Posted on Oct 24, 2019
SPC Austin Wilson
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Hello! I am in the process of writing a Military Scifi story, and my main character is an Officer Cadet who is attached to an Infantry Company for training. The issue is, I was not an officer, and I only have a vague understanding of the Officer culture, duties, and general thought process. Any general advice is welcomed, I want to represent his character well, I hate seeing someone write about a certain group and end up doing it wrong! Thanks.
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SFC Career Counselor
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You should change the character of your story. The best writing always comes from experience and observation.
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SPC Austin Wilson
SPC Austin Wilson
1 mo
True, my main thought process is i don't want to take the easy route with this, i want to challenge myself and write something ive never trues before. But I'll definitely keep your advice in mind!
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SFC Patient Service Tech
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Figure out what you don't know, create questions, then interview Officers to get those answers. Interview Cadets, too. Ensure that you are interviewing Infantry Officers since that is the type of character you have.

Either that, or change the character to an area in which you do know about.
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SPC Austin Wilson
SPC Austin Wilson
1 mo
Great advice, thanks! I'll definitely find some willing victims haha
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LTC Jason Mackay
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Edited 1 mo ago
SPC Austin Wilson couple things.

- As SFC (Join to see) said, you may want to write what you know.
- as SFC (Join to see) said you could try constructing a structured interview for an officer/Cadet willing to help you. What you have here is the "best self perspective" where if you are writing a flawed character, it may be kind of difficult.
- create a composite of two-three officers you have known that are close to your character. The risk here is if it is too close in personal detail and it is published, then you have people coming to you for various reasons.

Not sure how you plan to have this character unfold.

Edit: you may want to read Starship Troopers as it gives an interesting take on enlisted to officer and includes Officer Candidates leading troops in a Sci Fi setting. If you simply watch the film, I will lose my mind. The film and book are only tangentially related.

You may also want to try reading some of the books by David Drake, particularly those in the Hammer's series. My gut tells me they are composites of officers he knew while in Vietnam in 11th ACR.

You may also want to try reading Company Commander by McDonald. Harold Coyle also writes the subject well, as he was a commissioned officer, armor. The book series that starts with either Sword Point or The Ten Thousand. Ed Ruggerio 38 North Yankee. Ed Ruggerio was a an Airborne Infantry Officer. His characters were pretty realistic. Plus reading good writing helps with good writing.
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SPC Austin Wilson
SPC Austin Wilson
1 mo
Thanks for the comment! I'll definitely check out those authors. And i read starship troopers when i was at JRTC, and recently listened to it!love the book, and yeah, the movie is fun, but so insulting to the wonderful book. I'll admit that i took some inspiration from rico becoming an officer.
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SFC Career Counselor
SFC (Join to see)
1 mo
I was thinking exactly of Starship Troopers, how you can definitely tell the author was actually in the military versus someone writing about it. The little things are what made it so relatable. The moment I realized that the author was definitely military was when the character goes to the supply clerk to change out his parade uniform and the guy says, "We have two sizes - too big, and too small" lol
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SPC Austin Wilson
SPC Austin Wilson
1 mo
SFC (Join to see) oh yeah! I forgot that he was a vet!
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LTC Jason Mackay
LTC Jason Mackay
1 mo
SFC (Join to see) - USNA class of 1921. medically chattered in the late twenties. I think for TB. He tried to come back in during WWII but was denied. Hence the prominent disabled characters
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