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It's a monster, I know. But it's everything I knew about writing wars. I hope someone out there finds it helpful.

I broke it down into sections so if you feel like you don't really need to know a certain section you can look for the one you do. All section headers are in bold.

I want to take a moment to thank :icontuomaskoivurinne: and :iconplayinthedead: for the input they gave throughout the making of this tutorial. They're good friends to have.

I also want to thank :iconoboe-wan: for helping edit the first draft.

I am not a soldier myself so I don't have first hand knowledge of combat. But I do have first hand knowledge of soldiers. If it is anything in the way of credentials, I was partially raised on a US Navy base and am from a military family, with members who served in every American war since WWI. I have other much more personal reasons for writing this, that might go into if asked.

I also know literature. I'm an English teacher, so I damn well better.

I also welcome discussion. If you think something has been misrepresented, comment or note me and I'll definitely hear your point of view.

Likewise if you have any questions, I'm always up for answering those, too.

EDIT: March 30, 2013

I made a lot of improvements, cleaned it up, expanded some sections (and marked them), and added a new one.
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:iconcirprius:
Cirprius Featured By Owner 9 hours ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is such a wonderful guide...thank you for posting this.
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:icongreenhatman:
Greenhatman Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2015
Wow... as a writer myself, this is a perfect guide to doing war stories!  Thank you for doing an outstanding job!
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2015  Professional Writer
Very welcome!
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:icons7alker117:
S7alker117 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015  Professional Writer
Once again, awesome stuff you have here, very insightful and coherent. 

If you allow me I would like to share some thoughts regarding point IV.

I really  think that any extensive detailing on weapons is both unnecessary and boring. If one feels that it would really be necessary to do so, the annexes are exactly for that. Most of the times giving a cue for what the weapon does is much better and more effective, as it spares words and gives the audience what it needs to understand. CS Forrester's The Gun does this very effectivelly and I regard it as a great example of how to make a simplistic but at the same time moving war tale. 

I think point 2 is a no-brainer, and it makes the situation much more relatable when you manage to pass out exaclty how ordinary these people are. With that said, though, I think that some exaggeration might still work under certain conditions. After all there are plenty of stories about soldiers who faced impossible odds and made it through. It is mostly a matter of presentation, i would guess. Know the limitis of both factions, what the weapons do (implied, that is, no need to go into detail on that one), and what your character is about. I would also make what I know to be a controversial argument, and say that the objective of the story is very important on this regard. I mean, you could have an instant of a uber-soldier exactly to employ rule of cool and make things exciting. But this is my opinion, and I know many would disagree with it. On a final note in this regard I would also say that all of the elements above can be meld together in a very effective fashion, if the author knows what he/she is doing. Again, these are my opinion and I mean not to be disrespectful. 

And to point 3. I've read somewhere a sentence from an author (can't recall who it was now, I'l ltry to get it for later) which is something along the lines of "if you write about war and don't show a battle you're betraying your reader's expectations". I cannot recall the exact wording, but the underlying idea is that combat is exciting, and most readers will be expecting it once they start reading a story about war. I am a big culprit of this, let me say, and I probably enjoy writing combat scenes a little too much. I do not agree with the idea that one can get repetive with combat scenes within a single story. There are always different things to do that require different tactics. Tank combat in broad daylight in a plains, urban combat, commando raids, combat air patrols, etc... It might be a questionable approach, but when I write, historical fiction or not, I do like to pepper my stories with abundant combat scenes. 
But with that said, I will say that you are completly on the point concerning the importance of these scenes. They must have a purpsoe and they mustn't be the single thing you'll have to offer your reader. A story is a voyage, you are following a set of characters as they develop as people and learn something. Battles are a part of the journey, not the journey itself. I would also like to add that I do not have illusions about what combat does to a person. I know some examples of this personally. My point is usually to make the story interesting for the reader. 

Anyhow, I think I'll leave it at this for now, I'm running long as it is and I don't know if I'm making any sense at this point. I would add, though, that my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. I do openly admit that I somewhat juvenile in some of my approaches to writing (I think fiction literature should be entertainement first and everything else afterwards) and I do know that some won't agree with me. I also know to admit when I'm wrong. 

Moral of the story, thank you for sharing this insightful text, and for making us think harder about this craft we do love so much. Thank you. 
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:icondabrandonsphere:
DaBrandonSphere Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Lots of useful advice in this.

