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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Writer's Tip #14

olleh, ydobyreve!

So no real book news this week, other than we're starting to plan the unveiling party for the book (still need to figure out the proper date for it). You know what that means: a Writer's Tip! I actually managed to think up another one (but I seriously wasn't kidding when I said I'm running low on them; if you have an idea, please share it!).

This tip considers the error of inconsistent technology! Huh? Basically, for all those fantasy/ sci writers out there, don't mix different eras of technology together unless you have a good reason to. I'll actually post from the source I got this tip from (user MetalMagpie at

"If the people of your fantasy world have invented the hand-axe, then they have technology. And if they have technology, then you need to worry about keeping it consistent.

This doesn't mean you have to accurately represent a particular historical time and place in your alternate-world sword-and-sorcery yarn. (Although that's a good start if you're not sure.) It just means paying attention to the rough order that various technologies tend to be invented in.

A possible place to start: In your fantasy world, have black powder weapons (cannons, muskets, etc.) been invented yet? Well, cannons first reached Europe (having been used in China for ages) in the 1200s. So if they haven't appeared in your fantasy world yet, then that puts down a rough marker of the sort of technology level you're talking about.

For example, it would be highly surprising for a world without black powder to have hay bales in its fields, as the hay-baler wasn't invented until the 1850s (over six-hundred years after the appearance of cannons). That would be a civilisation that has invented heavy machinery, but has completely failed to discover that a rough mix of charcoal and saltpetre (a chemical easily extractable from human urine) will explode violently when lit."

So as she said, watch out for the way technology works in your story world to make sure everything makes sense (unless your story world is completely out there, then I think you're safe). It basically also describes how smart your people are and also on what sort of technology they focus on (because really? Heavy machinery over simple gunpowder?). Of course, if you're writing historical fiction, than technology DOES matter and you have to pay closer attention. Not so with fantasy, and maybe even less with sci-fi, because there you can actually make stuff up! Which could lead to another tip, but I'll save that for the next time I don't have news to report.

Weekly (Dis)Likes:

Like 1. Learning to use Photoshop in Photojournalism. It's so cool! Kinda hard to remember what does what, but our professor's nice enough to give out instruction sheets, we have a very detailed textbook, and there's work time/help sessions Sunday nights.

Like 2. That IRONSIDE show coming out. Saw the previews and it looks like it's worth a shot. How many other shows feature a cop in a wheelchair?

Like 3. My iPhone. I forgot to say, but before I went back to school and got an iPhone 4 (goodbye flip top!). I love it very much, and have already loaded a bunch of apps on it and have used to phone home. I'm glad to have it.

Dislike 1: Apparently the building where the digital photo lab is is locked on the weekends, so unless I go for the Sunday night help sessions, I basically can't do my Photojournalism homework over the weekend. Not that that's too bad; I only have one class Mon Wed Fri, so I can fit the hours in then, but still! :P

And quote!

"Do not go gentle into that good night, 
but Rage, rage against the dying of the light." -Dylan Thomas


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