How to Write Authentic War Stories: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Although fiction is making things up, there are sometimes places where we need to get the facts right. Writing stories set in war times is one of those. People have to believe in the authenticity of your war time story. It may be a fictional story but things within the story must ring true – the smell of dug outs or what crowded bomb shelters were like, and the timeline of events throughout the war. I have put together some articles and podcasts with advice on how to write authentic war stories.

  1. 7 Tips For Writing Realistic War Stories (UPDATED 2024) (writersrelief.com)

This article gives advice on how graphic to be when writing battle scenes. Violent scenes can be offensive if they are overdone or unnecessary. If you are writing about violence, make sure you are aware of your choices and the reasons for making them. Often using a panoramic lens on a scene can give your reader a chance to look around and see what’s going on. Another tip shared is to pay attention to the details of everyday life at that time. It’s not all the smell of bombs, but often the smell of certain foods that can place us in history. While every genre has it tropes, falling back on liches is sometimes the easy way out. Try and add your own unique perspective. And last but not least, read widely non-fiction in your chosen area, check your facts and do your research. Doing this will further strengthen your story.

  1. How To Write A Book About War: 8 Tips To Authentic Prose (selfpublishing.com)

A book about war has its central focus on the battlefield or on the home front. This article from Selfpublishing.com shares things to include when writing about war. Just like writing about any genre, there are key factors to include, and these three aspects are important: including multiple types of conflict, realistic battle scenes and humanised characters. The article moves on to share a step-by-step guide you can take as you write a book about war. These include, defining your primary focus, don’t forget about all types of conflict – it’s not always man v man, use the senses to showcase emotion, understanding what you are writing and how you write it, add humanity to common tropes, resource other books, edit and check your facts.

  1. Telling the Stories of War: Author Roundtable – Writer’s Digest (writersdigest.com)

Writing accurately and truthfully about war is never easy. Writing about conflicts that occurred decades and even centuries earlier is even more difficult. This is an interesting article from Writer’s Digest where three award-winning journalists discuss their unique approaches to chronicling seminal moments in American military history. They discuss their research, the challenges they faced, their writing processes, and facing structural difficulties.

  1. A short guide to writing war novels (firstdraftpro.com)

War novels have long fascinated readers with their gripping accounts of heroism, tragedy, and the human condition. As a writer, it is crucial to understand external content genres like the war novel in order to craft a compelling narrative that appeals to readers. This guide from First Draft Pro explores the conventions, obligatory scenes, and tips for writing a successful war novel.

  1. 6 Tips on Writing a War Story – Edit911 Editing Service

War stories are multifaceted, emotional, and full of conflict. War is a popular and captivating genre. However, writing about war is challenging. Whether it’s contemplating if your descriptions are too graphic or not violent enough, not knowing how much detail to go into, or writing intense battle scenes, war stories are notoriously difficult to master. While there’s no specific formula to writing a good war story, there are tips that can make the topic less intimidating. This article outlines some of these tips to ensure your war story is a nuanced and well-written one. It advises you to understand what a war story is, do your research and get the facts straight, use all types of conflict, know when to use and avoid tropes, don’t be afraid of using emotions, and write realistic battle scenes.

PODCASTS

The podcasts this week feature stories about various wars which may help you in your research.

  1. 10 Best War Podcasts for Every Military History Buff (explorethearchive.com)

The Archive shares ten great podcasts on different areas of historical wars.

  1. WW2 Stories & Real War Stories | Listen to Podcasts On Demand Free | TuneIn

These stories are all about World War Two. This podcast dives into the untold tales of heroism, sacrifice, and determination from

“WW2 Stories & Real War Stories” is a gripping podcast that dives into the untold tales of heroism, sacrifice, and determination from the most significant conflict in human history, World War II. Each episode explores the lesser-known battles, daring missions, and personal accounts of the brave individuals who shaped the course of the war.

  1. Amazing War Stories Archives – Amazing War Stories

Using the latest 3D audio technology we tell inspiring true stories each taken from the museums we feature on our site.

I hope you have found this week’s column helpful. As always, please get in touch if there are any topics you would like me to cover.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, her debut novel, The Lies Beneath is out now, published by Poolbeg.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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