1. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Who do you write fantasy or sci-fi?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Carthonn, Jan 11, 2013.

    Is it because you're interested in the genre?

    Is it because you're ignorant of the real world?

    Other?
     
  2. jenna_benna
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    jenna_benna Member

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    People generally write about something they're interested in, so the first choice is pretty much a given. The second choice is, er... loaded?

    I write some science fiction not because I'm ignorant of the real world but because I find it interesting to think about the dynamics of human kind and how we all relate to one another when confronted with the ever forward march of technology. I enjoy the contrast between the two extremes of human emotion versus cold, hard tech, and I like to play with notions of what it's like to be human in the first place, and how machines and our increasing reliance on them play into that feeling.

    I don't generally write what would be considered traditional "fantasy" so I can't speak for that, but I suspect the desire to do so also has nothing at all to do with an ignorance of the real world.
     
  3. Cerebral
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    Cerebral Active Member

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    Yeah...just ignore this thread, people. OP's just trying to piss people off...
     
  4. jenna_benna
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    jenna_benna Member

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    Carthonn, I looked at your profile and see that you write science fiction. Does this thread stem from anger at something someone said to you? It appears that way now. Almost as if you are asking us if that person's opinion is correct. Write what you want to write. Don't ask permission. There are always people out there who will hate you for what you do, and there will always be people who love you for the same thing.
     
  5. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I'm just curious to see if people use it as a crutch. I've been known to do it myself and yes it pisses me off.
     
  6. BallerGamer
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    BallerGamer Active Member

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    I've thought as much. There's a minority here that have a real disdain for sci fi and fantasy.
     
  7. jenna_benna
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    jenna_benna Member

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    Gotcha. So you feel that you don't know as much as you'd like to know about certain things in the real world and because of this it drives you to create fictional worlds where that doesn't matter. I can understand that. I don't think there's anything wrong with that and I wouldn't call it a crutch. No one needs to know what you know or don't know about things. They only know your writing. That's what matters. I don't really know anything about what it's like to be a tax collector, so I don't write about it. I honestly don't think anyone notices or holds that against me. ;)
     
  8. sylvertech
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    sylvertech Active Member

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    I dislike the common notion of sci-fi being a crutch.
    It's actually harder to get correctly; not only do you have to introduce deep characterization and meaningful expressions,
    you also have to balance it with introducing the reader to the new world you created.
    In normal fictional literature, you have no such problem. Just write about the characters; the world is already familiar to the reader.

    Also, the extrapolation of events would have to be carried out more truthfully.
    It'll be absurd to write a novel about the wars between kingdoms as they search for fuel,
    when there are mages who can conjure rivers of benzene, or induce electricity (lightning) with the snap of a finger.
     
  9. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Exactly. And you know I'm trying to break away from that slowly. In one of my stories I have a space craft crash land in Northern Afghanistan. I have a scene set in a village and I'm thinking to myself "Crap I have no idea how life works in a village there...forget it make it a different planet." That sort of speed bump kind of brought this question up. So I thought I might share. I suppose I could make it a different section of Earth that I know but I wanted to make it difficult for them to get to America. I figured that would be the best spot. That or Iran.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Sci-fi isn't a crutch by any means. Also, ignorance of the real world isn't why people write sci-fi.

    I'm not sure why you're trying to belittle sci-fi, especially since you seem to enjoy writing it. Could it be that you haven't read some of the great writers in the sci-fi genre?
     
  11. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I've read Kurt Vonnegut. He's far from ignorant.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    There are many, many more sci-fi writers out there.

    I also don't understand your point about sci-fi being a crutch. A crutch for what? General fiction?
     
  13. jenna_benna
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    jenna_benna Member

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    Ok I understand now. I tend to do the same thing when I write crime fiction, actually. I know next to nothing about police procedure, so I mostly either gloss over it or leave it out entirely. This is not such a bad thing, though, because I write my crime fiction about regular people who get in over their heads, and they also know next to nothing about police procedure because they're not career criminals.

    In the example you gave, an entire important section of the story needs to take place in an Afghan village. Unless you're writing from the viewpoint of the aliens, you will need to show some things about that village and how the people there react to a space ship crashing. You don't have to be an expert, however. You can fake most of it. Just like with police procedure on television and movies, it's faked to the point where people think it's realistic even though it's completely not. Do that with your village. Look up some stuff online about what it's like to live in a village like that. Grab a few bits that pique your interest, and run with them.

