9 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 218 Extrapolating Military Technology, and yet more 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. The can changed the world for warfare and nutrition. Few realize that the ability to store and transport large amounts of food--especially prepared food and meats made modern warfare possible. It would literally be impossible to try to fight a modern war without stored easily transportable food. That transportable food was in cans.
Initially, one of the biggest problems with cans was opening them. The first cans were sealed with screws. In a world with few screwdrivers, screws on cans resulted in the loss of one very famous battle in South Africa and in other possible battles elsewhere. The can opener was a great invention that led to other innovations. People in general and writers many time do not realize the greatest ironies in history. The inability to open a can that led to the loss of a battle is one of these great ironies. By the way, it wasn't food in the can, but ammo.
You might ask how such a thing can happen. This is the work of the historian and the writer. The historian gives the facts behind the problem, the writer puts the soul behind the problem. These kinds of issues are great plot and theme points. It is hard to believe that a can can be so important, but that is both history and life.
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: