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Translating militarese into English

The joy of writing this Military SF story is the ease in which some of the stuff just flows when I write it. It should, after all, since I served in the military for almost sixteen years. Between my time with the 3rd ACR and the 101st ABN (AASLT), it's easy to write about dealing with tanks and tracks, sitting in operation briefings, writing the typical military banter, stuff like that.

But I've come to a painful realization as I write something that just flows off my pen.

Not everyone is going to understand what the hell I'm writing about.

So, I have to slow down and think about what will stand on its own and what I'm going to need to explain one way or another. See, if I were to say the SPARTY* and the SPAAG** were putting down suppressive fire on an observation post, unless you had been in the military or were a military buff, most of that would go over the average reader's head. So, at least here in the beginning, I have to force myself to explain some of the concepts and acronyms that just naturally roll off my tongue.

Still, I'm having a ball writing this one. Especially since I'm writing this one sans outline, which is a major step out in faith for me. I'm definitely a plotter, not a pantser. However, this just seems to be flowing, so I figure why argue with what's working.

So, Steel on Target continues to grow. I added another 1352 words to Chapter Two tonight and have our intrepid band of cavalry troopers on the move. Seems like I'll probably be bouncing between Steel on Target and Childhood's Tears until the end of the year. I still need to decide on a writing schedule for the start of the new year, but this seems to work for now.

Oh and by the way:
*SPARTY - Self-propelled Artillery
**SPAAG - Self-propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns


( 7 howls — Howl with the Pack )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 12th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
But provide some context-based reminders.

"Look out, here comes a RUBBER!"
Ten thousand metal darts scattered over the enemy emplacement, exploding whenever they hit flesh.
Dec. 12th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
I went through the same thing when writing The Last World War, having a grand ol' time as I plunged back into Jarheadese. Eventually, I figured out the same advice as listed above.

'Tis fun, tho, ain't it? :D
Dec. 12th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
It is fun. I've had a couple of people telling me I should spend more time doing Military SF than Fantasy because of my background (completely ignoring my degree in Medieval History - which I pursued based on my love of fantasy . . . *sigh*).

Still, I think there's a good market for both and besides, if Brian Daley can write a story about an M115 taking on a Dragon, why not me?

(Bonus points for the first one who names that story.)
Dec. 12th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
Ha! How about Military Quasi Medieval Fantasy?
"Springald? WTF is a springald?"
Dec. 12th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Ha! How about Military Quasi Medieval Fantasy?
True enough. Therein lies the tightrope walk between putting in all the "cool stuff" you've researched and completely confusing the heck out of your audience.

Now, personally, I tend to think that the average reader of SF/F is a bit more worldly than the average reader period, but when you start confusing your beta readers, you're probably a little too far down in the weeds.

Edited at 2007-12-12 04:06 pm (UTC)
Dec. 12th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Ha! How about Military Quasi Medieval Fantasy?
Steel glinted in the corner of his field of vision. He whipped around. His sword caught the incoming blow and continued onwards in a spray of blood. Olaf stepped over the fallen assassin. "Ha! This barbut may lack facial protection, but the it gives me one hell of a good all-round view."
"What?" said Cerdic. "Sorry. I was too busy tinkering with the balance on my armet. The rondal is too light, so it's just a little front heavy, know what I mean?"
Dec. 13th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
Um, writing is the least of your worries. You do this in conversation all the time. ;-)

My job has become looking for glassy eyes and expanding the acronyms I'm familiar with. :-p
( 7 howls — Howl with the Pack )

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