View Full Version : Circuitry description help

02-09-2018, 02:51 AM
If this is in the wrong forum, then I'll move it ( still new/learning the layouts ), but need help in describing circuitry without likening to computer chips or something along those lines.

bit of an explanation; in a project I'm working on, there are a race of creatures called angles, and their wings aren't visible at all times. their wings sprout from their backs when they wish to fly, produced from a "tattoo" on their backs that looks like a tree made of intertwining vines/roots/branches ( similar to some ancient Norse depictions of Yggdrasil ). but from their backs giant wings sprout ( kinda holographic looking ) and as energy flows through them, the viewer/reader can see circuitry inside the wings emanating from the "elbow" where the wing meets back.

I'm uncertain as to how to properly explain this without breaking the fourth wall, this all being set in a high fantasy world that doesn't have our technology ( obviously ).

any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. and again, if this is in the wrong area of the forum, then I'll move it there. I'm still a bit of a new fish.

02-09-2018, 03:38 AM
Welcome, Phelan Lutze.:welcome:

Firstly, decide whether or not you want to describe the action, or what the observer sees - and whether it is necessary to go too deeply into the technical stuff.

Maybe someone else can describe in dialogue whatever needs describing- to a character who needs to know about it.

I don't follow why or where breaking the fourth wall enters the equation.

I don't see where grammar or syntax enters the picture either.

Maybe a mod will move the question to a more relevant forum.

Good luck.

02-09-2018, 04:08 AM
Bufty, That was may intention, having another character describe it, what I'm having issues with is more on my side, I can't quite wrap my head around how to properly describe it. it may be that I'm simply overthinking it ( that's probably, exactly the case; I do that a lot ), but just wanted another's point of view on this. all and all, thanks, just to get feedback helps me think it through. as for where to put it, I was unsure as to where to put it, so this seemed to be the most relevant area...if the mods or anyone else could point me to the proper place for talks like this, that'd be perfect. thanks again.

02-09-2018, 06:31 AM
I think I would view this as a point-of-view and showing-vs-tell issue. Who is your narrator? You could just have your narrator tell your readers what happens with the wings. Ordinarily, telling like this is not a good strategy, but if you are good at descriptions, you may be able to make the process itself compelling enough to hold your reader's interest. If you can do that, a straight-forward description is the most efficient way to inform your reader. The pitfall is that a compelling description is hard for many people to write. If you are dry and boring, or overly ornate, your reader may give up on you. Using a first person narrator or another character to describe the activity is often an easier way to hold your readers attention, but you still have to write well. A lengthy and flat description from an observer is no fun to read and, done badly, the reader will feel cheated, like you have slipped in a description by commandeering a character to do your scut work.

Go with your feelings: if you are excited as you describe something, your reader is likely to catch your enthusiasm. If you feel like you are performing a disagreeable chore in the description, your reader is likely to agree. Get excited about what you are about to describe, then fly at it. Your excitement will carry through, no matter what narrative strategy you take. If you are not excited, no strategy will help.

Hope this is helpful.

02-09-2018, 07:24 AM
Boethius, Thank you, this is most certainly helpful. while I don't have the greatest confidence in my descriptive abilities as of yet, the idea of going with my feelings makes sense and I believe that should work. having thought over the description in question while I read responses and thought of this thread, I believe I have found the proper way to describe my vision, again thank you.

this is why I'm elated to find this forum, simply talking to others that have had or are going through similar experiences, have similar passions and interests, and those who live and work in the field of literature is more illuminating than simply writing by oneself, void of criticism, differing of opinions, and differing experiences. This may all sound grandiose, but I again thank you, for this site is a real blessing.

Dennis E. Taylor
02-09-2018, 08:18 AM
What about describing it in terms of the veins of a leaf?

02-09-2018, 09:07 AM
Tough one.

Maybe first, just imagine yourself trying to describe circuitry to someone who'd never seen it.

Then try being your character, being from your world, describing circuitry to someone else in your world. They of course have never seen circuitry, but they have seen things typical to your world.

Maybe your character can use some kind of metaphor to describe it. Maybe you can even place a metaphor in your world for them to use. For example, if I were trying to describe circuitry to an art history major, I might say it looks kind of like Islamic art. Maybe you can place similar art in your world, and even have the explanation that it was inspired by people who'd seen these angels.

Ultimately, you've set yourself a difficult task. It's tempting to try to do description by visualizing something really great to describe, and then trying to describe it, but you might not be able to get there from here. Sometimes I think it works better to come up with the words first, and see what images they inspire. Operate on the level of simile. Describe the effect something has on you instead of the appearance. Mix in other senses. Or try a hybrid approach. Come up with the image first, but if it isn't working out, kill your darling (images). Come up with a different image that's just as exciting but easier to describe.

Here's my go at it anyway though:

Criss-crossing lines, bending at sharp angles, weaving over and under each other and meeting at nexuses of energy.

02-09-2018, 09:09 AM
What about describing it in terms of the veins of a leaf?

Good. Or wings of a dragonfly.

02-09-2018, 03:57 PM
Sounds like a ladybird sort of set-up.

JAS- His protective back casing opened to expose two folds of membrane that slowly unfurled. The maze of interlaced filaments throbbed to life under the morning sun, and finally tautened, revealing a double pair of gossamer wings. X flexed his arms and I saw where the wings connected to his elbows. How these delicate things could get him airborne, I couldn't imagine.

Not sure of your POV, but that's one option in First person POV.

Or you could have a question and answer dialogue to extract the information you want to get across.

Good luck.

02-11-2018, 12:34 AM
I wrote:
At the base of their back trails of light flow upward, intertwining like the roots of a tree, all meeting at the center of the back twirling up as a tree trunk. From there, the light trails spread out like tree branches, intertwining again, before reaching just below the shoulders. The entire image on their backs began to pulse, with a rainbow of colors flowing from the bottom of the tree, to the top. Then, near the center of their shoulder blades, close to the spine, circular sigils with stylized wings in the center appear above their backs. Over the sigils, light began to gather; from the angels’ backs, the light blasted out to form two giant translucent, birdlike wings. From the demon’s, the light blasted out to form similar batlike wings. From the “elbow” of the wings, energy pulsed; following a linier path that branched off inorganically throughout the wing; straight and orderly like a spider's web. The lines pulsed with a rainbow of colors along with the person’s heartbeat. All of this lasting no more than a few moments before the five scouts stood on the tower’s edge with wings outstretched, readying to fly.

first draft...opinions? all the same, thanks for the help everyone. :Hug2:

AW Admin
02-11-2018, 03:34 AM
At this point, you're asking for a crit, and Basic Writing Questions isn't the right place for that.

Crits or critiques are pretty special, and have their own subforum called Share Your Work (SYW). You need 50 posts to start a new thread in SYW.

Lots of times new members think they know what it means to be critted, and that their work is ready for it, when it isn't. So having to have 50 genuine, engaged posts gives new members a chance to figure out how critting works.

Until you have 50 posts, why not go to Share Your Work (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=26)and read some crits, and carefully read the stickies (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=135), and maybe try your own hand at doing a crit ?

The password for Share Your Work is vista.

There's an FAQ listing passwords (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?58794-FAQ-Passwords-for-Protected-Forums-amp-What-to-do-if-the-Password-Doesn-t-Work).

Once you have 50 posts (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220379), you can start your own thread in Share Your Work. Until then, reading crits, and trying your own hand at critting will help you understand what it's like to be critted.