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Throwing Lead: A Writer's Guide to Firearms (and the People Who Use Them) [Kindle Edition]

J. Daniel Sawyer , Mary Mason , Kitty Nic'Iaian
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99

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Book Description

If you write fiction, you have to know about them--but what if you don't have any formal training, or a job that brings you into regular contact with firearms?

Sure, you could watch a lot of CSI, but as you'll quickly discover upon cracking open this volume, you can't trust everything you see on TV.

Entertaining and humorous in style, Throwing Lead shows you the gestalt of guns, showing you the history of small arms in one readable, accessible, graphics-rich and easy-to-reference volume. Packed full of revealing research shortcuts to help you find accurate information on your book's period and culture, and cut through the jargon to get you the information you need with a minimum of fuss, it'll leave you chuckling and get your creative juices flowing with tips on underexploited plot devices and hidden opportunities for comedy and drama that firearms present, but that authors often miss.

This unique tour of the history, technology, and cultural development of firearms, examines how they've shaped our language and idiom, influenced manufacturing technology, and created warrior cultures in different professions. More than just a "how to write about it" manual or a technical glossary, this rigorously non-political guide reveals the common myths about firearms foisted upon us by filmmakers while using those mistakes as springboards for deeper discussion.

Topics covered include:
Stupid author tricks
Stupid criminal tricks
Stupid movie tricks
Safety practices
Long guns
Concealed carry
Ballistics and Forensics
The visceral experience of shooting a gun
Home defense
Police tactics and psychology
Criminal cultures
Urban warfare, Snipers, gunfighters and PTSD
Ammunition construction and the handloading culture
Space combat and Science Fiction weaponry
Historical weaponry
Weapons maintenance
Gunshot wounds and medical science
Selecting the gun that best fits your character
And much, much more...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1899 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: AWP Nonfiction; 1 edition (March 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007H5IUDU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733,172 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good read but a bad firearms book September 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As I write, I am about half way through this book. As a writer's resource it is potentially extremely useful, especially in its dealings with period detail. As an accurate primer on guns, it falls down on details. The use of "bullet" to describe a cartridge, even after the correct explanation of the difference between a bullet and a cartridge, is unfathomable and plain wrong. Cases are called "casings", following the usual Hollywood inaccuracy. The M16 is described as a submachine gun. The authors tell us that Brits call semi-auto "autofire", which may have been true for about 5 minutes in 1899 but certainly isn't now! The latest bit of wrongness I've read is an assertion that the 1903 Springfield rifle has a wooden receiver. To use a word that Brits actually use, this is bollocks. The receiver of a rifle is a (usually) pressure-bearing part containing the bolt, and to which the barrel is attached. It is almost always made of steel, the exeption being rifles in which the bolt locks up with the barrel itself which allows alloy or stamped steel receivers.

I'm sorry to say that I am not simply nitpicking. Writers should be able to expect a finished product, checked and checked again for accuracy before it hits the shelves, if they are to use it as a reference resource. That a supposed expert in firearms would repeat again and again the mantra that semi-auto pistols are unreliable compared with revolvers, for example, shows only that his thinking is about 40 years out of date. And to think, the authors want us to be careful with period details...

If they would allow a competent firearms expert to proof read and edit the book, it could become both a good read (which I accept it is) and a useful resource.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you write novels for a living or for fun, and your story involves gunplay, this book is a must-read, especially if you have no or little real life experience with firearms.

The book can also be read for fun and pleasure. You will enjoy its witty and informative style.

Warning: reading this book might spoil the enjoyment your derive from your favorite TV show or Hollywood flick: you'll start noticing all the mistakes made in gun fight sequences... ;-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars You NEED this book September 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you write and don't shoot people, you need this book unless you really want to appear like a total idiot
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-have textbook for the writer's arsenal March 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Writers sit in their quiet offices and make up crazy scenes in their heads. Many of these scenes involve guns! But most of these writers don't have any experience with guns so they go to Google and try to find the right information. There is so much information online but also so little if you don't know what you're looking for. This book solves all the problems that writers didn't even know they had about weaponry. With the information here, gun-toting scenes will improve dramatically.I personally found it deeply fascinating as someone who has only tried shooting once on a range, and it will no doubt become a well-thumbed reference book.
Highly recommended for writers who take their research seriously.
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More About the Author

J. Daniel Sawyer is a hat-wearing, obsessive-compulsive nutcase attempting to write his way out of the loony bin. He's the author of numerous fiction podcasts including Sculpting God, Down From Ten, and The Antithesis Progression (which earned him a spot as a 2009 Parsec Finalist). Lacking in personal qualities things that make for respectable character (such as the ability to sit still and shut up), he's forced to channel his lack of decorum into the fields of photography, a/v production, and writing for outfits like LinuxJournal and the occasional speculative fiction anthology.

When not working on his new secret steampunk fantasy adventure or getting into other mischief, he can be heard hosting the skeptical salon The Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour, and as the narrator of Free Will, book two of The Antithesis Progression, both available through

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