Thursday, December 10, 2015

Scifi - Write What You Know?


When I first thought about writing science fiction I worried about the technical bits because that is not my forte. I don't read hard scifi because it doesn't interest me. In space opera, I often skim the sections where they describe the engines and weapons. I'm more interested in the characters and the story. If a battle happens, fine, but it isn't top priority for me.

I think that's why I started reading more fantasy than scifi. And shying away from epic fantasy with its armies of dark elves/orcs/whatever marching on the hapless heroes. I don't like battles and gore and choreographed fighting to the death. It has its place. I've written fight scenes in some of my books. But it isn't what I am looking for as a reader.

It took me a little while to realize that what I wanted to read was what I should write. Sounds silly now. But when I started writing I was afraid that I needed to slot my work into a specific category. Science fiction required science, right?

I thought about calling it fantasy, but since there are spaceships and aliens most people will dub it scifi. I worried that hard science fans, or space opera fans would call me out at the lack of what those genres demand.

Then I learned about all the subgenres. And a new (to me) category called space fantasy. A glance at that category on Goodreads gives me 533 results including a bunch of Star Wars novels, some Pern novels and some very well known authors. It has the books I would like to read.

Fretting about the science in my story was pointless because it doesn't affect the plot. I came up with a few simple answers to things. That released me to write the story about the characters and the events that change their lives, which is the story I wanted to tell. Somehow it gave me permission to write in my own voice about people I made up in a story that interested me. What a relief.

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