Thursday, September 10, 2015

DEAR WRITERS: Archery

I have been the worst blogger ever lately... LIKE EVER!!!  I have finally got back into my school routine (and getting up early *headdesk*).  So, after almost two months of no posts, I have some advice for writers.



You know those times when you are reading a book (or watching a movie), and you think to yourself, or scream at the book, THAT. IS. UNREALISTIC.  Like a guy falls off a cliff and miraculous gets up and walks away without a scratch or broken bone.  I mean, really?

Now, let's talk about archery in stories.  I love to write and read stories about a heroine who shoots archery.  I can relate to them really well, I am an archer myself, and it gives them a kind of self-defense.

1. Archery takes practice... A ton of practice.  No one can just pick up a bow and expect to shoot someone or something with accuracy.  It just isn't that simple.  First of all, your character has to be pretty strong.  I have to pull about 40 pounds every time I shoot.  No one can just pick up a bow and pull back that much weight right off the bat.

Also, consistent form is one of the most important things to archery.  It is probably the hardest as well.  When your character pulls back the bow string, it must "anchor" at the same point on your face every time they shoot, otherwise the arrow will not hit where you are aiming.

2. Shooting a bow can be tiring.  Eventually, no matter how strong you are, archery will get tiring.  Shooting for a long time get very exhausting, and you start to get less accurate.  Your arms begin to shake much more. 

3. Holding the bow string back for a long period of time is unrealistic.  Especially with a traditional bow, it is very difficult to hold the string back for very long.  I would say for a traditional, 10-15 seconds is the maximum.  If it is much longer than that, you will most likely miss.

4. Shooting much farther than 30 yards accurately with a traditional bow is very difficult.  Make sure that your characters aren't shooting really far.  Otherwise, they will likely miss their target. 

5. Moving targets are much harder to hit.  So, next time your character is shooting at a galloping horsemen, think twice about where they will hit the target.

6. Once in a while, have your archers miss or run out of arrows.  A perfect shooter in a story is completely unrealistic.  They need to miss once in a while, or at least hit where they weren't aiming.  Also, their quiver doesn't miraculously make arrows reappear in the quiver. 

One more thing I would like to note before I wrap up this post.  When shooting traditional, you pull and release the string with your fingers.  If you use your bare fingers, they will become soar and get blisters.  Many traditional archers use a piece of leather that wraps around their shooting fingers for protection.

So, next time you go and write a story with an archer, think twice about making the character and their hobby/talent realistic.