In case you’ve been living in another galaxy, it’s time to catch you up to speed. Guns are a hot topic in the United States.
Political and cultural wrangling aside, what can guns do for your novel?
—Give strength to the weak. The smallest are physically equal to the largest if guns are involved. Muscles don’t mean much here.
—Move the plotline along quickly. Remember Raiders of the Lost Ark? Yeah. Indiana Jones brought the sword-wielding villain down pretty fast.
—Add a character. Sometimes characters love their weapons so much, the gun takes on its own personality. James Bond’s Walther PPK is a great example.
—Tension. Who can forget The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly’s stellar scene at the end?
—Accessorize the characters. A holster slung low on the gunman’s hip. An AK-47 strap draped over a shoulder. Or the best…Get Smart’s 99 and her array of guns.
—Make a bad guy even worse. Just like a gun making a weak character strong and moving the plot line along quickly, one pull of the trigger can make a bad guy even worse. And fast.
So, in todays political tempest, should you use guns in your novels? If the plotline calls for it, yep. If you want to be counter-culture, yep. And if you like guns, of course.
And if you simply cannot induce yourself to include guns, if they’re so distasteful you cannot even type the words Colt .45, then by all means, leave the guns out.