1. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    I'm stuck, need advice

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sophia_esteed, Nov 10, 2008.

    Yeah, right, after having written about half of the third chapter, I found myself totally stuck.

    The problem is the following:

    I have to describe the arrival of one of my characters at the army training camp, but I'm not sure about how to render it. Of course, I've never joined the army myself and never been at war either and DON'T PLAN TO.
    But since I've never had such experiences myself, I'm at a loss on how to write about them.
    I'd like a little advice on how to get the task done.
    A list of books to read and/or movies to watch would be of great help too.

    EDIT:

    Oh and I like playing video games very much, so if you would include a list of games I'd give them a try, too. Simple stuff, not the heaviest shooter stuff.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    get the script/video of 'private benjamin' and see how they did it there... or, if your character is a guy, just find some novels/screenplays with scenes like that and see how other writers handled it... you can find books with an amazon search using keywords... and same for movies, on www.imdb.com
     
  3. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Forest Gump might be a worthwhile watch. The storyline takes Forest and Bubba from recruit all the way to actual combat.
     
  4. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    You could go with what you think it's like/want it to be like for your story, but realism is probably best.

    I'm not sure how much help you're asking for, do you just need help getting him into the door, or what? If you don't plan on telling the reader about the actual camp/you don't need help with that, you could go with saying the the character doesn't know what's going to happen yet, he and the other recruits were just told to jump into a truck/plane/XXX and that they're going to boot camp. I can't think of any books or movies that cover army training camp... sorry.
    Nate
     
  5. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    Hm, I didn't think about it before, but Forest Gump might be a good idea.
    And, yeah, I was thinking of telling the reader about the actual camp, too, but I'm having a little bit of trouble imagining how it would be, granted that the novel is a sci-fi one.
    But all that comes to my mind are the representations from movies like Full Metal Jacket or Top Gun. For some reason, neither of them seem to fit with a sci-fi story, though.
     
  6. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    one thing that pops into mind, is the movie starship troopers. Check out the mobile infantry training camp scenes...should be exactly what you're looking for. Now putting it down in words, thats the challenge. All the best.
     
  7. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    Ok, so we have a sci fi training camp. Why would it be different from a current one? They would have different weapons and equipment, but the basic would be the same. I've had the opportunity to listen to two air force pilots talk about their basic training experiences, and I've had my own of sorts as a CAP cadet, if you know what that is.
    Here's as many points as I can think of.

    1. There'll be a lot of instructors yelling at the recruits.
    2. The recruits will be very confused, just doing exactly as they're told.
    3. There will be a LOT of physical training, from obstacle courses to push ups.
    4. No talking during meals.
    5. They will learn how to drill, and they will drill all over the place. (PLEASE research it before adding drill stuff if you do, so you don't potentially embarass yourself by not doing it right.)
    6. In the morning, before they do anything else, they'll play some sort of reveille and post the flag. In the evening they'll play retreat and retreat the flag.
    7. They will be broken up into smaller groups, not sure what those groups would be called but for me it was flights. Each flight will have a flight commander and a flight sergeant. The flight sticks together, doing everything together. Probably THE biggest thing you're supposed to learn is teamwork.


    I can't think of anymore, hope that helps! Nate
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Another source to look at is the current Battlestar Galactica series. There is not a lot of footage given to basic training, but there is certainly a good window into their daily military life, and it has an authentic feel to it.

    There is a wealth of military fiction - books, TV series, movies. The biggest problem you'll have is picking out the gems from the utter crap.
     
  9. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    Wow! Thanks to everyone! With this I think I can keep going.
    I'll do a little research on my own, as Cogito suggested, too.
    To be honest, at first I thought of skipping the whole training part, since it seemed awfully difficult to write, but then I changed my mind.
    Since the aim of the novel is basically to show how the characters grow up while taking part in the war, something would be amiss if I skipped the training part.
    It's like saying "they were innocent and naive before but no more" without really showing how were they when they were innocent and naive - well, something like this.
     
  10. ZionsRodeVos
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    ZionsRodeVos New Member

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    If you don't mind I'll add a little here. I was in the US Marine Corps and went to boot camp (basic training) in 1985. I still remember many aspects of it as it is a complete change from what a person is used to as a civilian.

    A lot of the paperwork was done before I got on the plane at the recruiters office. The day I left I was handed a sealed 10 X 11 or so envelope (it contained data about us and became the start of our military record) and told that if it was opened before I arrived I'd be in trouble. I arrived at the airport where a drill instructor picked us up and we were already getting yelled at. He took us to the camp and among the first things that happened was they cut off all our hair, gave us our uniforms, had us change into our uniforms, and then we boxed up everything we had brought with us including wallet, money, clothes, whatever and didn't get that back until we completed boot camp.

    The next day or so was spent filling out more paperwork and getting vaccinations. We were constantly standing in lines and they had everything organized to move us through fast. A line to get our hair cut. A line to get a check up. A line to sign paperwork.

    And then the training really began.

    We ran almost every day, we got yelled at every day, we constantly had classes about military terms, ranks, history, ribbons, uniforms, weapons, etc. We hand washed our own clothes. We only got a small amount of free time every night.

    I could go on but your original question seemed to me to ask about arrival at basic training so what I have shared is one such way to arrive.
     
  11. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    Again, though, just please please please make sure it's realistic. Knowing all the military stuff, why they do what they do, what they do, when they do it, I cringe when I see/read a lot of stuff because they do it naively. You wouldn't believe how precise and exact a salute is, and when you do it is mind boggling. If you're indoors, outdoors, holding something, how heavy the item is, which hand it's in, whether you're walking, whether a certain song is playing, whether the person you pass is higher ranking or the same rank, whether they're an officer, the list goes on. *shudder*


    edit: We posted at the same time... I forgot to mention everything Zions said but I remember it all now. Hair is a big deal in the military, as well as the fact that you never have down time. It's go go go, with classroom classes and hands on classes, etc..
     
  12. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I'm going deviate a little from Lipton's advice a little and suggest that you make it totally unrealistic. It’s Sci-Fi, why not push the envelope a little with how soldiers are trained.

    For example, instead of classes, how about information being uploaded via neural implant? You can still have a yelling sergeant but I wouldn't lose the Sci-fi feel to this scene.
     
  13. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    I disagree with you only because that sounds extremely boring. Basic training should be an experience you won't forget, not just a check in for all the data you could ever need with an implant. At least for the sake of the story, I wouldn't do it like that. But that's just me :)
    Nate
     
  14. Orca
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    Orca New Member

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    Look... when you are recruited into the army you are sent to do some medical tests. if you have any kind of problem (handicapped, need to wear glasses, overweight or anything of the sort) you are not qualified for elite. I suggest having a scene where your character is tested medically, barely qualifying for where you want him to go.

    Also, have this character and his fellow recruits carrying something heavy all their training... could be nice;) eh?

    By the way, try Call Of Duty.

    Orca
     
  15. Orca
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    Orca New Member

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    You could have your character befriend two other recruits during his training... one of them good at some training area(sniping,running, tactics) and one of them good at a different area
     
  16. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    Wow! All of you added a big deal of material I could work on! Thanks! Thanks a million!
    I was just so confused and so out of ideas, I really couldn't go on, but with this it'll be so much simpler to imagine how could the whole training experience be!
    When I finished editing chapter two I'll go on to chapter 3 and 4 and finally start talking business about the actual war, instead of just mentioning it.
    Again, thanks a lot to everyone!!!
     

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