1. Earphone
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    Earphone Active Member

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    Sci-fi fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Earphone, Aug 29, 2011.

    I've always been a bit hesitant about writing sci-fi fiction, almost singularly because of my loathing of Star Wars/Star Trek/Stargate/etc fanfic. I feel like anything I write will be a knock-off of something that's already been done better. (Though the same could be said for any genre, really.)

    Recently though, I had an idea for a scfi-fi space novel, and am actually eager to test it out. What I'd like to know first is: Do you guys think that a story about a guy "building a crew" is too dead with overuse to peel another story out of?

    As far as plot, it's fairly callable so far, and I'm working out details and generally trying to make it more interesting. Do you guys think it can be done though?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Of course it can be done, because there are many ways to build a crew. It doesn't have to be anything like the Star Wars/Trekkie/Firefly/Stargate/etc crews, it can and SHOULD be all your own.

    I hear Cogito's "story concept means nothing" template post coming......
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    If you're worried that all sci-fi must be derivative of science fiction TV programmes (which for the most part are fairly derivative themselves), then you need to go out and read some more science fiction. It's an incredibly broad church, and I can promise you there are more ideas and subgenres than you've imagined.
     
  4. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Building a crew? In the sense of a crew for a ship? It's a theme more common in naval and historical fiction than sci-fi....
     
  5. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    By saying Sci-Fi Fiction your essentially saying Science Fiction Fiction :p

    And the crew could be anything, a bunch of people who shouldnt even be in the same room together, let alone working together, or maybe a trained team.

    Up to you. :)
     
  6. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    I think it depends on the point of view that you're writing from.

    If you told me a story from the POV of a determined Captain choosing the best men for a dangerous mission, I'd put the book down pretty quickly.

    What would appeal to me is if you told that story from the POV of an inexperienced, underqualified rookie who has been selected for the crew and faces a tough learning curve to become equal to the more impressive individuals around him.

    Or from the POV of a saboteur who has been drafted into the team by keeping his past a secret, and plans to blow up the ship or murder the Captain or something, but as the story goes on he faces pressures which prevent him from carrying out the mission.

    Both of those examples fit the "guy building a crew" template but both are radically different takes on it. And they're certainly not the only two ways your team-building story could take.

    Go on, write the story - just don't make it boring and predicatable!
     
  7. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    P.S. I've just remembered, about 10 years ago when I was a teenager, I started writing a Sci-fi spoof in which a well-known celebrity put together a team for an outer-space publicity-stunt mission, to raise his profile in the media. He unwittingly chose the worst possible crew members and the journey quickly became a comedy of errors.

    The humour was found in the way that these woefully ill-equipped miscreants handled the rigours of space travel, under the incompetent guidance of the Captain and under close and constant scrutiny from the World's television cameras that were documenting the journey for broadcast in the style of "Big Brother".

    However, midway through the story the crew found themselves embroiled in an actual inter-galactic war and were forced to start thinking and behaving like a starship crew.

    It wouldn't get anywhere near a publisher because I produced it many years ago as an early writer and it's not that good on grammar and use of language, but the plot and character development were good and everyone who read it said that the dialogue was really funny.

    If you want to go the spoof direction, you're welcome to use that idea. ;)
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Banzai is correct. You need to read a lot more science fiction. For any genre you are writing in, it is good to be well-read in that genre. If what you're familiar with consists of television shows and the associated fanfic, you're missing the vast majority of what is out there.
     
  9. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're hesitant about writing SF because you hate SF television shows?:confused:

    Then don't write because nothing is as original as you think.

    No

    Yes, stop looking for justification and write your story, now. I do recommend that you actually read some SF as Banzai said. If your only real experience with it is shows like Star Trek and Stargate it will show and seem superficial.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Worse than that. He's hesitant about writing SF because he hates SF TV show FANFIC.

    To the OP: Don't worry about writing something that you think might be a knock off of something that has already been done better. You might be surprised at how poorly some of these things have been done. It's possible - very possible - that your version will surpass what's been done before, especially on TV.
     
  11. frostedfields
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    frostedfields Member

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    Your story is what you make it. Tobias has good ideas about turning the typical on its head. I've read my fair share of terrible Star Trek fanfic but that doesn't hold me back from loving every aspect of that universe otherwise.

    Star Wars is technically a space fantasy, high adventure simply set in space. It sounds like that's what your idea is closer to (a "'Seven Samurai'... in SPACE!" kind of thing), than actual science fiction. Obviously it's not the space setting itself that bothers you, but maybe the technobabble? The philosophical questions? If so, focus on other aspects of science fiction, such as the exploration of the unknown. Star Wars' main theme is good vs evil. Simple yet effective. The beauty of science fiction/speculative fiction/space fantasy is its flexibility.
     
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  12. Earphone
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    Earphone Active Member

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    I love Samurai 7! My story isn't going to be like that series though.
     
  13. Sketching Girl
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    Sketching Girl Member

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    Hi Earphone, Personally I would love to read about your guy building a crew. Sure, a lot of sci-fi has been done, with lots of spaceships and different crews, but you can make yours unique and different. If I'm worried something may have been done before, I ask myself "How can I make this different? What haven't I seen before?" Sometimes I'll reverse genders, change a character into an alien, and see how that goes.

    If you're building a crew you have an excellent opportunity to create interesting characters, and some that might not have worked together if it hadn't of been for their individual circumstances. If you do have different alien species, perhaps put ones together who cannot stand each other, but have to take the job because they're desperate. Perhaps they need the money, or they desperately need to get off the planet for being in trouble with the local law or someone is pursuing them. Create conflicts between the characters, and as you invent reasons for them being there, your story will no doubt evolve from that.

    Good Luck, and I'd love to read it when you've finished!
     

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