February 26th, 2014

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Writing Excuses 9.8: When Is Your Handwavium Good Enough?

Writing Excuses 9.8: When Is Your Handwavium Good Enough?

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/02/23/writing-excuses-9-8-when-is-your-handwavium-good-enough/

Key Points: Handwavium, when you can't support it, but maybe if you wave your hands hard enough, the reader will just believe it? Related to technobabble and magic systems. Science fiction may be inspired by real science, but there is a gap that we can't currently do. That's handwavium. The science needs to be plausible and not break things people know. Consistency! You, the writer, needs to recognize that there is a problem and cover it with technobabble. Is it something that your character just uses, or has to solve or fix and must understand how it works? Stand back and avoid details, use technobabble to fill holes, or just ignore it? Establish your credibility using science you know and can explain, then skip past the big holes quickly. Fantasy tends to create a magic system and then maintain consistency. Internal consistency often means proper foreshadowing. By the time the crisis hits, the reader should know what is happening and go along with it. I.e., don't introduce handwavium at the last moment, build it up before you need it.
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[Brandon] So, Mary. Writing prompt?
[Mary] So for your writing prompt, I would like you to write some technobabble. What I want the technobabble to explain is how turtles have hyperspace.
[Brandon] Wow. Turtles have hyperspace. All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
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