I wanted my character, Kira in my book NOT AN ANGEL to have a special ability, but nothing of the paranormal kind. Her love interest has enough of that. So, with the help of ideas from my critique group, I came up with "Slinging". Kira had lots of time on her hands growing up, while she hid from her cruel-drunk step-father. The woods became her second home, along with her friend, Todd.
Todd taught Kira how to sling. He said it was in case she ever needed to protect herself. It took awhile to get the hang of it, but once she did, she was awesome. Slinging is bascially perjecting an object, such as a rock, stone, or whatever you can find, perfecting the shot at a target, and wham! She practiced with the tons of beer cans her step-dad threw all over the floor in her home. (ya, the guy was a filthy pig).
Kira and Todd made each of them a leather braided sling, and they each wore it around their necks for protection. Each sling had a loop that attached a beautiful sleek stone, which was large enough to knock someone on their arse, if the time ever came to do so. She never took the sling necklace off. It comes in very handy when she decides to use it in the story. (I'm not going to say who she uses it against, you'll have to read NOT AN ANGEL when it comes out next year from The Wild Rose Press.)
Anyway, I found a article, it is the history on slinging and thought I'd share it with you. (I'm not sure how much is true.) Hope you enjoy. This article was written by C. Harrison.
****A Brief History of The Sling****
The origin of the sling is unknown. It seems to have developed independently worldwide. The concept is simple enough. Once people started throwing rocks (or other simple projectiles) as weapons, the sling was introduced as an extension of the arm for greater mechanical advantage.
There are many references to slings in historical documents. Most people know the story of David and Goliath. The Romans were the first civilization to effectively use slingers in large formations in their armies, but they were used by the Sumerians , Assyrians, and Egyptians as well. As bows and arrows were expensive to supply to thousands of troops. Slings were used to give Roman reserve troops a cheap long-range weapon. They used (American) football shaped lead projectiles that could supposedly pierce armor.
In general, the sling is a hard weapon to master, and because of this, few armies used the sling to the same extent as the bow or crossbow (when the were developed). Slings were used outside of the military as hunting weapons as well. There are documents describing bands of hunters killing big game with slings. Often they would use rocks from riverbeds, as they were more spherical and smooth.
The slings' use as a weapon started to dwindle in the Middle Ages because of advances in bow and crossbow design. The longbow and crossbow became increasingly accurate, out-ranged the sling, and provided more accuracy for less training. With the advent of firearms, non-gunpowder weapons became obsolete.
As the memories of simpler times faded away, people started using these older weapons as hobbies, as you can see with the popularity of archery today. Slinging remains a popular pastime in many countries today, especially in Mediterranean and Pacific islands. The last official use of the sling in war was by the allies in World War I to lob grenades.
If you want to learn more about slinging check out www.slinging.org Chris Harrison has several articles listed on that site.
NOT AN ANGEL, coming soon from THE WILD ROSE PRESS (In 2010)