16 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 225 Extrapolating Military Technology, yet more Morale
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)
The main point about morale is that you have to have a reason to fight. In general, people need a reason to do the work they do--more so when their lives are on the line. Patriotism is really not enough. There are two levels of reasons to fight. One is head and one is gut. You fight because of what you believe in. If you waver in your dedication to the higher ideals of your nation--such as national exceptionalism, you still need so idea or ideal to propel your thinking. You could imagine this as self esteem. Without a strong self esteem, a military fighter will not be able to continue the fight.
On a lower level, the core belief that you fight for some idea or ideal is critical. This is when the larger ideal will not do. Usually, the loss of either ideal will result in the critical loss of morale. For example, the Romans were propelled by the idea of national exceptionalism. This was fueled by their conquests and the Romanization of those they conquered and others just outside their sphere. They were also propelled by the view that their gods and their society was perfect, moral, and ethical. The beginning of the end for the Roman Empire came from the realization that their culture and society was not ethical or moral. In general, the system of providing the dole and entertainment to the people was undercutting their culture--"bread and circuses" led to the idea that their society was not self supporting. Along with the loss of self esteem from the realization that other cultures could provide for themselves and that the Romans were dependent on others, came the additional input (from Christianity) that their paganism was not very ethical or moral. It is hard to see which idea was more potent in bringing down the morale of the Legions.
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: