As per the OP of this blog, I was told that if I were to start such an online domain of the random things happening in my life, coupled with a few posts about books, that at least two people would read it. Another person, however, said that it seemed a really self important thing to do and was fairly disparaging of the notion. This is my attempt to drag him into the fold by making him accountable for some of the content.
So yeah, Head Games – it’s another writing project that I’ve got in the pipeline. It should be noted that the pipe in question is very long and full of treachorous hazards such as laziness, distraction and real life getting in the way. Nonetheless we have started research for this particular project and intend to make a start at least sometime this half of the century…
It should be explained at this point that ‘we’ is comprised of myself and Barrett (the other dude from my ‘experimental’ musical project Diath and the DM to our D&D group to name but two aspects of his character and to give some reference to those of you who have yet to meet this particular ‘ray of sunshine.’ A lot of ‘this’ going on when he’s involved, it would seem). This whole idea arose out of playing a fantastic pitched battle style WWII boardgame called Memoir 44, after he bought the Eastern Front expansion and we got to play with the Russians. Included were some special rules for snipers and much of the scenarios are about the Nazis attempting to break into Stalingrad. This led on to a discussion about snipers, ’cause y’know snipers are cool, and how they’ve been portrayed in recent films with Enemy at the Gates being the main point of contention. It’s a good film, make no mistake, but it is also obviously quite tailored towards a wide audience and so has a number of things going on other than two snipers locked in a battle of wits, such as a love subplot and other things happening in the war. As far as we were concerned this was all well and good, but didn’t really achieve the kind of existential bleakness that we would have loved to see. We wanted an incredibly sparse and barren story of two men with only their own thoughts for company, locked in an enormous battle of wits with the other, a chess game where each had to be at least a dozen moves ahead of the opponent or be shot through the head with no warning at any given moment of theday or night. To this end, we decided to write such a story ourrselves, Barrett would take the Russian – myself, the German – this came down to mild personal preference couple with ever so slightly more knowledge of each culture respectively than the other, not that either of us are experts in the field.
The name Head Games is the working title we’re using, unless we find something better, because it works on a couple of levels:
- The cat-and-mouse nature of the situation, two skilled marksmen stalking each other through the rubble of a ruined city.
- The nature of the technique we’re intending to use to write large portions of the book (more on this later).
- The fact that it sounds neither too pretentious, nor too obvious to our minds.
- It’s a bit of dark humour given that both characters’ ultimate aim in the story is to put a bullet in the other guy’s temple.
After checking out Russian naming conventions (it’s quite the convoluted system regarding how you address people, according to the formality of the situation, respect for elders or those of higher position and closeness between the parties involved) which we finally got our heads around, we researched one of the clutch points of detail – the types of rifle that these guys would have been using. Wikipedia is a marvellous tool, no? The corect Allied Russian rifle for the time would have been a Mosin–Nagant M1891/30 or a Tokarev SVT 38 equipped with a 3.5X PU telescopic sight and additional locking notch for a see through scope mount. Respectively, Nazi snipers would have used something like a Geweher 43 fitted with a Zielfernrohr 43 (ZF 4) telescopic sight which gave 4x magnification. Guns, baby.
Since then, we’ve started buying reference books, watching films in the genre, getting a feel for the context of the encounter and generally been buffing up on our knowledge, as well as considering options regarding the two snipers’ personalities, motives, bacjgrounds, etc. In the next part I will explain the (probably completely unnecessarily obtuse) system we intend to use to write the book with, as well as a bit of detail about where I hope to take my character.