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  1. WriteOrRong

    WriteOrRong New Member

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    Realistic Super Soldier = Boring Read?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by WriteOrRong, Nov 22, 2016.

    I've been thinking on this...

    Would a realistic super solider/super hero style character just automatically be a boring read?
    90% of the time would be spent to describe how they exercise, do training exercises, manage their diets, and in relation to their personalities generally they would mostly be super professional yes men.

    But a lot of people seem to like characters like this (Jack Reacher comes to mind).

    So is this actually interesting, even though it sounds really boring?
    Or are people really just reading things like this to hear about the punching and kicking?
     
  2. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!
    Just because it's 90% of the character's time doesn't mean that it has to be 90% of the story's time ;)

    Just because they're "professional yes-men" regarding what they do doesn't mean that they can't be creative about how to do it. James Bond is (almost) always following orders when he goes into a conflict, but it's always on him and the people immediately around him to make sure that they get out of it.
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    I'd recommend reading up on special forces, in whatever country :) and they are NOT boring personalities!
     
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If you read books about special forces they generally only mention the training etc in passing (may be in a chapter dealing with selection or similar), most of the books focus on operations.

    I'm not sure what you mean about them being yes men - in general the more highly trained an operator is the more likely they to have the freedom to interpret orders at a lower rank.

    I'm currently writing a novel about recon soldiers set in the future but loosely based on the Command and Control operations in Vietnam, I've dedicated maybe 2 chapters to training and selection, and the rest of the book is about the war they are fighting. My guys don't 'manage their diets' principally because military rations are notorious for being shit - it used to be said the 'meals ready to eat' was three lies for the price of one. Exercise is only mentioned in passing , they don't train much as they are too busy fighting.
     
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  5. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Anything can be interesting if you put in conflict and give the reader tension. Sure, maybe 90% of his life is training, but then write about the 48 hour period where he saves the world. The "subject" of a super soldier isn't interesting to me because it's just an idea. You need: "super soldier is called to action when Russian scientists, presumably working on a new weapon to start World War 3, have actually successfully created the first Pokemon".
     
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  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    What do you mean by super?
    Jack Reacher is an ordinary man with extraordinary talents.
    How does that make him super?

    Typically super-soldiers are genetically or cybernetically enhanced.
    So I fail to follow what type of super soldier to which you are referring.
     
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  7. Kinzvlle

    Kinzvlle At the bottom of a pit Contributor

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    Most of the thread seems to be geared towards Special Op types as opposed to Captain America types. When I first saw the thread title my mind went to soldiers on performance enhancers which isn`t unheard of http://www.army-technology.com/features/featurecreating-supermen-battlefield-performance-enhancing-drugs/

    It`s actually a rather interesting topic (IMO), so I don`t think a story on that (if this is where OP was going) would be boring. Maybe don`t focus too much on how my jumping jacks he does per say but if you want to do a training scene with him on some sort of stimulant like mentioned slightly in my link? That wouldn't be boring at all if portrayed well enough.
     
  8. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Super soldier is a relative term and always will be. It just means more technology. An american private, with lightweight armor, night vision goggles, and a weapon that can kill from hundreds of yards away is a super soldier compared to the most elite Roman soldier.

    Super soldiers will likely not go through weird procedures like Captain America, they will simply be given more and more advanced technology: body armor will morph into exosuits. Goggles and PDAs will morph into augmented reality. Weapons and defenses will become more accurate and lethal. That's just normal technological progression, the stories of the men will be as universal as those told about legions of Agamemnon or General MacArthur.

    Like someone else said, 90% of their real life being boring doesn't make the story boring. If Star Trek told the stories over everyday life on the Enterprise, I'm sure it'd be mostly routine maintenance, bureaucratic nonsense, and every day worries. Counselor Troi's log: 5am, got up to do my makeup. 9am, done with my makeup, starting regular counselling session with Lt Barkley, hmm, for him maybe my top shouldn't be so low cut.
     
