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Author Topic: In need of some writing assistance  (Read 760 times)
creagmor
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South Africa South Africa



« on: March 11, 2016, 03:44:01 pm »

Due to a Microftian inclination, and other assorted issues, virtually all of my  efforts have either devoted to enjoying the wonderful creations posted herein by so many talented individuals, or in writing.

Only a small, but critical part, of my story is set in a steampunk world. I’m thinking of a machine that functions somewhat like the good Doctor’s TARDIS, with one major exception. Rather than moving to different times and/or places, the device, when installed in a vehicle it would be enabled to instantly morph into one of five other ones, including a boat and aircraft (complete with “anti-gravity” device). All of these would be fitted out like James Bond’s BD5 in Goldfinger, but on steroid; everything from smoke screen and oil slicks to 200 pound bombs. The irony of the story is, with all this, and list of electronic gadgetry at his fingertips, he actually gets to use very little of it, unlike 007.    

Here’s where I need help. How would I describe the function of the changing device, if at all, and what would I call it, if anything? Also in this alternate world the attire and technology would be very steampunk. How best could I go about describing these without getting bogged down in the details. In the preface I did mention the “steampunk aspect” of the preceding bits. Need I say any more?

Thanks in advance. FYI, further details available upon request.


« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 03:46:35 pm by creagmor » Logged

“Love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that cold true reason which I place above all things.” Sherlock Holmes, in The Sign of Four.
walking stick
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England England


« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2016, 05:21:22 pm »

See Chitty Bang Bang and Professor Pat Pending in Wacky Races for vehicles that do this.  Perhaps you could say you have a fully adaptable all terrains vehicle.  As for describing the transformation how about this.

With a sound that combined the most piercing effects of bagpipes, steam whistle and accordion with that of moving metal, the carriage transformed into a small steamboat, folding neatly as if the whole vehicle was nothing more than an outsized piece of origami.
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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
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South Africa South Africa



« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2016, 06:36:07 pm »

Sounds very unique; no pun intended. As for 'all terrain'; the one thing it doesn't have is 4WD. There is a quad runner, with optional remote control and removable .30 cal. machine gun, for this.    
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 04:32:01 am by creagmor » Logged
RJBowman
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2016, 08:35:34 pm »

Are you trying to give the impression of something mechanically plausible, or is this a pure fantasy device like the Phooey Mobile?

If the former, I imagine the transformations being controlled by a cam wheel like an eighteenth century automaton.
'The Writer' Automaton


The transformation would not be instantaneous; it might take a minute for the device to go through its machinations. Something midway between the simple unfolding of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the complex transformations of the cinematic Transformers; closer to the former than the latter. You would hear the clicking of the cam control device and of various ratchets, and maybe the hiss of pneumatic or steam rams.

Much of the vehicle could be made of collapsible materials; think umbrellas, canvas carriage tops, opera hats, telescoping leather camera bodies, and any other period-appropriate device that folded to occupy less space. Imagine what an automobile, airship, submarine, and rail vehicle might have in common; the other parts of these vehicles would have to stow or fold fold away.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 08:37:43 pm by RJBowman » Logged
creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 08:25:04 am »

Like the TARDIS the mechanism would be pure fantasy. Change would be instantaneous, accompanied by a pale blue green light.

I do apologize as it would appear that I may have given the wrong impression. While the vehicle was constructed in the afore mentioned alternate universe, it would be function in our own. Thus at least a couple of configurations must be able to travel over water or roads, without attracting any attention. This vehicle is used by a small vigilante type crew to combat organized crime, with the tacit approval of the highest levels of the US government.     
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Peter Brassbeard
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 06:25:56 pm »

A good general rule with such fantasy devices is describe what it does from the perspective of one of the characters.  And have a good general idea what it can and can't do.  =How= it works is usually not directly relevant to the story.
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creagmor
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South Africa South Africa



« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2016, 05:34:16 pm »

Duly noted. Many thanks
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pakled
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Minions Local 305, at your thervice!


« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 03:08:05 am »

Well, it's got good possibilities. One reason for the Tardis to be 'stuck' the way it is is that it forces the characters to deal with the limitations...you might consider 'building in' some, such as a time delay in changing from one to the other. Two important parts in telling a story (which I often forget...Wink are 'how did they get into this?' coupled with 'how are they going to get out of it?'

Sounds like fun.

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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
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South Africa South Africa



« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2016, 05:25:47 am »

Thanks for the input. For the most part I have the "into" and the "out of" bits pretty much sorted out. My story is bascily finished at 250+ computer pages. The main reason for starting this thread was the desire to add a little bit of plausibility.

One reason for including this device was to illustrate how, no matter what kind of gadgetry one has, in the end it is one's ingenuity and skills that will determine the outcome. I'm not trying to wax philosophical here but, gadget freak that I am, one of the things that turned me off about Knight Rider was the fact that, except for the fight scenes, the Hoff was basically nothing without the car. About all he did was to go where KITT couldn't, and to feed it information.

Other than transferring people between universes, the main vehicle only uses the device twice. Once was in preparation for a jump. and once to permit the Bean Sidhe (Gaelic spelling of banshee) to fly to a location and then vanish the wings to permit manoeuvring in the sea. It is never used as a "get out of jail free" card as it was, on occasion, in some of the Bond films.  The subordinate vehicles only use this process once, and then only after a hit to avoid possible identification.         
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Cora Courcelle
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England England



« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2016, 06:56:26 pm »

one of the things that turned me off about Knight Rider was the fact that, except for the fight scenes, the Hoff was basically nothing without the car. About all he did was to go where KITT couldn't, and to feed it information.

    

... and the car was a better actor too.
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You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...
creagmor
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South Africa South Africa



« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2016, 09:10:00 pm »

And, from my perspective, the better looking, but then, de gustibus non est disputandium. On the other hand Hoff was probably the better singer.
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walking stick
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2016, 11:14:45 pm »

one of the things that turned me off about Knight Rider was the fact that, except for the fight scenes, the Hoff was basically nothing without the car. About all he did was to go where KITT couldn't, and to feed it information.

   

... and the car was a better actor too.

And, from my perspective, the better looking, but then, de gustibus non est disputandium. On the other hand Hoff was probably the better singer.

Um, I wouldn't bet on that.
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Cora Courcelle
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England England



« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2016, 11:04:46 pm »

And, from my perspective, the better looking, but then, de gustibus non est disputandium. On the other hand Hoff was probably the better singer.

After all, I don't ever recall hearing the car sing.
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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
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South Africa South Africa



« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2016, 04:46:32 am »

Nor did I; Merely Speculating. Given the quality of KITTS rather tinny voice I was guessing that David would sound better.  
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 05:38:33 am by creagmor » Logged
Cora Courcelle
Snr. Officer
****
England England



« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2016, 10:26:20 pm »

I might still prefer to listen to the car.
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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2016, 05:50:02 am »

Given a choice, neither one would even make it to the bottom of my top 500 list. there are so many talented artists out there which I would prefer hearing, even among the amateur folks.
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