Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Learning Something New

The past couple days have been about watching shows and movies about military missions, particularly in the Middle East. The next book in the series is called Combat and centers around deployed Army soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The first three books so far have covered issues such as domestic abuse, sexual assault / bullying, and survivor's guilt. Sadly because of my experiences there was no reason to look deeper or further research on any of those subjects. I know all of them well.

I have never felt the sting of a bullet grazing my skin, or worse, punching a hole through my body. I've never attempted to keep my wits about me in the middle of chaos like a firefight. There hasn't been a time I've been given orders that would put my life or the lives of others I'm responsible for in danger and been required to obey anyway. On top of those I haven't felt the heat of the Arabian desert or the wind burying sand in my pores. I have no idea what vehicles the military drives or what may have been modified by the enemy. The types of weapons used on both sides are unfamiliar as are the rankings of the U.S. Army. 

I chose these shows and movies because they give me a sense of what buildings look like and how the members of a team may communicate with one another. I can get an idea of complications that may arise during a mission I would never have thought of without the research. These shows also use language from military sources. 

There are always going to be things I have to create in a book but I want to make sure the story is as authentic as I have the ability to make it. The relationship between the soldiers will be no problem and the feeling behind the situations are something I can relate to, it is the navigating through the streets and military actions I would struggle to recreate. These are the reasons I am watching the shows and movies. I know so many people who would say you can't get a real experience by watching scripted television and for the most part I agree. However, short of jumping on a plane to Afghanistan in the middle of a global pandemic, it's what I have to work with.

I'm curious, what is the most interesting or difficult thing you have ever researched and what method(s) did you use? Was it effective? What would you change for the next time?

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