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Gunshots (1 Viewer)

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Matchu

Senior Member
I’d write ‘bang’ or something - but that doesn’t tie in with the medicalised or cliche maybe of ‘shatters her ankle’ - which breaks perspective laws - if that makes sense? tap tap, mobile phone.

She screams, her ankle spurts arterial bloods, while her left foot is nowhere to be found.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Global Moderator
Is that really the whole context? :) Remove the bang and write:

Holly screams in pain as a bullet shatters her ankle.

What does the bang add? If it was a silencer then it's likely she wouldn't hear it anyway.
Sorry, that wasn't much in the way of context was it. Holly has been brought into the woods by someone who is hoping to recruit her but she isn't being given much choice. She's rather naive and it hasn't even occurred to her that said person might be armed.

It's not with a silencer but I'm just looking for something sudden. I think I might be overthinking things.

I'm wondering if I should go with:

"A loud crack. Holly screams in pain as the bullet shatters her ankle"
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Sorry, that wasn't much in the way of context was it. Holly has been brought into the woods by someone who is hoping to recruit her but she isn't being given much choice. She's rather naive and it hasn't even occurred to her that said person might be armed.

It's not with a silencer but I'm just looking for something sudden. I think I might be overthinking things.

I'm wondering if I should go with:

"A loud crack. Holly screams in pain as the bullet shatters her ankle"
The sound and the injury would happen at exactly the same time, unless it was a sniper rifle at great distance. If she doesn't know or suspect a gun would be present, then perhaps liken the sound to something innocent like a firecracker or a car backfiring. A bit like Forest Gump thinking something bit his ass.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Global Moderator
The sound and the injury would happen at exactly the same time, unless it was a sniper rifle at great distance. If she doesn't know or suspect a gun would be present, then perhaps liken the sound to something innocent like a firecracker or a car backfiring. A bit like Forest Gump thinking something bit his ass.
Yes. The gun is fired from only a few feet away so the two would happen at the same time although the scream could conceivable happen a fraction of a second later. The ankle is a long way from the brain. :D
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
If Holly's being shot in the woods by someone using a generic 'gun' (let's call it a 9 mm, I guess, because they're prevalent. It at least gives us something to work with) then what do we have?
Wooded area
close proximity
speed of bullet

She might start to hear a "sharp crack" or a "loud boom" before her eardrums pack it up and start ringing. She can't hear well for the next minute or so. Depending where or how the bullet hits and how big it is (sigh all those unnecessary details) might have something to do with her reaction. If she wasn't expecting this she might even feel some disbelief that she's even been shot. And there's also shock.

But, eh. That's how I would think about it.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Global Moderator
If Holly's being shot in the woods by someone using a generic 'gun' (let's call it a 9 mm, I guess, because they're prevalent. It at least gives us something to work with) then what do we have?
Wooded area
close proximity
speed of bullet

She might start to hear a "sharp crack" or a "loud boom" before her eardrums pack it up and start ringing. She can't hear well for the next minute or so. Depending where or how the bullet hits and how big it is (sigh all those unnecessary details) might have something to do with her reaction. If she wasn't expecting this she might even feel some disbelief that she's even been shot. And there's also shock.

But, eh. That's how I would think about it.
The next bit

Caroline squats down and lifts Holly’s chin. ’See? Now you’re in pain but I can help with that.’

Tears stream down Holly’s face as the barrel of the pistol is pressed against her skull. Another loud crack. It’s the last thing Holly hears before the bullet passes through her brain.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Well...this is a tricky one. I'll try and keep it shy of a light novel, but no promises.

Bear in mind a suppressor can do one of two things, depending on the type and caliber of firearm in use.

For smaller, lower-velocity cartridges it may eliminate the sound altogether. A .22 with a good can and subsonic ammo sounds more like a stapler than anything else because the discharge is completely muffled and all you hear is moving parts. Medium- and certain large-bore rounds will also suppress well, though less so as the caliber and projectile speed increase.

With larger and faster bullets your suppressor is more likely to bring the report down to a level that's safe to shoot without ear protection. That usually gets you something like a loud clap at close range - it's not unpleasant, but you still don't really enjoy it. And then you get something like a .50-caliber bolt-action with a suppressor, which is neither fun nor hearing safe though marginally less painful than without.

If you're being fired on by somebody using a can you won't see any muzzle flash. You probably won't hear the report, and if you do you likely won't be able to discern its origin.

Unsuppressed, most discharges sound like snapping or cracking. Incidentally, the human ear doesn't really register the firing noise as it happens, and it may take a few seconds for the brain to register what it's receiving. Unless you're pulling the trigger you never so much hear the shot as realize that you heard the shot.

I'll see if I can dig up some of my old projects with gunfights. Those may make more sense than my explanations.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Small caliber, then, and possibly suppressed though not necessarily. 22 is small, easy to conceal, and lethal up to about a mile. Close up, it would sound about right, still be intimidating to an unarmed person like Holly.

JBF has some good ideas

ETA: In other words, that's what Caroline might realistically be carrying (for a bunch of reasons) and it would still allow for Holly to hear Caroline speak to her. You CAN kill someone point-blank with a 22 but the bullet, even at close range, can also do something weird like glance off the skull and run around the inside of the scalp. Ballistics can be strange with all sorts of possibilities.

I know, I know...more than you wanted to know.
 
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Mark Twain't

Staff member
Global Moderator
Well...this is a tricky one. I'll try and keep it shy of a light novel, but no promises.

Bear in mind a suppressor can do one of two things, depending on the type and caliber of firearm in use.

For smaller, lower-velocity cartridges it may eliminate the sound altogether. A .22 with a good can and subsonic ammo sounds more like a stapler than anything else because the discharge is completely muffled and all you hear is moving parts. Medium- and certain large-bore rounds will also suppress well, though less so as the caliber and projectile speed increase.

