Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Writer's Guide to Weapons by Ben Sobieck

This is an amazing book. A brilliant book. BUY THIS BOOK!

Really, I could leave this review just there; those three sentences sum up all you need to know. But that wouldn’t really be a review now, would it? The Writer’s Guide to Weapons does what it says on the tin. You know all those action films where people do improbable things with guns? You don’t need to be a master gunsmith to know that firearm’s occasionally need reloading, or that cars don’t just blow up as soon as they’re zinged by a stray bullet. But wait, do you know the difference between a bullet, a shell, it’s casing? Why do character’s pump their shotguns in that badass way to scare the baddies/goodies? Should they even be doing that?

Then there are the practicalities. When writing a scene, just how should your character handle a firearm? Do they pull the hammer back? Rack the slide? Should they tilt their gun on its side like some gangbanger? And what gun or knife should I give to my hero or villain?

If you’re a writer and have ever grappled with these or a myriad other problems, or if you’re just a reader who’s darn well interested to know what is real and what is b*******, then never fear, for Ben Sobieck is here! Along with a few friends he’s brought along for the ride, notably Maynard Soloman and Bill Robber (more on them in a sec.) Ben, an editor on various US firearms magazines, has penned a manual for those who know nothing about knives and gun, a bolts and all account that takes the reader from the basics and on through the mechanics of guns and knives. Along the way he slays myths – no don’t pump the shotgun in that badass way, you’re just ejecting a perfectly good shell – and helps you choose the best weapon for the characters of your story.

You might fear that this is some dry technical manual, but no. Everything is explained in no nonsense and plain English. And just so you get it, hapless P.I. Maynard Soloman and his arch-nemesis Bill Robber are on hand to show you how NOT to do it. These sections are often hilariously funny and go to show just how wrong many writers of fiction can get it. Afterwards Ben reiterates just Soloman & Robber got it so wrong and just what they should have done instead, so there’s no real excuse for us writers to ever write it wrong again (Hollywood action movie script writers, take note).

But that’s just the book, there’s also an associated website which Ben updates regularly. And if all that isn’t enough there’s Ben himself. Like D.P. Lyle MD for writer’s forensics needs, Ben Sobieck is there for any writer’s queries about weapons. Example: in my novel I have a scene where the hero uses dead bodies from an earlier firefight as a physical barricade against a military SWAT team. So I emailed Ben and I asked him how long my character could survive when assailed by trained guys with military grade firearms. And Ben asks what type of body armour the corpses are wearing – military grade like the new attackers –goes away and crunches the numbers, consults colleagues. The he comes back and answers me and posts the whole thing on his blog. In other words he takes my crazy scenario seriously and the website continues to grow, a resource for all us writers. How cool is that?

So in conclusion you can see why I say this book is awesome; why I suggest writers and readers alike purchase a copy.      

Without hesitation I give The Writer’s Guide to Weapons an outstanding 5 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment