PDA

View Full Version : Need Suggestions on Short Stories


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : [1] 2

BlueAngel
December 27th, 2005, 01:24 AM
Hi, I'm new here, haven't posted all that much yet, so this will be one of the first. I'm currently working on 4 projects, 2 scifi novels, a comic storyline I'd like to evolve into a manga, and a scfi short story anthology. The suggestions I need concern the last mentioned.

The fisrt story revolves around a non-military recon ship that finds a young woman who disappeared on the space colonies, and the horrible things she's been witness to for the last two years.
1. Would a non-military crew follow similar protocol to military crews? BTW,
their captain is a retired army general.

The second story is about two childhood friends that have come to dire points in their lives. The young female character, after her little sister is murdered, goes on a downward spiral of self destruction and vengeance. The young male character, having become a loner, ponders the whereabouts of the childhood friend he hasn't seen in a year. Meanwhile, a fallen angel happens upon the woman and feeds into her desire for revenge as well as revealing her true identity.

2. Now I know the male character needs more purpose in his own life, but I
haven't been able to come up with anything as far as an occupation.
BTW, his world is recovering from nuclear war and is amock with
corruption.
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanx~Angela

onions
December 27th, 2005, 04:03 AM
Can't help you much with number one.

As to number two: How far in the past is the nuclear war? Is there a functioning legislation, economy, government etc?
I mean, is corruption only a boil on the arse of society or the other way round?

This is kind of important because it tells you what possibilities your character has.
Generally speaking, a character usually only has the leisure time to be moody if his existence is secured. Until that is so, he'll be scrounging along doing the best he can to find his next meal.

What type of corruption are we talking about? My country being the one it is, I have visions of a bloated and baroque system of civil servants requiring bribes to move every last thing along. (Habsburg-flashbacks) :)
Or are we talking about warlords and mercenary-type societies?

I suppose if corruption is such a big thing in your world, then you're envisioning him as one of the cogs in the corruptive wheel. The question would then be, how far up is he? How many people can he manipulate around?

BlueAngel
December 27th, 2005, 11:07 AM
The nuclear war occurred around 20 years ago, in another city BTW, because that area would be uninhabitable for at least 50+ years.

The corruption comes from many angles within the city. I guess until you brought it up, I never worked it out enough before. I imagine there would be little control as far as govenment or authority goes, and that people would stick together as best they could to help eachother. It would also be a dangerous society in that there is no control, and questionable people would be walking the streets. What authority the city does have could end up coming from gangs and such, and of course that leaves their intentions questionable.
As for the male character, he would likely be scrounging around to survive as you said, it's just I can't figure out exactly what he would do. I've thought maybe he could be one of a band of theives, maybe taking odd jobs here and there. But I'm not completely sure.
I never really thought of him being high up in the food chain so to speak, but it would be likely that he could get there because he is antisocial and doesn't care for many people.~Angela

Expendable
December 27th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Hi =^_^=
1. Would a non-military crew follow similar protocol to military crews? BTW,
their captain is a retired army general.
People usually go by what they know. If the captain's retired military, he's going to fall back on his experiances so he's going to use military protocols. Civilian members might not like it, but they'd have rules and regs too. One of them is obeying the Captain.

2. Now I know the male character needs more purpose in his own life, but I
haven't been able to come up with anything as far as an occupation.
Ok, he's a scavanger but besides the essentials, what else does he scavange?

Maybe he's tending a secret herb garden and has a talent for cooking - a talent that some value.

Or maybe he's scavanging art supplies and painting?

Or maybe he's a medic, separated from a military unit or was learning to be a doctor until that city got nuked and everything turned to chaos? Maybe he's in the streets helping people from a clinic when he's not scavanging for medical supplies, etc.

Or maybe he's the last private eye? Helping people to find their scattered or lost family members.

Expendable
December 27th, 2005, 01:49 PM
The nuclear war occurred around 20 years ago, in another city BTW, because that area would be uninhabitable for at least 50+ years.

The corruption comes from many angles within the city. I guess until you brought it up, I never worked it out enough before. I imagine there would be little control as far as govenment or authority goes, and that people would stick together as best they could to help eachother. It would also be a dangerous society in that there is no control, and questionable people would be walking the streets. What authority the city does have could end up coming from gangs and such, and of course that leaves their intentions questionable.

