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Getting the details right

Bondi Beach
Updated:

We all know about getting details right, and I found this quick example kind of funny. It's from the prep materials for NaNoWriMo 2015, telling folks about their reference desk forum:

"Are you searching for what caliber gun your ex-nun-turned-sniper would use in 1922 in the Australian Outback and what period-appropriate outfit she might don now that she's no longer restricted to a black & white habit? "

I've always wondered about that myself. I'm thinking Charlize Theron in "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Chris Podhola

@Bondi Beach

appropriate outfit she might don now that she's no longer restricted to a black & white habit?


I find that a thong is pretty universal... ;)

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Chris Podhola


I find that a thong is pretty universal... ;)


With plenty of sunblock, of course. Speaking of funny things in the Outback, if you haven't read DrSpin's Ace Dyson yarn, "Rainbow Serpent Dreaming," it's worth a read. I don't have a link-it's hard to find, but it's out there somewhere.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@Chris Podhola

Thongs for the mammaries.

Actually thongs go a little lower on the body. There is another garment that covers the mammaries. They named a country for it, Brazil.

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Are you searching for what caliber gun your ex-nun-turned-sniper would use in 1922 in the Australian Outback


Army surplus Lee Enfield .303 - everyone had them then.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


Are you searching for what caliber gun your ex-nun-turned-sniper would use in 1922 in the Australian Outback


The most common sniper rifles from WW1 are:

German Mauser Gewehr 98 7.92×57mm (~ .312 caliber)

British Pattern 1914 Enfield .303

British Lee-Enfield SMLE Mk III .303

US M1903 Springfield .30-06

Russian M1891 Mosin-Nagant 7.62×54mmR (.30)

Of those, the Springfield .30-06 has the highest effective range.

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

OH, gun porn.

Chris Podhola

@Dominions Son

The most common sniper rifles from WW1 are:

German Mauser Gewehr 98 7.92×57mm (~ .312 caliber)

British Pattern 1914 Enfield .303

British Lee-Enfield SMLE Mk III .303

US M1903 Springfield .30-06

Russian M1891 Mosin-Nagant 7.62×54mmR (.30)

Of those, the Springfield .30-06 has the highest effective range.


You know. Admittedly, researching this kind of stuff is one of my weak points. When I wrote my first novel, I needed to do extensive research on the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. I spent weeks in my local library (which fortunately is a pretty big library), but even so, I felt overwhelmed. I did make progress, but I felt like I was reading twenty times as much information than applied to my needs.

Does anyone know of an easier way to get pertinent information?

I recently consulted for an author who is writing a novel set in the early nineteen hundreds. One of the things I noticed immediately was that the voice sounded too modern and the dialog really sounded too modern. There are many things I could help this author with, but my personal preferences are stories written in more modern times. I don't really care for stories written in that time period, but I do feel like readers that like old westerns and such, prefer the voice reflect the time and I definitely think the dialog should. I also feel like the setting descriptions should be rich with details showing the culture and reflecting the dress and such back then.

How would an author go about researching these types of things. I had no idea where to tell this author to go to find these kinds of things.

Dominions Son

@Chris Podhola

Does anyone know of an easier way to get pertinent information?


Google

Dominions Son

@Chris Podhola

but I do feel like readers that like old westerns and such, prefer the voice reflect the time and I definitely think the dialog should.


Actually, they probably prefer a voice that reflects common stereotypes about the time. How people really talked back then is likely quite different.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Dominions Son

Google


The Google page pops up whenever I open a new browser window. Can you be more specific? lol

I guess what I'm asking is for tips that make doing research easier. With Google, I often have the same issue of reading a hundred pages to find one page worth of information that I can really use. I was thinking maybe I was going about it wrong.

Chris Podhola

@Dominions Son

Actually, they probably prefer a voice that reflects common stereotypes about the time. How people really talked back then is likely quite different.


I guess that's possible. I don't know for sure, because I was never alive during that time. I made my presumption based on the authors of that time. While I do enjoy a few authors who wrote during that time, I find most of them wrote with a style I don't care for. I assumed it was how people spoke back then.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Chris Podhola

While I do enjoy a few authors who wrote during that time, I find most of them wrote with a style I don't care for. I assumed it was how people spoke back then.


The problem is that those stories were largely written for an east coast audience. There were a lot of negative stereotypes about the west among east coasters even back then.

Dominions Son

@Chris Podhola

I guess what I'm asking is for tips that make doing research easier. With Google, I often have the same issue of reading a hundred pages to find one page worth of information that I can really use.


I rarely have that issue. If you aren't finding what you are looking for in the first page or two of the search results, you need to refine your search terms to be more specific.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Almost every Aussie soldier demobilised was allowed to keep his rifle, the Lee Enfield .303. The government also actively supported the establishment of rifle clubs right around the country and pushed people to join them. Surplus stores of government Lee Enfield .303 rifles were offered to club members at a discount. Within a few years of the end of WW1 just about everyone who wanted a rifle had a LE .303. As to definitive info, try following some of these links about the church mission stations:

http://aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/remembering-mission-days

http://aiatsis.gov.au/node/14054

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermannsburg,_Northern_Territory

I've a distant cousin who served most of her life at Hermannsburg, but she died years ago. I'll have to see if she did any notes or photos etc.

edit to add: the aiatsis links can give you names of the mission stations you can google.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Almost every Aussie soldier demobilised was allowed to keep his rifle, the Lee Enfield .303.


I don't dispute that, however:

1. It's rather unlikely that an ex-nun turned sniper was an Aussie soldier during the war.
2. It may have been widely available, but the others would likely have been available as well, particularly the Springfield.
3. The ex-nun could be from anywhere, just because she is in the outback doesn't necessarily mean that she is an Australian. (see Quigley Down Under)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Chris Podhola

@Dominions Son

If you aren't finding what you are looking for in the first page or two of the search results


I don't know. Maybe you're right. I can definitely see how that applies when you know specifically what you are looking for. Like which guns were used during World War I or II. But when you are looking for a broader topic like 'what was life like for a Cherokee Indian back in the 1850's, I think hundreds of pages of reading may just be required.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

1. It's rather unlikely that an ex-nun turned sniper was an Aussie soldier during the war.


During WW1 the Aust govt. had factories turning out tons of LE .303s and had warehouses full of them at the end of the war. They surplussed so many that they were some of the cheapest rifles you could buy. The .303 was a big enough calibre to drop anything you came across, so they were extremely ubiquitous throughout rural Australia between the wars. world wide over 17 million made.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithgow_Small_Arms_Factory

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee%E2%80%93Enfield

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The .303 was a big enough calibre to drop anything you came across, so they were extremely ubiquitous throughout rural Australia between the wars.


So, what? That makes it a great general infantry or hunting rife. However, you have to understand that a sniper is going to be looking for different qualities in a rifle than a hunter or infantry man. A sniper will want a rifle that will produce one shot kills at the greatest distance possible. That means that a sniper will value range and precision above raw stopping power.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


So, what? That makes it a great general infantry or hunting rife. However, you have to understand that a sniper is going to be looking for different qualities in a rifle than a hunter or infantry man.


Looked after and with a good scope, the LE .303 was very accurate and often used by military snipers during WW1 and the start of WW2. We are talking about the days before exotic sniper rifles. There were higher quality hunting rifles around that would have been better sniper rifles, but they were expensive and hard to get hold of. In my youth I hunted with a Lithgow Small Arms LE rifle using a simple 2 x 1 scope and it was very accurate. The capability of the rifle was restricted more by the quality of the user than anything else. During WW2 my uncle was a designated sniper and he used a LE .303 with a good scope. Most roo hunters used LE .303s with a good scope so they could drop a few roos at long range, the sort of ranges most snipers worked at in those days.

Sure if you bashed the rifle about it would lose accuracy, but basic care saw them working well for many decades.

If you want anything better, then you need to have the person go into one of the major cities and buy a damned expensive hunting rifle and they'll need to buy a lot of ammo for it too, because anything but .303 or .22 wasn't generally available.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

We are talking about the days before exotic sniper rifles.


Not completely true. While the British wouldn't field a purpose made sniper rifle until WWII and the US wouldn't field one until Vietnam, both the Russians and Germans had purpose made sniper rifles during WWI.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

and they'll need to buy a lot of ammo for it too, because anything but .303 or .22 wasn't generally available.


1. A true sniper doesn't need a lot of ammo.
2. The US military sniper program uses hand loaded ammo (and has since the beginning) because mass produced ammo has enough variance to affect accuracy.
3. The tools and knowledge for a dedicated sniper to hand load their own ammo would have existed in the 1920s.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

The tools and knowledge for a dedicated sniper to hand load their own ammo would have existed in the 1920s.


The tools and knowledge for hand loaded ammo were around for decades before then and many people living in a remote area did load their own. But it was a fair amount of gear to carry around and purchases of the consumables weren't made at the local store - they were shipped in front the cities.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Ernest Bywater

The tools and knowledge for hand loaded ammo were around for decades before then and many people living in a remote area did load their own. But it was a fair amount of gear to carry around and purchases of the consumables weren't made at the local store - they were shipped in front the cities.


Judging by my father, they would not only have loaded their own cartridges, they would have cast their own bullets.

JohnBobMead

@Chris Podhola

But when you are looking for a broader topic like 'what was life like for a Cherokee Indian back in the 1850's, I think hundreds of pages of reading may just be required.


1) Determine where Cherokee Indians were living in that time period.
2) Contact major historical repositories in those areas to see what they have of journals, correspondence, and other materials which might pertain. Historical Society Libraries will have some pretty amazing stuff, as will State Libraries and University Libraries, and sometimes smaller Historical Societies. And a lot of them are trying to convert historical records to electronic formats, able to be browsed through over the Internet. Generally they'll provide some research for free, at least enough to tell you if they have anything useful, and then charge for detailed research.

Yours,

John Mead
former Director, Reference & Research Collections, Oregon Historical Society Library

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

both the Russians and Germans had purpose made sniper rifles during WWI.


The purpose made sniper rifles of the Germans and Russians in WW1 were a simple task of attaching quality scopes to the same model rifle being issued to the troops. Efforts were made to ensure the most accurate ones from the production line were used, but they were not specially manufactured weapons, just the same as the others with a scope attached. Even in WW2 that was the case for a lot of the sniper rifles. The big difference came in the quality of the optics, the skill of the user, and the training of the user (in some cases - not all had extra training).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The purpose made sniper rifles of the Germans and Russians in WW1 were a simple task of attaching quality scopes to the same model rifle being issued to the troops.


This is not true. Both the Gewehr 98 and the Mosin-Nagant had variants used for snipers that not only had scopes, but also longer barrels than the general infantry models. The longer barrel increases both range and precision.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Chris Podhola

@JohnBobMead

Contact major historical repositories in those areas to see what they have of journals, correspondence, and other materials which might pertain.


Now see. This is something I didn't think of! Thank you sir!

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Gewehr 98


From Wikipedia summary from a number of sources on the rifle.
quote

In the spring of 1915, it was decided to fit 15,000 Gewehr 98 rifles, selected for being exceptionally accurate during factory tests, with telescopic sights for sniper use, though the Gewehr 98 was not designed for use with aiming optics. To mount a telescopic sight directly over the rifle, the bolt handle had to be turned-down from its original straight design. In the stock, a recess had to be made to accommodate the turned-down bolt handle modification.

end quote

In short, after production modification to mount the scope on a production model rifle - not a special manufacture run of a special design.

The same was true of the Mosin-Nagant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosin%E2%80%93Nagant#Russia.2FUSSR

quote

Model 1891/30 (винтовка образца 1891/30-го года, винтовка Мосина): The most prolific version of the Mosin-Nagant. It was produced for standard issue to all Soviet infantry from 1930 to 1945. Most Dragoon rifles were also converted to the M1891/30 standard. It was commonly used as a sniper rifle in World War II. Early sniper versions had a 4x PE or PEM scope, a Soviet-made copy of a Zeiss design, while later rifles used smaller, simpler, and easier-to-produce 3.5x PU scopes. Because the scope was mounted above the chamber, the bolt handle was replaced with a longer handled, bent version on sniper rifles (known to Mosin collectors and shooters as a "bent bolt") so the shooter could work the bolt without the scope interfering with it.

end quote

Both were standard issue weapons with some post production modifications to allow the mounting of a scope and the proper use of the rifle once the scope was on. Neither was a specially designed or made rifle like the latest sniper rifles were. Also, at the start of WW 1 and for much of it the people using the scoped rifles were called sharpshooters or marksmen, the term sniper had been around for a long time but wasn't commonly used until towards the end of WW1.

Anyway, whoever was after this information should have a wealth of sources now.

richardshagrin

Does a sniper go hunting snipe?

It might be mildly interesting why "they" changed sharpshooter or marksman to sniper. It is a little shorter word, but why would "they" care? Data on who "they" were might also be worth a paragraph, or even two.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  anim8ed
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Does a sniper go hunting snipe?


I forget which came from where, but initially the Brits used one term and the US used the other, then both started using both. But in the late 18th century some of the better marksmen in the British forces in India were called snipers for their ability to shoot the fast moving snipe (a small bird). It took a long time to catch on.