However, with regards to the subject of trauma and PTSD, might those primarily be modern issues? Cultural attitudes towards death and war have undergone a lot of evolution over the last couple of centuries. I can't see too many Vikings, Assyrians, or Zulus having the same compunctions over killing their enemies as an educated soldier from a modern civilization.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Edited Jul 28, 2014  Professional Writer

To answer your question;

Please understand, I know you didn’t comment out of any malintent. My answer is going to be long, but please don’t take it as an attack. I think that war stress is something that most people are under informed on, and that our media has done us exactly zero favors in that regard, so I’m going to try to answer your question as thoroughly as I can.

Sadly, it is exactly this kind of idea I am trying to combat. The idea that PTSD is somehow ‘new’ or that other cultures (ancient or otherwise) were/are less humanly concerned with violence can be a very damaging opinion. Whether intentional or not, it marginalizes the people now that have the disorder, and makes it seem as though this evolved due to culture, which is an idea that can change, not a biological reaction, which is what it actually is.

I will refer you to another article I wrote which deals exclusively with combat related mental illness

There are a few things that I think need to be cleared up.

    1.       Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not limited to people who have seen combat, and it is not necessarily linked to someone’s mindset, ideas, or preparedness for war. What factors contribute to someone having PTSD have nothing to do with culture, race, age, sex, or ability, or their compunction for killing or not. It has only to do with how much stress that person has been under, and the degree to which that trauma threatened their life or someone they watch get victimized. PTSD appears in combat veterans, victims of natural disasters, victims of domestic and non-domestic criminal violence, child abuse, rape, and small scale accidents like car accidents as well.

(more info: old.impact-kenniscentrum.nl/do… or it is compiled in the other guide I already linked you to)

    2.       PTSD, which was not originally called that, showed up in the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which was published in 1952. This was the first time that many mental disorders were mentioned and defined. These disorders clearly existed before the printing of the manual, they simply hadn’t been defined and explored. Psychology as a field wasn’t even entertained until around the late 1800s when it began to enter academia and become standardized. Therefore, it was not the disorders that were non-existent, it was the field of study and criteria to evaluate the disorders that were.

    3.       Not all combat veterans get PTSD. Most come back with some form of mental fatigue or what is called ‘combat stress’, but again, PTSD itself depends on a lot of factors.

As for when and how PTSD showed up in history? Literarily, it is all over both the Iliad and the Odyssey, as well as being explored in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and several Indian literary texts, so it isn’t limited to a single cultural sphere. When I said it shows up in these things, I don’t mean ‘that person went to war then he was sad’ comes up in the text. Actual descriptions of the same exact symptoms, after what are clinically considered ‘traumatic’ events, come up all over the characters in these texts. And PTSD has a very specific set of parameters to even be defined as such, so these are not vague generalizations. Even the more vague examples definitely point to combat fatigue and combat stress, even if the most extreme form of PTSD isn’t realized.


Historically, the same type of situation was noted by a plethora of greek historians, e.g. in Xenophon’s Hellenica (and lots of others), and several Roman writings that related to both soldiers and also non-combat related civilian cases. It has also been studied in 17th century China, and there are several notable examples from Alexander the Great’s army <-- this link may not work, I think you need a login, but if you’re interested I’ve got the article.


The point is, tl;dr, no, it is not modern, and no, it has little to do with anyone’s cultural mindset. Violence and violent death takes its toll, and so does living in a combat condition even if nothing has actually happened to a soldier. Now, is it possible that PTSD was less frequent in some wars than in others? Yes, there is evidence that points to that; it does seem at the moment that soldiers who have more time out of high pressure situations to bury their dead and grieve for them, more time in a zone that is ‘behind the lines’ so to speak, they are less likely to develop PTSD, but no less likely to have some form of lower grade combat stress. And that comes directly from the historical evidence I linked you.

There are cultures, such as the Vikings, that we have much less actual evidence on, save a few writings, and some later third or fourth hand accounts of things, so that is really not enough to go on. But it does seem that human beings are human beings, and while they may not have had cultural compunctions about killing, they had the same psychological sensitivities and stress reactions as anyone else. We have no idea the ratios to which this happened, or how pervasive it was in which settings, but to say it is a modern invention is surely misinformation.

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:iconninitynine:
ninitynine Featured By Owner Edited Jul 5, 2014  Student General Artist
 well start crying baby because I use wikipedia XD
as all the others hre, this is exactly what I needed.

say, I'm writing a fantasy/supernatural story, it's like supernatural meets jarhead, and right now it focus more in the characters after the war, 12 years to be exactly and one of the main things I focus, one of his main traits is his PTSD which I want to make sound realistic.

what would could byou suggest me for that?

FYI he is a werewolf and his squad was tasked with... doing pretty much what buffy and the winchester do but in... different settings. I actually published a short story introducing him here 
ninitynine.deviantart.com/art/…
there I tell a brief story of how he would often wke up with nightmares about his worst mission the one where everything went... SNAFU (I wanted to use that word), and even though he forgets what happened that night something that troubles him even more that remembering-, all nights prior to that one and the ones after that, he still suffers nightmares from the rest of his service, and from another event in his life which I'm working currently namely seeing his wife getting shoot in the face when they walk out of the movies...

any idea how to make this work, 'cuz Im a jam of sorts teying to puzzle it in, all the feelings and that kind of ... thingies
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Professional Writer
Well, I see you favorited the other guide I wrote, the one about writing combat-related mental illnesses. I spend a lot of time in that talking about PTSD, but the chapters before it are also relevant to the disorder as well. That guide is pretty much the best information I have, so, if you read it over and have more particular questions, I'd be glad to help...

Also, I would mention that the fact your MC is a werewolf might have some extra effect on him, but I don't know how you are imagining the werewolf part (ie do they change voluntarily, is it only at the full moon, are they in control of themselves when they change?).
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:iconninitynine:
ninitynine Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Student General Artist
the werewolf part I manage it differently from others, usually is like a teenage (or maybe an older guy) who's life changes after been biten, but not the case, he was born a werewolf, so he basically knows alll the tricks, and perks and can shape at his whim and desiree at any extent or any part, and since he was like near inmortal, when he became a teenager he waas quite reckless, to the point where would do things like driving a car half drunk, full of hotties at full speed and crash it and then not giving a damn about the dead girls cause he couldn't die, he was the superior species.

This kinda devil-may-care attitude is what somehow lead the army to him and gave him to choices, rotting in a jail none knows or working for uncle sam...

But no, he didn't have nightmares for the killings he did during fullmoon and/or losing control cause learned how to control it since he was 7, he does regret what he did though, reason why afterwards he became a preist, he wanted--nedeed to help people and redeem for all that and... ayda,yada, yada.

now, you mention here that the life like before the army is an important aspect, well the father was in the army as well, being in the army runs in the family like the werewolf curse, and his father raised him on the road for almost 10 year, raised him like a soldier and a hunter, he wanted him to be like him but, he didn't want that life... sucker for him 'cuz he ran away from it so much it was his only way.
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:iconmrrocketdad:
MrRocketDad Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This was very helpful.  Thank you. 
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014  Professional Writer
You are most welcome.
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:iconvladimirdracultepes:
VladimirDraculTepes Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2014
this is a very useful guide, very useful indeed. i wanted to ask , what do you do if your protagonist is a comander of a small ocupation force(250 men in my story) and he and his men commit atrocities against the civilian population with the intent of maintaining order. ( but some of those acts are in retaliation for the things the enemy soldiers did in his country) and that after a time he starts to feel horrified at the terrible things he has done and wants to do something to "save himself"
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2014  Professional Writer
While I think there would be a lot of universal human feelings regarding that, I think the specifics will depend a lot on who and what you're writing. Can you give me some context for the story? nationality of the commander, time period, setting, where they are stationed and why ,how long ago the conflict was, what type of conflict was it (ie, what style of warfare), etc?
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:iconvladimirdracultepes:
VladimirDraculTepes Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014
well,its about a war bettwen two fictional countries(which are allegories of the soviet union and nazi germany)
its set in modern times(they have modern weapons like the ak-74, g36c,  tanks like the T90 and leopard2) the war lasted five years ,my story is set at the lasts months of that war ,in the capital of the allegory of nazi germany. they are stationed in a sector that is controlled by them ( their general wants them to stay there to protect all flanks while the main army continues their advance,which makes he and his men angry) and while they secure all buildings around them they encountered civilians hiding in a basement and that's where the story starts
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:iconilikeplanes:
Ilikeplanes Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014
Thank you so much for writting this! 
 I'm currently writing/drawing a comic which one of the settings is a fictional international war in a fantasy world, so this helps me a lot really. 
 I'm having a problem with the love and PTSD thingy, you see I have this couple who used to be enemies during this war and I don't want to make their romance solve all their mental problems, as you said before that kind of situations where love solves everything is pretty annoying but. How do I do to avoid that?
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Professional Writer
You are welcome! I hope you find it helpful!

As for the 'trope' of love solves all PTSD (GOOD on you that you want to avoid that) ... I actually wrote another guide that could answer your question doughboycafe.deviantart.com/ar…

PTSD is only a part of it, but the other sections rather relate to it. If you're still unsure how to do it, or just want to toss around an idea, please feel free to note me or leave a comment. :)
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:iconilikeplanes:
Ilikeplanes Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
it is really helpful, thanks for taking your time searching all this info!
I have another question, not all soldiers suffer from all these mental illness,right? it all depends on their experience during the conflict?
sorry for the broken English btw heh.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Professional Writer
Your English is quite good actually. I don't know your native language but I speak Spanish if that helps you?

And no, not all soldiers suffer from these things. Some don't suffer mental breaks at all. Some have different problems than what I've listed- though I think those are the big issues. 'Combat stress' is a very big term for many small problems, and any returning soldier may have any of these problems in degrees, some worst, some not so bad.

It depends on their experience meaning, how much time they've been under combat stress, factors from before combat, what they have had happened to them during the combat, and then... you can have two identical people go through the same experience and not suffer the same outcome whatsoever, for reasons we cannot even begin to understand. I know this doesn't really answer your question thoroughly, but the mind is a deep and mysterious place, you know?
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:iconilikeplanes:
Ilikeplanes Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
Perfeccionista* perdona. Este es un claro ejemplo de lo que hablo. Je.
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:iconilikeplanes:
Ilikeplanes Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
Oh, acabo de darme cuenta de que tu perfil dice que sos de España XD
 Soy de Argentina, asi que por lógica propia hablo español(aunque soy estudiante de profesorado de inglés, asi que esta pagina sirve mucho para practicar y extender el vocabulario)

 Volviendo al tema, tienes razón, justamente ahora estaba viendo un reportaje a unos veteranos de la Guerra de Malvinas(tema muy sensible para muchos argentinos) y en el video habian varios veteranos, todos muy diferentes contando sus vivencias de la guerra, mientras uno ve el video uno puede darse cuenta por su tono de voz, sus posturas o incluso las palabras que usan el cómo vivieron individualmente el conflicto y como los afectó, realmente es bastante interesante ver eso.

 Mi historia es una fantasía, con elementos sobrenaturales de por medio, en un mundo fantástico con un ambiente muy parecido a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, aunque la verdadera historia es en realidad sobre cómo estos elementos sobrenaturales afectan el mundo y a los personajes que a la vez deben estar en el campo de batalla.

 La he empezado a escribir hace como dos años y aun tengo esa obsesión de querer hacer las cosas bien Ja.  Justamente me preocupaba eso, la verdad que la historia ha cambiado muchísimo con el paso del tiempo, desde los personajes hasta el mismo final y desarrollo, incluso ahora de vez en cuando le cambio cosas por ahí o me agarro la cabeza por algunos errores como en el dialogo, por ejemplo: hasta ahora no se ha mostrado ni una grosería en el comic, si, error mio, por suerte estoy en el capitulo 2 y solo ha habido una escena de acción por ahora, así que estoy a tiempo de poner diálogos más naturales sin que la gente lo note. xD
 También el tema de racismo, sexo, y homosexualidad como lo planteas en esta guía están en el comic, la pareja principal del comic es una pareja interracial de una piloto de caza y un soldado de infantería cuya hermana es lesbiana y una mujer soldado con PTSD, no sé será muy exagerado, tengo miedo de hacer exageraciones y que eso le caiga mal a la gente. 

 De entrada digo que no es nada profesional, simplemente lo hago por gusto propio, pero como proteccionista que soy me obsesiona hacer algo lo mejor posible pero que a la vez me dé gusto de hacer. (si no, no lo haría)
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Writer
bueno jejeje lo siento por tardar tanto en contestar, pero estuve liada con trabajo, y tengo periodos frecuentes en que descuido mi dA. :oops:

Pues, te pido perdón ahora porque aunque vivo en España, de hecho estoy de los eeuu. He estado expatriada por cuatro años y pico (y yo creo que hablo bastante bien pero la realidad es otra cosa, no?). Así, te entiendo perfectamente pero es cierto que hago errores. (o hablo con un sintaxis un poco hablante de ingles).

Sobre tu historia: esto me parece bueno y interesante que tengas la guerra, o el conflicto, como el fondo y no el argumento. Siempre es mejor, y creo que siempre es lo mejor hablar de las consecuencias de los conflictos y no los conflictos ellos mismos. Ademas, tienes otros elementos ocurriendo allí; el primero siendo que hay cosas sobrenaturales en el mundo. Apostaría yo que si no es normal encontrar este tipo de cosa (digo que si existen eventos sobrenaturales pero la gente en general no lo sabe), eso añadiría otra capa a la trauma psicológico de las personajes. Cuando el cerebro tiene que justificar algo que no puede ser (o no debería ser), hay mas probabilidad que va a aparecer una consecuencia o síntoma de un problema mental. Solo es un cuestión del grado.

Pero bueno, te entiendo perfectamente, porque también siempre cuando leo algo que escribí hace dos años o algo así, quiero llorar por los errores. Y todos estos temas son complicados! Pueden ser buenos también porque a mi prefiero que la literatura habla mas de cosas como racismo o homosexualidad. En el mundo normal es difícil sobrellevar si eres un "otro" en una comunidad de "normales", pero en una situación de combate, eso aumenta la presión del problema de manera exponencial. Creo que no hay una manera de escribir ni uno de estos temas sin ofender a alguien. A veces PTSD si es grave y las síntomas se lo muestran esto. Si lo has investigado bien y hablado con gente que lo tiene este discapacidad, no creo que tengas que tener miedo de ponerlo en la historia en cualquier manera que manifiesta.

Es estoy de acuerdo. Si no voy a hacer algo bien, no lo hago, especialmente con temas tan delicados como estos.
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:iconilikeplanes:
Ilikeplanes Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
 XD está todo bien, es bueno marcar las prioridades de uno en la vida. :D 

 Hablas bastante bien el español sinceramente, aunque he de adimitir que tuve que leer un par de veces las oraciones por un par de cositas nada más. (solo los pronombres, pero entiendo porque los pronombres del español es muy complicado)

 Exactamente ese es el planteo del conflicto principal de los personajes, a medida que la guerra avanza y se presentan estos acontecimientos su forma de pensar y de ser cambian rotundamente. Me alegra saber que eso lo tengo en claro y que minimamente lo podré hacer ver de la forma más humana posible, por más que se trate de una fantasía con mundos y personas inventadas.

 Justamente eso me había dado cuenta, encuentro muy poca información del racismo en las guerras(que NO tenga que ver con los nazis, de eso hay un montón seguramente) y mucho menos puedo encontrar algo sobre la homosexualidad, y hablo de historias o relatos, el como habrá vivido un soldado homosexual, no documentos sobre torturas o campos de concentración. (again, nazis, como se nota que la gente no sabe de qué hablar cuando se vienen esos temas a la cabeza), asi que lo único que tengo que pensar como homosexual que soy es imaginarme que pasaría si estuviera yo en esa situación, como dijiste antes sobre la presión en el campo de batalla que sería mucho mayor.

Justamente este personaje es muy nervioso, sufre de insomnio, tiene ataques de ira y se pone violenta incluso hacia su novia, hasta se muerde la piel de los nudillos de sus dedos, hasta intenta asesinar a su hermano luego de que este desertara. La pobre chica es un desastre XD; y lo peor de todo es que no se recupera al final del todo, y creo que es lo más lógico para ella, especialmente porque al entrar al campo de batalla ella es muy joven.

 No conozco gente que haya sufrido este tipo de cosas, así que me puse a ver documentales de gente, veteranos hablando al respecto. Eso si que ayuda mucho, al igual que esta guía.

 

 
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:iconleighad:
LeighAD Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Thanks. Loved All Quiet on the Western Front, I heard somewhere it was actually banned in Nazi Germany because of it's not-so-glamorous depiction of war (which is ironic because it's about WWI German soldiers).

This was pretty great. I wasn't sure what I'd be getting with this article (it's on dA after all, your mileage may vary... widely). This isn't just useful (as in should be required reading) for mil fic but also any story where a character has gone through a war in the past.

Section VI. Criticism is something almost worth it's own posting as it's very applicable to anything you post on dA or the web at large.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Professional Writer
Thanks so much! And yeah, I know what you mean about dA sometimes being hit or miss. And I agree. I really hope a lot of the beginning writers who are interested in the war theme find their way over here.
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:iconashfeathers:
ashfeathers Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us! I'm planning to draw a manga in a war setting sometime in the future, so this was really helpful! 
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Professional Writer
More than welcome! I hope it helps :)
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:iconashfeathers:
ashfeathers Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
^^
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:icongraysonpaladin:
GraysonPaladin Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013
I've read a few military based fanfiction, primary based in my main fandom MLP:FiM, I think a lot of them can stand to read this. I get tired of the "Special Ops Private goes to the new world for only he can save it" type deal, the advice on "Real People" is good. And in regards to teh medical side of things, I do CW reenacting and if there is anything that annoys me as much of the "Wrong Side Won" it's people saying surgeons were all a bunch of butchers, read the history and do research into the era and simply see that medicine changes with the times and we were doing the best we could with the knowledge we had.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Professional Writer
Oh Jeebus. The wrong side won. What a little gem that is.

And right, amen. Medical and technological advancement oughta be researched before you write a war, guys. 

Very cool about the reenactment, though! What do you usually do? What regiment? Any cool stories? (I love reenactors).
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:icongraysonpaladin:
GraysonPaladin Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013
A moldy, useless little gem. Time will tell where those sentiments will go, but so far history has vindicated U.S Grant and Sherman. I suppose every country has the same kind of sentiments.

Indeed, medicine evolves and ironically enough it evolves many times due to war.

American Civil War, Union side, 173rd New York XIX Corps Army of the Gulf. And I do have a few stories
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:icontotallynotabronyfim:
totallynotabronyFIM Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013
Eeyup
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:icongraysonpaladin:
GraysonPaladin Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013
Indeed
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:iconspirit9876:
spirit9876 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is surprisingly well done. I'm currently writing a story that is...somewhat about war, in a sense. Well, that is, a fanfic to be more exact. I suppose the only thing that doesn't apply here would be the "Soldier-Sue" conflict, because the soldiers were built to BE Soldier-Sues in the original plotline. Unlike the original plotline though, I wanted to focus on something much more important; mental deterioration of my characters; both good and bad. The problem with the topic I'm writing about is that it's about violence, but it doesn't necessarily focus on character-interactions and so-forth. Therefore, people can't really compare to them, since they're only fighting. That's what I'm trying to do; add some more character interaction to show readers that killing people isn't just capping someone in the head and walking away for a cup of tea. It's more than that; every body that falls will have its face scarred into the one that murdered him or her.

Ah well, anyways, thank you so much for the tips! I greatly appreciate them, and I hope for future informative deviations like this one! Really, this was well done, and you definitely nailed what you were trying to teach people about! Keep it up!
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:icondustin2211:
Dustin2211 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
Could you give me some advice on writing an assault. My fictional character is about to take part in his first assault and I don't think the over the top charge from the trenches will work. The battle was a real one from WWII on the eastern front and I can't find much info about how the Russians moved their troops into the battle. Research has given me only basic info. Thank you for any advice you can give me.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Professional Writer
The answer is yes, I can - but sorry for the slow reply. I will need some info from you, so I will note you for it, ok?
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:iconmspastel:
MsPastel Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Thanks for the tips!
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Professional Writer
you´re absolutely welcome!
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:icontobeadvised:
ToBeAdvised Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That was fucking amazing. This should help a lot! Thanks! :D
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:icondanield51:
DanielD51 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013
hi, that is a brilliant read and gave me a lot of ideas. thank you very much :D



i do have one question that i hope you can help me out with :) i am trying to make up a war in the real world. sort of a Israel against Iran thing and Russia and the US get involved and it goes from small skirmishes to big battles and the main character is a USMC (played out i know. but the idea is he keeps hearing stories about this other soldier, a British Royal Marine and they are exaggerated, which he finds out after meeting the Brit.)  well back to the point, any tips on how to make a war from scratch, now i picked Israel and Iran because they are clearly antagonistic to each other in the modern world and i have all the basics of the story laid out in my mind, just starting can be quite difficult as i cant figure out where to start from. 
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013  Professional Writer
More than welcome!

Phew ok - that's quite a question. Here are my opening words of caution about that specific choice of countries: highly political. highly polemic. and the history of relations with the middle east and the west is a tangled, horrible web of lies.

Now this could be good or bad for your story - tangled web of lies just means there's a lot of material. But it also means a lot of research to do it right. And the highly political statement refers to the fact that your audience already has set opinions about the players on the board (whether those opinions are right or valid is not the question, there is a preconception, and you have to keep that in mind), and because it is a contemporary issues and setting, realize that it could strike a variety of chords in people, offend, hurt, anger, whatever. So it's a good idea to figure out precisely why you want to set it in the modern day and what statement you are or are not trying to make with it, but also who you want to read this.

About the scenario itself, with this particular war, I would start doing this:
1. some history research from 'clean' sources (meaning unbiased), and figure out just where the knots in the tangled web of lies are. Figure out who supports who, who at this point has military assurance pacts, which countries have under the radar military assurance pacts (because believe me, China is going to be involved in there somewhere). Remember that not only the military, but some black ops special forces will be in the area, then also various national intelligence agencies, and just to make your life harder, tons of private intelligence and military agencies as well. You should be aware of these only so you don't have military personnel doing things that are not publicly acceptable for them to do. I really don't suggest adding spies unless you're a total masochist. too much research, most sources unvalidated, too much drama. I only bring this up to point out the chess board is more like a chinese checkers board, and there's about a million different people and sides.
2. go and find some clearly biased sources, because each country or 'side' is going to have different information, spun in different ways, that will influence how they react to each other.
3. research the religions. thoroughly. You picked a very religious area and the religion definitely plays into how people live day to day as well as the law code of each country, how their military operates, etc.
4. Figure out whether or not an actual open war has been declared. For instance, the Second Gulf war wasn't actually a war between Iraq and the US because it was never declared so by congress, but it sure was a war. However, things like single invasions or quiet funneling of small handfuls of troops and weapons to aid in border skirmishes is not a full out war. Does it become one? If so, when? Or does someone openly declare war? If that happens, that massive chain of military assurance agreements is going to come into play and all hell is going to break loose. Determining the escalation will help you determine how much of a commitment your main players are getting from other countries, and whether or not that commitment is public or undercover. It will also help you figure out if there is a global reaction to this or not, what is on the news, and how the home fronts feel towards it.

Those are my starting suggestions. If you aren't a Marine yourself, I would also look up, if you aren't from the US (or hell even if you are), basic protocols of the USMC. Watch a few movies. Take them with a grain of salt. Then go talk to some Americans, preferably some with military service or family members in the Corps.

Long response is long.

But yeah, basically, that is my advice to begin with. After that you can start looking up tech or whatever else, though your research will probably lead you to some other avenues you want to explore.

If you want to talk about anything else, please feel free to note me! This may have just created more questions than you had to begin with :p  But anyway, I'm always up for a chat about it.
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:icondanield51:
DanielD51 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013
Thank you that i really detailed, gave me some good ideas. the main plan about the political aspect (which granted most people wouldn't understand that much in a real situation) is that it takes a backdrop to the soldiers and their day to day life's. naturally they will discuss why they are there and some will agree and disagree. I picked the Israel area because people will already have their set opinions about what is happening now, but it may be uninformed or very biased, this will lead the characters to have arguments about being there. part of the story will be told through the eyes of a Russian (Alfa group Spetsnaz) adviser to the Iranian Special Republican Guard, who gradually goes from being a well motivated, my way is right kind of soldier to a why am i doing this, when will i get home soldier (Igor (the Russians name for now) will have a much more bloody experience through the war and a lot more of his comrades will die, get wounded, go insane etc. then the american British French so on.




the beginning will be small skirmishes along the Golan heights, afterwards to be followed by a huge attack from both Syria and Iran. Britain and France will be the First to help with men being brought to bases on Cyprus. America with Peacekeepers already in their will be scrambling to send support retreat Israel, a country who hasn't lost a war against it's Muslim neighbors yet will be a bit cocky and make a few tactical mistakes. all of this however will only be found out through letters from home and the occasional things they hear from their superiors. a lot of it will be rumors. 


i have a great chapter in mind where the USMC character meets the Royal Marine character after hearing a lot of Ramboesque stories about him and finds out that most of them are lies, or misinterpretations of the truth. that instead of taking on twenty Iranians at once and killing them all he took on six, and he had four of his friends their to help him. 



sorry for the long reply, but any opinions you have on it would be greatly appreciated. :) thanks 
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Professional Writer
Hey, no problem on the long reply.  I´d be more than happy to take this discussion to note if you´ve still got more questions after this!

The first point, I hear what you´re saying but my initial comment about biases wasn´t regarding the characters in the story. I was warning that the people reading your story out here IRL are going to have preconceived notions about this conflict, and it´s especially touchy for Israelis, Americans, and Arabs. Which is fine, you can still write a story about it, just realize that you might in fact piss off a lot of readers, which may or may not be the goal. It shouldn´t deter you from writing. It´s just something to take into consideration. So my question was, is there a specific reason you chose this region? Does the story have something specific to say about what´s going on over there? Because it will be a really good thing to know solidly why you want a story in the Middle East when you´re going into writing it.

Story related- The last thing you said about the relationship between the RM and the USMC sounds like a solid option with lots of potential. I´d like to see what you do with it.

As for the other stuff... I´d be careful with painting Israel as cocky. Again, this is something I´d have to research a helluva lot, but from what I currently know, they can´t be cocky, mostly because they´re surrounded by enemies and also, Palestine is within their own borders, so they are ever vigilant. It´s also one of the few nations that has universal conscription, meaning they even conscript women. Everyone there knows how to fight and they are all prepared for it. Now, it´s definitely possible to make a few mistakes if the tactics just don´t go as planned (war is like travel. something always goes wrong), but I would caution what you attribute that to.

Also you might want to look up who would be the first to respond. My immediate instinct would have been to say the USA, just because of the history and relationship, and I´m fairly sure they have a TON of military bases in the area. Also, remember that Americans are constantly staffing the NATO bases in Rota, Sigonella, and Kuwait, and the American navy still has Men Afloat down here in the Med patrolling for God knows what. This is where the military assurance pacts come into play - probably you want to see who is actually militarily allied with who, and what aid they´ve promised to provide in the event of X, Y, or Z. Something like an Israel/Iran war would likely pull in a good 15-20 other countries and wind up as WWIII if actually official war was declared.

If it´s sticking to smaller skirmishes and then bigger attacks that Israel seems to be capable of repelling mostly on its own, then the other countries wouldn´t necessarily have to declare open war. Here´s something to look up that I vaguely remember causing a stir a few years back when I was still stateside - Good old GW Bush never actually declared war on Iraq but did something that basically extended the stay of soldiers sent overseas to combat zones. If I remember properly, without Congress declaring war, the Prez could only send troops for 90 days unless Congress backed the move, then they could stay longer. But that was gotten around, probably by the Patriot Act, which is still hanging around like a bad smell. I do remember the loophole having something to do with it being a state of national emergency, but this was years ago and I´d have to look it up. I could dig around if you´re interested. It would probably be a good idea to see how the US, France, and UK are able to comit troops to hotzones and what that means for them. Since you mentioned letters home, that means we´re going to be seeing homefront reactions, and depending on what the government does, that will definitely influence the reactions fo the people waiting at home, and the flow of information.
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:icondanield51:
DanielD51 Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013
thank you for all that useful information and sorry for the time it has taking me to get back to you, couldn't get on the internet recently.. i have actually decided to go with a different idea for the book. it will still have the whole message i was planning in the other book but will now be set in a different planet thousands of years into the future. a LOT of your ideas and insights have been incorporated into the making of this new book. if your up for it i would very much like to continue this correspondence so that i would have someone to bounce idea's off and to help me with the writing. constructive criticism and all that. to that end i have attached my email to the bottom of this :)

if you would email me i would love to go over some of the new plot points of this new story :) thanks


i still plan on doing the book set in the middle east, but i want to do it right and think i might wait until i have gained enough experience to truly do the story justice. 


and again thanks for all the insights and help.


my email is fitzpatrick.daniel51@gmail.com
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Professional Writer
hi there Dan,

dA did not alert me that you had left a message here, what the hell. Sorry for not repsonding - I wasn´t ignoring you! Note coming your way.
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:iconfreakiegeekie:
FreakieGeekie Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

they’re generally not insane, trench-knife wielding psychopaths, either
I could kiss you for that line alone :blowkiss:

 

Wonderfully in-depth and very useful. I'll file this away for use with a fantasy idea I had that involved a war. That is if I ever find the scrap of paper I jotted the idea on.

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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Professional Writer
;) glad I could help, and amuse a little bit.
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:iconfreakiegeekie:
FreakieGeekie Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, some people seem to think all military personnel are psychos and it's not true.
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Professional Writer
Definitely true.
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:iconferretrvb:
FerretRvb Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Student General Artist
 This is pretty dang awesome, and I'm definitely going to come back to this to help me write my little story better. And while my fiction is set in an entirely different, yet easily recognizable, universe, there is much to learn from this. I thank you for taking your time to write this to help others, including myself.

  On a somewhat related sidenote, I noticed that you said you read war fictions too. If it's not took much to ask, may I ask you to read my story and give me an honest critique on it?
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:icondoughboycafe:
doughboycafe Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013  Professional Writer
Hi there,

I'm very glad this will help. And yeah, you know, I think it's easily relevant for fantasy and sci-fi. I get really irritated with sci-fi sometimes because it doesn't add any sense of human realism to it, and an author thinks they can literally do whatever they want because it's not 'real earth' or something. And that's not always true.

As for the second part, of course I will. I can't say I'm the kindest critiquer our there, but I am honest, and I very much want all my fellow mil-fic writers to improve and make great stories. (hell, I'm certainly not beyond the point of critique myself, so I get as good as I give :p ) If your story is on dA, link me, if not, I can give you my email and you can send it to me.
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