

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    It depends on the type of gun. Some guns make pop, pop sound. Others include boom-boom, rat-tat-tat, pow-pow, and so on. It depends on the type of weapon.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's best to avoid writing sound effects unless you're writing a story for small children, or comic book text...

    read enough adult fiction and you'll see it's next to never done there... for the reason why, just read all the posts above!
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    He has sent me his work, so I know what he is writing. And I can tell you it is nothing historical or anything that needs to be accurate. A simple, "gun went off," or something like that will suffice for his work. Huge detail on the sound will look out of place in his current writing.
     
  10. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Double post.
     
  11. blandmanblind
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    blandmanblind Member

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    Report
    noun
    5.) a loud noise, as from an explosion: the report of a distant cannon.
     
  12. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you'd stop feeding it so much maybe it wouldn't be throwing up!

    Now, just a useless bit of trivia. If you are talking about handguns, as it appears, handguns have an echo sound of the explosion. The first when the hammer hits the firing pin, the second when (or actually a millisecond after) the bullet leaves the chamber. Of course most people wouldn't notice that (unless your dad happens to be a member of the Royal Artillery and you grew up within hearing distance of the firing range!)
    And I would have to echo the majority opinion here, myself, and say no need to use some "Boom" "Pow" Batman word for the sound. Just state the sound was heard.
     
  13. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I can understand that an artillery expert such as yourself would be interested in reading an accurate desciption of the sound a gun makes. But does your average reader really care? And is it important to the story? In a film then yes, accurate sound effects are important, but in a novel the difference between the sound of a rifle or a shotgun or a bazooka probably isn't even something you can capture with accuracy, because you're relying on the reader's interpretation of onomatopoeia. But unless it is a crucial plot point (like in a murder mystery where the sound of the fatal shot is mistaken for a car backfiring, for instance) then why is it important for the reader to know this anyway? I write historical fiction myself, and I know that the minute details and facts that interest me are not always going to interest my reader. Also, the more pedantic, painstaking detail you put in, the less forward momentum your story is likely to have. Lack of momentum kills a story.

    My advice is just stop worrying about the noise it makes. Focus on the impact and consequences. That's far more interesting.
     
  14. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    duplicate post
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree. If I'm reading a book and someone shoots a gun at the hero, I'm going to be more concerned for the hero's safety than what the gun sounds like.

    If you need to go into specifics, just mention the type of gun the shooter is holding. If the readers are just that curious as to what sound it makes, they can easily go to youtube and look it up.
     

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