Wikiepdia has an article on snipers with a bit of the history.

Replies:   Dominions Son
anim8ed
Updated:

@richardshagrin

Or the newer 'designated Marksman' which according to wikipedia

The DM's role is to supply rapid accurate fire on enemy targets at ranges up to 550 yards (500 m) with a rifle capable of semi-automatic fire called a designated marksman rifle equipped with a telescopic sight. Like snipers, DMs are trained in quick and precise shooting, but unlike the more specialized "true" sniper, they are also attached to an infantry fireteam and intended to lay down accurate rapid fire at valuable targets as needed, thus extending the reach of the fireteam.

Also according to Wikipedia, the various terms were used by different countries. As for the Etymology of 'sniper'...

Etymology

The verb "to snipe" originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India where a hunter skilled enough to kill the elusive snipe was dubbed a "sniper".[2] The term sniper was first attested in 1824 in the sense of the word "sharpshooter".[2]

Another term, "sharp shooter" was in use in British newspapers as early as 1801. In the Edinburgh Advertiser, 23 June 1801, can be found the following quote in a piece about the North British Militia; "This Regiment has several Field Pieces, and two companies of Sharp Shooters, which are very necessary in the modern Stile of War". The term appears even earlier, around 1781, in Continental Europe.

Replies:   Dominion's Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

British forces in India were called snipers for their ability to shoot the fast moving snipe (a small bird).


Depends on what you consider small. There are more birds that are smaller than there are birds that are larger.

Snipe are wading birds (around 25 different species), the body being in the range of around 10 inches in length.

It's rather likely that the original British snipers were shooting them on the ground. Snipe are flighty and difficult to get close to. Which is probably why the soldiers resorted to shooting them at long range with rifles rather than using a shotgun/fowling piece.

Shooting a 10inch stationary target at a hundred yards or more with a muzzle loading rifle is still an impressive feat.

Dominion's Son

@anim8ed

Another term, "sharp shooter" was in use in British newspapers as early as 1801.


Interesting. I had always thought that "sharp shooter" derived from the Sharps rifles which were renown for long range accuracy. However the first Sharps rifle wasn't patented until 1848.

Crumbly Writer

@Chris Podhola

I guess what I'm asking is for tips that make doing research easier. With Google, I often have the same issue of reading a hundred pages to find one page worth of information that I can really use. I was thinking maybe I was going about it wrong.

Again, this had probably already been answered, but ...

It depends on the information you're searching for. If you want to know the dialogue at the time, your best bet it to read a few books from the time, and use that as a guide. Sure, there's a big difference between common people and the educated classes, but since the common people left no record of their musings, they don't really get a vote on the matter. If they did (want a vote) they would have gone to college and published a few books! 'D

There are other sources of information. Google, like Wikipedia, is only a starting point, and like Wiki, you need to authenticate their information.

You can get very detailed information on Quora by asking a question and having members volunteer information, it's very hard to get anyone to respond if you're not an active member.

For difficult questions, your best bet is often specialty forums like this one. You could try historical, technology, or gun-porn forums. Lesbian and cop forums aren't out of the question, either, and aren't a bad way to generate interest in your book before it's released. (If you offer it to a few members of the forum to review for accuracy, you can then highlight their reviews on the forum later as a sales tool.)

But, in most cases, you want actual experiences rather than lists, so it'll take a little searching to discover people who've lived in whichever roles you're searching for. In my case, for an as yet unpublished book, I asked here for experience concerning the NYPD police. For the lesbian details, I asked a few lesbians at my church, who then had a chance to review the results before I finished it.

That's not a real detailed answer, but it's how I get my most specific answers.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Chris Podhola


I don't know. Maybe you're right. I can definitely see how that applies when you know specifically what you are looking for. Like which guns were used during World War I or II. But when you are looking for a broader topic like 'what was life like for a Cherokee Indian back in the 1850's, I think hundreds of pages of reading may just be required.


Another example, I had a section where a character interacted with the current members of certain Arizona reservations. I didn't exactly search for what their life was like (from my other reading, I assume it's pretty piss-poor, for the most part), but what I was searching for was a few phrases, expressions and names to give my characters a little more reality. There weren't any specific language translation sites, nor even published books, but I found a few sites which had enough specific terms (like animal names for children) that I could piece together a few legitimate names and personalities (based on the source of the names) to create the characters.

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