Partridge India Writing Tips| Military Fiction

Mar 28

War is one of the great philosophical conundrums of the modern age. While resorting to war is often loathed, it has not stopped writers and filmmakers from creating great works of story and study about war. While war itself has been reviled, there are many stories, fictional and historical, about human bravery, brilliance, honor, and even compassion in war. War is almost always accompanied by atrocities and suffering, but in all that darkness there are still lights of the greatness of the human spirit. Thus people write about military fiction, and as such Partridge India wishes to share some advice and suggestions on writing Military Fiction.



Writing Military Fiction
Ancient scribes and historians have recorded many important battles.

If you have read our other Author Advise articles you will not be surprised by this suggestion. Few genres of fiction are as reliant on details as Military Fiction. Whether it is historical, modern, fantasy, or science-fiction, all stories with soldiers and war at their heart depend heavily upon details. Many of the most successful writers in military fiction have either served in the armed forces or have made careers studying military history. There is a lot to keep in mind when writing military fiction, but fortunately there is a large body of resources available.




Military memoirs are among the best sources for writing military fiction, as they often offer personal, direct sources as to life in the military and life on campaign. Most memoirs tend to be of modern warfare, going as far back as World War I, with some going further. Memoirs are useful in capturing what soldiers endure and experience mentally, physically, and emotionally.




Historical accounts of battles are vital for understanding tactics and how various factors can result in victory or defeat. Fortunately such accounts exist for as far back as ancient Egypt. When recreating historical battles or even writing wholly fictional ones, historical battle accounts are unparalleled as resources. One such resource is the book The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: From Marathon to Waterloo, covering key military engagements that shaped history.




Writing Military Fiction
The Battle of Teutoburg Forest- one of the worst military defeats suffered by the Roman Empire.

There is also a veritable mountain range of historical texts, documents, and research at your disposal. While memoirs are good to understand the soldier’s perspective, and battle accounts to understand tactics and planning, it is accounts of historians and the research of scholars that help us understand the wider scope of war. Scholarly books and documents are useful to understand the cause and effect behind wars, societal factors, economic motivations, political tensions, and more. Such texts are vital to understand both sides of a military conflict, so as to have a more objective view of war and conflict.




Research is also vital in knowing and understanding the various terms, jargon, ranks, rules of conduct, weapons and technical devices used by armed forces. Often readers and fans of military fiction have at least some awareness of military procedure and equipment (both weapons and tools). Such readers are greatly appreciative of attention to details.


Partridge India will continue providing tips for writing Military Fiction in part 2.

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By Ian Smith

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