I’m a perfectionist, I really do want to get things right, particularly the supporting facts and figures of my novels for the simple reason that realism is THE most important foundation you can have – ever – and if it’s not there, unless you are writing a spoof, you’ve lost it as a writer – There has to be truth in there and not just big truths, but little truths as well.
Details count. If you’ve got a cop in your story, for instance, he or she has to speak and act like a cop, and behind that police officer, there have to be real (or at least realistic) laws. Same with soldiers, same with doctors, same with anybody. You cannot walk in their shoes in everything BUT their expertise – it’s their expertise that you need. That means you have to study to some extent and think and speak like they do.
Law enforcement was the issue for me. There are laws against roughing up someone. Laws against murder. Laws against kidnapping and selling people into slavery.
So, Stephen, the team leader sells his latest new recruit (Aleisha, 17) to the two Khekarians in his team because they want a psychic and she’s it. She’s not very good at it, but who cares? It will mean a life of slavery in a savage empire for her, but freedom for Stephen and the rest of his team when those same Khekarians finally go away, not to mention that the sale will put extra money in his pocket.
What a bastard! And what’s not to like? As it turns out, in any other format, there’s plenty not to like. The story is great, but it dies a death if all Aleisha has to do is get to the police station.
I needed to bypass the police. How? Where? I could go back in time, say into the pioneering era, but that rules Australia out. Heck, Australia was established as a penal colony – cops and soldiers all over the place! I’m not sure what would happen in the Wild West, possibly the local Sheriff would form a posse and run the villains out of town. Or string them up.
Anyway, while I love historical pieces, I found out a long time ago that I can’t write them – simply because it would be true, it wouldn’t have happened (sometimes I’m too precise for my own good, but that’s the sort of thing that bothered me).
In the future, of course, anything can happen – so there’s no such thing as fibbing about it.
Best of all, on a world still new and barely explored, a small population will be very thin and will spread as far as it is able to. Rules and regulations will come in with them, yes, but the police force will evolve within the towns and cities according to the wants and size of the populace. There simply won’t be a million cops or soldiers on the street if it isn’t a military takeover.
If the planet is very raw, and it is, there won’t yet be federal enforcement. That leaves each town on its own, and the working teams (who travel) on their own, too. Jurisdiction is limited.
Perfection! I had to chop off that simple escape route for Aleisha. A world in the process of being colonized worked it for me.
Thank goodness for the future, and three cheers for sci-fi!