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  1. #1
    Senior Member Herman Munster's Avatar
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    1,683 words Back in Khaki

    Back in Khaki


    “120 metres longer, 50 metres left.” I said.

    BOOM!
    Kaboomfah!!!

    “Thanks man, we been shootin’ at that for a month.” He said.


    Chapter 1 Peace

    “You have been recalled to active duty.” The old man said.
    “What the hell does that mean?” I asked, as politely as possible, no really.
    “They have had casualties, illness, sickness and injuries.” He said.
    “You almost made that sound like they were self inflicted.” I said.

    He flashed me his eyes before he dropped them to some papers on his desk. He didn’t even dare breathe out. Maybe I said something that was closer to the truth than I was supposed to guess.
    He was another new old man. I wondered when they would stop sending them, give in, change the criteria. All of these had white hair, big, small, fat or thin, they never lasted. Between the work, me and handling the other personalities in the teams, they all went away, usually sooner than later.

    Hell, they were sending children over there as usual. Anyone with at least half a brain would never go to a forward position and call in artillery on themselves. That was exactly what they did to me. Call me ‘special’ and then sent me out alone, past the front lines to call in the shells on cloudy days when the reapers and predators couldn’t get the video they needed to adjust the shots. I was just another dumbarse. I thought that calling me special was some kind of compliment, something that said I was better than everyone else. Boy, what a crock that was.

    “You ship out at 13:00.” He eventually said. “It is a Galaxy but get the right one. There is Germany flight and the Kandahar.”
    Ah yes, Kandahar, how many times had I been there? The poor sods, 10 years of hell being ripped out of your country by three or four sides, all ‘right’ , how can they never know they can’t all be right and no matter what their sycophants pump them up with, history will always reveal the pathetic truth?
    Politics, not my job, not my place, not my business. My business is killing. The more the better and the most efficiently as possible. Sure, these would be AlQeer and Taliban kids, young men and women, what I would call zealots but they would simply say they were repelling the foreign invaders. Masses of older arseholes from every side would be massaging power sources and getting as many kids killed as possible to ramp up the tragedy of the whole thing, no one was right, all were wrong.

    I didn’t pack a bag. I just went into the cool of shed one and sat in the corner by the door.
    I was ‘dressed’ as normal:
    One 19 x 9 mm Glock standard load
    Five clips each with 17 shots standard load, horizontal in the webbing below the pistol.
    One 19 x 9 mm Glock suppressed load with suppressor
    Five clips each with 17 shots suppressed load, horizontal in the webbing below the pistol.
    On each ankle a Colt .357 magnum utility weapon.
    6 x 6 shot quick loads on the utility belt for the .357.
    One Rapala 7 inch filleting knife in the left boot.
    One Wiltshire Finska 5 inch blade utility knife in the right boot. This had the two stitching needles and assorted sutures below the brass cap in the plastic handle.
    One x 42 inch braided Garrotte, looped around a button inside my shirt and draped down my back.
    The wrist compass went in the pack as did the digital watch. I would mainly use the phone for time keeping but the watch as a backup was essential.
    The Victory Binoculars RF were critical for this task and settled, in the hard case, into the bag.
    All I needed now to be safe was water. I had my hat and sunglasses on, the prescription ones.

    That sergeant came into the shed.
    “It is 12:00. I have this chicken salad from the mess. I will check back before it leaves.” He said and left the food on my knees.

    He would make someone a good wife one day.

    I ate the food and it was excellent as always. It was the chicken I liked a lot. They put some curry or some warm spice in it, just enough to notice but not enough to burn you inside out. I emptied the water bottle I had on me and refilled it in the shed. I secured three more and filled them, grudgingly admitting to myself that I now needed the rucksack which I had previously promised myself I wouldn’t take. I tossed in a pack of underpants and one of socks. In went the reading glasses, the spare sunglasses and two sets of contact lenses from the filing cabinet. I put two spare radios in the pack and two spare earplug leads. It was mostly empty, why not take everything to make myself self sufficient?

    Spare shorts, longs, a pack of 6 t shirts.
    One pair heavy utility gloves and two pair soft leather working gloves.
    I looked at the rifle cabinet and could see in my minds eye the .50 calibre MacMillan Single Shot Bolt Action Sniper Weapon with the custom 24 Power Super Star Mirror Scope. No. I was going to scout for artillery, not long term deploy and chase targets of opportunity. The rifle would stay in the cabinet.

    Nothing I would take would have my rank on it. Nothing of ours ever had our names on it, so that was not an issue. They had to be desperate to be sending in an old, out of touch, has been to do the job, there was no point getting noticed and conned into anything else.

