1. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wireless Technology as a Crutch.

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by zoupskim, Feb 24, 2016.

    I am writing a war story set in the near future, and have noticed a limitation that my setting may place on the story I am writing.

    Long Version:

    In the future personal data sharing devices have become just as crucial to a soldier as a gun. Soldiers serve as observers before anything else, the instant reporting of enemy positions and activity taking precedence over everything else. This is not just special forces, but everyone. A new recruit is taught the importance of a radio, a camera, and binoculars, along with a weapon. Every soldier is individually identifiable on a map, and is trusted enough and expected to call for fire support or artillery immediately, before personally engaging the enemy, and without explicit orders.

    Short Version:


    Smart phones on the battlefield allow for things like air strikes or artillery to just be 'pinged' on a map by a private with three month's of training, with information analysts pouring over data on average minute of angle held by individual soldier's weapons, or centimeter map adjustments due to temperature.

    My question is on the limitations this sort of idea will cause in my writing. I noticed this when I was writing a scene when a soldier was going to brief another. As I was playing with how exactly to write it, I wrote out a version where they don't talk at all. One soldier just texts the other a whole operations order. End of scene.

    This of course was boring and lazy, but is technically possible in my setting. It made me think back to the rest of my story. Had I made similar lazy decisions in my writing? If not, what if I had accidentally made lazy decisions, my mind so plugged into my setting and whatnot?

    What do you guys think? What do you think about the setting limiting your writing? What specifically will this creative decision do to my story?
     
  2. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    I think this problem originates from developing the plot before the setting. The setting is the base foundation; you can't bend the foundations to fit the structure that is built upon it.
     
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  3. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    A side note: have you looked into Land Warrior at all?
     
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  4. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Technology makes an individual better at delivering violence, makes units faster and more maneuverable. You aren't describing gear or tactics that aren't already in use today.

    If you think the writing is boring or lazy, I honestly believe it's a limitation in your ability to advance the story, not in the setting itself. Not an insult, just a possible observation.
     
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  5. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is sort what I'm talking about. It's pretty obvious that if written lazily, "Guy Fiddles with Mobile Device: The Book." can be boring. Enders Game handled this by making alot of the conflict come from Ender's stress and moral conflict. The final battle is literally him in a room giving orders, and we care. I'm not worried about the setting working, I am worried about me making it work.

    Another example of this from my story specifically is verbal communication with radios vs data sharing. When writing my story I have to pay close attention to which communication device would be more feasible for the current situation my characters are dealing with. Sometimes I get it wrong, and upon review I have to change the whole scene.

    I guess my question is what is a good way to keep track of the limitations your setting presents? I like my setting. It's awesome, but sometimes I forget its power.
     
  6. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Supply. Nothing is unlimited. Soldiers need food, water, and bullets. Technology requires power. An individual can only carry so much. Vehicles help, but also require fuel, mechanics, and spare parts. Sustained operations require a supply chain. It has always taken far less time to shoot rounds than it has taken to manufacture and ship them.

    The soldiers themselves are an unknown. The average soldier in the United States military is not given enough training, enough stress to determine when they will break psychologically. The ones who would die rather than quit are the very rare exception, a few thousand out of several million. Drugs would help, but that for long enough will destroy the mind, body, or both, and people are really just another limited resource.

    As for the very specific when to utilize radio versus text, just consider what a person needs to focus on at the moment. If I'm in a firefight, I have two hands on a weapon and both eyes identifying and focusing on targets. At that point it's easier to listen and speak than read and type. There is no almost no such thing as multitasking, only doing one thing at a time quickly. Fighter pilots can multitask, truly, but again, there are substantially fewer of them than there are in support of them.
     
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