Fiction Focused: A Writing Advice Handbook

The path towards writing great fiction is not an easy one travelled--although many chose to pursue it. Whether these individuals be gluttons for grief, closet masochists, or simply blinded by a euphoric haze of inspiration, a consensus can be reached with each holding the phrase, "The art of constructing fiction is worth it," someplace deep in their loins.

In recognition of the great many who sacrifice themselves to these pursuits, this Fiction Focused handbook promises (in a completely non-contract-binding-unpromising way) that it might be of some use. From writing advice, to personal pet-peeves, to general writing characterisation research that most skip.

Uploads will follow (hopefully) every Tuesday, Wednesday and/ or Thursday.


9. Assassination and Espionage: General point of reference when writing out a bodyguard character

The research that some might be too ‘procrastinatory’ to conduct on their own.

Hours worked and payments are usually worked out between employers and clients, although in some cases if a guard works with a company they might have consistent standard rates depending on the type of defence required. Pay rates can be condensed, however, dependent on the risk factor involved. Commonly guards are paid on a daily rate (so if your guard wants to drop out halfway through due to client idiocy, then they’ve already been paid for their work up till then, and this prevents any strife).

The rates of pay go as follows:

•Low risk, national operations pay from £300 - £400 per day.
•Medium risk overseas operations pay around £400 - £500 per day.
•High risk operations pay around £1000 per day.
•Extremely high risk operations pay up to £1500 per day.


Expected types of work responsibilities undertaken:

The type of work that you’ll be expected to undertake as a guard, mostly without being told to do so.

•Protecting clients from threats (terrorists, political opponents, stalkers)
•Checking a premises before your client arrives or enters. Planning out routes in advance with the help of security consultants. Securing destinations, clearing them of hostile surveillance equipment, and checking exits
•Planning and researching the identity of the client and associates of your client. Performing detailed threat analysis on each contract, such as known or potential aggressors, and medical history of client
•Constantly being alert to the actions of your client and the reactions of those around them; basically being in tune with the environment.
•Accompanying clients to business and social engagements. Accompanying clients in their day to day activities.
•Providing round the clock protection whilst clients enjoy leisure time, or sleep.


General skills and characteristics:

Aside from the obvious qualifications that you’d need to provide as proof of your worth as a bodyguard, here are a list of characteristics that you might consider endowing your character with.

•Discretion - client confidentiality is paramount. Discretion and understand the need for client confidentiality.
•Conversely, the ability to stand out and provide a visual deterrent to others.
•Physical fitness with quick reactions. Excellent vision and hearing.
•Good observational skills. Excellent powers of concentration and observation especially during lengthy periods of inactivity.
•The ability to recognise potentially dangerous situations. The ability to keep a calm cool head in a crisis and think on your feet.
•Calmness under pressure.
•The ability to adapt and improvise in different situations; the ability to improvise in the face of rapidly changing situations.
•Decision-making and planning skills
•Good written and spoken communication skills (imagine if your guard knew cryptography)
•The ability to blend into a crowd and not be noticed.
•Great team working skills - bodyguards seldom work alone.
•Good communication skills, with both your client and other teammates.


Qualifications that guards would need to provide evidence of:

Well, considering I’m living in the UK, the qualification information provided mostly stems from factors that UK training schemes rely on. Most qualifications are accepted world-wide however so these would be applicable to international characters as well.

Qualifications are provided by the SIA (Security Industry Association), who are the UK's regulating body for bodyguards and various other security personnel. In order to work as a bodyguard in the UK you must first attain a front line close protection licence. In order to get this you will need to study one of the following qualifications.

•Certificate in Protective Security: Buckingham New University.
•City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Close Protection.
•BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Close Protection Operations.


Potential bodyguards must also provide evidence of a recent first aid certificate, accredited by the SIA as below:

•HSE - First Aid at work, which is a four day course.
•FPOS - First Person on Scene, which is a thirty hour course.



It would be superbly wonderful to have a bodyguard who fits all the bills, but let's be honest with ourselves, even if you’re writing fiction that type of optimistic characterisation kills a character. Most bodyguards are trained in a specific field, with perhaps some side training to build their appeal up, however, most stick to a main route. This means that coordinating a team of guards is easier because you’ll have a specialised individual for each point of protection that needs covering.

•Route reconnaissance; a guard looking out for potential pitfalls on route.
•Venue reconnaissance; a guard securing the destination point, freeing it from bugging devices or threats.
•Embussing and debussing; the military terms given to getting a client in and out of a vehicle safely, the most dangerous part of a high risk operation.
•Close quarters battle; a guard skilled with using pistols in crowded areas without hurting innocents with the aim of removing the client from danger.
•Offensive and defensive driving; a guard skilled with using vehicles as a weapon or means of escape (not just a person with road rage X’^D).


Hope this was more factual and helpful than the last.


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