View Full Version : War Story

June 3rd, 2012, 10:48 PM
Hi everyone! I am incredibly new to writing, with a few essays under my belt. I am going to try doing a "Can I write a story?" experiment! Please let me know about your Tips and Tricks! I can use all the advice that you have!

I have a considerable amount of experience with Military themes, from:
-Surfing Wikipedia many a boring day
-Watching any good war movie
-Reading a lot of Military Thrillers
-Endlessly playing Military video games of any kind!

So, I am going to try and post a summary first, and then write out the chapters as I go! Please let me know how it is, and thanks for putting up with my blathering!

Zachary Hicks is a soldier in the American Army in a fictional modern war. It starts out with him walking through a valley where a battle just occurred. After finding vital intelligence, he rushes back to base, and is promoted to Sargent. He leads a squad of soldiers house to house in an assault on a mid-to-small city, and finds a group of civilians. After holding off enemies, he escorts the civilians to safety, and boards a helicopter with his squad to capture enemy leaders.

They land on the top of a hotel, and starts fighting their way down, finding the HQ devoid of officers. They discover a radio that has been abandoned, and find out that enemy is going to EMP (destroy all electronics in a large radius) the city. The EMP goes off, leaving all vehicles and large equipment useless. He gathers soldiers in the hotel to defend, and finds a hidden passage out of the city.

I am still working on the last bit, but suffice to say is that he is fighting a more numerous enemy, with no electronics, civilians to protect, and the wounded starting to outnumber the healthy soldiers.

Let me know if it is any good!

June 4th, 2012, 11:25 AM
It seems a workable idea. However, I'm having problems believing that your MC would be promoted to sergeant for finding information, no matter how vital. Promotions like that cannot be given on a whim by a commanding officer. There's usually a written test and a ceremony involved. The only person who would have power to bypass those standard procedures would be the president.

One other thing: If I was writing this story I would ask myself what made it different to any other military thriller of similar nature. Right now it reads as a day in the life of a soldier behind enemy lines, but what part of it will give your reader reason to root for your main characters? A bunch of soldiers following orders and trying to rescue civilians, while an heroic act, doesn't really get my blood pumping. If the above passage was a blurb on the back of a novel, I don't think I'd buy it.

For instance, let's say the EMP destroys all radio communications. Up until that point the soldiers were giving sitreps (situation reports) to HQ every hour. Now, they haven't heard from them in over two. Cut to the White House situation room. The President and members of the Cabinet are informed of this sudden radio silence. A discussion follows about how these men are privy to a lot of SCI (sensitive compartmentalised information). If they've been captured and this intel gets out, it could destroy the reputation of the country for years. Cut to the closest U.S. Air Force base to the soldiers. The colonel running the facility is ordered to launch a military drone to scout the soldiers' last-known location. Meanwhile, on the ground the soldiers have run into a bit of a problem. They're taking fire. One man has been mortally wounded, another severely. As the drone flies overhead, it takes a picture of them in dire straits. This picture is thus transferred via geosynchronous satellite to the situation room. The President feels he is left with no alternative and gives orders for the drone to circle back and carpet bomb the locale.

Now you have a reason for your readers to root for the soldiers, and a whole new storyline to sink your teeth into. I'm not trying to write your story for you, Gerry, but just giving you a little advice from what I've learned from reading and writing countless military thrillers.

By the way, I've edited your title. You don't need to ask for advice. It's a given that you want it.

June 5th, 2012, 12:20 AM
Thanks so much for your feedback! It really made me think about how "common" the theme of the novel would be. I thought about it, and since I am also into Sci-fi, I would turn this into a modern vs alien conflict!

I'm still writing the summary, but sufice to say, the aliens almost destroyed an American Brigade, and then after the US retreated, the aliens collected their casulties and vehicles and pulled back to their defensive line. All satilites or method of recon is destroyed as they try to overview the aliens, and so there is almost no idea as to who they are, what they looks like, or what equipment they field. All Hicks sees is purple blood here and there. Then, he is going to find an alien radio broadcasting noises similar to the Predators, and they triangulate the source to find their base.

