Sunday, January 31, 2016
Update and Thoughts About Writing in Eras.
(This picture is from the new Battletech game HBS is working on. It's their's, I'm just borrowing it because it looks good.)
Okay, I dropped two more stories into the slush pile, so that's now five I'm waiting for word back on. I'm also waiting word on another story I have, to see if it's still a viable story (It has been on my HD for a while, as one of those things that goes on behind the scenes cropped up just as I was finishing it....) The special project has been sent somewhere else for a look-see, and I'm sitting back and looking at what to do next.
And I've noticed a certain discussion that pops up on the forums --- playing in eras. Some people are firmly planted in 3025, and no father. Others stake 3050 as their go no father point, while others play Jihad and beyond. I'm not here to discuss what games era is best for you; that is your decision. What I am going to talk about is writing in different eras.
Most of my stories have been set between 3025 -3090, in part because there was a lot of background to work with during those years. Until recently, the Amris Civil war and the earlier Reunification War were broad-stroke events, with little detail for a writer to grab onto. Catalyst has rectified that, as well as laying out the exact structure of the SLDF and the House forces around the time of the Amris Civil War. I intend on generating story ideas based on those eras and see what happens.
But writing in different eras means a slight change in the approach. The Star League era has differences in technology and political situations to take in account that the Jihad era or the Reunification War era. It's digging through TROs to make sure the BattleMech or vehicle you want to use actually exists in that era. It's checking to see if there's been a change in the rank structure for a military force, and the world in question is actually part of the state you want it to be at that time period. I have to be aware of the political forces at that time (I am well aware of what the politics are post-jihad, but pre-Amaris Star League politics are a different kettle of fish).
For example, I had a Reunification War-era story I am currently writing. I need to know what 'Mechs and vehicles were around at the time and who had them. That also means I have to have the right variant of said 'Mech, and know the difference between the two. (Example: the 1N Rifleman is very different from the 3N model -- the 1N is 10 tons lighter, and has only paired large and medium lasers. Ironically enough, it also has slightly more armor protection than the better-known 3N.)
I also had to dive deep into the politics of the era and the military movements. I needed to know the which planet to stage my story on, who was fighting who, and what happened. I have to fit the story into the established narrative seamlessly. A different set of details to make it stand out from later stories.
So, I need to get back to this story......