The Key To Authentic Combat Action Scenes

What’s the key?  What makes a combat scene really “authentic?”

Pain.

There’s an old saying in the Recon community: “Recon ain’t fun.”  It’s pain and agony and suffering, only faced with the grit and perseverance to get through it and survive, to kill the enemy before they kill you.

Over on Tom Kratman’s wall on FB, the subject has come up of a young woman on a panel at Life, The Universe, And Everything 2017.  She claimed at one point that “gamers can write good action scenes, because we’ve experienced that.”  No.  No, you haven’t. Continue reading “The Key To Authentic Combat Action Scenes”

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Overtaken By Events

“Timeliness” is a temptation that I think most military/spy fiction writers have to deal with.  “Ripped from the headlines!” and “Prophetic!” are compliments that reviewers have used for works in the genre going back to Tom Clancy, at least.  Those same phrases have been applied to some of my own work, and I’ll admit that it can be somewhat affirming (though often in a grim sort of way) to see events move in a generally similar direction to that predicted in one of your novels.  It shows you that you read the situation fairly accurately. Continue reading “Overtaken By Events”

On Gun Porn

No, this isn’t about InRangeTV opening an account on PornHub.  (Yes, apparently that’s a thing.  No, I haven’t gone looking for it, nor will I.)  This is about the facet of much Action Adventure writing known colloquially as “Gun Porn,” wherein the author includes (and often lovingly describes) various cool and interesting firearms in the story.

This isn’t particularly new; a lot of Louis L’Amour westerns describe interesting (and sometimes obscure) weapons that aren’t commonly found in the run-of-the-mill western (particularly on screen).  But as with any element of storytelling, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Continue reading “On Gun Porn”

The Line Between Real and Rambo

I got talking action movies with a buddy recently, and we got on the subject of where the line of realism versus entertainment lies.  We’re both combat veterans, and we’ve both seen long periods of mind-numbing boredom and moments of chaotic weirdness that happen in combat.

There are often comments on action movies, and action novels, about how “realistic” they are.  And while some things are easy to quantify, some elements aren’t so much.  Including the question, “Just how ‘realistic’ should a piece of action entertainment be?” Continue reading “The Line Between Real and Rambo”

Why I Write Mercs

 

Mercenaries haven’t really been a staple of mainstream thrillers since the ’80s.  Tom Clancy introduced Jack Ryan, an analyst, as the hero of his techno-thrillers, and it seemed to set the tone for much of the genre to come.  Harold Coyle’s heroes were mostly tankers.  Dale Brown’s were bomber pilots.  As the GWOT got started, even the more shadowy operatives, like Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp and Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan were still directly operating within the government apparatus, if so black that they “didn’t exist.”

So, why did I go with mercenaries for the Praetorian series, Kill Yuan, and the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series?  Well, I think that has several answers. Continue reading “Why I Write Mercs”