1. Fallenfeather
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    Fallenfeather New Member

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    Desribing Vehicles and Weapons

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fallenfeather, Jun 20, 2010.

    I have a very good sci-fi story planned out in my mind, however the biggest problem I have is describing the vehicles and weapons. I have them all drawn out on paper, however, I just don't know how describe them in words.
    Just for example, a Imperial Star Destroyer from Starwars, or a Blaster Rifle?
    Is there any way I can go about describing the vehicles and weapons without providing a visual reference(Sounds kinda cool actually.)?

    *Yes, I just I know I typed Describe wrong....*
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Well, do you need to describe them? And if you do, in how much detail? One of the biggest problems new writers have is overdescription. As long as you provide the basics, and a little embelishment, the reader's imagination can fill in the rest.

    The best way to learn this, is to read other books of the same genre, and see how they do it.
     
  3. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    What I've seen in a lot of the sci-fi I've read is that they often don't describe the appearance that much. They'll usually say what it does, how big it is, and how it's used. For example, if the weapon were to be introduced all in one go, you might get, "They gazed calmly down the barrels of their SR17s, each one smoothly adjusting the focusing lens with one hand, the other resting on the trigger. One move from us, and it would be all over in one pinpoint flash of blue light." We don't get all the details because we don't need them. The appearance of the gun is left to the imagination of the reader.

    More detailed descriptions come through necessity. Say you're distinguishing the laser blasters of Race 1 from the laser blasters of Race 2. This will serve to distinguish each race stylistically, or the differences between the guns could show differences in effectiveness or power. Really, the level of description is up to you, but a safe bet would be to start small and add detail only if it seems necessary until you feel good about what you've written. I say start small because starting with more detail and shaving it down can sometimes be harder, but that's just my opinion.
     
  4. Fallenfeather
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    Fallenfeather New Member

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    Thank you much everyone.

    One last Question: Would adding a Visual Glossary (Comprised of pictures of one thing or another, at the end of the book) change it from a book to a graphic novel, it would it just be plain annoying to the reader?
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It depends. It could be interesting. But that is something to discuss with a publisher, once a) the story is finished, and b) it has been accepted and a contract has been signed.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As have been said, there's no easy answer to how much description is needed. In your example, Star Wars, the description of the Star Destroyer is not what is important. What is important is the disparity in scale between the good-sized Rebel transport and the staggeringly enormous Star Destroyer. It says a lot about the Empire's nature - a culture of excess that flaunts its power, a wasteful culture that thinks nothing of expending such huge resources to capture one Rebel leader, even one with vital information.

    In a novel I'm working on, I take a precious paragraph on the first page to describe the colony ship decelerating into the destination star system, because it immediately establishes the one-way nature of the journey. This is no routine cruise. The characters are on their own, and fully committed. It also establishes the level of technology for the story from the outset.
     

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