1. Ettina

    Ettina Active Member

    Nov 21, 2011
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    child soldiers

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ettina, Dec 8, 2011.

    I'm planning a story in a world where a certain percentage of people, if put through psychological trauma in childhood, can get superpowers related to that trauma. One of the characters is a child soldier with necromantic powers, who was made to raise dead soldiers to continue fighting until he finally ran away and sought amnesty, and become a refugee. I've been hesitant to write his story for fear I'll get it wrong, but I decided I should just go for it and do the best I can.

    His powers first manifest when his best friend in the army dies, and he freaks out and starts begging the guy to wake up, unable to accept that the guy is dead. He brings them back mostly like they were before, with a few subtle changes - not like mindless zombies or anything. To him, this power is a dream come true, and his superiors react to it by pulling him out of active combat and bringing him the corpses after each fight so he can resurrect them. The problems come when he discovers that he can command the people he resurrects and they have to do his bidding. His superiors react by bringing him dead enemy soldiers as well and getting him to force them to switch sides once they resurrect. He starts feeling uncomfortable about the ethics of this, especially when he realizes his friend (the one he resurrected) is starting to get scared of him as a result. Around the same time he comes across some information about a way for him to leave the army, and when he sees his chance he takes it.

    I have some questions.

    Firstly, where should he come from? He's African, but I haven't decided what country. What are some of the places with a lot of child soldiers? What are some cultural things I should know about?

    Secondly, I was thinking he was orphaned by AIDS and living on the street before he ends up in the army. Should I have him join willingly, or get forcibly recruited?

    Thirdly, who would be in charge of their group of child soldiers?

    Fourthly, how would he come across the information about how to escape? I was thinking maybe he finds a flyer by UNICEF or some similar organization.

    I will be researching these things on my own, but I'd welcome any advice anyone else has. I really want to write this kid properly.
  2. James Berkley

    James Berkley Banned

    Oct 1, 2011
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    Look at conflicts in the horn of Africa or the gold cost. Sierra Leone and Uganda come to mind. Child soldiers are pretty much seen only in two situations. Very young and forced (what you are thinking of), or not so young and volunteer (UK and American minors in the military)
  3. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Jul 27, 2011
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    Google "child soldiers" and you'll find an enormous amount of information. There have been several investigations and documentaries about this problem, which is more wide-spread than one would think.
  4. JillOfHearts

    JillOfHearts Member

    Dec 5, 2011
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    Sounds like a great story!
    I like torturing characters, so this is what I would do:
    I agree with James, the horn of Africa is a good idea.
    I don't really know about how he was orphaned. Perhaps his father was taken for the army, and his mother died of starvation(she might've given all of her food to him, so he blames himself)? I think he should be taken involuntarily, but try to be optomistic and think 'well, at least I won't die of starvation.'
    It depends. The government, some underground Orginisation?
    He could plan how to escape himself.

    Sorry if I'm too late and you've already planned something.

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