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Big Boy Rules

I’m reading BIG BOY RULES by Steve Fainaru, and it’s changing everything. In a good way. First of all, it’s a compelling read about private security contractors in Iraq, and the fact that unlike the military, the only rules they’re subject to are big boy rules (i.e. you’re a big boy now, you know right from wrong). It’s pretty scary, actually. And incredibly fascinating.

I’ve read several books about PSCs, and so far this is the most engaging. It sucked me right in because the author is embedded with these guys and the story itself is very personal. I’m having a hard time putting it down to work on my own book.

But there’s another reason it’s affecting my WIP. My hero—along with many of the secondary characters—is a mercenary just like those in Fainaru’s book, and the author is giving me such great insight into what makes them tick. Until now I was struggling to understand my hero, but I’m starting to see how he can be both Charmer and Warrior.

The only bad part is that I have some serious reworking to do in part one of my book, which I just finished this week. Part one, that is, not the book. In fact, since I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time (last year I was in edit mode), I might try rewriting part one instead of revising it. Now that I’m getting a better handle on the character, I think I’ll have better results that way. It’ll keep me from trying to hold on to pretty words that should really get the axe.

That's my own big boy rule.


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  1. Reply

    Another masochist, eh?

    I was too busy to participate in NaNoWriMo last year or would have participated right there in Fairfax, Va. The year that before, I was too busy to participate via the St. Cloud, Minnesota group; and the year before, more of the same in Iowa!!! This year, I really hope to finish.

    Brave words. I’ve already received marching orders today to be out there in Fairfax, for at least 3 weekends in November, working and also possibly added trips to Rochester Mn.. And maybe Winnipeg Canada with an aside to NY… November is getting shorter and shorter….

    The NaNoWriMo Group here in Houston isn’t as active as some others that I have followed. I think the most active, and highest quality, forum I have monitored was that of Central Iowa, the Ames, Des Moines area group. There are oodles and oodles of message traffic in their NaNoWriMo forum; a high level of participation before and after November and a lot of serious writers posting success stories outside the NaNoWriMo realm.

    Yeap, guess it’s time to knuckle down and get one done…

    • Reply

      Wow, good luck, Tolo! I don’t tend to get involved in the forums and such (I’d never get any writing done!), but there will be Twitter friends sharing their progress.

      I figured it was worth a try since I have 60K to go on my book. Or all 80K if I start over… =)

  2. Dunx


    Ah, NaNoWriMo… the triumph, the tragedy, the chocolate!

    Good luck with your draft. I am also doing a rewrite for my NaNoWriMo project: second draft of book one of my trilogy. I wrote the zeroth draft in NaNo 2008 (books two and three were done in the succeeding years), which itself was an expansion of the story I wrote in NaNo 2005. So this is actually my third NaNoWriMo on the same story.

    Hmm. I will have to do something new next year!

  3. Reply

    Thank you! I think you just found my dad’s Christmas present for me. Big Boy Rules looks fascinating, and I might even read it before I give it to him. It depends how graphic it is with a quick flip through.

    Good luck with NaNo. I’m working on the same book as last year during it, but as I’ve completely changed the plot, the outline, the structure of the book, etc… I don’t think it’s cheating. There’s more I’ll have to rewrite than I can reuse.

    • Reply

      Tospinayarn: Hey, always glad to help. 😉 If he likes that kind of thing, this is a good book. I found BLACKWATER by Jeremy Scahill interesting, but it took a more distanced and scholarly approach. Lots of historical background on Iraq, Erik Prince, and the war.

      I’ve been looking for a personal story. So far BBR is not too graphic. Just sad and a bit shocking.

      Good luck on Nano too!

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