Writers with Guns

From left: Susan Crawford, Kathy Cohea, Tony Ball,
Regina Jennings, Mischelle Creager, Erin Taylor Young
Last month, OCFW members attended a firearms clinic with instructor Tony Ball. The writers learned about the function and purposes of several different types of firearms including shotguns, rifles and pistols. They were also allowed to shoot each gun and experience first-hand the numerous sensations of firing a weapon. From the smooth and steady pull of the trigger to the smell of gunpowder in the air, it was a day of invaluable hands-on research.

Erin Taylor Young said, “This clinic was a fabulous source of material--both in information and experience--for writing believable gun scenes. I'm totally going to use a twelve gauge shotgun in a future book--someone very unpredictable is going to have to fire that puppy and deal with a heck of a recoil.” 

And one member, who shall remain unnamed (but it rhymes with Bischelle Treager), received detailed information each time she began a question with the phrase, “If I were trying to kill somebody…” quickly followed with the disclaimer, “I WRITE SUSPENSE. IT’S FOR RESEARCH.”

Here are some photos from the day:

Tony teaching us the difference between a magazine and a clip.

Don't even mess with Regina, people.

Kathy, very happy to be learning how to shoot an assault rifle.

Tony showing Mischelle the correct finger placement before shooting.

Those little targets are hard to hit. At least, for some of us.

This video speaks for itself. Enjoy watching Erin's first shotgun experience.

Overall, we had way more fun than should be allowed, and gathered tons of information that will help us craft realistic scenes.

How about you? Have you done anything interesting for the sake of research? 


  1. How fun! I'm sad to have missed it.

    I do most of my research from home, however, I did visit a train museum once for a story. It was shocking to me how high the trains were off the ground. I had planned a scene where the hero would be coming to board the train without the benefit of a platform and I had to think seriously about how he would get up there...

    1. We missed you!

      How interesting about the train platform. I had no idea they were that high, either. I might need to schedule a visit to a train museum now. That sounds like fun, and something the kids might like, too.

  2. How fun! Love seeing the pictures and video of all of you researching and learning. Did anyone have a sore arm? :)

    When I was writing my Elvis romance, we spent several days in Memphis soaking up vibes of the king of rock and roll. That was fun research!

    1. I'll admit, my arm was a little sore. :0)

      I'd like to hear a little more about this Elvis romance! That sounds like so much fun!

  3. Great write up and pictures, Susan! Thanks. : )

  4. I had so much fun at that meeting! Thanks Erin for getting it together and thanks Susan for the great memories. (And a big thank you to Tony!)


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