Saturday, May 13, 1995

Suggestions for a military novel?

Here is my prologue and a bit of the first chapter. It is based on true events, and I am taking some creative license. I am currently rethinking some of the word choices, but am just not sure where to go. The story is about caring for patients on a ship during OIF/OEF. If you have any suggestions or help it would be greatly appreciated.


The Navy had chartered a plane to carry the 400 sailors to Bahrain. From the moment that Lauren stepped onto the plane, she was terrified. She had never been on a ship, nor had she been in a war zone. These things were the biggest of all those weighing on her mind. Everything from being able to communicate with her family at home to what she would see were all concerns to her.

Lauren was happy that she was being deployed with her best friend Rick Crenshaw. They had been friends since boot camp and had gotten very close over the past five years. Several other friends were also on the plane, but Lauren was especially happy to have Rick along.

The flight to Bahrain was about eighteen hours and there was going to be a plane change in Italy. As the plane took off, Lauren found herself deep in thought about what she was flying to. She was flying to a medical support ship in the Persian Gulf. That was right in the middle of a war zone and she had no idea what to expect.

Lauren found her seat next to Rick, and settled in for the long flight. The entire plane was buzzing with anticipation. Everyone was anticipating the arrival in Bahrain and wondering what would be greeting them. Lauren knew that the base was a short drive from the airport, but had no idea what was was to come.

Chapter 1

Landing in Bahrain was one of the most terrifying experiences of Lauren’s life. When she stepped off the plane, the route she was to take was lined on both sides by men with large guns. Stepping onto the tarmac, Lauren felt the hot sun beat on her shoulders, the bright light forcing her to squint. “Hurry along,” was the only command she was given by the armed men.

The crew of the ship was then loaded onto buses and taken down to the docks. It was about a twenty minute ride and went through downtown. Some of the most beautiful buildings were right next to some of the most run down derelict buildings. there were people walking down the streets in all manner of dress, from the traditional full women’s hijab, to men in dress slacks and polo shirts.

Lauren began to look for signs of the war impacting this country. She noticed that the buses were not looked upon the same as the other vehicles. Some younger men actually spit at them. The driver of the bus told Lauren that the area that was by the docks used to be the most important area, and housed the most influential members of the country, but now it is very run down and is mostly a place for vagrants and the homeless.

Answer on Suggestions for a military novel?

Well, I'm afraid you haven't got a story here yet. We have all this and have no idea what the real problem this character is going to face is. Worse, I don't believe this character at all. I can't see someone having been in the Navy for five years and being deployed having no idea what they are coming into and reacting to "large guns" and being this afraid. I know that it's possible to be in the Navy for some time without being on a ship although they used to require everyone to make a training cruise fairly early in their time in service. We don't get any feeling for the character other than weakness and fear. We could use some dialog to get to know her. Maybe have her talk to Rick about what she's feeling. But I hope she's not really the wimp she seems. I don't think I would make the being in a novel a "prologue" when there's no significant change in time or character. Give us some story and a reason to like the protagonist.