Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Technology...

Happy Middle of the Week day! It's Wednesday and it's all about writing.

For today's topic, I am going to be using Fantasy as an example for technology. Most of what is discussed is just ideas and how to incorporate any sort of technology into any genre.

Ready? Here we go...

As odd as it sounds, I don't like having black powder guns in my fantasy stories. I feel that it gives an unfair advantage in battle, (which it certainly does) and strips away the honor of the fight. Again, that's just me.

So what do I use on ships for epic sea battles? Smaller versions of Ballista and Catapults. The catapults launch flaming pitch pots. When the pitch hits the deck, it goes everywhere, catching every flammable thing on fire that it touches. Water doesn't put it out, because technically it is flaming oil, so it just spreads further.

As for Ballista, in a somewhat close range battle, you soak the rope in pitch, tie it to the projectile, light it and launch. If you hit just right, it'll catch in the sails and rigging, crippling the enemy vessel. Once the ship is dead in the water, you board and game over.

On land, same thing. Catapults, Ballista, Trebuchets are all good weapons in battle. Most of the time they are built on site and immobile, but you can create smaller, mobile versions even if it slows down your travel time.

Now in lots of other genres out there, you've got black powder weapons, laser weapons for sci-fi and steam weapons in the Steam Punk genre. And can I just interject with how fascinated I have become with Steam Punk? Insert fan girl "squee!" here.


Anyway. the reason I gave above is my main reason as to why I don't like incorporating black powder into the fantasy genre. To me, those battles were hand to hand combat and may the most honorable or the best fighter win. In real life, I don't like cheaters. I'm sort of a competitive person. Okay, sort of might be a bit of an understatement... However, if I lose at something, yeah, I get ticked off. But I get ticked off at myself. I don't ever blame someone of cheating unless it is blatantly obvious. But I get mad at myself for the slightest of things. So I go back and practice and keep trying until I get it right. I try to do it by the rules, because in my opinion, cheating is dishonorable. If you can't put forth the time and the effort to do something right and be successful at it, then why do it?

That's a rant for another day. But that is my mindset when writing battles. I try to make them realistic and maybe someday there will be an introduction of an advanced weapon that turns the tide in battle, but not right now.

But think about the technology of things. Make these things feasible when writing. Don't just throw in some super advanced, high-tech weapon that makes an individual or group invincible. It should be available to all parties who can use/afford it. Make someone more proficient than anyone else and go with that, but don't make it a natural talent. That sort of detracts from the whole having to work hard to be good at it idea. When you are writing, you are giving your readers subliminal messages. Yes, your story must be good and the lessons being learned there should be clear, but when you have an opportunity to "teach" the reader something, let it be hard work and perseverance will win in the end.

Be mindful of the technology you introduce.

Have anything to add to this post? Please leave a comment below!


Roland Clarke said...

Like your logic, and the fairness rule. I have a post-apocalyptic novel in which I need there to be a restriction on black powder weapons - like scarcity of resources. Of course, the cheats still find a way to get hold of some measure of one-upmanship - I can't totally uninvent gunpowder.

Mel Chesley said...

Thanks, Roland. :D And very true, you can't uninvent something. And there are always those in life that find a way to one up on everything.