Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
Work continues on Allied Section Alpha: Raid on the Château de la Malartrie. As of today, it is quickly approaching 11,000 words and safely within the “novelette” range. I think there is lots of story left in this one, and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t crest 18,000 words to become a novella before I’m done.
I’m currently in the middle of crafting its latest chapter and I’m really happy with how it’s reading; lots of action that seems to flow well with the characterization and plot. As usual, my writing has prompted an odd round of internet searches looking for answers to bizarre questions. Yesterday it was the possible effect of high intensity lightning on a Panzerkampfwagen…
(After doing some reading about unfortunate encounters between more modern tanks and high voltage, the answer I settled on was “not good”… I won’t say more to avoid spoilers, but if you read the story when it’s out you’ll definitely know the part when you get to it!)
This is by no means the weirdest session to be found in my browsing history. In fact, it was back in the pre-internet days when I started asking odd, but respectful, questions of experts. At first I was worried that they might be annoyed, but what I have found is that experts love unusual questions… unless they are really busy with something important. ;-)
Here’s a great example: In the 90s, I once called a gunsmith on the phone at his shop. He really knew his stuff and I could tell he was ready for some mundane question.
Then I asked him about the realistic feasibility, and possible ballistic qualities, of silver bullets.
You see, I was working on a werewolf story at the time, and I had heard conflicting options that silver was “too soft” to be used with modern firearms and rifling, causing jams and malfunctions. And you could forget about automatic or semi-automatic guns using silver ammunition. However, all these opinions were from writers and armchair experts, and not from anyone whose job was to know this stuff inside and out. Therefore, nineteen year old me gathered up some courage, picked-up a phone and called a local gunsmith that I had found in the yellow pages.
This started a conversation that I’m pretty sure I made the gunsmith’s week. :-) To paraphrase his reply from memory, it was something like this:
Well, the business end of the bullet is usually made of lead which is a hell of a lot softer than silver. Now if the whole thing, the casing and jacket of the cartridge and stuff, were made of silver you’d have some problems. But the part Mr. Werewolf will be concerned about is just the bullet slug, so that’s the only thing that really needs to be silver.
Sure, it’ll take time and cost a lot more than casting lead bullets… And maybe the accuracy will be a little off because the weight of the bullet and the amount of powder won’t be fine-tuned… But if you want to make a batch of 9mm silver rounds for your Uzi clip and give Mr. Werewolf one really bad night… Well, hell yeah you could do it!
After that stellar advice, ladies and gentlemen, the werewolves stayed the hell off of my lawn.
…Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some fiction! Take care!