  9. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I used to read a lot of Warhammer 40k and enjoyed how the authors handled this. Throughout a novel you would get glimpses into their everyday lives and rituals. There is also usually a chunk dedicated to a quick rundown of how they were created.

    My recommendation would be to write the story you want, and later write a story that covers a prequel type of setting.
    (Something in the program goes wrong and the creators are brought in and questioned about everything since day one.)
    (The protagonist becomes a trainer/drill instructor and runs noobs through training, comparing it to older training methods.)
    Is it a squad of soldiers?
    Is it a lone soldier?

    Do they work for a nation?
    Are they in Google's new super soldier program for corporate armies?

    Have they had enhancements that need constant upkeep?
    Is there an anomaly that requires change/upkeep? (Did enhancing odor collecting, eyesight, and hearing, contribute to sinus issues or post-nasal drips?)

    Are they an ex-soldier (Jack Reacher) just wandering the land and setting things right? (Learn a bit about natural strength training in a restricted environment and add a sprinkle of facts)
     
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  10. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    If anything, I think their normal routine and rituals make them *more* interesting. After all, what happens to a character who builds their life around a consistent structure and pattern when all those structures are dismantled.


    This actually came up a little bit in The Accountant, to a more explicit degree (Spoilers, BTW, if you haven't seen the film yet. It's good, so you may want to watch it unspoiled): The main character is a super-soldier with incredible mathematics skills on top of his kung-fu gunfighting capabilities. He is also autistic, and we get to see a glimpse of his routine at the start of the film: He puts forward a front as a low-end tax accountant, follows a rigid diet and training regimen to keep himself in shape, takes on specifically selected jobs that will make him lots of money and allow him to work on puzzles which he finds interesting.

    The conflict of the film, then, comes up when the person who hired him to use his incredible mathematics skills to find a financial leak decides to cancel the contract, leaving him with a half-finished puzzle, disrupting his precise routine. Things escalate when someone tries to have him and someone else who worked on the job killed, and he has to put all of his supersoldier abilities to use in order to solve the mystery and ultimately find out what's going on and stop the person trying to kill him.


    Only about the first twenty minutes or so of the film (Which is two hours long, so around 18%) shows his 'mundane' routine, just enough to establish his life so that when it's disrupted we know what's wrong. The rest of the movie is about investigation, a few brutal action scenes, unveiling secrets, and an enormous sniper rifle taking people's heads off.
     
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  11. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    @Mikmaxs I personally would've put that in spoiler tags, but yes :) I loved that movie, and I loved how they spent some time, but not too much, showing what his everyday routine looks like.

    Plus: if it were a rule that "if 90% of a person's normal day is training, then 90% of the story has to be about training too," then characters would have to spend a lot more of the narrative sleeping and going to the bathroom than they normally spend in most narratives ;)
     
  12. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    I forgot that spoiler tags really existed. (Anyways, most of what I explained takes place in the first half an hour or so and/or was given away in the trailers, so I'm not too worried about it ruining someone's moviegoing experience.)
     
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  13. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Good point :rolleyes: There are parts of the movie that I'd be horrified to spoil, but yeah, now that you mention it this isn't one of them.
     
  14. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    Generally, yes. Anyone that has a lack of laws or abilities to overcome in order to achieve a goal tend to be boring.

    You need to remove the construct that provides them with their abilities to keep things interesting. Look at Universal Soldier. Had he not escaped and then lose the technical requirements for survival, basically the lab, there would have been nothing to overcome.
     
  15. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    Some are. They're just regular guys, some with wild personalities while others are dull as fuck. Lots of them are pretty serious about gear and training and nothing else.
     
  16. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    This thread is reminding me of a Sinpsons episode where George Lucas created a Star Wars. The first hour was a role call of the galactic senate, followed by someone crashing into the senate to only propose a change to some boring policy. The speaker said it had to wait so the senator sat down and drank coffee.
     
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  17. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    And the senator was an AT-AT, which made it funnier, especially when he put on glasses to read the proposal... anyway...
     

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