1. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    Describing a formation of a wormhole

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by pzi2, Jun 30, 2010.

    In my story Earth is the centre of interuniversal travel, something like the Woods in The Magician's Nephew. To illustrate, in order to reach destination C from A, you will have to go through B, which is Earth. Hopefully that explains it clearly enough.

    And of course, Earth being the centre of interuniversal travel also means the centre of interuniversal trade, so we're trapped in a millenia-long battle between two other major galaxies, Rodina and Mechta. (sounds familiar?) The aliens travel via wormholes called Lines. These Lines can only be deployed at specific "strange-element"-rich areas. Later on in the story they will be utilized by humans to end the war.

    Now my problems:

    1. How can I describe what happens when you step into a wormhole from a 3rd person point of view?

    2. The following is how I described the forming of a Line. I know its pretty bad, but I had tried various other methods of describing and I think this is my best attempt so far. How can I improve this paragraph?

    I was sitting around a camp fire eating dinner when I heard a loud boom coming from above. I looked up and saw the night sky illuminated in a purple hue. Gasps of disbelief from the camp became very audible. The hue became to contract, forming a long thin line about a mile across. From the forest there came a huge sound of a crash. I stood there flabbergasted. The clouds suddenly became very compact, preventing most moonlight from falling through. It fit however the rumours of the Lines describe it. An alien army had landed behind us.


    Thank you for your time in helping me out.
     
  2. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    I'll answer the second question first. Or, at least, I would. But it's a little hard to understand the paragraph. Part of that is because you've got some grammatical, conventions-type errors present. The other part is that I'm not sure what I'm meant to be seeing, which I guess is an answer to your question. So from the outside, the wormhole just looks like a long, thin, purple line in the sky? Is that the entrance/exit to the hole we're seeing? The answer to question one kind of depends on that.

    See, for question one, I would normally imagine the entrance to a wormhole looking like a giant whorl in the sky (like water draining from a bathtub, except in space). A long thin line is interesting, if that's what you had in mind. The description I would give to one would be completely different from the other, really.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My immediate response is, "Huh?"

    Immediately followed by, "What?"

    "You" is a second person designation, or its response is a first person perspective. So I really have no idea what perspective you are looking for. The question does not appear to br related to your excerpt in the second question.

    Next I have to comment on your terminology choice. Who calls it a line? The aliens? Do they speak English? Both races?

    So I have to assume the term is either a translation to English, or a term coined by the humans. From that perspective, it makes no sense.

    The word would undoubtedly be coined from what the humans percieve, especially large scale phenomena. They don't see lines forming in the sky, so why use a term that doesn't in the least relate to what they see?

    Consider the DC comics universe. Apokalips used boom tubes to transport invading armies. Boom, because of the sonic booms accompanying their formation, and tubes neatly conveys the notion of a passageway between two points. It's a beautiful term, vivid, clear, and not at all ambiguous.

    Alternately, if it's understood to be an Einstein-Rosen bridge, we could shorten it to bridge, which is a normal way in which common terms get abbreviated from more complex terms, or use the already popular term wormhole.

    If it's derived from empirical observation, then it would be named by what it looks like: a vortex, like in Sliders, for example. Or maybe a pinch, if the first thing the observer sees is everthing appears to squeeze in toward a point. Perhaps it simply looks like a hole punched in the sky, so it's called a hole or a fissure.

    To me, calling it a line makes me see something like a jet contrail forming across the sky, and I don't think that's even close to what you want.

    Finally, I get to your second question. My answer to that is use your imagination! There are many, many ways to imagine your phenomenon. What are te atmospheric effects? Does the energy release ring the aperture with lightning, or fire? Or does it absorb energy, resulting in a frost ring? Does it cause a sudden change in air pressure, producing a sonic boom or a thunderclap? Or is there a whoosh of air due to different air pressures at the source and destination? Is there a boundary surface, like Stargate's event horizon/"puddle"?

    You're the writer. You imagination is your most valuable tool.
     
  4. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    First of all, thank you for you time spend in helping me out.

    It appears that my question has a grammatical error. I'll try to explain it in fuller detail further down this post.

    What I had in mind of the shape of the wormhole is something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    That's from Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. I guess my description of the Lines are not clear enough.

    Entrance into the Lines would require specialized aircraft (because of alien weather). To rephrase my earlier question, How do you visualize an aircraft entering the Line?
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I picture it as getting violently sucked in, like what you'd think of with a black-hole. It would get pulled through extremely fast, and there would be loads of pressure on it. But that's just me.
     
  6. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    Now that you've cleared that up, I'll try again to answer.

    Again, second question first: humans often associate things they see that are unfamiliar with a much more familiar known thing. What would the formation of the Line remind them of? Would they say, "It was like the sky was opening its lips," or would they say, "It was like the sky was being torn at a seam, just like might happen to your pants." Humans have seen a lot of things, and so they'd find some way to say it. "It was like when you turned off an old TV and it left that white line with the dot in the center." "It was like lightning striking sideways, except in a perfectly straight line." "It was like a knife cut through the black of space and all that's behind is purple light."

    First question... I don't think I have a good one. I could write a sample description, but I feel that wouldn't help you. No one here knows any better what it's like to go through a wormhole than you, so it's up to you to find a way to show us what you imagine it's like. Again, as with above, this may all come down to figuring out what humans would be thinking of when they observe it. If you're not describing humans, then describe it how a Mechtan would see it, or how a Rodinan would see it. Good description is often that way not because it's perfect, but because it's evocative, and instills a sense of wonder and ignites the reader's imagination.
     
  7. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    Thanks for your answer, guess I'll just have to do it on my own.

    Anyway I have another question:

    Let's say you are in a battle facing a banzai charge by thousands of soldiers. You are facing certain death. Suddenly reinforcements have arrived in the form of several tanks. How do you describe that emotional feeling of being saved? How do you describe that beautiful moment of the tanks bursting through the forest?

    I tried to visualize the tanks as beautiful stallions leaping from the forest, like:

    "like a herd of graceful stallions, a group of tanks burst from the forest, their coaxial machine guns blazing."

    Now obviously the bold text sounds really weird. How do you improve it?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Is the problem the writing, or is it the metaphor you are trying to sell? I believe it is the latter.
     
  9. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    It is the metaphor.
     
  10. mikoyeahyeah
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    mikoyeahyeah New Member

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    From a 3rd or 2nd person:

    Generally, what scientists have thought, the matter being sucked into a singularity (black hole) would enter a point that the gravity is equal on all sides except the side facing the observer. What would happen, in theory, is that the matter undergoes a process, named appropriately, spaghettification.

    The matter would stretch into the singularity, leaving the side facing observer a small dot. No matter what angle you look at it, since speed and time are relative, you would only see the matter funneling into the black hole as a small dot.

    I would describe it as the explosive decompression that happens when a spaceship gets a hole in it. The extreme differences in pressure would be so enormous that even the air would become visible as it went toward the hole.

    The sky would look as though it were being sucked into the hole because the gravity would be so great, that even the light that you're seeing would be fighting gravity.



    That's just my opinion...
     
  11. Ron Aberdeen
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    Ron Aberdeen Banned

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    At first I couldn’t figure out what the commotion was. I mean the lakeside is a peaceful place; I know I’ve camped there for years.

    It was if somebody had turned a colossal invisible vacuum clearer on, both in sound and affect and was sucking up the lake.

    A water spout went from the surface of the lake to what seem infinity; then silence. Not even a bird song, the forest felt dead.

    Next was like a stone hitting the lake’s surface and sending out a gigantic ripple, except it wasn’t a ripple it just went out horizontally from where the water spout had been.

    This was followed by a massive thud, which sounded as if it was a footstep of some invisible monster of unbelievable proportions.

    What was really scary was how the earth shock, even my bacon left the frying pan.

    On the other side of the lake an enormous dust cloud rose, I was mesmerised, until the dust began to settle and I could see the glint of armour and weapons.

    I realised I had just witnessed one of those line things, a wormhole as it is called in novels, and on the other side of the lake an Alien Army had landed.
     
  12. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    I think there are a few things which you need to consider before you write the descriptive text.

    How much knowledge do the people of your story have about the wormhole/lines?
    What effect/colour/sound occurs when one of these lines are created?
    Do the people of your story know much about these aliens?
    What effect do these wormholes have on Earth?

    These are just a few random questions and you may need to think of more before you can fully describe the wormholes.