With larger and faster bullets your suppressor is more likely to bring the report down to a level that's safe to shoot without ear protection. That usually gets you something like a loud clap at close range - it's not unpleasant, but you still don't really enjoy it. And then you get something like a .50-caliber bolt-action with a suppressor, which is neither fun nor hearing safe though marginally less painful than without.

If you're being fired on by somebody using a can you won't see any muzzle flash. You probably won't hear the report, and if you do you likely won't be able to discern its origin.

Unsuppressed, most discharges sound like snapping or cracking. Incidentally, the human ear doesn't really register the firing noise as it happens, and it may take a few seconds for the brain to register what it's receiving. Unless you're pulling the trigger you never so much hear the shot as realize that you heard the shot.

I'll see if I can dig up some of my old projects with gunfights. Those may make more sense than my explanations.
Thanks, some good stuff there. Definitely going to have a rethink.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Had to dig kinda deep for this one. Evidently it's been a while since I wrote a gunfight.

This was from a zombie-ish project I might finish one day. Yeah, zombies. Just when you thought I couldn't get any trashier...boom, zombies.

***

Archer saw the attack. Saw the flicker of movement against the night sky, saw the hook without wholly registering what he was seeing, saw the dark blood so quickly and in quantity, and in the instant following saw the machinist dragged flailing over the bars of the railing. There was no time for screaming, no protest. Save the pattern of his boot soles traced in spilled fuel, there was no sign he had ever been there at all.

“Son of a bitch,” McGuire said, shouldering his carbine in time to meet the first three Morlocks to chance a direct assault up from the tank farm. The prize for courage in their instance came in short, staccato bursts of ripping gunfire.

The next push wasn’t far behind. Less courageous but greater in number, they charged over the bodies of the fallen with their crude weapons and lunatic cries. McGuire killed four as they rounded the first landing, winged a fifth that fell and scrambled into the cover of darkness, and as the last came up the stairs Archer laid the reticle on target and more by luck and chance than conscious skill knocked the poisoned brain sideways from the bearded head.

Standing with the .44 drawn, Audina hadn’t seen enough to take a shot. “That it?”

“No.” McGuire murmured, staring.

Not into the black, but at the structure of the stairwell itself, vibrating under the pounding of hundreds of feet. Carried on the feeble breeze, an inhuman sighing that the rising whine of the spooling turbines couldn’t blot out. Letting the carbine drop on its sling, he brought the grenade launcher around, angled the stubby muzzle up and out over the jungle, and fired a single flare.

A thousand Morlocks teemed within the concertina fence of the tank farm.

More still packed the lower levels of the stairs, a struggling, reaching morass tripping over itself as it funneled into the narrower passage. At the brightness they all halted. And then as one, their attention fixed on McGuire, the source of their latest discomfort, and the sigh became a scream. Not the cries of the tormented, but the high and ululating call of the hunter.

The gates of hell opened. The damned made their run.

The night dissolved into flashes and screams and the high, flat crack of rifle fire and the moans and wails. Coming up, the Morlocks bunched at the gate, and at the gate they died in quantity. McGuire tried to pick targets in the swarm and found there were none, nothing to signify the individual, nothing human. Archer kept his bursts. Bruno had discovered full auto and was well on his way to burning out his barrel when he hit his last magazine and the third carbine fell silent.

Audina disappeared. Then he was there again, the shotgun up and tearing fist-sized holes into the inhuman clot forming at the gate. Ten – twenty, thirty – lay in shredded heaps in the chainlink gap and still more came, scrabbling over the fallen. A Morlock in a yellow hardhat and a faded gray jumpsuit reached the summit and stood, extending an arm like a general picking his conquest before the outgoing fire knocked him backwards. Others rose to replace him, more still in their tracks.

Glancing aside, McGuire saw the chief searching in his pocket for more shells. In a fit he slapped the chief on the back, jerking at thumb at the aircraft.

“No!” he shouted over the banshee screech of 402’s engines. “Go!”

Audina hesitated, uncertain, and in a brief lull Archer and McGuire made eye contact. There was nothing to say, just a nod to pass between escort cop and ex-prisoner.

“Go!” McGuire repeated. “That bird gets swamped, we’ve all had it. We’ll catch up.”


***


Too slow his reflexes to bring the carbine around. His last sensible image was that of Benson, standing braced with the little submachine gun and his winner’s smile plastered across a bruised and disfigured face. He saw flashes and the world spun and he was falling to tumble from the ramp down through a brief and terrible weightlessness until the pad rose to meet him and he felt the rough decking like sandpaper against his face. He rolled aside, 402 hanging cruelly out of reach, and as he came up the pain hit.

***


With a certainty he has never known he raises a pistol he isn’t supposed to have. There is no art to the exchange. He sees the three dots, spares no time in aiming, and jerks the trigger. Afterwards, he will recall dimly that he hears no report. But he sees the gun bucking and coming down and bucking again, sees the spent cases flying up and right and up so slowly it seems he can read the stamps on the caseheads and the ruptures of flesh and cloth as the bullets dig home.

Three times, perhaps four. Though every detail of the encounter will print itself in memory this is the one which forever eludes him.

***


So, with any luck, there's something in there that may be of use.

Either way I'll quit hijacking your thread. For now.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Global Moderator
Either way I'll quit hijacking your thread. For now.
Hijack away, that was very useful.

I do have a gunfight further along in the story that doesn't use onomatopoeia, I just wanted something for this specific scene but I can see now that it's not going to work but this thread has given me a few ideas to work with so a heartfelt thank you for all the responses.
 
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