This is something that I see come up quite often in writing circles and I have a problem with it each and every time I see it. Recently, I saw someone ask how you would fit leprechauns into a science fiction story. Well, you can’t. If we look at the characteristics of what defines a leprechaun, we have magical little men that have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. None of that is science fiction, it’s fantasy. You might be able to fit it into a science fantasy story, but that’s not what the original question asked. So can you just redefine what you consider a leprechaun? Get rid of the magic, get rid of the pot of gold, or find some way to make it all technological, not magical. Does that solve the problem? Well no, because you’re no longer talking about leprechauns, are you?
A Place to Share my Geeky Side With the World. Comics, movies, TV, collecting, you name it, I indulge in it.
Lots of writers rave about Scrivener, but I find that I still don’t care for it. I know I wrote about it once upon a time, but honestly, I can’t find the post but I would link to it if I could. I recently went back to Scrivener when I wanted to start a new novel, everyone I know seems to like it and I figured that I ought to give it another chance. I updated from the old version that I had (1.0.2) and went to the most recent (1.8.6), but it’s inability to outline the way that I want really makes it useless for me. I outline more like a flow chart and it just doesn’t allow me to do that. Without some form of flow-charting system, Scrivener doesn’t give me anything special that I can’t get just using Word.
I haven’t seriously worked on any of my books in a while now, mostly because I have had literally no time, but also because I’ve noticed something, all three of the books that I have in progress, I’m just stuck on. That wouldn’t matter so much except that I’m finding myself unable to put those projects aside and start writing something new. Every time I try, all I can think about are the stories I already have in various states of completion and I’m unable to focus on anything new or different.
There’s a popular “rule” out there that in writing, you should never have your main character be unsympathetic, otherwise your readers cannot identify with or sympathize with their plight. While in most circumstances, I suspect this is a good idea, after all, trying to cast Hitler as your protagonist is probably going to be a pretty hard sell, but as with all rules, they are made to be broken and I know that in my case, I’ve done it very effectively with my character Joe Orokamono. While he isn’t downright evil, he comes pretty darn close, yet people still seem to enjoy his exploits.
This has been going around the writing circles lately and I think it’s clear that there’s something seriously wrong with the conclusions. Of course, the whole point of the article is “hey, let me sell you something” and I have nothing in particular against that, but you have to at least present accurate and honest data in a way that isn’t twisted to mean something that it clearly does not mean. I’m not accusing the writer of being dishonest, just of twisting the facts a little to make her product a bit more attractive. So here’s why I don’t think that this particular cost analysis really means what people seem to think that it does.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a professional, published author and while we were talking about stories we wish we could write, she said she had one story that she always wanted to do, but she never would because it was a completely sexist story and she didn’t want to write a misogynist book.
But honestly, isn’t writing about going outside of your comfort zone and doing things that you may not want to do?
I’ve always been a writer who planned everything meticulously. I can’t stand not knowing where my story is going in great detail and I suspect this is mostly because I tend to include tons of tightly intertwined plot threads that I have to make sure get tied up by the end. However, there are a lot of writers who say they just write by the seat of their pants, they sit down without a plan and just write and see where it leads them.
So I thought I’d try it. In my current Joe Orokamono story, I knew how I wanted the first chapter, I knew the vague outline of the story I wanted to tell, but I didn’t know any of the specifics. I just sat down, knowing the characters very well, knowing the setting very well, knowing the kinds of situations the characters are likely to get into very well, and let things flow.
Okay, they didn’t really flow, this was really an exercise in frustration because I just don’t work this way.
At the same time I was getting a bunch of odd reactions to another question I asked, I mentioned something about disliking the general way that traditional publishers operate in the modern publishing world. The second I did that, I got a bunch of people attacking me, saying that I just didn’t understand the traditional publishing world and they were doing everything right.
No, no they’re not.
Even though I last wrote about the biggest war in the history of my universe, usually, it makes no sense to get into fights. Once you have an effective means of FTL travel, fighting over land and resources becomes largely pointless. Movies like Independence Day and Signs and all of that, where the aliens travel billions upon billions of miles for some water or minerals, that’s dumb, you can get all of that by strip mining asteroids, why bother with difficult to obtain resources on an inhabited planet with critters that fight back?
So this time we’ll take a look at mining and exploration in my universe and why, should we get some better space-based technology on our own planet, we need never worry about running out of precious resources again.
Some people get mad when you ask simple questions. As people ought to know, I’ve been working on a couple of books off and on, mostly off because I haven’t had time, but now I’ve gotten back to it and I think I’m making some good progress. However, as people also ought to know, I am entirely turned off by self-promotion and marketing and I’m loathe to actually do any of it myself once my books are finished and ready for sale, either to a traditional publisher or to put them up on Amazon as an e-book.
So I asked a bunch of writers and other industry types what I should do and the answers ranged widely, but some of them were really kind of interesting.