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One of the tricky things about writing SF is that you can get totally… - The Mad Schemes of Dr. Tectonic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Nov. 18th, 2007|06:32 pm]
One of the tricky things about writing SF is that you can get totally derailed by random details. "He walked down the street to the bar to get a drink." Wait -- would it be a 'bar'? Or would it be a different kind of establishment? Do bars have a place in the world? Do they drink alcohol in this setting? Do they have streets, even?

Of course, the cool thing is that answering these questions is half the fun, and having the impetus to keep going with whatever you were trying to write in the first place can help you power through the expository detour.

[User Picture]From: flwyd
2007-11-19 04:22 am (UTC)
It seems like hypertext would be useful in such a situation. Hyperlink "bar" and show (in a separate frame) some encyclopedic remarks about bars in the world. Sort of Hitch Hiker's Guide like, but without the comforting voice of Peter Jones.

[Curio: For some reason, my spell checker likes "hypertext" but not "hyperlink."]
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2007-11-19 06:22 am (UTC)
I actually did this once with a hypertext story, where I couldn't guarantee that the reader had read page 3 before page 8.

It's not bad, but I think the standard approach works better, when done well. After all, you could do the same thing with footnotes in a linear story. Having to decide where to put in bits that explain the universe, and where you're just going to reference things without explanation is actually kind of cool, because it gives you all kinds of interesting structural options. (Of course, you can also fall down horribly if you don't do it well; I'm hoping that I'm not doing badly at it.)
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