    “It is 12:45.” That sergeant said and held the side door open probably to make sure that I did actually leave.
    There was nothing surer than that G was never going to lift off with a general booked onto it and not onboard. The first call, if I were missing, would be to that sergeant and he had no desire to be heading up a search party when wasting a few minutes with me now could prevent all that. He shepherded me out, a bit like a mother hen with a brood as he slipped both his hands down my back and moved me along a little faster. I don’t know that I was too happy with that. Had it been anyone else, I may well have turned and dropped them on the spot for the impertinence of it, but this guy had earned a little latitude over the years and if I needed to move faster for him, I just would.

    By the time I turned right to the airfield he was gone. I guess I walked up the ramp of the Galaxy right on the mark of 13:00 since they began raising it before I cleared it and the engines were being fired up.
    “Name?”
    “Smith.”
    “All onboard, ramp raised.” He said into the headset.

    ********************
    OK this is the start to my latest book in my series with the same MC, same #2 MC. The same army setting.

    I guess I am just looking for a feel as if this is interesting. It is to me since I know the MC so very well. This is my 46th start of a book. I have 20 completed. That means I have around 26 started and unfinished at this stage.
    #38 is Calabria and unfinished at 62k. I just haven't got around to the main plot yet. I do that sometimes.
    I am quite happy it is a series and not a single cunning and unique plot everyone. I like to think it is Harry Potter like, he starts off maybe 8 or 10 and gets to 20 odd over the eight books. Mine start at 39 to age 42. So I feel it is as much of a journal or diary than anything else.

    Of course it all really depends on having read book 1 to get thru the rest to 20. I doubt you would get much outa 20 without the previous 19. Am I doing something wrong here?
    Of course, any of you who are bored and don't want to buy any books, email me and I will attach up to all 20 or them for bored people. Feedback, as we all know, is extremely precious.

    As a side issue, I am reading some similar books a friend has promoted to me. It is set in Spec Ops, like mine I think but I have to say, for a million seller, i reckon we would rip the carp outa this turkey if they posted the first 10k words on here. I have picked up a number of factual errors, one is, street #3 runs from #1 & #2 intersection straight to #2 & #4 intersection, an impossibility unless it is street #2. Never mind.

    So I am having real trouble reading this book continuously, I keep finding myself having to pick it up again, between so many dalliances that shouldn't occur if it was riveting.
    I am not arrogant enuff yet to post the successful author's name! <GRIN>

    BTW all the wasted time on the flash formatting didn't stick. I hate that!



  2. #2
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Herman Munster;1342371]
    Back in Khaki


    Hi Herman,

    I liked his and I would definitely read on. It is not a subject I know much about, which makes it all the more appealing.

    I've commented on a couple of things that stood out to me:



    “120 metres longer, 50 metres left.” I said.

    BOOM!
    Kaboomfah!!!

    “Thanks man, we been shootin’ at that for a month.” He said.

    I wondered why this part was here and not included or apparently related to the main body of the piece?



    Chapter 1 Peace

    “You have been recalled to active duty.” The old man said.
    “What the hell does that mean?” I asked, as politely as possible, no really. It works better without 'no really'
    “They have had casualties, illness, sickness and injuries.” He said.
    “You almost made that sound like they were self inflicted.” I said.

    You should have commas inside the speech marks- not full stops

    He flashed me his eyes before he dropped them to some papers on his desk. He didn’t even dare breathe out. Maybe I said something that was closer to the truth than I was supposed to guess.
    He was another new old man. I wondered when they would stop sending them, give in, change the criteria. All of these had white hair, big, small, fat or thin, they never lasted. Between the work, me and handling the other personalities in the teams, they all went away, usually sooner than later.

    There are a lot of commas here; help yourself to a semi-colon!

    Hell, they were sending children over there as usual. Anyone with at least half a brain would never go to a forward position and call in artillery on themselves. That was exactly what they did to me. Call me ‘special’ and then sent me out alone, past the front lines to call in the shells on cloudy days when the reapers and predators couldn’t get the video they needed to adjust the shots. I was just another dumbarse. I thought that calling me special was some kind of compliment, something that said I was better than everyone else. Boy, what a crock that was.

