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  1. Just Jon

    Just Jon Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Slightly left of center

    Military titles

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Just Jon, Apr 16, 2012.

    dubya's post about Monarch titles had me thinking about military titles. I employ them in my current project and have taken some liberties with how they are used, since it's SF and not on Earth. But I'm wondering if this will confuse readers who are used to the more common meanings. For example, if a Captain is second below a Commodore in rank. My concern about made up titles is that 1) nobody will know what they mean, and 2) they may just end up sounding silly.

    Stick with common meanings or make up new "other world" ranks? Which would work best for you if you were reading it?
  2. GillySoose

    GillySoose Member

    May 31, 2011
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    I'd say it depends on how crucial it is for readers to tell apart the ranks. If you mention a captain taking orders form a commodore or something like that then it'd be pretty clear who's superior in rank. If there's lots of rank names being thrown around and it's important to the story, then yes, perhaps some readers might get confused and try to look it up and get even more confused because real ranks are different.
  3. CheddarCheese

    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

    Feb 5, 2012
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    Yeah, Gilly has it right.

    Your readers will find out the 'power' of each rank by seeing how different characters interact with each other. If a Captain references that his orders were assigned to him by a Commodore, the reader will automatically know that a Commodore has more power than a Captain.

    And in reality, even with 'real' rankings, there'll be a lot of readers who don't actually know chain of command, such that it wouldn't matter if you used real or 'other world' ranks.
  4. Pink-Angel-1992

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Oct 27, 2011
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    I have to agree with Cheddar with a lot of readers not knowng 'real' rankings. Also, you said it's a SF, so the ranking system would be different anyways I'd imagine. I did have a quick look once (can't remember why) and saw that Britain's and America's miliary ranks are different, so it not the same everywhere on Earth.
  5. James Berkley

    James Berkley Banned

    Oct 1, 2011
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    Also remember the same rank can have a different title. a LT is and O-2 int in the army but is and O-3 in the USN. A o-6 is a captain in the USN but a colonel in the USMC, and Royal Marines.

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