Where am I? Who are you?

Welcome to Eighth Angel Studios. We're going to write a novel.

This is a collaborative project- contributors (like you) provide characters who are woven into the story as it progresses. But your involvement doesn't end there- as the story progresses you can give feedback on your character, developing them further, influencing their decisions and guiding their actions. The more feedback you provide, the more development your character can receive.

If you want to join in, please follow this blog and comment on this post with a thirty-second description of your character- a name and enough to describe a first meeting. That'll get the ball rolling.

Anyway, enough rambling- on to the plot!

Friday, 22 October 2010

[DIS] You Ever Been Shot?

"They make psychiatrists get psychoanalysed before they can get certified, but they don't make a surgeon get cut on. That seem right to you?"
-Jubal Early: Firefly, 'Objects In Space'.

Part of writing- particularly the sort of writing I get drawn to doing- is being able to visualise, describe and draw the reader into things that they have never, or indeed could never experience. A significant amount of that is a lie- it's not like I'm ever going to fly fast jets or handle the first contact with an alien race. A lot of things I describe and am planning to describe I have no direct experience of. So I've got to make it up, based largely on what few relevant experiences I've got and on what I've read by those closer to the subject matter.

Getting shot at, however, was something I figured was worth trying, at least after a fashion. So I went airsofting.

This has taught me some very useful things about combat. first, and most importantly, all the various bits of cool tactical gear you can cram onto your gun and your body will, in most circumstances, serve to get in your way. As the day went on the scope, silencer, hydration pack, scrim netting and pistol holster came off as they were more trouble than they were worth. They're fine for not-fighting, but when you have to sprint, crawl and dive with them your priorities change quickly.

Secondly, running in kit takes a hell of a lot more anergy and a higher level of fitness than you think. You see those videos daying things like "There's fit, then there's Army fit"? They ain't kidding. Three days on and I can still feel the strain in my legs. it's a damned fine workout though.

Thirdly, the more you want to move around the smaller and lighter you want your weapon to be. Even an SMG like the G36C I'd armed myself with weighs quite a bit, and once you've factored in ammo as well you're carrying a fair load before you even think about anything you don't absolutely need. if I'd had a full-size rifle or something even larger, I'd have been holing up and waiting for people to come to me rather than face lugging it around.

Fourth, no matter how good you are, you're only as good as the people around you. When you're being shot at you rely on your friends and compatriots both consciously and unconsciously- knowing they're there and that they have your back lets you concentrate on your task in hand. Meanwhile, you also know that your actions are giving them the same boost.

Writing action-oriented fiction means needing to write heroes, but how does one consciously do that? I've pored through Victoria Cross and Medal Of Honor citations, and the only conclusion I can come to is that those people we call heroes are mostly doing what they hope their buddies would do for them if the situation were reversed. No-one thinks they're a hero- at least no-one, in my opinion, who actually is. The thing, then, that makes a dramatic hero, is a character who'll do the right thing at the right time irrespective of the personal risk. The person who'll go the extra mile not for any conscious reason but because he can't countenance not doing so. And the person who, when it becomes apparent what they've done, won't blow their own trumpet about it because they don't feel they've done anything to deserve it. No-one's a hero in their own eyes.

I'm not the sort of person I've described, at least not as far as I know and as far as I've experienced. I can't say I wouldn't want to be- everyone wants to be a better person. I guess being a hero means stopping wanting it and, when the opportunity arises, aspiring through action to be such a person rather than staying where you are and hoping someone else steps up. These are the sort of people I aspire to write- these are the traits I hope the characters in this tale will develop as time goes on.

if you want to help a hero find their way, I'm still looking for character briefs.

1 comment:

  1. So, people who airsoft - does that make them softies?

    Sorry for getting you spotted by the way - I don't even read war novels so was woefully unprepared for wriggling through grass and thorny bushes.

    As to writing heroes, I need them for my own stories - but I can give you all the baddies you want! Ooodles of evil if you like. :-P