A Bullet to the Brain: Writing Like a Sniper

I read an interesting article the other day about how snipers think when they’re carrying out an assassination (linked at the bottom of this post). They interviewed the sniper with the ‘most kills’ in the world and he said that being a sniper is a very intimate job.

Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan (May 21, 2004) - A...
Image via Wikipedia

You spend ages watching the target, getting to know their routine, their personality, their habits. This got me thinking that writers are really not so different to snipers.

When creating/getting to know a character, a writer gets only a small scope to use to look into their life. Anything outside of that circle is pitch black and invisible. We patiently watch the character going about their daily routine, learning what motivates them, what scares them and everything else in between. Occasionally, we will leave them for a while to look around their surroundings, getting the lay of the land and understanding the local culture. Once this is done, we return to learn more about the character, their family and their friends.

I thought that this was a good analogy and it sums up how I go about creating a character. I wonder if anyone who’s reading this has other methods that work well? Are there any other ‘sniper writers’ out there?

That’s all for today. Roll on Friday and the weekend!

 

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One thought on “A Bullet to the Brain: Writing Like a Sniper

  1. jasondegray 30-Jan-2012 / 21:38

    Writing like a sniper. I like that and I think you make some good points. I develop my characters much in the way that you describe.

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