After receiving a
few requests to explain how I plan and organize stories before I write them, I
present “How to Storyboard,” a template with tips on how to arrange a story
idea, plan its characters and scenes, and get organized before the writing
Note: This template is in no way canon or a “must”
among fiction writers; it’s simply a tool I built to keep myself focused on a
story’s essentials and to stay on track of everything I need to maintain plot
flow with multi-chaptered stories.
Reference Art for Drawing Guns
(Zoe, I made this mostly for you.)
Okay, to start off, I really like guns. I like handling them, shooting them, taking them apart, cleaning them, putting them back together, and just looking at them. (Let’s be honest, there are some really good looking guns out there.) But when it comes to drawing them, I usually fail miserably. So I thought I’d compile a list of some of the more common guns, either in pop culture or in the United States, and provide images of them as well as some information on the guns to give you a better picture(no pun intended)as to whether or not your character would use them. Now I know a lot of people are scared of guns, so I’ll try to make sure to put a trigger warning(no pun intended)in the tags.
Let’s start off with a handgun that you may not have seen before, but is very common in the United States, is very inexpensive, and is VERY easy to draw:
This ugly duckling is the Hi-Point C9. It fires the 9mm Luger cartridge, the cheapest and most prolific handgun ammunition in the country, and it can be had for around $150-$175 brand new. It’s not much to look at, but it gets the job done. Mocked by gun snobs for its relatively cheap construction, this gun represents function over form. This gun would NOT be owned by a character who has a lot of money, and it’s a fairly recent firearm so it wouldn’t be seen anytime before the 21st century. It’s also exclusively civilian owned. No police department or military would ever think of arming themselves with these.
One of the most iconic firearms of the 21st century, the Glock 17 is widely seen among civilians and police alike. Also chambered in 9mm Luger, it is the brainchild of Gaston Glock, an Austrian inventor who revolutionized the firearms industry. This gun is very common and has been around since the late 1980′s, so if you’re looking for a default go-to handgun for a contemporary setting, this is it.
The Beretta 92FS is the current issue sidearm of the U.S. military, and has served several law enforcement agencies for decades since the 1980′s. Favored by the likes of John McClane from “Die Hard,” it’s an elegantly designed 9mm pistol that has become one of the most recognizable firearms in the world. Again, like the Glock 17, very common, prolific, and contemporary.
This blued-steel beauty is the John Browning-designed Colt Model 1911A1 .45 caliber pistol. Firing a powerful .45 cartridge, it served as the primary service pistol for the U.S. military from 1911 until 1985 when it was replaced by the Beretta 92FS. Favored by real-life war hero Sergeant Alvin York and fictional war hero Captain America, this gun is still commonly owned in the United States today by mainly civilian owners, and is manufactured by countless firearms companies in many different finishes and configurations.
One of the most recognizable firearms in the world, the P-08 Parabellum, known more commonly as the “Luger,” was the standard issue sidearm of the German army from 1908 to 1938, and spawned the 9mm Luger cartridge which continues to be the best selling handgun cartridge in the United States. Although officially replaced by the Walther P-38 in 1938, the Luger was still used frequently by Nazi officers during World War II, hence its association with the Nazi Party. Highly prized by firearms collectors, the Luger is a very expensive pistol, often selling for well over $1,000. Characters who would use this pistol would most likely be wealthy.
The preferred pistol of James Bond, Peggy Carter and Sterling Archer, the Walther PPK is a classic, stylish, concealable, sexy handgun. First produced in 1931, the PPK was originally chambered in the .32 Auto(7.65mm Browning) cartridge, but was later re-chambered for the .380 Auto(9mm Short)when the gun was first produced in the United States. To this day, it remains a popular choice for U.S. civilians as a concealed carry handgun. This is a good gun for a character who needs a concealable, yet elegant firearm.
On the borderline adorable end of the scale, we have the diminutive “Baby Browning.” Chambered in .25 Auto(6.35mm Browning), this gun will fit anywhere on your person. While it doesn’t have much in terms of “stopping power,” being able to produce this pistol from a handbag/pocket/vest pocket/shirt pocket/garter belt makes it a very appealing firearm for those who don’t want to commit to carrying a full-sized handgun in a holster. Similar-sized pistols are produced today, but not with the same level of quality and longevity as the original, all-steel .25 pistols.
(Colt Detective Special [.38 Special caliber])
Ah, revolvers. Where would firearms history be without you? Not only are they the oldest surviving type of multi-shot handgun, but they are still alive and well and come in many shapes, sizes, and calibers. Small revolvers, like this Colt Detective Special, were often carried by(you guessed it)detectives, private investigators, and even your average concealed carry permit holder.
(Smith & Wesson Model 10 [.38 Special])
The Glock of its day, the Model 10 was seen in the holsters of thousands upon thousands of police officers and military personnel.
(Smith & Wesson Model 29[.44 Magnum])
“…you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?!” Yes, this was the gun carried by San Francisco’s most (in)famous fictional cop, “Dirty Harry” Callahan. Believe it or not, Smith & Wesson hardly sold any .44 Magnums at all until “Dirty Harry” hit the screens in 1971. After that, the prices on them skyrocketed, and S&W could hardly keep up with production.
(Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum)
This gun is all about dick-waving, pure and simple. An enormous, expensive gun firing a gigantic, almost uncontrollable .500 Magnum cartridge, the only people who use this gun for serious purposes are people who practice handgun hunting. Anyone else who owns one most likely has a phallus smaller than the “i” in this font.
(IWI Desert Eagle[.50 AE])
Created in 1873, the Colt Single Action Army(AKA the “Peacemaker”)was the gun that forever embodied the Old West. Owned by lawman and outlaw alike, the Colt SAA was, and still is, offered in a variety of finishes, barrel lengths, calibers and grip frames. The most common caliber you will find is the .45 Long Colt cartridge, hence the proliferation of the colloquial term for the gun, “Colt .45.”
Of course, in the Old West, once you got past 10 yards, things started to get a little harder to hit. Which is why lever-action rifles are just as prominent in Western folklore. Rifles like the Winchester 1873 and Model 94(pictured above)are some of the more common.
Of course, what discussion on the Old West wouldn’t be complete without the(arguably)most effective of the bunch: shotguns. Double-barreled “coach guns,” like the one pictured above, were extremely effective at close range. In fact, stagecoach drivers would often have a “shotgun messenger” sitting next to them in case the coach came under attack, hence the origin of the phrase “riding shotgun” when sitting next to the driver in a car.
The “Baby Browning” of its day, “Derringers” were small pistols utilizing multiple barrels to fire anywhere between one and four cartridges, depending on the caliber. The popular image of Derringer pistols is often that of a scantily-clad showgirl, prostitute, or femme fatale producing a Derringer out of their undergarments. Derringers are still popular among concealed carry permit holders today, and are offered in much more powerful cartridges, such as the Bond Arms Defender(pictured above)chambered in .45 Long Colt and .410 bore shotgun cartridges.
Bolt-action hunting rifles are the Bread-and-Butter of American hunting. Every fall, thousands of Americans chase trophy deer with a bolt-action hunting rifle slung over their shoulder. Often seen with a scope mounted on top, these kinds of guns are extremely common and can be found in pretty much any household that owns more than one gun.
Pump-action shotguns are just as common as bolt-action rifles. Available with easily interchangeable barrels and magazine tubes, pump-action shotguns can be used for anything from duck hunting to skeet shooting to home defense to military and police service depending on its configuration.
One of the most misunderstood firearms by the anti-gun lobby, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of the M-16/M-4 pattern military rifle. Owned by countless firearms enthusiasts and law enforcement agencies, the AR pattern rifle typically has a 30-round magazine that fires a .223 caliber cartridge which, while loud and powerful, produces very little felt recoil, and is thus very popular among female shooting enthusiasts. While the rifle alone produces images of crime among those with anti-gun sentiments, high-capacity semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15(often dubbed incorrectly as “assault weapons” by the media)are only used in a fraction of a percent of violent crime.
