Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hands On Experience

Obviously, with a subject like tools, there is the obvious “sex toys” option I could take, especially in relation to BDSM. Thing is, I don’t really write much in that style. Toys are awesome and all, but what I love most is flesh-on-flesh contact, and that’s what I tend to write.
So what other tack could I take, I wonder?
Well, as one of history’s great indoorsmen, I admit I’m a tad useless with talking about tools in the most literal sense. Sure I could snigger away with the schoolboy definition but of course as a 46-year-old man I grew out of that kind of thing hours ago.
Having said that, I’m in the early stages of branching out into other genres of writing. Genres which will require me to have a passable understanding of many tools, from screwdrivers to semi-automatic weaponry. There’s no doubt this information would also be handy if I were to write Sucked Off by the Sub-Contractor or some such smutty tale as well.
I was actually born into a tool-friendly family. My father began the journey to being a carpenter when he was only 15 years old, and he picked up a metric butt load of other skills in his time working in the building industry. Even in his 70s now, he will pretty much work with anything but plumbing and electrical—both of which he can do with more than a little aplomb but for reasons of safety chooses not to.
My problem is, by my estimation, the amount of skill which passed on to me is approximately 7%. So, while I’ve seen building-style tools in use, and have used them, I have no affinity with them. A theoretical understanding is all well and good, but human beings tend to develop a physical and verbal shorthand for anything they understand intimately. A worker and their tools can have a relationship much like two people can. And none of that comes from reading the instruction manual. Heck, I understand what a surgeon does—makes a hole in you, rummages around, patches shit up—but would you want me taking out your gall bladder?
My lack of affinity is kind of a shame, really, because any tool which can be used for building can also be theoretically used for destroying. And both of those aspects would be pretty handy for the stories I’m starting on.
More than all of those, though, I need to gain some working knowledge of firearms. I have some basics in place, like “this is the bit whut fits in yer mitt” and “that there’s the part whut makes a big loud noise”. I understand that, for example, you can’t put a .303 rifle cartridge into a .22 pistol and hope for anything good to happen. But that’s a matter of logic and mathematics. It would be too thick for the hole (which is something I’ve been tempted to write a few times in my erotic stories, fnarr, fnarr…oh, wait… I outgrew that kind of thing hours ago. Damn.)
Why this particular aspect gives me the willies (fnarr, fn– er, never mind) is because there are so many people out there who are, indeed, firearms enthusiasts, and a lot of those folks read the kind of stories I’m talking about. And I get the feeling they’re not backward about pointing out errors.
So I guess I can pick my dad’s brains about the construction/destruction tool side of things. But it might be that I need to contact my local gun club (and this being Australia, they’re actually a tad thin on the ground here) to see if I can download some info directly from someone’s head. Or even… actually fire some weapons.
If the idea of Willsin plus weapon doesn’t scare you… well, I assure you, you’ve never seen me try to screw.
I meant with a screwdriver!

God, you people are immature.


  1. It's a major challenge to acquire sufficient knowledge about new tools in order to write about them. The risk of alienating more experienced readers is very real. That's one reason I frequently take the easy way out and write about tools with which I'm familiar, e.g. computers and software, or kitchen tools.

    Guns? I do have a couple in a few stories, but they come and go so fast that (I hope) nobody will notice my total ignorance.

    However, I'll bet the local gun club (and there's sure to be one) will be full of people who'd LOVE to enlighten you. I'm not being facetious. People adore talking about their passions.

    Just look at us Grippers!

  2. Fun, tongue-in-cheek post, Willsin. Yes, tools are one thing. Knowing how to use them is another. See my post next Wednesday that will take a closely related tangent.

  3. Willsin, you've helped explain why writing sci-fi is a challenge to some of us, since machines loom large in that genre (or else they are small but deadly). I wouldn't want to meet gun enthusiasts in my own time, but as part of the research for my historical novella, I learned about military weapons in the 1860s - fascinating stuff.

  4. If there isn't a sex toy called a screwdriver, there ought to be. Besides the drink, I mean.

  5. Good point about the way writers have to know a wide variety of things to come off sounding plausible. I actually went to a gun range once, for this reason, and fired several guns. Since then, it's been totally implausible to me whenever anyone picks up a gun they're not familiar with and shoots in any remotely accurate way. I couldn't have hit the side of a barn, my hand was trembling so much.

    And Sacchi, LOL forever.

  6. Nicely done, Willsin! Very amusing and fun to read.

    Re: guns, yes, I've had some in my books. No, I know absolutely NOTHING about them other than I've never touched one and don't intend to start at this late date. But I had an editor for my female spies books, who said his wife and her mother were hugely into guns, and that I would lose them as my hypothetical readers if I showed my ignorance of their favorite hobby in my writing. So he made suggestions, all of which I took, gratefully.

    BTW, "Tool" is one of my favorite bands. Run by Maynard, who also has 2 other bands, "A Perfect Circle", and "Puscifer." (Hey, the man really likes pussy, and sings about it quite often. I don't find it offensive, as much as endearing. I like cock that much also, and if I had a band, I'd name it after my favorite toy!!)

  7. Heh. Yep, there's a challenge within all fiction of course, unless you base all your stories around only that which you already know. But where's the fun in that?
    I'm thinking at this point my safest bet for getting work to a publishable stage will be to have the story set in the POV of someone who knows nothing. It worked in The Walking Dead, for example, by having the main character waking up after all the shit went down. I might follow that lead for now!