The Barracks (intro)

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  1. #1

    The Barracks (intro)

    (Does this introduction pique interest, and / or adequately "prime the pump"? )

    They pile-up higher than the brass casings at the rifle range. Soldiers called them “war stories”, but in the Marines they were “sea stories”. Anyone who’s served knows a few. Some know quite a few, and tell the tales well. The stories usually involve some recruit / boot / FNG doing something stupid, and we laugh at their inexperience and naiveté. It’s kind of a bonding thing. First, we nod our heads, because we’ve all seen something similar. Second, we chortle because it was not us.

    However, there’s always a piece missing from the story. Often, the tale rings flat because you can easily swap out the two-dimensional characters and everyone ends up telling the same story. It’s still fun in the telling, but soon the tale is the thing that is alive. Not the place, or the moment. Certainly not the people.

    The more I look back, the more I realize how my life was enriched and blessed by the characters that I served with. Yes, they were people, but they were characters. We were all U.S. Marines, but we were so different. Despite the constant drills formulated to instill conformity and blind obedience to authority, I saw individuals. This may come as a shock to many, but we weren’t all a bunch of mind-numbed robots.

    “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?".
    William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

    I’d like to tell you a different sea story. In this one, my goal isn’t to solicit a cheap laugh at someone’s expense. This is a story about people. These are probably people you know. Some are silly, goofy and fun at parties. Others are angry, depressed and sadistic. We were an all-volunteer force, and people from every state, territory and a few foreign countries joined. In an age before the 24 hour news cycle and the Internet, we may as well have each came from an isolated island.

    It’s easy to delude oneself into thinking that we all got along because of our shared military values, love of country and sense of duty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the barracks, we were one large, extended dysfunctional family. We all had separate goals, world-views and big, big attitudes. Forced to live together, we all drew on The Marines’ unofficial motto: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.”

    And, even as we honed our fighting skills, we learned how to live with one another.

    "Now let's all agree, never to be creative again."




  2. #2
    I would consider either deleting this or changing it. It throws cold water on what you are trying to do as a hook. The reflection can come later, kind of like selling a car and mentioning that it is a great car...too bad it gets horrible gas mileage.

    However, there’s always a piece missing from the story. Often, the tale rings flat because you can easily swap out the two-dimensional characters and everyone ends up telling the same story. It’s still fun in the telling, but soon the tale is the thing that is alive. Not the place, or the moment. Certainly not the people.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  3. #3
    A way to go?

    ....


    The STORIESy pile higher than the brass casings at the rifle range. [NICE]

    Soldiers call ed them “war stories”, but in the Marines they are were “sea stories”. STOP HERE and consider putting this information straight into a visual anecdote

    The recruit swings his legs from the high bunk

    he says 'something stupid,'
    'and we laugh'
    [at their inexperience and naiveté.]
    A shoulder is slapped
    we nod our heads, we chortle
    it was not us.


    the NEXT tale rings flat

    my life was enriched and blessed by the characters that I served with. We were U.S. Marines, but I saw individuals.


    “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?".
    William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

    we drew on The Marines’ unofficial motto: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.”

    And, even as we honed our fighting skills, we learned how to live with one another. Enjoy my... ... ...

    ...

    all best

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasticweld View Post
    I would consider either deleting this or changing it. It throws cold water on what you are trying to do as a hook. The reflection can come later, kind of like selling a car and mentioning that it is a great car...too bad it gets horrible gas mileage.

    However, ... Certainly not the people.
    Thanks, PW. So, just those few lines, or does the "deleting and changing" apply the entire introduction?

    A way to go?
    I understand you feeling it proper for an illustration immediately, but this is an introduction. The concept behind this is, every war / sea story is nothing more than "jokes on the bunk".
    As a nonfiction piece, I am not comfortable leading with a contrived-feeling "story" to illicit interest. There's plenty of time and space for character exploration later.

    And, I'm not clear, but you think all four of those lines "ring flat"? I can see how I can support them better, but not how they are somehow disingenuous or dross. I will, of course, work on them so they appear less contrived.

    Thank you both.

    "Now let's all agree, never to be creative again."




  5. #5
    Hi,

    No I hoped you might hop straight into anecdote to make those points - following up with a second anecdote that rang or "rings flat" - demonstrating this "mankind's folly" theme you had evolving back there. Or do it your way:

    Anyone who’s served knows a few. Some know quite a few, and tell the tales well. The stories usually involve some recruit / boot / FNG doing something stupid, and we laugh at their inexperience and naiveté. It’s kind of a bonding thing. First, we nod our heads, because we’ve all seen something similar. Second, we chortle because it was not us.

  6. #6
    This all that I would change, I thought the rest of it set the stage.

    However, there’s always a piece missing from the story. Often, the tale rings flat because you can easily swap out the two-dimensional characters and everyone ends up telling the same story. It’s still fun in the telling, but soon the tale is the thing that is alive. Not the place, or the moment. Certainly not the people.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  7. #7
    Already worked on the first rewrite (Intro & CH1). Cleaned-up a lot. Thanks for the input.

    "Now let's all agree, never to be creative again."




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