Help wanted with survivalist story

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by ChrisNuttall, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. ChrisNuttall

    ChrisNuttall Monkey+++

    I need a few pieces of advice.
    A planned book (two or so down the pipeline) will basically focus on a bunch of largely unprepared teenage kids who get stranded on a colonial planet after their aircraft crashes (or something along those lines.) This will force them to walk back to the colony ... with very little in the way of equipment or supplies.
    Can anyone offer suggestions that I can put into the story to add extra realism?
  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Seatbelts can be cut in strips and woven into much longer ropes, much like wool is added to yarn as it is being spun.
    Skin of aircraft is likely aluminum, or like light weight metal. If they can cut and or bend it, they could form a sled for all the on board food, blankets and tools.
    Pilots may be armed. Check for weapons and tools, and anything for barter.
    Heavy steel or aluminum struts could be sharpened for weapons or cutting tools. Make more than one sled, split the loads, and to carry any who may be injuries.
    Ripped out wires or cables for paracord uses.
    Take the rafts or inflatables and a couple of floatation cushions for throw lines and the wounded.
    Flare guns for signalling, and fire from wet wood. (Last resort)
    Air mask lines to stop heavy bleeding.
    Liquid fuel might have uses.
    All flashlights, and check for solar panels, handcrank generator, or spare batteries.
    Any parachutes or material that could be used for shelter.
    Curved glass from windshield or eye glasses to start fire.
    Check the dead for useful/ needed items.
    chelloveck likes this.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Check for a first aid kit, as well.
  4. Jeff Brackett

    Jeff Brackett Monkey+++

    Is this an offshoot of your Empire's Corps line, or something completely new? IOW, have the world parameters been established already? What are the differences in this planet and Earth? Is the gravity higher/lower/same? What kind of sun (this will affect the type, amount, and color of the light they see). Is atmospheric composition Earth-like, or do they need breathing apparatus? You said aircraft, but is it heavier or lighter than air (could be some sort of balloon / airship)? And going back to the question before, if the atmosphere is different from Earth's, how will that affect the function of the aircraft? Assuming the atmo is breathable, how does it smell? Maybe there's a heavy sulfur source nearby that makes the air smell like stale farts and rotten eggs, [gasmask] or some kind of chemical that is actually dangerous (corrosive) to human lungs?

    Is the climate desert-like, temperate, or frozen? And what kind of indigenous life (if any) will they have to worry about? (From carnivore to microbial - all could potentially be dangerous.) If there is a known threat, then would their aircraft have some sort of emergency FAK they have access to? And if they don't have access to FAK for whatever reason (maybe lost or damaged in crash?), is the indigenous plant and animal life going to be compatible to human physiology?

    Since it's SF, and you aren't bound to current tech, perhaps you have super-strong monofilament line that can be used for traps or attached to a weight and swung as a self defense device or weapon (line strong and thin enough to slice through flesh?).

    Maybe flight suits made of kinetic reactive materials that instantly go rigid as protection against impact?

    Also, since you're talking about kids, is this a YA story? That would also affect things, in that you probably wouldn't want to get too deep into technical detail for a younger audience.

    You're already a good writer. Just remember to bring all the senses into play to draw the reader into the story.
    Sapper John, kellory and ghrit like this.
  5. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    they need look for crash axes, fire fighting equipment, parachutes, cargo, food/water packets if it's similar to an airliner, tool boxes, plastic sheeting or vinyl seat covers can be used for solar stills, batteries, fuel, radios, cabling (snares, traps etc.) lights, lubricants, nav instruments similar to whiskey jack compasses, possible trade items with natives? towels, blankets, pillows, thermos containers, wheels & axels, metal for spear points and arrow heads... etc...
  6. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Don't forget to scavenge the cargo hold...never know what might be there along with personal baggage.
    kellory likes this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If no compass can be found, any magnet coupled to a ferris pin or nail or rod will float on a piece of bark or plastic, and will point north and south Magnetic. Look also for any charts, handheld maps, and see if the locator beacon can be dismounted and hard wired to one or more of the batteries for the emergency lighting. There may also be cargo webbing in the hold. That would make good off the ground bedding material, much like hammocks. and if high in the trees, would make for better security against predators.
  8. C.T.Horner

    C.T.Horner Monkey

    Just my 2 cent’s worth. I am in no way an expert. I write because it is what I enjoy. So take what I have to offer accordingly. It is highly likely you already know what I can share, but I will post it anyway for others who may be interested. Because I think this is a fun thread.

