Creating a Military Sci-Fi Novel


So I have decided to change my writing schedule a bit. Nothing official yet. Once I finalize things, I will post them here.

The reason for it,  I have wanted to write a military sci-fi novel for a while. I have decided that I am going to write one.

I have also decided to talk about my methods for creating my world as I build it. Cause why not.

I create a story world there are two basic methodologies. Big to small or small to big. Some people world build in a more discovering writing style and fly at it. They do very little world building before writing ‘Once upon a time.’ It isn’t necessarily bad, it just has a tendency to run into plot holes and re-writes. This is the small to big method.

I prefer the big to small. I will use a smaller and smaller brush to design the world that I am writing in. Most of which will not go into the story, but will help with making the little parts of the story make sense in a macro way.

As such, I first start with the base writing universe.

I have a dislike of creating a new writing world for a new story. Don’t get me wrong, I love world building. If I could get a job where I create worlds for people all day, I would be in heaven. It is just that I have many already and I don’t need more. So I am going to put it in my Shattered Worlds Writing Universe. It will take place after my ‘Inescapable Game Novels.’

That means that anything that I create to this writing universe is more flavor for my current world. Even though my Shattered Worlds Writing Universe only exists in the Sol System. But that shall change.

Using the nations and peoples that I have in my Shattered Worlds, and a time frame of when this story is going to happen, I can brainstorm how it is going to happen. A war still needs to make sense.

I am not going to go into detail on who is fighting who in this story. Not yet. I will. Cause why not. That’ll be in a later blog post.

For now, onto the fun part.

I need to create a military force.

That is the hard part.

For research, one of my main sources of information was this book. It was well written and had lots of information on how military forces work in the current model. It also has some ideas on what future wars may or may not look like. I recommend anyone interested in writing Military Sci-Fi to grab this book.

For the uninitiated, most people think that a military is a bunch of men with no-senses of humor, a drinking habit, and some guns. But a military is much more than that. Don’t get me wrong, it includes all of that, but it is so much more.

A military is a very set, organized organization that is capable of moving thousands of men and material over long distances through hostile, rough terrain. Men and women who are willing to fight to the death for there cause.

On paper, there is a couple way of creating a military organization. Top down, or bottom up.

I am very strategic minded, so I am going to do the top down.

That means that I am going to create the larger structure before I get to the individuals. But take note. A story is about the individuals. Not about the organization or unit.

Now. My story takes place 600 years in the future. Humans have spread across the stars and will be at war. I am thinking other humans, but that is for ease of storytelling and not anything to do with the aliens. I will write other stories where the fighting will be against aliens, but that is not this one.

In order to create the structure for my soldiers to fight in, I need to make some assumptions. The first one is that there will only be two branches of the military. In most current armed forces, there are three.

Airforce, army, and navy.

In the future, there will only be the army and the navy. Sorry Airforce, you go the way of the Doto.

In this story universe, the army has been re-named the Ground Defense Force. The GDF. It is tasked with defending the specific world from threats. The Airforce has been merged with it.

To make the GDF fight harder, a unit based on a planet has there personnel families relocated to the planet. Someone that is defending there home and the family will fight that much harder for it.

The Navy, now named Fleet, is everything outside of the atmosphere. The structure of it stays pretty much the same. Ship personnel, the ‘air power,’ and the marines. It stays the same.

With those assumptions made, I can create a rank structure. For the GDF, I only go up to a Brigadier-General, while the Fleet, I go all the way up. I figure a defensive force will only have so many men in it. I have also decided to use modern ranks instead of creating new ones. The less I have to explain the better. More pages for more explosions and gunfire.

I then created unit structure. This part I was inspired by a video game. Hearts of Iron 4. In it, you create divisions by putting pieces of different companies together. I used that idea and created some base unit types. How many men in squads, platoons, etc. That way if I talk about a full strength platoon of Infantry having 40 men on page one, on page 300 it should have the same.

Also, the specific structure of the platoon? Do they use squads? Do they use fireteams? Are they like the USSR or the US? For clarification, communists use masses of men to win fights. The US use LMG’s and accurate firepower to defeat the enemies.

Do they have some type of fire support? Do they have artillery at the battalion level or the division? Does each company have a mortar unit? Or maybe it is a heavy weapons company that gets split up per platoon as needed.

These are all important pieces of information.

The reasons why comes to one of the basic tenants of storytelling that I follow.

It is more interesting to read about a character overcoming the disadvantages that he has with any specific skill, force, power or technology. In a military sci-fi setting, I can throw them into power armor and with flechet rifles and send them into battle. And that is all fun, but the good war stories, the ones that resonate with the reader/viewer are the ones that even though they are skilled and equipped for war, they still have an enemy to overcome and figure out how to defeat.

It is more interesting to have your men get pinned down by enemy sniper fire and force them to think outside of the box to get the enemy defeated. Or I can make them unstoppable killing machines, but who wants to read a story about that.

Until next time.

And p.s. Sorry for the space of time between posts.


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