13 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 222 Extrapolating Military Technology, special Prepared Food Tactical Costs
Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series--they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere', China, Sveta, and Klava--at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I am writing about the extrapolation of science and technology to be able to write science fiction. I made the point that it is almost meaningless to try to fully extrapolate a universe (world) that is 10,000 years in the future (and maybe 1,000 years in the future) without applying some cultural and technological shaping.
By shaping the cultures of your science fiction universe, you can shape the science and technology that is extrapolated. Here is how I culturally shaped the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox to make the 10,000 year extrapolation work.
The major areas in warfare technology are:
8. Environments (personal equipment)
10. Morale (discipline)
Tactical costs are food, fuel, ammo, and replacements. Who are your most important soldiers? Most likely they are those who are the most trained (paid the most to train), most experienced (especially in terms of cost to train or season), and operate the most expensive equipment. These are usually your aviators, tank, or ship drivers. The way some nations feed these professionals and the way other nations take care of them are radically different. I'd like to talk about both ways because you might want to portray them in your writing.
The Europeans see these individuals as very valuable from a cost, sustenance, and retention position. In other words, first, the costs are high to produce them, so I can't afford to lose them. Second, they fly or operate very expensive equipment and I can't afford to have them of their game. Third, they are expensive to produce and important to keep, so I want to keep them happy as possible. Therefore, in most European nations and Canada, their are kitchens and hot meals on airplanes. There are kitchens in the units. In the German Air Force, the pilots are provided a hot meal at breakfast and lunch. Hot meals are provided during overnight missions. Hot meals or messing facilities are available to these professionals wherever they happen to be.
In the USA, on the other hand, there is an expectation that the professionals listed will take care of themselves. Food is generally not available or provided. There is usually nothing hot. There is little food support--the economy will provide. There are no extra meals for flights over night. MREs are provided for sale for long missions. You can see that some nations protect their investments and assets much more than others. How you portray this is based on how you see a military professional.
Also remember, I'm trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: