1. Mr. Galaxy
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    Mr. Galaxy Member

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    Jargon Balance

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mr. Galaxy, Dec 20, 2015.

    What is your experience with using jargon in your writing? Does it alienate readers unfamiliar with the setting? Do you spend time to explain any jargon that comes up? Do you * it and define it at the bottom of the page or next to it.

    How do you handle jargon?

    Knowledge! Impart!
    Thank you nice people. :)
     
  2. uncephalized
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    uncephalized Active Member

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    I usually try my best to work it into the context so the reader can figure out what it means. Personally I really hate when an author breaks continuity to explain something directly to the reader, or shoehorns an explanation into dialogue that real people wouldn't say. An excerpt of a WiP as an example:

    Describe the nature of your assignment.

    You already know all this.

    Answer all queries completely for the record.

    Hest...

    [Subject sighs]

    All right. I was ordered to reconnoiter a system we lost way back, during the Fractures. We had a little data on it from old files, some mining claims, that sort of thing. Two planets. EG1 was a class II terraform job with an introduced ecology. Last known status "in progress". No word on whether the atmosphere was even stable. The other one, EG2, was undeveloped, with some kind of indigenous life, marked as uninhabitable for humans. We were sent to update the maps--

    "We" refers to you and...?

    Captain Michao, of course. You were there, Hest. We're the two lab-weasels in the bunch, so naturally we got short reed for a slog out here. The rest of our crew were E-class for the main flight line anyway. They were swinging through a wide arc, so they dropped us on the way out. We had five weeks Standard to meet back up with them on the other side, and enough grav-charges for a few good hops and a couple quick exits. Closest to us at the drop was the outer planet EG2, the native one.

    Michao is the biggest xeno geek, so he wanted to spend the first three weeks there, sketching out the ecomodel and taking samples. Then we'd use the rest of our time to sling around and run some scopes on EG1.

    Anyway, we stuck our first landing pretty well and only had a few hours at high cruise before we hit decel to slip into orbit. Registry records indicated a solid surface, but a high-nitrogen atmosphere with surface gravity about 3g. Couldn't camp down there, not traveling light like this. We didn't have any return-to-sender drones either. So we planned a touch-and-go surface hop with light exos, to take high-res scans and scrape some dirt.

    And this is where the first incident occurred?

    [Subject hesitates 2.1 seconds. Eyes avert to left]


    You know--yes. Captain Michao was injured during the expedition. You should refer to my dailies if you want the full report.

    Please summarize for--

    --The record, yeah, I got it. We planned it out, double-checked our return charges and ran through all the predrops, by the book. It didn't go like we planned when we touched down, Piet got himself gored, and I barely got us back in the sky. Enough summary for you?

    Please provide more specific detail respecting events on the surface of EG2.

    Like I said, read the logs. I don't need to go over it again. I'll still swear to what I wrote then.

    [Subject refuses to comply. Vocofacial analysis and biometrics indicate imminent lapse in composure. Suspending session.]
    Lab-weasel, E-class, weeks Standard, grav charge, xeno geek, ecomodel, sling, stuck a landing, decel, return-to-sender drone, light exos, scrape dirt, return charge--none of these are standard modern English, but I think they mostly make sense in context. And if some are not self-explanatory, I'm the kind of writer who would rather leave the reader wondering exactly what a word means rather than break the flow to explain it in the text.

    My $0.02.
     
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