The Soviet Union’s counterpart to the M-16, the AK-47 also has countless semi-automatic variations in civilian hands in the United States. Mocked by many AR-15 enthusiasts for being comparatively crude, the reliability and proliferation of the AK pattern rifle is undeniable.
Another one of the most recognizable firearms ever made, the Thompson Sub-machine Gun(AKA the “Tommy Gun,” the “Chopper,” the “Chicago Typewriter”)was a fully-automatic beast that fired anywhere from 20 to 50 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition at a rate of around 850 rounds per minute. Popularly seen in the Gangster era of the 1920′s and 1930′s, the Tommy Gun has since been relegated to museums and private collections of Class III firearms following the establishment of the National Firearms Act of 1934 to limit the spread of fully-automatic firearms. If your character has one, they’re either in the 1920′s, or they’re RICH. Like REALLY RICH.
This is nowhere near a complete list, but these were some of the more common examples I could think of. Happy drawing!
Manufactured by Winchester between 1873 and 1919, decorated by master engraver Ben Lane c.1968 - serial number 507889B. .44-40 WCF 15-round tubular magazine, lever action repeater, gold plated and engraved. Who doesn’t love Winchester lever guns really.
One of the most successful, and certainly one of the most famous Winchester rifles was the Winchester Model 1873, manufactured between 1873 and 1919. Originally chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, it was later produced in .38-40 and .32-20, all of which were also popular handgun cartridges of the day, allowing its users to conveniently carry one type of ammunition for both their rifles and pistols. Due to feeding problems, the original Model 1873 was never offered in the military standard .45 Colt cartridge, although a number of modern reproductions of the rifle are chambered for the round. The popularity of the Winchester in .44-40 led Colt to manufacture a version of the Single Action Army revolver chambered for the same round, called the “Frontier Model”; Winchester produced three variations of the Model 1873: the rifle, carbine, and musket (although the musket variation accounted for less than 5–10 percent of those produced). The rifle variation used a 24" barrel, while the carbine used a 20" barrel. The carbine was the most popular due to its portability.
Winchester established a One of One Thousand grade in 1875. All barrels were test-fired for accuracy during the manufacturing process. Barrels producing unusually small groups were fitted to rifles with set triggers and special finish and marked One of One Thousand to be sold at a price of $100. A second grade of barrels producing above average accuracy were fitted to rifles marked One of One Hundred and sold for a price $20 higher than list. Approximately 136 One of One Thousand Model 1873 rifles were sold with only eight Model 1873s of the One of One Hundred grade.
Winchester rifles were readily available on the frontier and became hugely popular, with over 720,000 produced. This popularity has led the Model 1873 to be credited as “The Gun that Won the West”, and inspired the 1950 Western film Winchester ‘73 starring James Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann. Production of the latter movie included a search for One of One Thousand and One of One Hundred rifles by Universal Studios with advertisements in sporting magazines and posters in sporting goods stores.
In 2013 Winchester brought back this iconic rifle. The rifle is manufactured under license from the Olin company by FN/Browning in the Kochi Prefecture of Japan by the Miroku Corporation. This marks the third of the classic Winchester rifle models to be re-introduced, the previous models being the Model 1892 and the Model 1894. The new model is available with a 20" round barrel and chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special only. It is nearly identical in design to the original Model 73s including the trigger disconnect safety, sliding dustcover, and crescent shaped buttplate, but with two notable exceptions. An additional safety mechanism, a firing pin block that prevents it from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled, was integrated and the cartridge carrier was changed to eject used casings away from the shooter. The fixed, tubular magazine has a maximum capacity of ten rounds.
Baron Von Nolken was Winchester’s chief sales representative in Germany as well as a brilliant gun designer. In 1871 he submitted this design as a possible improvement on the earlier Model 1866. Von Nolken’s Winchester utilized the same tube magazine and loading port arrangement as the earlier M1866, however it was a hammerless design which used an internal striker firing pin. To protect the striker firing pin, he attached a tubular shroud at the rear of the receiver which surrounded the firing pin. Von Nolken’s design was never considered for manufacture, instead losing out to the popular Winchester Model 1873.