HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Boise,Idaho
    Posts
    14

    Keep it technical?

    I'm working on a novel, drawing from my work experiences to help add authenticity to the story. The main character worked as a crew chief(aircraft mechanic) in the US Air Force early in his career. Present time he works for a charter airline as a Flight Mechanic(aircraft mechanic) that flies as part of the flight crew to every destination.

    What he does isn't the story. But it does play a major role in what happens throughout the story.

    My question is; do I maintain a level of technical jargon for the like minded reader, or do I "dumb" it down to capture a larger audience?

    Thanks
    Brett



  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    9
    Depends. Does the reader have to understand the technical jargon to understand the plot/story/character? Because if it not, then I think it will probably add a lot of color and make your character more believable.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Boise,Idaho
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed28 View Post
    Depends. Does the reader have to understand the technical jargon to understand the plot/story/character
    I don't think so, but being in that line of work I haven't the slightest idea of peoples perception/knowledge of the job. The functions the main character performs influence his moods, emotions, fatigue levels, etc.

    I have been attempting to find a middle ground to work with, keeping a level of authenticity, to add color and believability. But I am trying to avoid overwhelming the reader with technicalities.

    As the story has developed I've worried about whether I've added too much or not enough.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    CANTON,OHIO
    Posts
    129
    Having worked in the automotive field I can tell you that most people wouldn't know the difference between a strut and a shock even though they both serve the same purpose.

    I would keep the story simple and perhaps use technical jargon in dialogue if it enhances the believability of the character or his situation at the time.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Boise,Idaho
    Posts
    14
    Thanks. I may have it at the level I'm comfortable with, for now...

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Well, this is my area of expertise currently. It's been my experience that engineers, mechanics, and others in similar fields like to explain HOW something works, because understanding how something works is vital to their job. But the average person could not care less how something works, they want to know how to make something work: what buttons do they push, what lever do they pull, what key do they turn to make the machine work. And if the buttons, lever, or key doesn't make the thing work, what other things do they try to make it work? I think if you approach explanations of technical stuff from that perspective as much as possible - just telling the reader what a character needs to do to make something happen rather than explaining how it happens - you'll create a story much more interesting for a larger audience.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Boise,Idaho
    Posts
    14
    Excellent post John. It had me smiling all the way through. I've used the level of detail that I would use in an explanation to my wife. When telling her of my day at work. "I had to replace a switch in the cockpit today. It turns on the computer that controls the throttles for the engines automatically. Landing speeds are very critical for the pilots and hard to control. If the automatic controls don't work the airplane isn't certified for landing in bad weather."

    Instead of; The autothrottles failed on approach into KBOI on the B757 this morning. Good thing it was VFR weather today. I powered up the mcdp for troubleshooting purposes. I ran an auto flight bite test 30 and test 40, it showed a AT PWR fault. I checked the fault isolation manual and wiring diagram for possible causes. The most likely component was the AT Arm Switch. I replaced the switch, ran a test 30 and test 40 to verify the fix. The autothrottles passed the TLA portion and switch logic portion of the tests. I re-certified the airplane to Category IIIB landing status.

    Of course that was an off the cuff choice of problem to describe. It isn't as technical other than the abbreviated terminology. But I wouldn't use this description in the telling of a situation to a person that didn't have the knowledge.

    cheers
    Brett

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts