unescapable techno lingo?



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  • unescapable techno lingo?

    As I move along in my time travel story (social satire) involving 31st century people and situations, I find myself silly creating and using specialized words and terms as well as provocative dialect - not always necessary, I imagine, but always fun and easier to write.

    For example, if early on in the story I call something "Amon" (meaning a strange punishment, hard to explain) is only because I know it will often reappear. But too many of these useful words, I fear, will hurt my chances of grabbing a coverage reader's attention - particularly during the first 10-15 pages, where I have plenty of them.

    Maybe I should get a hold of the scripts for "A Clockwork Orange" and "1984" and "Star Wars" to see how the writers tackled this issue. Any other thoughts?


  • #2
    welcome to DD

    as long as your new vocabulary is fun and easy to read - then just write it the way it needs to be, but I'd recommend keeping it to a minimum - don't do it just for the sake of doing it.

    Also, it might help if the words had some organic relationship to what they describe - what does "Amon" have to do with strange punishment and how is that fun?

    A Clockwork Orange and 1984 were novels before they were scripts - something to bear in mind - and most of the "made-up" words in Clockwork are actually derivations of Russian.

    good luck


    • #3
      unescapable techno lingo?

      I suppose your knowledge of Robert Howard is limited to the comic books and movies? If you read his short stories, he uses words to describe people and places (races and nations) that are hardly masked versions of our real world words. So you know what a person of the Vanir tribe looks like, it is easy to figure out what the nation of Aquilonia looks like.

      Or remember, in Star Wars, the super high tech tool that Han Solo need to fix his interstellar space ship - it was the hydro spanner. What? A water wrench?

      This is not a novel and you are not JRR Tolkein. I'd bet there is more than one reader who visits this forum who has encountered a script that came with it's very own glossary. Don't do this.

      If you want to write social satire, why would you make up words? Amon has no social implications for me. In fact, it instantly makes me think of Conan the Barbarian. Sure, you could say that it is someway related to the word amen, but as pronounced by Caribbean islanders. Find words with real meaning that can satirized.


      • #4
        I wasn't clear enough. I'm not really using "Amon" in my script. I just threw it up in the air as a casual example of what I might use. Sorry.:rolleyes

        The made-up words I use are organic to the function they represent, of course. They follow relationships even patterns and artistry. Humor is also integral.

        I don't think I have to be JRR Tolkien to create my own glossary. I was thinking in terms of what Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" did or what Jonathan Gems's adaptation of George Orwell's "1984" did or, perhaps, what George Lucas did with his futuristic masterpiece.

        I'm humbly focusing mainly on approach and style, not literary or filmic grandeur. Sure, I'm not any of these heavy dudes.

        Hey, I'm just starting out.

        But, yeah, it may be wiser (and safer) to limit myself to our own vocabulary, our predictable little things.



        • #5
          But too many of these useful words, I fear, will hurt my chances of grabbing a coverage reader's attention - particularly during the first 10-15 pages, where I have plenty of them.
          I'd wager the opposite is true.


          • #6

            What caught me about your post was this line:
            >>not always necessary, I imagine, but always fun and easier to write.

            Writing dialogue like A Clockwork Orange should be much harder and more laborious to write than naturalistic dialogue. The beauty of Clockwork is that it creates this whole new language, but it's never very difficult to discern what their saying. What I would recommend is to only make up words when they refer to something that doesn't exist in present time. If this is a social satire, you might want to go the Gulliver's Travels route and make up words that refer to present day people/groups. But again, the connection should be easy to make.




            • #7
              Try not to pull a DUNE. I remember walking into the theater and the attendant handing me a pamphlet of Dune terminology. Yikes. Studying words before a movie is not my idea of entertaining.


              • #8
                Hey, if it's a comedy, you could use current day meaningless words like hammerfor. Of course we'll be expecting "for pounding in nails" but then your character actually grabs a hammerfor which, in the future, is a high tech laser instrument.

                Sorry for nosing in, I just think a few of those would be funny. Now time for me to get back to work on my stack of unsold screenplays.


                • #9
                  Make sure we understand from actions what we don't understand from the words...

                  And make sure the mae up words are "logical" - language evolves... so what did your words evolve *from* and *how* did hey evolve? When I do a sci-fi script I figure out how and why things change - because that's part of the world I'm creating.

                  You might also look at CLUELESS - they have their own slang, based on pop culture.

                  - Bill


                  • #10
                    Before I sent a script out, I asked a friend of mine, who has never even watched ER, if he had trouble following the surgical action. He told me that he didnâ€TMt have a clue about what the doctors were doing but he understood that someone who been in a car wreck and was â€bleeding out†and â€circling the drain†was in bad trouble. I think if you can use emotionally charged but plain words like, â€Shields down, hull breach eminent†youâ€TMd be ahead of the game. TSW


                    • #11
                      In THE FUGITIVE, how many people actually remember WHY Dr. Richard Kimble's wife was killed?

                      "Techno babble" has to serve the true plot of the story, not BE the story.

                      Beyond that, as long as it is fairly consistnet, even the geeks won't complain too loudly.


                      • #12
                        I believe it's inescapable, not unescapable


                        • #13
                          I re-read the script to 'Minority Report' the other day. It contains 'new' words but not too many, and they're always deducible ('PreCog', 'PreCrime' etc) or explained by action or context.

                          -- Nooz


                          • #14
                            Hey Wolfy,

                            I just checked thesaurus.com. Both ways are OK.


                            • #15
                              Maybe it's an American thing.

                              It's not Queen's English.

                              But then again - you drop the u from colour, have no y in tyre and say 'gotten'