Doing what your characters do

Or doing what they’ve done, or going to do what they already did, or …

Have you done what your characters have done or will do? Will you soon be doing what they already did?

Even in the universe of fiction I found that engaging in the activity makes it far easier to write about it.

The underlying theme in my mind, as I write, is the simple standard of ‘is this plausible and if it isn’t how and where do I introduce earlier elements to make it plausible?’.

It doesn’t have to be real, just plausible. (though there is one plot device where I’m intentionally using actual results to make the point, just changing the names involved)

Is it plausible to swim with a shark? Lot’s of stories and videos abound online of doing so. But to have actually experienced it?

I did.

Twice, in one scuba dive. I talk about it HERE. That Blacktip shark was right there, not even 15 feet away.

My main character in the Distance In Time series, The Chairman, was a competition shooter in his youth. I’ve done that and keep at it every now and then.

The Chairman is a pilot. I’ve flown planes, performed landings, steep turns, aerobatics …

The character’s wife, Michelle, is a computer genius. Am I? No, but I’m familiar with code, with the concept of how it works, the meaning behind the code format. Expert? No. But enough where I can write about it.

I still have to skydive though. Yeah, the Chairman has done that also 😀

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Novel research. Easy right?

Interviews with people over a cup of coffee, maybe a light lunch.

Phone calls, emails and texts back and forth.

Poring over past videos, photos, notes and online forum posts from my personal experiences.

Then the typical bit of light reading (below).

All for my science fiction thriller. I’ve also got plenty of stuff for the civil forfeiture plot device.

Plus more still. Like more mechanical engineering textbooks, other novel related materials, notes …

I love it 😀

Book research

How to succeed at your first rifle match

How do you succeed at your first rifle match?

I placed First, Unclassified, in my first match. It was an 80 round (plus sighters) NRA match run at Markham Park in Ft Lauderdale, FL.
I missed being able to shoot my first 8 rounds and still scored a 555/800.

And I used a borrowed rifle. I brought 20rd mags, ammo and golf gloves lol. 😀

I’ve now been to several organized matches revolving around ‘Highpower’, the Civilian Marksmanship Program Excellence-In-Competition matches and the NRA Highpower Rifle matches.

Most matches are run pretty much the same way as safety rules are fairly universal. Just listen to the Match Director.

You’re here to figure out how to succeed at your first match.

* Listen. As a community target shooters are incredibly helpful. They’ll tell you how to stand, when to shoot within your wobble, such as in the standing position (everyone wobbles, don’t worry about it).

* Focus on the front sight … always. If you focus on the target, where is the front sight? The front sight will determine where the barrel points and hence where the bullet goes. So center the front sight in the blur of the target.

* Follow through. Be smooth with the trigger and remain in your position until the shot is truly over. Many times I see people IMMEDIATELY come out of position when the shot is over. Eventually they begin to come out of position AS they are pressing the trigger.
Just relax. Dry-firing your rifle helps considerably.

* Ammo is the most important piece of equipment. Then the sling. So, yeah, that’s right, the rifle is third most important.
I earned my first 4 points for Distinguished Rifleman to place in the top 10% of the Small Arms Firing School using their handout rifle complete with 9,000lb trigger and three round burst selector.
The key? Hornady 75 grain .223 Match Ammo (which they also supplied).

I didn’t have an AR-15 at my first ever match but subsequent experience and the advice of the US Army’s Marksmanship Unit reveals that practice in dry-firing, above all else, is the most productive method for best accuracy on a live range.

My first ever standing target 😀