Simon Says…William Simon That Is

By: Stacey A. Purcell

If you get stuck writing your novel, bring in a man with a big gun! – William Simon

How many people do you shoot in your novels?

Since I write suspense, death and mayhem show up on my pages with great frequency. There’s nothing worse than watching a movie or reading a book when you come across something that you KNOW is wrong. It pulls you completely out of the story.  We need to avoid this at all cost! If the reader puts your book down, all bets are off as to whether they’ll pick it up again, especially if you just annoyed them.

I’d like to introduce William Simon who is the owner and lead investigator of a professional investigations firm specializing in computer forensics and computer evidence. He is asked to participate on cases across the country and has worked with multiple branches of the law. His fiction has been published in the anthology MURDER BY MAGIC, “Suspense Magazine”, and the forthcoming THRILLER 3 from International Thriller Writers.

Hi Everyone. Thanks for having me here at Muse Tracks.

A couple of months ago, Stacey and Jennifer put together a night trip to a local gun range.  Several of the members had never fired a gun before, and everyone had a great time.

Over the course of the evening, we all talked about guns and shooting as shown in the movies and television, and there was enough conversation about it that Stacey asked me to write a blog about it.

Starting off, my all time favorite is the Hero inching his way along a wall to the corner so he can shoot Bad Guys.  Almost without exception, he’s holding the gun pointed up, near his face with his finger on the trigger.  If he pulls that trigger by accident, here’s what will happen: he’ll get gunpowder and shrapnel in his face, possibly his eyes, he won’t be able to hear properly for a while, if ever again.  If it’s night, he’ll be night blind for a considerable amount of time, not to mention disoriented.  Bad move, all the way around.  Professional law enforcement officers know better, and hold a drawn weapon pointed downwards and way from themselves.

Snatching a pistol from someone’s hand is a wrong move.  Period.  It always makes me cringe to see that.  When a pistol is loaded and the hammer’s back, it takes very little force to move the trigger.  And once the trigger moves, we know what happens next.

Tucking a just fired weapon down the belt right above the crotch area…. YEOUCH!  First off, firing a full cylinder of six or a clip of eight or more, and the barrel of the gun is almost hot enough to light a cigarette.  Sure, people have done that, just jammed a gun down their waistband.  It’s happened often enough, there’s a name for it: “testicide”.  Use your imaginations, you can guess what happens!

Holding an automatic pistol sideways is a guarantee that hot cartridges are going to smack you in the face.  Just what you want in a serious situation.

Here’s the really big one:  Guns MUST be reloaded.  Revolvers usually hold six shots, although some of the newer models can hold seven or eight.  Okay, fair enough, but that’s nowhere near enough to cover some of the gunfights in the movies.  Automatic pistols can hold more, usually between ten to sixteen.  The famous Beretta 92F does have a specially made clip that can hold thirty-two rounds, but it sticks out from the butt a good inch or so, making impossible to conceal, and adds substantial weight.

A fully loaded pistol is heavy.  Specially made belts are needed for a comfortable concealed carry; clipping the holster to your beltless pants doesn’t work in real life.  Neither does shoving the gun into a back pocket.

Holsters are a different matter altogether.  Shoulder holsters look cool, but are awkward to draw from.  Simple physics:  in an emergency, using your strong hand, you have to reach across your body, pull the gun, then reverse the move to be on target.  It may not seem like a long time, but in a crisis, that half a second can make the difference.

If you’re writing a scene where there’s a gunfight, be sure and do your research!  Gun collectors can be fanatical about spotting errors, and they won’t hesitate to let you know you got it wrong!

17 Responses to Simon Says…William Simon That Is

  1. Jody says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I printed it out to put with my growing research on violence. Does that scare you? Don’t worry, no one in his right mind would sell me a gun.



  2. Ruby says:

    Great post with good tips. I have a scene taking place in combat and now it may have to be revised.


  3. Kristen says:

    Hmmm. I think I’ll re-frame my climax to end with a dueling pistol. Or a shovel.

    Great post! 🙂


  4. Suzan H. says:

    Good info, Will. I pointed out the testicide one to my son while we were watching a Bond movie the other night.


  5. Pat Brown says:

    This could add some humor to a piece — have the bad guys doing some of those things because they saw it in the movies and thought it was cool. You could have all kinds of mayhem break out when people start jumping around, yelling and running into walls because they can’t see.

    Of course the top bad guys couldn’t be this incompetent, or they’d be no threat, but his minions could be.


  6. Hi Jody-
    You have a growing file on violence?………………………………do we need to call a doctor? BWAHAHAHA


  7. Hey Pat-
    Now that is a great idea! I never thought about having some lower level bad guys modeling off film or books- that could lead to some hilarious stuff. I can see it all play out in my head!! I’ll race you to see who can write about it first. 🙂


  8. Hey Suzan-
    Yeah, testicide will always get a guy’s attention!
    It’s amazing to see and read how often it’s done all wrong!


  9. jbrayweber says:

    I’m with Pat. I’d love for someone to write a testicide scene. That would be great!
    Great post, Stacey & Will.


  10. Hmmmm… a testicide scene…..maybe we should practice on Will for realism???? BWAHAHAHAHA I think I’ve gotten into Jody’s growing file of violence.


  11. This is great info! I never get tired of hearing it. LOL Maybe because I kill lots of people in my novels. 🙂 mmuwhahaha (okay that was a pitiful attempt at an evil laugh) Thanks for sharing!


  12. William says:

    Hi, everyone! Was out of the office this morning, just getting back.

    Thanks for all your comments. (I’m trying to imagine Melissa’s ‘Evil Laugh’, but it’s not really working…:))

    These are the little things that drive people who know guns nuts. A little bit of research will avoid them, all you need to do is ask…:)

    Nice try Stacey…. but we all know, the bullets would bounce off! Narf, Narf, Narf…:)


  13. William says:

    P.S. The ‘man with a gun’ quote was originally Raymond Chandler; it was his response to the question ‘What do you do when you’ve hit a block in a scene?’ Based on the past fifty years of mysteries and thrillers, it’s good advice..:)


  14. Elizabeth Simmons says:

    I can honestly say that I’ve never been concerned about testicide, and frankly, there’s no room in my waistband for a pistol.


  15. Tess says:

    I think I’m going to have to go shoot a gun now so my characters will be believable (for a while there ignorance was bliss…lol). Hubby was in the AF…so he knows how to shoot one and my son might enjoy learning how to shoot…see there, this morning I’ve planned a family trip. Thanks, Will (and Stacey1).


  16. You had me at testicide!


  17. Colleen, you crack me up!!!!


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