    “You ship out at 13:00.” He eventually said. “It is a Galaxy but get the right one. There is Germany flight and the Kandahar.”
    Ah yes, Kandahar, how many times had I been there? The poor sods, 10 years of hell being ripped out of your country by three or four sides, all ‘right’ , how can they never know they can’t all be right and no matter what their sycophants pump them up with, history will always reveal the pathetic truth?
    Politics, not my job, not my place, not my business. My business is killing. The more the better and the most efficiently as possible. Sure, these would be AlQeer and Taliban kids, young men and women, what I would call zealots but they would simply say they were repelling the foreign invaders. Masses of older arseholes from every side would be massaging power sources and getting as many kids killed as possible to ramp up the tragedy of the whole thing, no one was right, all were wrong.

    'My business is killing' is a great line.
    I didn’t pack a bag. I just went into the cool of shed one and sat in the corner by the door.
    I was ‘dressed’ as normal:
    One 19 x 9 mm Glock standard load
    Five clips each with 17 shots standard load, horizontal in the webbing below the pistol.
    One 19 x 9 mm Glock suppressed load with suppressor
    Five clips each with 17 shots suppressed load, horizontal in the webbing below the pistol.
    On each ankle a Colt .357 magnum utility weapon.
    6 x 6 shot quick loads on the utility belt for the .357.
    One Rapala 7 inch filleting knife in the left boot.
    One Wiltshire Finska 5 inch blade utility knife in the right boot. This had the two stitching needles and assorted sutures below the brass cap in the plastic handle.
    One x 42 inch braided Garrotte, looped around a button inside my shirt and draped down my back.
    The wrist compass went in the pack as did the digital watch. I would mainly use the phone for time keeping but the watch as a backup was essential.
    The Victory Binoculars RF were critical for this task and settled, in the hard case, into the bag.
    All I needed now to be safe was water. I had my hat and sunglasses on, the prescription ones.

    This is much more interesting. It sets the scene for a cold-hearted military-trained killer - great hook, but there is a lot of info to get past before we get to it

    That sergeant came into the shed.
    “It is 12:00. I have this chicken salad from the mess. I will check back before it leaves.” He said and left the food on my knees.

    He would make someone a good wife one day.

    I ate the food and it was excellent as always. It was the chicken I liked a lot. They put some curry or some warm spice in it, just enough to notice but not enough to burn you inside out. I emptied the water bottle I had on me and refilled it in the shed. I secured three more and filled them, grudgingly admitting to myself that I now needed the rucksack which I had previously promised myself I wouldn’t take. I tossed in a pack of underpants and one of socks. In went the reading glasses, the spare sunglasses and two sets of contact lenses from the filing cabinet. I put two spare radios in the pack and two spare earplug leads. It was mostly empty, why not take everything to make myself self sufficient?

    Spare shorts, longs, a pack of 6 t shirts.
    One pair heavy utility gloves and two pair soft leather working gloves.
    I looked at the rifle cabinet and could see in my minds eye the .50 calibre MacMillan Single Shot Bolt Action Sniper Weapon with the custom 24 Power Super Star Mirror Scope. No. I was going to scout for artillery, not long term deploy and chase targets of opportunity. The rifle would stay in the cabinet.

    Nothing I would take would have my rank on it. Nothing of ours ever had our names on it, so that was not an issue. They had to be desperate to be sending in an old, out of touch, has been to do the job, there was no point getting noticed and conned into anything else.

    “It is 12:45.” That sergeant said and held the side door open probably to make sure that I did actually leave.
    There was nothing surer than that G was never going to lift off with a general booked onto it and not onboard. The first call, if I were missing, would be to that sergeant and he had no desire to be heading up a search party when wasting a few minutes with me now could prevent all that. He shepherded me out, a bit like a mother hen with a brood as he slipped both his hands down my back and moved me along a little faster. I don’t know that I was too happy with that. Had it been anyone else, I may well have turned and dropped them on the spot for the impertinence of it, but this guy had earned a little latitude over the years and if I needed to move faster for him, I just would.

    By the time I turned right to the airfield he was gone. I guess I walked up the ramp of the Galaxy right on the mark of 13:00 since they began raising it before I cleared it and the engines were being fired up.
    “Name?”
    “Smith.”
    “All onboard, ramp raised.” He said into the headset.

    ********************
    Some of the dialogue is a little stilted, but other than that I found this very appealing.

    I guess I am just looking for a feel as if this is interesting.

    It definitely is! Good luck

    Sue
    Last edited by Susan B; 11-19-2011 at 04:29 PM.

  3. #3
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    Ahh. I'll read anything military. For all we argue about back story, I think this actually doesn't have enough. Some kind of bigger picture. I struggle to remember that not everyone catches my military references. What to put in, what to leave out? How many people know what a Galaxy is? How much detail do they need to have? Do you expand the name to Galaxy C5A, do you describe it as a troop transport, mention that you fly backwards in it? Sounds like you've been doing a lot of work on a series, but this excerpt is all over the place. And the book should be able to stand alone in some way that would make a reader desperate to lay hands on the first 19.

