We’ve written this month about motorcycles. The different types. The different cultures. What they mean to us. Because this is a writing blog, we’ve related these traits and characteristics to writing. I think we’ve done a good job of it, but there is one thing we haven’t discussed yet.
To be safe on a bike it is very important to wear the right gear. In all honesty, those folks tooling around in bandanas and jeans are in for a very rough spell should they go down. And when you ride, it isn’t a matter of if, so much as when. Sooner or later you’re going to get up close and personal with pavement. And skin, I am quite sorry to say, doesn’t wear well when scraped across tarmac. We all remember what it was like to fall down and skin our knees as kids. That was just running. Try it at 70 mph.
There in lies one of the things I like the best about riding a motorcycle, and it isn’t road rash. Just as women like their purses, scarves, belts and designer boots, riders like our gear. It’s just… cool. Take this old pair of HiPoint Pro GP boots I wear. They haven’t made these in over a decade but I found a mint pair on eBay a few years ago. While they were originally meant for off-road, and I used to wear them for trials, I’ve graduated them to riding on the street. They’re perfect for the job. THICK leather to protect my soft parts, but flexible. And I really dig the functional steel shin plate. Where else can you get away with wearing stuff like this when it isn’t Halloween?
I think all of us dream of going into space some day or flying a fighter jet. Ask most people and they’ll say they’d like a ride into orbit. Maybe that’s why we have such a helmet fetish. And not just the helmet, from jackets and pants made from leather, Kevlar, Cordura, Dynatech, and other tough fabrics, to gloves and armor, you don’t ride a motorcycle so much as pilot it. So where else can you dress like an astronaut or test pilot without seriously sullying your reputation as a rational, reasonable person? Whether it is black leather and a bandana or Kevlar and an Arai helmet, climb on a bike and (almost) anything goes.
As writers we talk a lot about our craft. Characters. Plot. Setting. How we can put all these things together to create a story. It can get downright academic when it comes to discussions of rising action, plot points, and how we use motivation and desire to generate dramatic tension. Modern craft says you need to have conflict on every page.
Sometimes I get a little tired of the conflict and just want something cool. Some gear. Something to fire the imagination. Something creative. Kids love the game I created for my novel Multiplayer. Older readers identified strongly with world I conveyed in The Silla Project. How much of Jules Verne’s success was based on the cool ideas he poured into his works. Would Michael Crichton have attracted the following he did without the amazing ideas he used to drive his plots?
Spend some time thinking about cool stuff. Or what your audience thinks is cool stuff. It is a lot of fun and can add some extra spice to your next project!
Today’s writing prompt:
Write about something you think is really cool. Not a person or an idea, but a thing. It can be real or fictional. Say something about how its very amazingness thrills you.
John C. Brewer is the author of Multiplayer, an adventure for young adults, and The Silla Project, a North Korean nuclear romance. Find out more about what he is doing at johncbrewer.com.