    You don't need to be an absolute expert to write about something, you just need to be good enough to bullshit your way through it in an entertaining way, hahaha.
     
  14. .Mark
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    .Mark Member

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    If you're trying to use a real world setting that you know nothing about, you're going to have to research it. Improvise a little bit as well, cater the environment to the story you're trying to tell
     
  15. Scarfe
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    Scarfe Member

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    I like the fantastical situations you can create using scifi, and then exploring the human reaction to them.
     
  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I write it because it's fascinating to think of something bizarre and wonderful and so innovative, to be in a world where anything can happen. I write it because it intrigues me, fascinates me, excites me, it sends my imagination off to the skies thinking of possibilities.

    I like real life stuff too, but what's wrong with moving out of reality now and again?

    I've never even come across the notion that sci-fi/fantasy can be a crutch. It's what I think of, it's what my ideas are about, it's what I wanna write, to hell with the ones who hate it - they're not required to read or write fantasy/sci-fi. So let me have my fun without judging me, and I'll let you all have yours without judging you yeah? ;)

    Just write what you love. There'll always be haters. Can't please everyone.
     
  17. Khaelmin
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    Khaelmin Active Member

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    I really don't see how you could write good science fiction and be truly ignorant of the real world. Right off the bat, whether you're writing soft or hard science fiction, you need to know a minimum of history, science, psychology, economics, politics, warfare and... many more. Else you risk making your story flimsy and preposterous. In fact, I think sci-fi is one of the few genres that are truly encyclopedic in the scope of domains they draw upon.

    It's not a crutch for me, but rather more of a tool. I love learning. Not the institutionalized kind, I think it's too rigid and lifeless, but the free kind. Every story I write teaches a lot of things on account of all the research I need to do.

    And Fantasy is just the same, but instead of being placed in a potential future, its set in a potential past.
     
  18. BritInFrance
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    BritInFrance Active Member

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    Yes, I agree, We have all read novels where the author has done a lot of research and then needs to prove it by talking us through really boring procedure. Fiction is made up. It should be good enough to keep us believing in the story, but that's as far as it goes. Crime books would be boring if they were written following police procedures.

    People write sci-fi for the same reasons they read it - because it takes us out of our world and challenges our imagination. But that goes for all fiction. Or should do.
     
  19. Cerebral
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    Cerebral Active Member

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    Oh, I see what you're saying now. Just a reminder though: just because you don't know every little detail about every corner of the earth does not mean you are ignorant of the real world. The only way you'd know how life in an Afghan village is is if you've lived there for an extended period of time. From what I know, authors are usually vague about things they don't know, but specific enough that it's believable. For example, after doing some googling, you can point out the structures that the people live in, the deities they attribute the spaceship to, the rituals they perform in fear, etc. You don't have to describe every rock and tree in the village.

    Sorry for accusing you of tomfoolery...just the way you worded the questions sounded provocative. :)
     
  20. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I write Sci-fi and Fantasy because, well, they're fantastic and different, and escapist to write even. The world isn't the happiest place all the time. Who want's to have to keep their imagination grounded in unpleasant reality all the time? Now, I do write realistic stuff to, but I just enjoy the freedom of Sci-fi and Fantasy I guess.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I write speculative fiction, mostly science fiction but some whimsical pieces, because it allows me to explore beyond real world settings. I also write more traditional fiction, when I don't need an atypical setting.

    I tend to do quite a bit of research for my science fiction settings, too, because realism and technical plausibility are important to me.

    Regardless of genre, writers can always grasp the real world badly, or skillfully and with keen insight.
     
  22. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Any with his kind of credibility?

    I was wondering if I'm using it as a cop out or crutch because I know nothing of the world. I haven't even been out of the US. Instead I'll just make up a planet and avoid fact checking AND fact checkers.

    It feels fraudulent.

    BTW I love that I wrote "Who" instead of "Why" in the title. If you couldn't tell I had a few before I became self-conscious and started this. That could be a whole other topic...
     
  23. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    There's lots to write about in the US.
     
  24. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Perhaps it would be wise to stick with what I know and comfortable with.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I don't know. Pushing past yoru comfort zone is nearly always beneficial, even if the initial effort looks like crap.

    Failure isn't fun, but it is often the best teacher. And often it can spur you to greater efforts, if you're ornery enough.
     

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