  4. #4
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    Herman, which army is your MC in?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Herman Munster's Avatar
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    Answer the easiest ones first!

    Author Pendragin

    I live in New Zealand, I have been to Ozzie three times but to no other country.
    The MC is in the US military, based at Fort Bragg, NC.
    If you are military and in the US mil, you should know that the only Galaxy's are owned by the USAF and State Air National Guard's. <GRIN>

    Alice Clay

    Lockheed Galaxy C5B. Military and Strategic Airlift. The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft built by Lockheed. It provides the United States Air Force (USAF) with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsize and oversize cargos, including all air-certifiable cargo. [from wiki]
    "Ahh. I'll read anything military."
    Well, I have about 1.6 million words in the 20 completed books you are welcome to get acquainted with.
    marmite909ATmailDOTcom [disguised a little to avoid auto scanners] email me and you shall all the words I can write! That is open to any and all people who will give me feedback. Feedback MUST be: Good, Bad, Indifferent. THAT is all I require, one of those words. <GRIN>

    Alice, you say "all over the place" but then don't give me details. I accept the rebuke but need details to be able to correct my approach, please. Here or email is fine. I do know the stand alone bit only too well. The problem I have is that to detail every detail again might be the whole book all over again. I try to suggest that the reader starts at book 1 b4 they get to this one, possibly #46, if I complete all the others I have started. I have 20 complete at this time.
    I had thort that I put in more detail of the set up this time than I have ever done b4. That listing of his "dressed" state being a glaring example of it. Had Susan not been so complimentary about it, I may be tempted to delete it altogether.
    That is exactly what he always carries, well, plus a chemical pack mostly as well, with sleep, paralysation and kill potions as well. When I did start it, I got a bit worried as the list got longer and longer and I felt it was becoming boring, especially where he carries two of an item, like the Glocks altho they are completely different, they are identical. Hahaha.

    Maybe posting the next bit of the chapter, not sure what word count i am on but it will go to 80k at least. Not chap 1, the whole book.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Herman Munster's Avatar
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    Susan you earned an individual reply!

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    I liked his and I would definitely read on. It is not a subject I know much about, which makes it all the more appealing.
    This is very encouraging, thank you for that at least.
    Covert Spec Ops is by definition something that none of know much about at all. That is partly why I wanted to write about it initially. What I HATE is collateral damage. All of our governments, all over the world are engaged in Covert Spec Ops everyday. People are killed and black ops are conducted in our names daily, and that there is collateral damage, we are responsible for each and every innocent death THEY cause.
    Usually, we don't know about it outside of formal wars but that doesn't mean that they are not being done daily in our names. I HATE COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

    So altho I hate it, I don't crusade on it all that much. I do usually make my comments by detailing innocent deaths as gruesomely as possible. I am not very sure I do it all that well but I hope my stories are interesting enuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    I've commented on a couple of things that stood out to me:


    “120 metres longer, 50 metres left.” I said.

    BOOM!
    Kaboomfah!!!

    “Thanks man, we been shootin’ at that for a month.” He said.

    I wondered why this part was here and not included or apparently related to the main body of the piece?
    It is in the body of text but just not in the first 1600 words. It is within chap 1.
    It is sort of the hook. Usually, I try to start with some action, but as you can see with the 1600 words there is no action yet... I felt the placement b4 chap 1 would cater for the lack of action as such. On advice I can delete it, just tell me it is inappropriate or why I should delete it or expand it and it is gone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    Chapter 1 Peace

    “You have been recalled to active duty.” The old man said.
    “What the hell does that mean?” I asked, as politely as possible, no really.
    It works better without 'no really'
    {It is gone!!!}
    “They have had casualties, illness, sickness and injuries.” He said.
    “You almost made that sound like they were self inflicted.” I said.

