1. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    Anybody had a go at Sci-fi?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Inspired writer, Feb 3, 2012.

    It's hard stuff isn't it? Never really a fan of Star Trek or Star wars etc, so you can imagine how I'm struggling.
     
  2. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm currently writing an entry for the Science Fiction Short Story Contest. Science fiction is fun. It doesn't have to be like Star Trek or Star Wars. The Matrix is Science Fiction. So is Blade Runner or Alien. In books, there's everything from Dune to Orion, from 2001 to Hyperion. Ooh I almost forgot the Foundation series and the Rama series. All great stuff. Take a look!
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I grew up reading science fiction. To me, it's not hard stuff; it's the most natural stuff. It's the amniotic fluid I swam in. I write science fiction today and enjoy it. I learned a lot of science as a kid, and I studied engineering in university, so I'm comfortable with the science part of it.

    What I have trouble with is modern-day, realistic fiction. I could never write a story set in New York City in 2012, for instance, because I know nearly nothing about New York. I'd have to do (gasp!) research, and even then I'm sure I'd get a ton of stuff wrong, and everyone who knows New York would laugh at my worthless attempt to convey the sense of what it's like to be in New York.

    So I stay in my comfort zones, and science fiction is one of them.
     
  4. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    At first I had trouble with science fiction, but after writing synopses and brainstorming for hours for something within my comport zone (I'm not scientifically inclined) I found quite a few ideas. I did end up doing quite a bit of research on some things, but I'm pretty proud of myself. Who new a girly girl like me could come up with something like that? What was meant to be a short story now has enough material for an entire trilogy.

    If full on science fiction isn't your cup of tea, it might be a good idea to write a Sci-Fi sub-genre, such as Sci-Fi Horror for example. Think Invisible Man, Frankenstein, The Fly, I Am Legend, etc. Then there's always Sci-Fi Fantasy like Avatar or Star Wars.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Science fiction is my primary genre. There are a couple examples in my blog.

    How hard it is, relative to other genres, depends largely on your background. I'm a scientist by training and inclination, and also an avid reader of science fiction.
     
  6. My writer side
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    My writer side Member

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    I agree with this. Sci-Fi can be what aver you want it to be. Thats why I find it easy to write, I can make sense of anything when writing Sci-Fi.

    Its also a great escape from reality :)
     
  7. Hysteria1987
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    Hysteria1987 Member

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    I grew up with a lot of sci-fi too, though I haven't written too much of it. Well, I suppose I've written more of it than any other genre in a sense, but I digress. I find it a little difficult too, because every time my characters come across a problem, I find myself thinking, why don't they have a machine that will sort this out for them? I guess the solutions here could be twofold- I could use more people-based problems rather than event-based, and my world and its' capabilities could use a little more defining.

    The piece I'm trying now is (at this point, at least) set in a futuristic city inside a highly isolationist, somewhat paranoid nation- there's no space travel or anything like that, so it's somewhat set apart from Star Trek, Star Wars and the like, while still being futuristic. So uh, not quite sci-fi at this point (I wouldn't say that futuristic necessarily means sci-fi, though you might disagree), but there are more paths you can explore.
     
  8. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    I do like some sci fi literature, but I prefer fantasy. But to be honest, I haven't really read that much sci fi literature. I definitely should. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is fabulous. I'm a Star Wars fan (of the movies and comics), but I have only read 2 or 3 SW books. I do find sci fi movies interesting, but I haven't attempted writing sci fi literature. I use some futuristic elements in my writings, and it might turn out to be sci fantasy. I love the thought of spaceships, futuristic architecture, futuristic clothes, aliens and ufos. But writing about spaceships, aliens and ufos does not make it sci fi! Sci fi uses scientific methods of explanation throughout the story. You can write fantasy about aliens, spaceships and ufos, and sci fi without aliens, spaceships and ufos.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Contrary to what a lot of people believe, myself at one point included, Sci fi is not about creating a nauseating story you can't read while you eat (eg the show Lexx from sci fi channel) or creating characters you can't relate to (eg a sexless gel ball with 50 thousand eyes). That is a sub genre of sci fi.

    I've worked on both sci fi and fantasy and for me writing one or the other comes down to what section of the brain you're using. Fantasy, (in the vein of let's say tolkien or Lord Dunsany) utilizes poetry, loftiness, romance, and dreams. Its the vacation we want to to take.

    Sci fi, on the hand, at least to me, requires a significantly different outlook. It's constant and consistent problem solving. Why do I imagine things would be this way? What is the mechanism? Why is it significant. Also, I think the nature of sci fi requires you consider the consequences of whatever fictional elements you add to the story. For instance, if police develop a means to predict future crimes, when, and with who, you have to ask how that affects society on various levels.

    As for which genre is harder to write, its hard to say. The only works I actually finished were sci fi (granted I am a youngscientist) , but I think its because sci fi in a sense is more grounding. The rules are the rules of reality plus/minus the added rules from whatever your fictional elements you add, plausible in the realm of science. Obviously you have to have scientific explanations, but this is a matter of brainstorming. Once you have it, you write with that in mind throughout. In contrast, fantasy, at least for me, requires constant dreaming and fabrication. It's a less solid world by definition.
     
  10. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    I don't read a lot of sci fi, but my two favourite sci fi books are 1984 and The Time Traveller's Wife.

    A lot of my favourite movies are sci fi, Blade Runner, Donnie Darko, Gattaca, Minority Report, Back to the Future and The Matrix (just the first one).

    I love the concepts they explore, the "what if's?". I never really got into Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, or any of that stuff. I do love Star Wars, grew up with it. But honestly I would group Star Wars with something like, the Lord of the Rings, rather than something like 1984. More of an epic fantasy story to me, which just happens to have space ships and lasers in it. :D

    I'd love to write some sci fi, and I have a few ideas. One of which I'm hoping I could develop into a short story for this contest. The problem I was having is that I was thinking too big for a short story. Needed to stick to something more concise that I could get across in less than 5k words. Because when you need to set the scene, explain what's going on, develop a character and explore your "idea" all in 3-5k words. Well, it's not easy!

    I think writing a good story is hard, I think the genre is pretty irrelevant.
     
  11. Cosmic Latte
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    Cosmic Latte Member

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    I'll agree with you there, that writing a good story is hard, but I think the genre is relevant to the story. Sure, it's come in vogue lately to mix genres, but publishers still prefer having something they can readily market to their audiences. As readers, I think we expect certain developments to occur within certain stories, and this depends on the major genre(s) used. In the romance there may be the spurned lover, or a mystery-thriller may feature a lot of drama in building up to the who-dun-it, and these are things I think, as readers, we seek out. Stories are constructed around a myriad of intertwining variables and the genre helps orient us into accepting the story that follows. I think the error in writing within any genre comes from leaning too heavily on formulaic constructs. It can only lead to predictable plot development and stereotypical or shallow characters - although I suppose there are exceptions (one just came to mind!).

    I've only recently begun thinking about genre and story arc in this kind of depth, so I hope this observation is still useful. One of my goals is to explore genre and story arc in greater detail because I feel it will help me identify, focus, and refine what I write to more clearly bring out what's truly important to the story. (I'll let you know how it worked in a couple of years.)

    Getting back to the thread topic, yes! I had a lot of fun this morning sketching out an idea for the contest before I had to return to my homework. I don't know if I'll actually be able to participate online with a submission (I have a college paper to finish this weekend), but I have resolved to commit to finishing this at least as an exercise. I haven't started anything new in a while, so part of me says this is kind of silly to put another pot on the stove, but the other part says, "wait! what's that? who's this? There's something going on here ... quick, the pen!"
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am about to attempt sci fi for the first time. I adore Star Trek, not much of a fan of Star Wars though (although I love Yoda :D).
    The problem for me is that I just don't have the visuo-spatial intelligence like most male sci-fi writers. I am great with characterisation, I even know quite a bit about science and am married to a physics nerd (he is an invaluable resource :D) but sci fi I want to write is definitely soft sci fi. Hard stuff is just too boy-oriented. I like my drama too much.
    So I love books like Dune, Mars Trilogy, Void Trilogy, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? etc.
    Good luck!
     
  13. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Everything is easy when you know how. Sci fi is easy to write if you come from that background. I'm an epidemiologist by training and have been reading sci fi and fantasy since I was knee high to a grasshopper. So that stuff comes easily to me. On the other hand I'm a kiwi male, and romance stories are something I've never read. So I would guess that if I tried to write something in that genre I'd be left floudering (and maybe a little bit nauseus).

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    my first screenplay was a sci-fi thriller that i dreamt almost in toto and woke up to write down in the middle of the night... i didn't find the genre hard at all, since i'd been a classic sci-fan since my pre-adolescent years...
     
  15. akexodia
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    akexodia Member

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    I can understand exactly how you're feeling. Very recently i started working on a sci-fi plot. Boy, that's some really though stuff. It's like climing a mountain with flip flops on!!
     
  16. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    Ziggy Stardust, it's 3 - 10k. You can go alot more in depth with this one.
    I'm just worried about the time allocation. This'll be my first and only less than two weeks for all drafts plus submission.
     
  17. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    There's plenty of S.F short stories in the workshop, you should have a read, it might help you get a "feel" for it.

    If you need to bounce ideas off of someone of discuss somekind of issue, I'm in no way the most experienced or skilled writer here but I'll happily give you a hand if you need it.
     
  18. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sci-Fi and fantasy definitely feel harder because you have to create your own universe, laws, people, etc. I'm also writing a sci-fi novel at the moment. Not easy that's for sure xD Best way to improve is deinitely to read the genre and practise writing it :) I would start by writing some sci-fi short stories...possibly also read a few!
     
  19. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I'm currently writing a Sci-fi and I don't think it feels any harder than fantasy. But I think that's because my mind works that way. I love fantasy and I'm intrigued by the possibilities of science.

    Where I fall flat is trying to write Horror. I'm not scared by anything. I don't know what fear feels like so I can't come up with something that is scary.

    Could be that other people are right and it's more about writing a good book being hard and the genre irrelevant.
     

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