    So if I were looking for realism I would consider that if they are teenagers, they most likely lack experience. They are likely to make several stupid mistakes, this could be overcome with the exuberance and stamina of youth. Like forgetting to bring an essential item along, and having to make due without it. By the end of their journey they should be sunburned, parched, bruised, and filthy.

    Also I would play to other strengths that would appear to be weaknesses. Like their innocence, and lack of ability to identify a true threat. Bravery out of ignorance if you will.
    “It’s not that far to jump I can make it.”

    Also a tactic that appears to work for me, is to force the reader to get involved, by intentionally leaving out details. If you make the reader fill in the missing parts they become vested in the story and are likely to stay engaged. So if you are looking for realism, what better device than to let the reader fill in the gaps with their own realism after you set the stage that is.

    (Steve peered over the ledge at the distant bottom of the crevasse before he tied the rope around his waist to make the leap across.

    “You’ll never make it!” Butch warned, as Steve dug in his toes.

    When the last of them were across, Steve looked over the edge again, he felt a little queasy, and yet triumphant at the same time.)

    I intentionally don’t mention how far the gap is, because it isn’t necessary the reader is forced to decide for themselves. One reader might think 6 feet, while another might put the distance at 8 feet, yet another risk taking junky might set the distance at 12 feet or beyound. They are all correct and they are all setting a reality they want. Which is the only reality that really matters.

    Hope this helps, if not I hope someone, anyone learned something.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. ChrisNuttall

    ChrisNuttall Monkey+++

    It's Empire's Corps. <grin>

    kellory likes this.
  10. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    To make it realistic you have to make the characters behave realistically. If you've ever talked to a teenager you know that they know everything, and old people (like parents) just don't know anything. An emotional wake-up call would be nice once they realize their situation. Need a demonstration? Take the sim card out of any electronically linked teenagers cell phone and watch them fall apart.

    They're teenagers, so anything they scrounge that could be really important later on must quickly be misplaced or broken.

    I'd have a hard time writing anything with teen characters without it reading like a comedy to parents of teens.

    Good luck.

    kellory likes this.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    They are teenagers...hormones will be involved.
  12. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    There needs to some sort of threat along the way, whether it be human or alien

    The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black come to mind
  13. ChrisNuttall

    ChrisNuttall Monkey+++

    That's true.

    My rough idea was for 12 people. I think I’d need a kid from the colony, at least someone with basic survivalist training. (I was going to give them an adult, but someone who was badly wounded in the crash.)
    The background, however; part of the idea of TEC universe is that much of earth is pretty much as bad as the worst inner cities. These kids are very much on the edge; most of them don’t have a hope of accomplishing anything with their lives. What I need is ideas for other misadventures caused by their ignorance or sheer lack of concern about the universe around them.
    I’ve already decided that two of the kids will be caught stealing; one will learn from the experience, the other will be bitter and resentful. Not sure what else to put in. Perhaps an encounter with a rogue group of colonials, or real hard men?
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    As long as your book doesn't have Will Smith and his son in it, I will be interested in how it turns out. ;)

    You could focus a bit on the emotional aspect, too. Lots of challenges to consider with emotions. A girlfriend or two could add dynamics, and possible heroism or failure. The kid you mentioned with survival training could be the center, or unwilling leader of the group, with problems which can only be worked out with the aid of the others somehow. He could be an estranged kid and in need of social skills, and the crush of one of the girls who tries desperately to win him over. There could be jealousy and contempt from one or more of the other kids who may sabotage their survival, or a tragedy...This can be partially worked in early before the crash, and later cemented with the main storyline.

    Your idea of using some tough guys to attack the group is a good one.
  15. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Sounds like you need some kind of cross between Emerson Ngu, Henry Bowman and Sam Gribley. Maybe throw in a bit of attitude like Cathy in FL gave her character Kiri in This Is Me Surviving.

    Trouble with this, and your challenge, is to create a character that will be unlike any of these, since anyone who knows them will pick them out instantly.

    Have fun with it. Could it be you that becomes the youth character?

  16. ChrisNuttall

    ChrisNuttall Monkey+++

    God, I hope not me. I wouldn't have lasted a day.

  17. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Maybe also add a very book smart kid with little in the way of outdoor skills. The kind of kid that enjoys taking apart their electronic toys to see how they work and had their chemistry set taken for making gun powder. You could also mix things up by making this character a girl instead of a boy.
  18. ChrisNuttall

    ChrisNuttall Monkey+++

    Might work, but i'm not sure that someone from this background could do it.

  19. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Perhaps a maintenance tech, doesn't know that much about survival, but know how to fix things enough to work. (might like machines better than people, social outcast/ loner)
  20. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Hey I resemble that remark.
    kellory likes this.
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