    You should have commas inside the speech marks- not full stops
    Yeah. A technical point. I mention elsewhere a lack of technical knowledge and ability. If we go to print, a pro editor will crawl thru this and really earn his fee. I am not concerned about technical issues at all, I need to know the story makes sense, then I will pay for the edit... no point offering you perfectly edited crap, is there? <GRIN>
    Now, I use a lot of commas, mainly extending sentences that should have stopped a long time back. I have developed a noticeable aversion to commas at the end of speech quotes. I have turned everyone into a full stop.
    In 20 books, I defy you to find two hyphens, I know I had to put one in, but I hate the damned things. I may use a colon but i hate the semicolon. WORD2K wants to stick in semicolons as the first comma in every sentence I write. Not only do I hate microsux, I hate word as well.
    Maybe, if the story is compelling, the editor will handle that and you and me can just enjoy the stories. If you feel compelled to change them, feel free to do so and I will include it without comment. After all, I have no idea what is right and wrong and write, I just tell stories! <GRIN>

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    He flashed me his eyes before he dropped them to some papers on his desk. He didn’t even dare breathe out. Maybe I said something that was closer to the truth than I was supposed to guess.
    He was another new old man. I wondered when they would stop sending them, give in, change the criteria. All of these had white hair, big, small, fat or thin, they never lasted. Between the work, me and handling the other personalities in the teams, they all went away, usually sooner than later.

    There are a lot of commas here; help yourself to a semi-colon!
    Yes sir, sorry sir, see above sir! <GRIN>

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    'My business is killing' is a great line.
    Me three!

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    This is much more interesting. It sets the scene for a cold-hearted military-trained killer - great hook, but there is a lot of info to get past before we get to it
    Are you saying it should be moved closer to the first line or everything above here should be deleted and start here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    ********************
    Some of the dialogue is a little stilted, but other than that I found this very appealing.
    Stilted... not sure. This is military, he either knows them intimately and therefore there is an economy of words or he doesn't know them and so just says the fewest words possible. Remember, military, there is a SIR or not. On the radio, Roger rules for: I have heard your transmission and understood not only every word you used but all the words that are between the lines. Plus I believe your car had a flat tyre this morning as you came to work and you didn't have a jack in the car cos it is a communal office car and some arsewipe has lost it and not said anything. "Roger"

    It is the way it is and that is intentional. Perhaps as you read more, you will understand and accept but if you need me to change it... ROGER! <GRIN>

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    I guess I am just looking for a feel as if this is interesting.

    It definitely is! Good luck

    Sue
    Thank you Sue, I very much appreciate that.
    Of course none of us come here to just get "nice writing" we need to hear where the warts are. As we talked about elsewhere, "reading aloud" and using Natural Reader wonderfully exposes errors your eyes may skip. So I need spare eyes on my stories to see if it is worthwhile investing in pro editing.
    I appreciate your time, skill and effort.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    Please don't go ahead and delete anything on my say so! I just thought that the paragraph with the list of lethal kit is a great example of showing not telling so that we get a feel of what he is and what he is going to do. It might be better to include this earlier on in the piece, but just my opinion...

    As a reader who knows very little about the military, I find books like this fascinating. Like Alice said, it is a careful balance of giving just enough plausible info so as to keep the reader interested and not baffle them with technical details. I think you do this very well here.

    One thing though; is it a good idea to leave punctuation errors to the editor/publisher to deal with? Everything I've read here suggests that you polish and polish your work until you can't improve on it any more. There will inevitably still be issues they pick up on, but it may be a bit risky to assume that an agent will look past these things even if your story is fantastic.
    Last edited by Susan B; 11-24-2011 at 07:01 AM.

  8. #8
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    is it a good idea to leave punctuation errors to the editor/publisher to deal with?

    No, Susan. You're right. The work should be edited prior to submission.

    A writer should provide the best, most polished work possible. Even when posting on WN, it is better to correct obvious errors. It indicates a knowledge of the fundamentals of writing, and makes the reading smoother. Then we can concentrate on storyline instead of tripping over mistakes.

    If we go to print, a pro editor will crawl thru this and really earn his fee.

    Herman, a beginning writer won't get that far with a poorly-written manuscript. There are hundreds of other writers with strong storylines and the ability to present an edited manuscript. All you'll get is a collection of rejection letters from agents. Even if you pay an editor to edit your manuscript prior to submission to an agent, what are you going to do when that agent requests rewrites? Run to an editor every time you have to make changes? That's going to get awfully expensive.

    It is best to learn to do your own editing (and lazy not to) even if you are paying an editor to go over your full manuscript before submission. Editing is an important part of good writing, and a writer should take the time to do it. Have some respect for your work and get involved with every aspect, including editing.
    Last edited by leslee; 11-24-2011 at 09:12 AM.

  9. #9
    belle ball
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    There are a great many mistakes here. I've tried to re-write but I just can't. Please concentrate on the obvious

    “120 metres longer, 50 metres left.” I said. ,,,,,, I said!

    Look through your work and at all the, 'said's.' There is just no need to keep telling who is speaking. Once you say, 'I said,' and then a reply... 'he said,' the rest of the conversation is obvious of who's who?

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