Tom Palmer's writing blog - How I write: how you write. Part Four
Posted by Tom Palmer
23 May 2011
‘Call of Duty helped me make my scenes more exciting. No question.’
There’s a part of the Squad story that I’m writing now which involves a group of child spies using a computer simulation to help them train for a mission. They can’t practice the mission for real, because it’s too dangerous, so they do it on a computer.
A friend of mine is in the army. He told me that the army actually do that: they practice shooting accuracy (that’s shooting with guns, not footballs) on a massive screen. What he said made me think it was a good idea. If real heroes do it, then my fictional heroes should too.
To make sure the scene was as good as possible, I decided to have a go on a combat computer game. I’ve got a PSP, but I only ever play football and flight simulator on it. So I bought a cheap Call of Duty game so I could research it for real.
In Call of Duty you become the soldier, carrying out various missions, reaching checkpoints, killing enemies. That’s the idea.
And it worked. Using Call of Duty meant that I could sort out how my spy characters would be able to practise their mission. It also gave me lots of ideas that I would never have had without the game. Things I’d not thought of before.
But there was more.
When I started writing the scenes where the spies were actually in combat themselves, the action from Call of Duty came to mind. It helped me. The kind of people I write for often like war games on Playstation too, so I tried to learn from the game in how I should write my story. Call of Duty helped me make my scenes more exciting. No question.
I think it’s important to learn from various things when I am writing. Films help. Games too. Other books. They are all about stories. And that is what I am trying to do: tell stories.
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