    Once you have the answers to these then you can start to incorporate those elements into proper text. For example, if the characters of your story have detailed knowledge about the wormholes and who uses them then they would not stand there flabbergasted, in fact they would probably be running for thier lives.
     
  13. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    Alright, first things first. I'll have to apologize for not explaining my plot clearly enough. It seems there are a lot of confusion about what exactly is going on.

    This is the setting:

    Throughout history there were many strange occurrences (ie. The Missing 9th Roman Legion, Tunguska Event). These are in fact all battles fought between two major universes, Rodina and Mechta in a millenia-long war for control over Earth. This is because Earth (and likewise our universe) is something like crossroads, the centre of trade between many other universes.

    The aliens used a type of wormhole called "Lines' by humans as means of travel.

    The main story takes place in Russia, where somewhere near Moscow was the scene of yet another battle. This is the first time humans had direct contact with these aliens, and as such, had no idea what to do. The Russian Army had been dispatched to monitor and interfere if things get out of hand. In the first chapter, one of the main characters (a soldier) was wounded for straying too close to a material that is vital for the formation of the Lines.

    In the next few chapters another character is introduced, the main character's girlfriend (also in the military). This person is stationed in different division that was put on standby in case the main army encounters trouble. Shortly after receiving news to march on to Moscow, another alien army landed near them and they ended up fighting them. After a 10 day fight they had to use nuclear weapons.

    The rest of the story will focus on the world wide invasion of the aliens. At the climax the humans will discover the properties of that special material, and use it to stop and defeat the invasion. At the end of the story humanity will build their version of a Line, and invade Mechta.

    The story is told from both 1st and 3rd person view. It has a militaristic theme, with a bit of romance between the two main characters sprinkled on it.

    Now that hopefully I've cleared it up, time to answer some questions.


    The location of that event is not a lakeside, instead in the middle of the Siberian tundra where the character's military division is stationed at. They did not see the aliens, which were hidden by a forest. The Line is NOT a black hole, rather it is something like a door, albeit less peaceful (though not to the extent of sucking things in). But thank you for that brilliant suggestion.

    @Northen Phil:

    Thank you for your advice, I'll try to use it.
     
  14. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    To me, the term "wormhole" is reminiscent of a black hole. I get the mental image of a tube composed of distorted spacetime, with a funneled end. Cogito's right; you have to use a term that really sounds like what you're working with. If it's simply a gate you can walk through, "wormhole" doesn't sound right; use a term like "portal" or "gate" or "bridge." You wouldn't see a black hole on a planet's surface, unless the planet was about to be destroyed or something, or if the whole story's about technology using black holes.

    And calling it a "line" makes people literally think of a perfectly straight line. Unless you explain what it is, they won't understand the concept at all; if you do explain it, they will probably, like me, visualize a huge horizontal line suddenly appearing from a central point, or something like that. A three-dimensional object like a human being cannot enter a one-dimensional line, unless you're going to explain a ton of overly-complex physics that most readers wouldn't understand--that's just plain unnecessary. Find a new term.
     
  15. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    Understood. I probably won't be troubled by the wormhole part, though. I did not mention anything about wormholes in my story.

    But for the new term..well, that's going to be tricky. Will the term "Ridge" do? or "Chasm"?
     
  16. Ron Aberdeen
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    Ron Aberdeen Banned

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    Sorry but didn’t you write this?

    And isn’t that a lake in the picture?

    Inconsistencies are the characteristics of a confused writer.
     
  17. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    "Ridge" is ok, but "chasm" works much better. Go with "chasm." The thing is that ridge refers more to the edge of something; you don't go through a ridge, you go over it. But a chasm is something with depth--you can enter a chasm.

    Here's the thing though: a "chasm" sounds like a big rip in spacetime, something chaotic. Just keep that in mind; if you want a nice little doorway, "chasm" might sound too... violent, perhaps?

    Now, what you could say no matter what the portal looks like is that it's a bridge CROSSING a chasm; in this case, the chasm is the chaotic fabric of spacetime, and the bridge is the wormhole. That doesn't have anything to do with what the portal looks like. But that's probably not what you're looking for.
     
  18. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    That was the sea. I have never seen palm trees near sandy lakes before. Plus that picture is just to illustrate the "wormhole", not the scene. In addition I only used the word "wormhole" to better illustrate my point.

