Tweet of the Day: Writing Excuses 9.32: Adjusting Character Proactivity
Klaxons blare, fires flare, explosion shake, and the heroes run through a storm of exploding panels, and dangling wires. Their ship is going down in flames and they are not planning to go with it. Their destination: the Escape Pod(s). Regardless of how practical escaping in a tiny pod into the vast void of space may be, I remind our gentle readers that tropes exist for a reason, or reasons. The first reason for using this trope is that you can safely blow up a ship, because you got to use your FX budget on something and explosions are cool, and have your character survive. The second, and more common reason is to raise the stakes by putting the characters in a difficult position:
- The characters may be captured.
- The characters may land in a harsh yet (barely) hospitable planet.
- If there is little or no hope of rescue then set up a Robinson Crusoe type scenario with or without Lord of the Flies levels of horror.
All of these are based on the idea that Space is an Ocean. Escape pods can also serve as part of larger set up such as a rescue mission, a horror story set around a ghost ship. It also serves to push the character and the readers out of their comfort zone of easy interplanetary travel and comfortable luxury cruise ship accommodations and remind them that space is a harsh mistress indeed.