Friday, April 26, 2013

World Building A to Z: Weapons and Wealth

This month, I'm sharing about stuff I've seen in world building and setting.

Weapons: What do people fight with? Weapons and the way people fight, whether it's in a war or on a playground, offer hints about a world. 

In the HARRY POTTER books, the wand is the weapon of choice, much like the good ol' bow and arrow in THE HUNGER GAMES. But in MOCKINGJAY, the featured weapon is Gale's engineered bomb; the bomb creates an initial distraction to attract more targets before the maximum destruction occurs. While Gale might've thought his bomb would hurt only the enemy, he is wrong.

A weapon isn't always a tangible item you can see and touch, like a sword. In many stories about bullying, the aggressor attacks with words. Words can hurt the target directly, they can be used to manipulate, and they can create and pass along false rumors. (On the bright side, words can also heal, comfort, and be used to show assertion. One can use words to tell a bully to back the hell off.) 

A weapon can also be cleverly disguised as something benign. A Trojan horse, for example.

Wealth: What goods are produced? What are sources of wealth? What kind of currency do people use? 

In the world of struggling old money on the TV show, Arrested Development, Michael Bluth visits prison to see his dad, who loudly hints that there is always money in the banana stand. Michael doesn't read between the lines, and he and his son burn down the family banana stand, the secret hiding spot for $250,000 in cash. 

Can you think of other examples of weapons or wealth?

Has someone ever hurt you with words?  Have you ever hurt someone with words?

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

16 comments:

Lynda R Young said...

Oh that episode of Arrested Development made me want to cry! lol

T. Drecker said...

Oh, how sad that they burnt it all.

Ghadeer said...

The best weapon is that of Harry's mother's love to him which protected him from Voldemort :)

Nick Wilford said...

Well, they do say the pen is apparently mightier than the sword! Words can do a lot of damage, but like you say, they can also heal.

Lynn Proctor said...

i have been hurt by words and hurt others with words--i think the reason words hurt so much, is because they all come from a source of at least some truth---great post!

Melanie Schulz said...

A lot of times words are used as weapons, which in writing adds to the tension, it does in life, too but not always in a good way.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Words can be strong weapons and take down someone from a distance.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah words can sure knock all down a peg or ten. I tend just to shrug them off an away I go though.

John Wiswell said...

I enjoy unusual weapons in Fantasy. Been working on applications for an edgeless sword and straight-up keys recently. Off the top of my head, my favorites come from Rumiko Takehashi's Inu Yasha, especially Sesshomaru's convenient light-whip.

John at The Bathroom Monologues

Mark Means said...

Oh yeah, words can cut deeper and quicker than any blade...especially when wielded by someone skilled in their use.

S.P. Bowers said...

Currency, that's something I hadn't thought through for my WIP. Thanks for the reminder and the suggestions.

Nana Prah said...

Words may be the worst weapon. Physical wounds heal, but words tend to stay with a person for a long time.

Karen Tamara said...

whoever made up that sticks and stones rhyme was an idiot. Words can hurt just as much as anything physical!!

Cynthia said...

Lynda: It was sad and funny all at the same time.

T. Drecker: Very unfortunate.

Ghadeer: Very clever to use love as a weapon.

Nick: Yay for healing words!

Lynn: I'm so sorry you've been hurt by words. I don't believe that hurtful words always shed light on truths. Sometimes people say mean things just to say mean things.

Melanie: I prefer tension in fiction over real life.

Alex: It's unfortunate that this happens.

Pat: That's a good approach.

John: An edgeless sword sounds original.

Mark: That's why it's important to stay away from toxic people who use words to hurt others.

Sara: You're welcome!

Nana: Sometimes people can heal from the hurtful words spoken to them too.

Karen: Perhaps they can change that line to "and words can also hurt me."

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

In Mockingjay, I think Gale always knew his design could take out innocent people too. That was really part of its design. He always accepted the idea of "collateral damage" (as evidenced in their discussion about how to finish off the battle at the Nut). And that acceptance--whether one considers it realism or ruthlessness--was what turned Katniss away from him.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I agree that words are also strong weapons. I'm sorry that I missed that Arrested Development episode.

Julie

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