Originally posted by Gatac
Thanks! Without giving away too many of my secrets, I find that there are a few tricks to writing "my" way - first off, experience. The important thing is the experience. It's a delicate balancing act, but describing how your characters feel, what they see and hear and think - as opposed to what is really happening - is important. I also add grit whereever I can - yes, technology is amazing, I'm a big gunbunny and war nerd, but it's important to emphasize the human side of things, the limitations, the flaws. For example, I don't recall off-hand any mention of just how sick you can get flying in the back of a military cargo aircraft if you're not used to it - that was something that I feel is missing from a lot of stuff, where everything just works.
Personal anecdote: as German citizen, I was a draftee in the German Airforce for 9 months. After graduation from Basic (in itself worthy of more stories, but I disgress), I was transferred to my final destination (so to speak), a big airbase. There, the new recruits of the quarter got the big tour of the place, which included a short flight in the back of a C-160 Transall. They were doing this in groups (they get lots of draftees), so when we were ferried onto the airfield, we saw the prior group stumbling out of the cargo bay of the recently landed aircraft - and an ambulance! Turns out one of these guys had fainted on the flight...and several others were losing their lunch onto the tarmac. For the record, the flight was very bumpy (I got the impression they were having a little fun with the newbies), but we all managed to hold on to our stomach contents.
Did I mention I don't ride rollercoasters, either?
I also try to get real-world details right whenever I can, consulting city maps, technical data and my collection of gun books. If I need something for a special ability, I'm liable to make it up and including it without inventing a name - if you see something with a proper name or number designation, it's real. I know, I still mess up a lot - I'm not a world-travelling, "perfect killer" secret agent -, but I try to keep from just throwing my arms up and going "Who cares? Just make something blow up."
Which would be my next point: Blow stuff up occasionally. Make sure it's not regular (Some action heroes seem to have explosions around them ALL THE TIME) so that it gets noticed when you do. Make your characters take notice.
Also, re: characters - treat them with dignity, most of the time. Slapstick is funny when it targets dignified, smart people. Use it in moderation and you'll go far. Also, your characters are competent. They know stuff. They can do stuff. They may fail because the stakes are high, but they're not bumbling fools who are physically painful to watch. Keep the angst down, too. I often fight myself on this, but in the end, it's much more interesting to watch the characters stop moping and get to solving their problems - they have the drive, the skills and the connections to do that.
They will win the war, even if they lose the fight. Make them earn their happy end. Note that happy end doesn't always mean "Retired, settled down and rich" - it can also mean a desperate last stand, but it becomes a happy end if it matters - make it important, make it a vital fight. Nothing annoys me more than senseless deaths of main characters just to be "edgy".
So, in conclusion: You get what you pay for. Make the characters work, but don't short-change them.