New Orleans' response to Katrina might give you an idea. After the other city gets nuked, those people who can will try to leave the city - but once the danger's past, they'd return. Some people will have stayed behind - some looting useless stuff they can't use (imagine ripping of a tv or laptop that's been damaged by the emp pulse created by the nuclear blast). Others defending their homes.

Twenty years after a nuclear disaster, the city would have long since stablized.

BlueAngel
December 28th, 2005, 01:08 AM
So the radiation would lessen in about 20 years? I'm no expert on this but wouldn't there be some residual effects of the radiation left?

Thanx for the suggestions on the male character. Although his role will concern eventually helping the female lead out of trouble, he is more of a lone wolf kind of guy, not that friendly, I'm not quite sure he'd be involved in helping others he doesn't know, he trusts very few people. It's a thought though, that he could've studied to be a doctor before the war, and he would have a conflict with his antisocial self and the part that wants to help those in need, which would make for interesting character development.

I'll keep that one on the back burner, but I'd like to hear a few other ideas before I make up my mind. Thanx again. ~Angela

Expendable
December 28th, 2005, 03:28 AM
So the radiation would lessen in about 20 years? I'm no expert on this but wouldn't there be some residual effects of the radiation left?
~Angela

There's so many different things to concider but look at the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima - and even Chernobyl, although it's a different sort of explosion than you'd have with a nuclear missile.

If it was an air burst (where the fireball never touches the ground) you'd get alot of blast damage, some burn injuries and a lot more eye injuries, but almost no radioactive fallout unless it rains. Ground Zero, the center of the explosion will be hazardous for people to travel through for a very long time. Military leaders like air bursts for the damage it does to ground troops.

A surface burst (where the fireball does touch the ground) a smaller area than the air burst is affected, and you'd have a radioactive crater at ground zero. After the initial blast and radiation wave, the long term danger is from radioactive fallout which affects a much larger area downwind than an air burst would have.

So if your city was downwind from the nuked city and the enemy did a surface explosion, you're going to have problems. But fallout will be washed away by rain, although you will have hotspots.

If your guy's really antisocial, maybe he's scavanging the outer ring of the nuked city, bringing back items that survived the blast with only minimal radiation. That might be his whole job. Let's hope he wears a lead cup to protect himself.

onions
December 28th, 2005, 06:09 AM
Angela, you've put a lot of thought into this guy's character.

Now you have to think about the society in detail, because that is what is ultimately going to influence your character's lifestyle and character.

I have no idea how large your nuclear effect is, how much it has disrupted normal lifestyle and how far things have returned to normal.

But these are questions for you to answer:

- How do people find a place to live? Build their own shacks?
- If not, who builds the houses? Do they live alone, in family groups, in larger communities (to save on rent)?
- How do people get food, clothing, heating material etc every day? Buy them in shops? Barter? Scavenge? Where does it come from?
- What products are valuable, because rare?
- Who controls the means of production? (Gee, that sounds familiar)
- Is there money? Who has the most of it?
- How are your classes distributed? (very rich people, poor, bourgeois?)
- How does religion get instrumentalised? To provide meaning? To discipline? To dupe the masses? (Heh, my inner commie's coming out in this post, isn't he?) The more difficult the times, the more people turn to beliefs.
- What knowledge has been lost, which still exists?
- Politics: who rules? On what merit? What story have they invented to explain the atomic faux pas? Does everyone accept this as common lore or are there different rumours?
- Crime: how is it organised, who, if anyone, fights it?


I think if you have a clear picture about what makes your society work, you will find a niche for your character to fit into.

pcarney
December 28th, 2005, 07:14 AM
Good questions, Onion. I was working on a story once set in a post-apocolyptic, fantasy world. My characters were running around a city, having a 'good ol' time', when I realized they didn't have anything to eat in there. After even a couple decades, all the food would be gone/rotted.

onions
December 28th, 2005, 09:42 AM
Lol!
So what did you do then with the food problem? Did you have to change things a lot?

I think the best post apocalyptic novel ever is "Riddley Walker" by Russel Hoban. His world is at once myth-like and completely realistic.