    I think that it will work, since the humans in the story had no idea about those Chasms, and what is in and beyond it.
     
  19. theSkaBoss
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    Another thing you MIGHT consider while naming the phenomenon is what people the world over would be calling it. So first: if it appeared in Russia, why doesn't it have a Russian name? Second: if it's a big hole from which invaders threatening humanity are coming, this might conjure up images from Revelation for the big fat Christian chunk of the world (and not even necessarily just Christians, since end-of-the-world enthusiasts are happy to latch onto any theory that comes along.) They might see the monsters that poured forth from the Bottomless Pit, so perhaps there are many that would call it a bottomless pit, or just pit. Third: people might latch on to the military terms given in press releases.

    Up to you, of course.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To expand on SkaBoss' suggestion, some might see it as a sign of the End of Days, which could lead to te faithful calling it a Glory Hole. Others with fouler minds would gleefully latch onto that name as well.

    If you are a bent enough writer, you could do a lot with that. If you aren't, then forget it - you could regret using such a term for it.

    And if you don't see the double entendre, forget this entire post.
     
  21. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    The Chasms in the story are general terms. In the beginning of the story the two Chasms which deployed the aliens both have their names, Mechta and Rodina (both Russian names). The Rodina chasm aliens are different the Mechta chasm aliens. Later on Mechta and Rodina became the general term for their respective type of aliens.

    The 2nd point I don't really like. I don't intend for religion to play a part in the story. Touchy topic.

    As for the 3rd point I'm really interested.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  22. Ron Aberdeen
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    Ron Aberdeen Banned

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    My words were just to illustrate the point of the inconsistencies it your post, and as this is a website dedicated to writing rather than inaccurate pictures, I felt it was a point worth making.

    Particularly as, in your words, you only used the word "wormhole" to better illustrate your point.

    What do you think I was doing?

    It was you that asked for help.
     
  23. pzi2
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    pzi2 Member

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    I asked for what happens when an aircraft enters a wormhole, true. I intend to use it to describe what happens inside my Chasm, albeit with some minor modifications. I apologize for messing it up.

    Now could someone please help me to address this problem?

     
  24. Aeschylus
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    I'm not sure that tanks would usually be described as "graceful." If this is far in the future and tanks are very different, forgive me, but I wouldn't describe modern tanks, even the sleek ones, as "graceful stallions." That could work for the alien vehicles, if the aliens use vehicles, but then of course you'd have to take out the machine gun bit. ;)

    Because your story appears to be primarily about war, I think you should clearly connect the different alien invaders, or at least highlight one over the others. If you have a story in which countless alien species are pouring in, how is humanity ever supposed to beat them in a fight? The reader won't be able to attach any kind of meaning to the different species because you're just putting in so many. The war won't make sense to the reader if the different enemies have no connection. You need to connect them, on some level. Forgive me if I haven't worded this clearly.

    Here are some examples of when many species of alien are not overwhelming to the audience. Stephen King's The Mist, in which there are innumerable alien entities that appear all over the place, but that's ok because the story's about how the humans react to them, not about the aliens themselves; the aliens represent the Great Unknown more than anything. Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series has many species, but he connects the characters to each of them so that readers never feel (forgive the pun) alienated. Even a space opera like Star Wars handles it ok, because they're not treated as alien beings so much as different cultures in the same communities.

    That's for you to decide. You're right that it would be silly to have a story like this in which the portals and aliens are connected to religion. However, you need to take human psychology into account: just because these things don't connect with religion doesn't mean that people in the story won't make connections that aren't there. If we as a species ever encountered alien beings, it would likely cause more terror than anything in history, and rightly so. Religious people would make connections between this and religion, and many people would turn to religion to make sense of it all. So you shouldn't be afraid to make characters have religious reactions to the events in your story, even if religion isn't a key part.

    Coming back to The Mist, a pivotal character is an unstable and highly religious woman who manages to convince people that the horrors they're experiencing are punishment from God. It's actually really scary, the things she gets them to do by playing on their fears. But no one who reads that will ever say that the book is about religion.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is not a thread for critiquing your writing. I already told you I think the real problem is in the metaphor you are throwing at the reader, not in how you are expressing it.

    If you want a writing critique, you will have to participate in the critiquing workshop (the Review Room). But you will have to be willing to develop your own critiquing skill before you can post your excerpt.
     

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