Sometimes, when we write, we find ourselves writing about things we don't know anything about. Sometimes, that's ok, and others it just isn't. Research is a necessary part of any writer's tool kit. But how much research is to much? I've always thought, that depends on what kind of writer you are.
For me, I don't want to be the type that comes across as not knowing what the heck I'm talking about. For example, in my current WIP the people populating my story will have to use a variety of weaponry. I know almost NOTHING about weaponry. So when I decided to write this thing, I knew I'd need to research different types of weapons. Because if I don't know how my character should be using something, I can't write about it, and it won't be believable if I do.
Simple right? No, not so much. I know other writer's who refuse to do the research, to spend the time to make their craft believable, and let me just say, it shows. The writing is flat, and makes me not want to continue reading despite how much I might like the characters.
With that in mind, I started my adventure six months ago (roughly). It began with compound bows. When I was a child we were not allowed to play with power tools, or anything that might even remotely be considered a weapon. It was kind of a drag. But that aside, it limited me in a way (which is funny because now everyone of my family members are either hunters, own hand guns, or enjoy archery).
The compound bow was awkward, and I found myself a little discouraged because aiming wasn't what I thought it would be. It didn't help that I caught it on my arm fairly frequently. Now, I considered myself fairly accurate with my hand and eye coordination. I used to team rope in high school, and rarely missed. However, I quickly learned that it just isn't the same thing. Which also disappointed me. I returned to shoot four additional times, but had similar results. The bow did one thing for me however, it made me want to try hand guns.
I've always wanted to shoot hand guns. I like doing things that show me immediate results, and what's more in the moment and cool than venting frustration by putting holes in something? (No I'm not very girly, I don't enjoy shopping.) But I was extremely nervous because guns as a kid were a no-no.
So, I signed up for a gun safety class. After the hour long (and very old) video was over, we went into the indoor range. My instructor was a nice lady, funny to be around, and she said if I fired single shot hitting the target she'd let me shoot more. Sweaty hands and awkward as all hell, I did. And I hit center of the bullseye. She said if I could hit anywhere near that again with my four shots I could keep shooting. I did, sending all four through my initial hole. She let me shoot however many I wanted after that.
I'm not bragging in telling this story. I just think it's important to realize that in some cases you need to get out from behind your computer screen. Nothing compares to real life experience. In this case, I got to shoot two hundred rounds, and learned that I'm a damn good shot. (Ok a little bit of bragging there.) But if I hadn't done the research I would've never tried this, never found out I actually enjoy target shooting, and I certainly wouldn't own a fire arm. (In case your wondering I bought a beretta neos .22 lr .... less recoil for beginners...) I wouldn't have a funny story to tell, and I probably would've gone on writing about safety levers on guns that don't actually have safety levers. (Like the glock.) Which I now realize a lot of writer's do. My instructor got a kick out of why I wanted to shoot. She asked, and I told her research for a novel. Even just saying that bit helped my ego. That was the first time I admitted to anyone out loud, out side of a writer's group that I'm a writer.
So anyway, yes.... do your research, but don't just do it behind your computer screen.
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