Guns, knives, garrotes, guillotines – some weapons are more easily concealed than others. And unless you want to use the “Where was he hiding that?!” joke, it’s something you want to think about before writing the scene, and the concealed carry writing prompt for fashionistas will walk you through the basic considerations required.
Well, required for fiction. I have no actual experience *concealing a weapon.
Fashionistas & Concealed Carry:
The Writing Prompt with Something for Everyone
This is what math people might call a bidirectional writing prompt – the main steps can go either way. You can start with clothing and spot check your weaponry options, or you can start with your weapon of choice and design your clothing around it.
For the sake of the article, we’ll use the order below, but you can switch 1 & 2 if you prefer.
- Choose the character’s clothing.
- Consider the weapon options.
- Check whether the weapon can be believably concealed in the chosen clothing. (The “believably” part is important!)
- If it can’t be concealed believably, fix it. Or use the lack of concealment to the enemy’s advantage or in the protagonist’s strategy.
- Write the scene.
That’s the basics. Now, let’s talk a bit about the details.
Step 1: The Outfit
If you already have a character in a story, odds are you’ve picked at least one normal outfit or style for that character already. Something that reflects the character’s personality and lifestyle as well as the rest of your worldbuilding.
Assuming that the scene you’re writing involves your character’s normal clothing, then, you’re done with step 1.
But what if it doesn’t? What if your character is stuck in prison clothes, a new uniform, or a ballgown? Consider the scene and see whether an outfit change makes more sense than going with the same style.
Step 2: The Weapon
Like the outfit, if your character is a warrior of any kind, then he or she already has a weapon of choice. And if the character already has a normal weapon and a normal outfit, those two should go together although that doesn’t mean the weapon has to be concealed. After all, not all situations or stories require hiding weapons. A knight going into battle is going to carry weapons openly and within easy reach. If not already bared.
Even if your character does not normally conceal his/her weapon, however, we’re assuming that now it’s suddenly necessary. That means you have a couple of options:
- the regular weapon being concealed in the regular outfit
- the regular weapon being concealed in a new outfit
- a new weapon being concealed in the regular outfit
- a new weapon being concealed in a new outfit
Pretty obvious and little math-y, but these are ideas you have to consider. If the character carries a huge weapon that can’t be concealed, is he/she smart enough to adapt, or is the character going to try anyway.
Always consider the options in relation to your character and the situation. That’ll keep you on a better path.
Step 3: Check
If you’re like me, you may automatically do this in conjunction with step 2. That’s fine. For the sake of clarity, however, I’m going to pretend we picked an outfit and a weapon without considering whether the weapon can be hidden. Maybe, its the only weapon and outfit the character has, and now we have to figure out how to make it work (whatever).
Details to think about when trying to conceal a weapon on a character in a story:
- Measurements (of the weapon, person, and clothing – if the weapon is taller than the person, it had better fold!)
- Flexibility (Rigid weapons are going to be harder to hide, especially bigger ones.)
- Reflectivity (If it’s shiny silver, it may show through thin fabric. If it’s dark, it might show through light fabric.)
- Fabric weight (Both for drape and transparency)
- Cut (Where the clothing is tight, where it is loose, and how it attaches to the body)
- Safety (Is the wearer likely to get hurt hiding the weapon there – like sticking a sharp knife somewhere without first putting a sheath on it)
- Movement (Will it noticeably affect how the character moves?)
These ideas should get you thinking in the right direction. Again, it doesn’t need to be 100% realistic unless that’s your usual writing style (and in that case, interview a cop or someone with actual experience concealing a weapon) – just real enough to make the scene seem believable.
Step 4: Adjust
If the weapon won’t work with the outfit, change one or the other. Keep the one most important to the scene or change both. Whatever works best (although, remember: the less you can change to make it work, the less your previous work is wasted. Not always the best solution, but sometimes, it is.).
Some weapons may not be concealable on someone’s person or in someone’s clothing or accessories, so be creative. Maybe, something in the setting needs to come into play.
Step 5: Write the Scene
As always, once the background work is done, it’s time to write. Write the scene, and if at any point, the concealed carry option seems unbelievable, think about the previous steps. You can use them to find the simplest part to change to make the scene work.
Ok. You’re ready to write a fashionable but deadly scene. I can’t wait to see the results.
*These instructions are intended for writing only. Please, do not use them as instructions for actually concealing anything.