They attack, and, well, I'm still working on it.

Short version: The US army, best in the world, is woefully outclasses buy aliens they know nothing about. They need to band together with all the nations of the world (maybe except for a few) to fight them off! Classic tail of survival, but with a modern theme!

Heres a few paragraphs I have so far! Please let me know!

Chapter 1: A bad day
It was a beautiful day in Hell. The sun was shining with a cool breeze whispering along the valley, forcing the temperature to a crescendo of perfection. The trees swayed with the wind, dancing to their own tune. The rolling hills were majestic, as was the white topped points jutting from the land on either side of the lush valley. Yes, it was a majestic day in paradise; too bad no one could appreciate it.

The sheer carnage was horrifying. Bodies were lying all around, in all manner of grotesque positions. Shells had flown their course, punching holes in the ground so deep that men could stand at the bottom and not see over the top. Bullets had peppered every object for miles around. There was no patch of dirt not covered with either blood or bullets. Smoke covered the battlefield. And among all of this, a lone man walked.

I cannot believe this only happened yesterday. This was the thought of Zackary Hicks, a soldier in the American Army. In two minutes, it went from a peaceful morning to a place of Sheer Hell! In an intense five hour battle, the Brigade on the front like was almost annihilated, fighting against an unknown enemy. Almost four thousand men dead, how can we be defeated so easily? He mused as he searched for as much ammunition as he could find. But there was a much more disturbing question on his mind. In only a couple of hours until our Brigade move up, how did the enemy remove all of their dead, vehicles, and equipment? It looks like we fought ghosts. This was the most puzzling question of all. The only marks that showed there had been any battle whatsoever was the dirt. Here and there, scattered over the cleared area was a strange purple color in the dirt. Then it hit him. My god, this isn’t any kind of chemical, this is their blood! And with that, Hicks was suddenly hit with a wave of horror. What the hell are these things? If there was to be an answer, it was going to be with the dead on that field.

As Hicks analyzed what had happened, a few miles away there was a general with the same thought on his mind. “You’re telling me that we just lost an entire Battalion, and the best you can do is you THINK their aliens?” was the talk from Major General John Sherman. “But sir, we have no idea what they are, and they removed all of their equipment and casualties. It’s as if they were ghosts!” this from a Major of Intelligence. “How in hell can we fight em for FIVE hours, lose FOUR THOUSAND men, and think their GHOSTS?” It was a puzzler all around. They had watched in horror as the enemy had shot down each and every spy satellite out of the sky, along with any plane, drone, balloon or leaf that was with a view of their positions. This had left the Americans deaf and blind to their enemies, without knowledge of where they were, what they were doing, or even who they were!

the Italic is thoughts, and quotes are talking!! I am totally open to any critisism!!

June 5th, 2012, 10:34 PM
I am going to be starting a new thread under Sci-fy, so please redirect your comments there!! Thank you for your intrest!

June 8th, 2012, 10:17 PM
EMP would only take out cars with an board computer or some vital navigation system and such. But your basic jeeps and hummers and such would still work fine.

June 10th, 2012, 05:48 PM
I like the general idea of your story but I would offer you two suggestions. One would be, to bring together the story with the personal mission of the main character. Right now it seems more like segmented missions to me than a novel. Alternatively, if you don't want this to be character based, perhaps develop more about what this war is about, and what's at stake? So, I would like a bit more direction on either what the main character is driven by or what his goals is AND more of an idea about what the war is about and what is at stake here.

You do a good job of setting the scene in your first few paragraphs, but you may consider cutting out some adjectives. Rather than telling that the mountains were majestic and the bodies lying in a grotesque way, it might feel more like I was there if you described the way one of the mountains jutted into the mountains, or one particular body that the main character passes, so that we get the feeling of a grotesque battlefield naturally without being told it is so.

Please just take this as hopefully helpful criticism though, because I wouldn't bother if I didn't think it had promise. Plus you have to take this with a grain of salt as I don't typically read military books or watch war movies!