So this is not what was supposed to be up next, (my attempt at backwards plotting) but it came up on a forum and is pretty much ready to go as a post, so here it is. One of the forum members asked a question about “a-typical weapons.” He wanted to know if anyone had ever read about one like his. Along with it being a tonfa that could light up like a lightsaber, it also had the ability to produce a narrow blast, wide angle blast, and temporary defense shield.
I started thinking of his weapon in context of what I’ve learned about writing. I suggested that he be wary of using an a-typical weapon and then making it even more complicated. The guys over at Writing Excuses talked about this when they did a show on fight scenes recently. They spoke to the point that many authors, especially those with martial arts experience, fall into a blow by blow description of their fight scenes. It sounds like this weapon would lend itself to that due to the need for explaining exactly what the weapon is doing at any given time, i.e. is it a blaster, shield, lightsaber, and so on.
Besides that, all the extra things that the weapon can do take away from your character. Jedi's are amazing because their lightsabers can only be used as swords, LASER swords, but swords all the same. When they deflect blaster shots it comes via the prowess of the character, not how amazing his weapon is.
I'd also caution against esoteric information. I for one tend to gloss over detailed explanations of things, especially weapons, when I read. I think it's why many authors keep things simple for the reader, Jedi's basically use swords, and that's easy enough to understand. Drizzt, while he used an odd weapon for his culture, used scimitars, something easily understood by the reader. Don't let interesting weapons compete with how interesting your character is.
But this is just one writer/reader interpretation. Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think about the a-typical 007 style weapon and its place in storytelling? Am I on to something with this analysis or just ruining a good time?