Thursday, August 26, 2021

unraveling the explanations opens opportunities

I have a lot of fun figuring out the logical side of explaining my fictional worlds. I leave so much out of my books, although I try to offer some minimal explanations to at least give the reader a better understanding of what things are. That's the trick of making up science fiction and fantasy worlds--keeping the science/magic plausible, whether that involves ecosystems, governments, magic systems, or even the technology of a starship. The balancing act is not boring the readers.

I was just thinking about something today. I had already figured out how the shield systems worked on the starships and the limitations of those systems, but I hadn't quite unraveled how Vel and Shen are able to recalibrate the shields of the Iludrin to withstand more than their standard limitations. In THE DESTRUCTION OF WALLS, I came up with a way for them to hold out against the Issan, but I let the technical explanation go without too much thinking. I had a vague idea and didn't get into any great detail.

In book 12, they're at it again with shield systems. Again, I hadn't given it much consideration how. I just knew that these two--a skilled mechanic and an educated engineer (and expert in inter-dimensional physics)--would make it happen since they had already come up with the method in book 5.

Today, exactly how that worked opened to me. It was there but never fully realized until now. Learning this reminds me of how excited I was when I came up with the whole ecosystem of Inar'Ahben back when I was writing STARFIRE ANGELS, the very first book of the Starfire Angels series (or, rather, when I was writing its predecessor, which was rewritten into SA). Follow the logic and the answers will reveal themselves. It all makes perfect sense to me.

Now, I know exactly what Vel and Shen are doing. It's pretty detailed and I may use it one day if Vel ever feels like divulging that in thoughts or dialogue, but for now, It's a nice chunk of page in my growing Forgotten Worlds wiki file. Someday, I may reveal that too, but for now, it's my series bible with everything I need to know about characters, species, worlds, technology, ships, history, militaries, events, and even synopses for the books to come, as well as other details and clips from what is already written. (I'm always updating it.)

With half the series now written, it's a lot of detail to track and the document is only going to grow. (48 pages total with 29 pages of detailed references of this universe, and counting. The other pages are the synopses of books to come, some rather lengthy, or ideas not fully developed.)

I now have a deeper understanding of how shield systems work in my FW universe, one more logical explanation so that I can keep the tech consistent throughout the series. And I may use what I've developed to create another problem for the characters at some point. (Cue the maniacal laughter of a writer enjoying the creation of difficulties for their characters.)

The better that you can logically explain things, the more plausible the situations of the characters in that setting will be. Also, you'll have far more tools at your disposal to create challenges for your characters to overcome, and isn't that the fun of reading--to cheer on your favorite characters to success over whatever challenges or conflicts they face?

I now have a better understanding of what can go wrong when shield systems are tampered with, and that is giving me ideas... 😈

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