1. pdendc
    Offline

    pdendc New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    General questions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by pdendc, Dec 19, 2014.

    Hi all,

    Hope you are all well, as you know I'm new to this forum, so if I ask too many questions at once I do apologise.

    I have been trying to write a book (non-fiction) of my experiences in the Army up to 1997 (I'm not serving any-more), I have a number of detailed notes made, however the problem I'm having is describing a journey normally in a vehicle with character involvement, which if anyone has any advice or suggestions on how to approach this I would be very grateful, as my current notes read like a report or dissertation!.

    Also, I have mixed some fiction with non-fiction in relation to some of the characters, which of course I plan to change the names of, which I assume it ok; of course if I ever get it published they will know it's them anyway.

    I'm sorry about all of the questions..etc, however if anyone has any comments and advice on the above I would be very grateful.


    Regards,
     
  2. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    The journey? I would think about some of the finer details to inject some life into the piece, maybe it is hot, cramped, the road is perhaps bumpy. Someone might have cracked a joke, or carried something unusual with them, a lucky omen or some other superstition. Maybe someone was able to sleep through the journey to the consternation of others. Faults on the vehicle, the chug of a poorly maintained diesel engine, the unusual sites you passed by, the children running alongside the convoy.

    Adding in a few well observed details should bring the piece alive.
     
  3. SwampDog
    Offline

    SwampDog Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Back in Blighty
    Hi, pdendc, and welcome.

    If you're weaving fiction into a NF story, then why not changes all names to protect the innocent... Deny liability.

    Don't know your background or location, but have you read similar Service accounts, particularly those of veterans from Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Afghanistan, Iraq et. al.? That would be a good start. You don't have to copy, but as they've been published, chances are their approach can give you something to work on.

    And read, read, read.

    Which is? Haflinger, Landrover, tank, Saladdin, 3-tonner, even ship or aircraft. Provide a clue and some of us will have direct experience e.g. anti-grenade wire mesh over a 5-tonner in Aden.
     
  4. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Welcome to the forum. First of all, the moment you mix fictional elements in with non-fiction, it ceases to be non-fiction. The Killer Angels is fiction, not history, despite a tremendous amount of history included in it. At the same time, it sounds as if the only things you are fictionalizing are some details regarding the characters (who you then say will likely recognize themselves anyway). If your sole purpose is to protect yourself from legal action against you, fictionalizing them probably wouldn't be enough to protect you.

    My question to you is: what is your goal in writing the piece? If it's to give a memoir of your experiences, then the best thing would be to write it purely as non-fiction. If it's to relate a fictional story based on your experiences, then I would create completely new fictional characters rather than papering over real people.

    As for your original question, I would mix the description of the journey with some other elements of the story within the POV of a particular character. There are a few ways to do this. One is to show the character doing something else while on the journey (or driving the vehicle), and intersperse details of the journey itself into the narrative. Another is to have dialogue with another character (or a few different characters), using very brief descriptions of the journey itself to break up and pace the dialogue.

    Good luck.
     
  5. pdendc
    Offline

    pdendc New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Chinspinner, SwampDog, EdFromNY

    Can I just say thanks for all of your help and advice to my questions, this is excellent.

    This has prompted me to approach things in a slightly different way.

    • SwampDog: the journeys where carried out in a 'standard' Landover 110, the location was Bosnia.
    • EdFromNY: yes it's my memoir of experiences of a specific tour of duty, which I would ideally like to keep as non-fiction.
    • Chinspinner: thanks for the excellent suggestions.
    As a matter of interest should I ask permission from the Army before writing it?? the book isn't ground breaking it just sitting in a office half the time and travelling around (but a bit more interesting).

    Thanks again to you all.

    Regards,
     
  6. SwampDog
    Offline

    SwampDog Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    409
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Back in Blighty
    It would be prudent to consider the Official Secrets Act, and the effects of what you may divulge.

    Secondly, consider your oppos. Some may want to let sleeping dogs lie (I normally avoid clich├ęs like the plague...) and in any event, I'd certainly seek their blessing and cooperation before identifying them - particularly in the current climate.
     
  7. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    My suggestion would be to finish it first, including editing. Then I would query agents or publishers to see if there is genuine interest and, if so, let them guide you. If you intend to self-pub, consult a literary attorney after your ms is finished.
     
  8. pdendc
    Offline

    pdendc New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi SwampDog, EdFromNY,

    Thank you both again for your advice, which I will take on board.

    SwampDog: problem is it would be difficult to get in contact with my colleagues (if I was to mention them by name) but I know what you mean, are you ex-forces as a matter of interest?

    All the best for Xmas and the New year,

    Regards,
     

Share This Page