18 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 227 Extrapolating Military Technology, and still 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 lesson from the ancient world is simple, to have good morale you have to have a culture and society your forces deem worth defending. You might offer that the power of the wish to not die or to protect your own are strong morale builders, but that isn't necessarily true. This can be a powerful morale builder in cultures that are less advanced or that are strongly self sufficient, but less advanced means less technology and sophistication. Strongly self-sufficient usually means unable or unwilling to trade or become involved in trade. Trade is the life-blood of technology.
The ultimate point is that an army needs a reason to fight and morale is usually a good measure of that reason. The things that destroy that reason are those pesky modern values that tend to gum up modern thinking. Note that perceptions of ethics and morals were a reason for the lack of Roman morale. The Greeks just had no reason for continuing to fight for the lands they controlled. This is the extrapolation of not technology but rather culture and society. A culture that has lost its self-perception of ethics and morality will fail. A great example are cultural ideas that are foisted by courts, the political system, or the educational system that are contrary to the ideals of a nation. You can try to high the ideals in intellectualism, but they will not stand for much. The Soviets found this to be a significant problem for their morale.
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: