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I've been writing a novel for an embarrassingly long time. I friend and aspiring writer encouraged me years ago to write a short story. I did, about marine fighter pilots, and he liked it. That was enough encouragement to try and expand it into a novel length book.

That has grown into an almost obsession. If I’m not reading forums, playing tanks, working or interacting with the wife, I’m working on my book.

 

 

Because my two favorite aircraft of WWII are the Corsair, and P-38, I incorporated a brother who went army air force. One thing that became very clear right off the bat is, no matter how much I thought I knew about a subject, it was shocking how little I did until I tried to write about it. I’m pretty well read on the Corsair and P-38. At one point I had every book in print and several not in print on both. There were no really big surprises in the planes history, though it was very hard to nail down when they started using F4U-1Ds.

 

Things I didn’t know (not a complete list):

 

I didn’t know anything about the ground campaign through the Solomon Islands, other than Guadalcanal campaign.

I didn’t know anything about the naval campaign.

I had no idea about the geography, or the locations of the important airdromes on either side. Maps of the area are pretty hard to find. Google Earth was a godsend, but when it first came out, they had almost none of the Solomon Islands or New Guinea with decent detail. Over time this changed and it got good enough I was able to find just about all the important airfields, or close enough to get an idea of what the area looked like. 

 

 

 

I have a badly organized google maps save file with all the Japanese and US bases I could find marked on it. A lot are still in use today, worldwide, but many have also gone back to the wilds. In a few places you can just make out remnants of the airbase. Munda Point on New Georgia is still the major northern Solomons airport for example, but there are no traces of anything really on southern Bougainville.  (EDIT: All the work I did in Google Earth was also done by Pacific Wrecks, I'm pretty proud of how close I came on the questionable ones)  

 

I also really had very little idea about how the military worked, or how a fighter squadron was run. This set me down the path of buying books, lots and lots of books. Books on specific squadrons that fought there, and the land and air campaign, then more books about everything from ship design, to geography. The more interesting things I read, the more I wanted to incorporate.

The book got bigger and bigger, following two pilots in two separate places in the war made for a lot of characters to keep track of. So they got split and I focused on the one about the Marine. Now this first book is in draft four, I’m doing minor tweaks and going through and fixing grammar etc.

 

As it stands, the book is a little over 2000 (600,000 plus words) double spaced pages. It follows the main Marine character from mid-43 to the end of the war. He does the standard three tours before relief, just about the end of the third tour he breaks the record Eddie Rickenbacker set in WWI, of 26 kills. During the war race to beat this number was in the news a lot. Rickenbacker promised a case of scotch to the first one to beat it.   Joe Foss tied it, and the first one in real life to beat it was Dick Bong.

 

The Marine is then promoted and sent back to the states to get the Medal of Honor. This was practically guaranteed by breaking the record and the reason Dick Bong got it in real life. This is one of the few major non historic parts. The book is clearly billed as fiction though, and I’ll have a foreword talking about the real men. In the book about the air force brother, Dick Bong is a major character.

The next major break from real history comes in the next part. The Marine after getting married to his best friend’s sister ends up with his own squadron based out of Santa Barbara, training to deploy around late 44 early 45. At this point in the war Marine Aviation is kind of at a boring point, the fight around Rabaul was over by early 44, the marines don’t participate in New Guinea at all. Some squadrons see some action in the Marshalls but it’s not very exciting stuff, just ground attack, very few Japanese planes were seen.

This didn’t go unnoticed in the United States and if I recall right they started deactivating some marine squadrons. Then the kamikaze threat came along, and the navy was caught short of fighter pilots. At this point the Marines finagled their way not only onto escort carriers, but also onto several Essex class ships as well.

 

This is where the main character gets back into the war, and were I strayed from real history again. I made up a fictional armored deck carrier, with a back story that includes the old U.S.S Constitution burning down and freeing up the name.  During the war her stripped hull was used to house officers awaiting court martial. Anyway, he goes back to war commanding a marine Corsair squadron aboard the fiction ship. 

 

The book then follows the ship through the rest of the war, including Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the Yamoto suicide run, and the first attacks on main land Japan after the Doolittle raid. The ship also sails through Halsey’s second hurricane and one that hit right after the war ended.

 

It also follows several family members back in the states, like the girl he marries and his family. I’ve spent a pretty large amount of time reading books as research, including as many of the issues of Life magazine as I could. People in the 40s had so much less to do with their free times, but it was a pretty damn interesting time. My goal is to push through the final grammar edit, and then do an edit, to compress it down a bit.

 

My major inspiration is really to produce something like Herman Wouk’s Winds of War and War and Remembrance. They were really fantastic books.  I would like to get published at some point, but even if that doesn’t happen, I don’t view it as a waste, I’ve learned so much and had so much fun doing it, I have no regrets.  

 

I’ve written other stuff too, I’m about 35% through first draft on the army air force brother, and have all the source books for that one now. I’ve followed some of the same characters into Korea and their offspring into Vietnam.

If anyone is interested in offering feedback, I can send you a chapter or two. I’ve had a few people read it, but you know how that goes, it’s always ‘good’ when its family. Or I could just post a chapter or two to the thread every once in a while. 

Edited by Jeeps_Guns_Tanks

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Here's one episode:
 

 

 

Grandpa Olifant rocks steadily in his wicker armchair, eyes alight with licks of light and shadow cast by the fire crackling and smoking in its place. Just so, his countenance casts licks of terror and glory of battles long stilled; when men of the clan fought and died against the Wehraboo tribes now since retreated to their hovels and warrens, far outside the walls of the fort - built by his own hands - inside which the wicker rocks, rocks, rocks.

The distant and prolonged howl of a wehraboo warrior haunts the room, or his mind, or both. It does not matter; the battles yet to be fought are for those younger, with fewer scars and more remaining features. 

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Does anyone have the collected works of HAV in the form of the story of clan comieboo?

 

I wish I had thought about filing away my contributions to clan of the comieboo for this contingency.

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From recent WoT 'best infantry' thread:

 

"And so began the jeering from behind the shield wall of the clan of the comieboo. Their visages bore the scars of many a battle. The skulls of Wehraboo beasts planted on the tips of their penants bespoke their victories.

While today's victory was insignificant, not worthy of even a passing note among the song-tellers, the sight of the stunted Wehraboo beast tripping over its own tail as it fled added a little levity to those warriors used to worthier foes
."

 

Also:

 

"Ivan Lannisterov: When I was Deputy Commissar under your father's predecessor, the skulls of all the wehraboos were kept in this room. And the skull of the last of them was right here. It was the size of an apple.

Georgiy Baratov: And the biggest was the side of a carriage.

Ivan Lannisterov: Yes, and the creature to whom it belonged was banned 300 pages ago. Curiosities on the far side of the internet are no threat to us."

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Courtesy of Colli:

 

 

The dregs of sunlight stretched into the classroom.  An eager pupil listened as studiously as I could hope.  The strains of Pierre Sprey and Kanye West's latest collaboration scratched in the background.  Summer was slowly dying.

 

"The primacy of emotion, political liberalism, and the transitory nature of all things are prominent Romantic themes in Shelley's poem Ozymandias.  Identify them."

She was admirably game.  So supple, and so eager.  So... compliant.

 

"Well, the broken statue represents the end of tyranny, I guess?"  Her voice had that upwards shift in pitch that indicates a certain timidity.  "And it's broken and in a desert, showing his reign did not last forever."

"That's a good start.  The wonderful thing about Shelley is that he's not terribly subtle.  We'll take a look at Prometh-" I was rudely interrupted as the door was kicked down.

 

A man wearing a trenchcoat and nothing else was brandishing a gun.  I stepped quickly in front of my young charge.

 

"And who might you be?"  I said.

 

"I am your executioner," he dramatically threw a piece of folded paper to the ground, "and this is your death warrant.  Read it!"  He made a great show of brandishing the gun.

 

I have a Mohs hardness of approximately 9.49, and an improbably high fracture toughness thanks to pre-stress and micro crack propagation arrest mechanisms based on necromancy.  I have a thickness efficiency of 5 or so against KE threats and about 6 vs CE.  I am also hardened against neutron threats and NBC contamination.

 

So when I began reading, it was purely to indulge this clearly unbalanced individual.

 

"Because you took advantage of a sinner

because you took advantage

why do women prefer taller men

I just want to die for German food

of Eastern front videos

in a mountain state

aye a litter of artillery"

"This is dreadful.  What is the point of this?"

 

He became agitated, gesticulating wildly.

"You took her from me!  I was 5'8", and you took her from me!"

 

I scratched my head.  "Could you be more specific?"

"You abducted her!  You ruined my life!  She was my only love, and you forced your attentions upon her."  He was now visibly shaking.

 

"Well, yes, that was for her own safety.  You see, I eat the souls of vir- wait, did you say she was your only love?"

"Yes!"

"But when I met her she was..."
 

...

 

I sat lazily in the evening, digesting the delicious, delicious soul.  My sweet came along beside me.

 

"Naught may endure but mutability."  She stared meaningfully into the horizon.

 

"You know," I said, "I'm not really a big fan of Shelley.  I like Yeats.  Have you ever heard Leda and the Swan?"

 

She smiled.  "No, teach me."

"Most thoroughly."

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Part of it was entertainment value, no doubt.

But part of it was the simple acknowledgement that, even when intentionally speaking drivel, you still made a better argument than ISS and company. You beat them on form when they couldn't even dream of offering content.

Good show, in other words.

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