Science fantasy worldbuilding in Phoenix 5: Exotic technology

Exotic Technology

Expanding the description further

In our final snippet, the writer finds a new point of interest, in this case hinting at how the technology might be operated.

Notice how the snippet begins with the word and: it’s building on the point of interest the hero is reacting to in the previous snippet.

And within this circle of symbols lay other, smaller circles. A series of dials, like wheels within wheels, tracing elegant arcs and crescents, describing a geometry as precise as it was mysterious.

PhoenixS.F. SaidSource

Notice how the expansions use qualities that tell us the Astrolabe is special: elegant, precise, mysterious.

What’s a new point of interest in your object? How might your alien technology operate? Does it have lights? Buttons? Lenses or mechanical arms? It doesn’t always have to be entirely clear what they do, or even be physical components for that matter—maybe it is making a noise, or seems to have an interesting effect.

What kind of qualities would tell the reader why it’s special?

Then it made a noise at him. A distinct set of bleeps and boops, like it was starting a conversation, almost childish sounding, but with textures and layers in the sound that were as strange as distant stars.

As Vijay settled in, she noticed rectangular bands appear at each of her wrists. They were touchbars, like tiny landing strips, subtly illuminated but perfectly straight, impossible in any ordinary gas.

Watching the glyphs in the readout, she realised they were following a pattern. The chain was getting shorter, like a sea-worm dropping tail segments, shrinking from left to right, making Jola feel strangely afraid of time.

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