Tag Archive | science fiction

What do I write?

When I was a teenager, I remember clearly looking at the adult section of the library and imagining all of the wonderful books that must be hidden there. They had to be good–right? And long. And wonderful. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to go there.

Then I became old enough and I discovered that many of the books were too long, especially as I got older, and much duller than I thought. (They also have tiny font which, when you have difficulty seeing, is important.) About a year ago, I began reading YA again and don’t regret it.

In the same way, when I began writing, my goal was adult science fiction. Teens were silly and flakey and (well, honestly) they didn’t seem to be much science fiction going around when I was a teenager. So therefore, I had to write for an adult audience.

Now, I acknowledge that I do not have that much experience with novels. I’ve barely written two. I have submitted (and received a rejection) on one of them. But I typically try to have my stories end pretty happily. I do not like depressing endings. And yes, I’ll kill characters, but only if I must.

Which brings me back to my question: What do I wrote?

I’ve always thought I write adult fiction. However, especially with some of the things I’ve seen in teen fiction right now, I can just as easily, if not more, be writing for a YA audience. I try to keep stories concise, clear, and focused, with enough action to make it interesting. I’d be fine with that too if not for one little detail.

The ages.

I don’t know about you, but half of the things that I seen going on in YA stories is too big for a teenager to handle. Let’s take Across the Universe for an example. (tiny SPOILER, as in, you know it’ll happen but I don’t want you to hate me) In the story, the seventeen year-old kid becomes the leader of a ship full of about 3000 people. He is responsible for everything, from strikes to food shortages. Not to insult any seventeen-year-olds that might be reading this but kids that age can’t handle that.

Shad would fit into a YA category, except for the simple fact of his age. He’s 23. Everything else is really great. He has big dreams, thinks he can conquer the world, finds out that he can’t, but that the world he wanted to conquer isn’t what he thought. But, emotionally, I can’t drop his page to below 20. Maybe 21. I can maybe justify that somehow. But I can’t make him a teenager…

Well, why? Because a teenager shouldn’t have the responsibility of flying the whole ship. Yet, I have it written that he was main pilot since he was 17. I don’t know if I can actually see him sitting around six years waiting.

That’s just one story though. I don’t know how to justify it in every story. That’s my single biggest argument with YA fiction in fact is that teenagers do things that they shouldn’t. But perhaps that’s the point of YA fiction.  I still find it hard to justify. Though, going through my stories… can I create my own genre? :D Modified YA. Or college level YA? Some work; some don’t. Some would need changes. I mean, how far can you go in YA?

So then my question becomes: am I changing my audience because I had the wrong audience and I should or because it is easier? That’s one think I keep thinking about right now. If I change this, well, then that deals with this problem and makes this problem easier in my mermaid story. I should not write something though just because it’s easier. Not a whole genre change.

Then, I also go back to the idea about whether or not I should even care about publication. I have one brother who would say that self-publication in ebooks is the way to go, all the way. But I don’t know. I’m not good at self-promotion. But if I want to create a new genre, that would be the way I’d have to go I think. :)

In many ways it shouldn’t even matter. I should write for pleasure and not money. But when I want to be published… it is important. It is a factor of where I send the story after all. :)

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World-building – an obvious google search

I don’t know how I have never found this before. I’ve been on the SFWA website before. (It’s actually pretty cool there.) I’ve even posted articles from there.

However, I found this for the first time.

It’s a world building questionnaire.

And it is totally awesome. It has everything, from how big is a town, and how did humans get to the world.

If you write sci-fi or fantasy, I would seriously check it out.

I would also check out this persons rants about what makes bad world building and the following comments. The interesting thoughts there that I saw are:

1) Rulers usually throw money at people who can heal people and people who can destroy people. So why don’t healers (magical of course) get more money?

2) If the magical people have magical power and can throw fireballs at whoever, why isn’t a magical person king?

Oh, and if you were wondering, my google search was world building questionnaire. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

Why science-fiction should more be science-fantasy more often.

I’m going to get killed for that one, aren’t I? But see, here’s my logic. Space is monstrous! Huge! The logic that we could ever actually travel through the whole thing is ridiculous and insane.

Let me illistrate.

Here is a picture of how far away the moon and Earth are to each other.  That’s far away, when you think that is Earth in the picture.

Then, here is another illustration of how small our Sun, and yes, I mean our SUN, is compared to many other things in the galaxy. I’m assuming it’s accurate. It seems fair.

And through all that, we writers actually pretend to say that people can travel across this space.

Yeah right.

But then again, as writers, we are allowed a few liberties and one of those is the idea of warp/jump/faster-than-light engines. But I still say that I write probably more science fantasy than science fiction.

A new frontier in detecting crimminals

I’ll admit, this is a tad scary. And I wonder, if it is detecting stress, can it tell the difference between the kind of stress that a would-be bomber has and a guy who just lost his job, his child is in the hospital and might die and he knows that this plane trip is going to drain the rest of his savings?

US crime predicting technology tests draw Minority Report comparisons

I read a book.

I know; that isn’t a good thing to say as a writer. But with college and my own writing,  my fear of not having a good book, and the sad lack of books we have available at the library in South Dakota, I haven’t picked up one in possibly a year.

Wow!  I forgot how good it is to just read a good book.

I read Imager, by Modesitt. It sounded pretty good, so I asked to borrow it from a friend. I didn’t start it for almost a week. Once I did though, and I actually got passed page 60, I started finding it incredibly interesting. I almost literally couldn’t put it down and would bribe myself to clean a section of the house, read a chapter, clean, read, clean, read. (I had to clean; I wanted to read.)

Now, don’t mistake this for a review of the book. I actually think it was a little slow and a little confusing, and I wished I had a map. But I’m more focusing on the fact that I read a book and leave my reviews for amazon.

I actually did it based on someone’s advice. I didn’t want to write and all I could think about was reading. I just wanted to be swept away into a story.

And suddenly, I want to write again. It’s like after seeing a beautiful world created and put to right, with fun characters, plots and intrigue, I wanted to put that kind of magic on paper. For really, in many ways, it is magic. Think about it in that we as writers get to sweep someone up in a world of our own creating, and hide them in it for a while.

I’m now ready to write again. In fact, since Saturday night, I wrote 5000 words, which tallies out to about three or four chapters. Yes, I’m writing small chapters. I like doing it better that way.

So now I’m looking for more books to read, and I want to soon modify this website and include a page on my recommended books in sci-fi and fantasy. I don’t have a lot right now, but hopefully they’ll grow.

Now I’m here; now I’m not.

As someone who cannot drive (and before you jump to conclusions, it has nothing to do with how I’ve driven in the past), and as someone who is currently highly annoyed with TSA, I find transporters to be the perfect solution.  Say I want to visit my grandma in New Jersey while I’m in South Dakota. I jump on the transporter, beam over there, and have a nice cup of tea with her. Then I beam home in time for dinner. It’d be perfect.

Now, obviously, if we have transporters we need to have a few other jobs involved. First, we’ll need some kind of transporter beam blocker, because if we have this transporter where I can transport whatever I want wherever I want,  then what is keeping me from transporting a bomb into the white house? Or my exboyfriend’s bedroom?

Secondly, we’d need to have doctors and scientists thee to prove to everyone time and time again that transporters are safe. It’s just like the cell phones cause brain cancer idea.

Third, we’d start to have groups study and perfect the transporter, very much like cars. We’ll always want a faster, cooler, smaller, or whatever else transporter to make it easier to carry around.

Fourth, we’d need more fitness clubs, because if no one has to walk to get from point A to point B, people are going to need to go to the gym more to stay in shape.

Lastly, we need retailers of the transporters, very much like they sell cell phone plans now.

So all this results in a stimulus to the economy, which is always really good.

That all being said, transporters might not be that far off. Apparently, they have found a way to theoretically transport someone, which raises a whole new bunch of questions, but besides  that, is very cool.

However, that may not be totally strange. Here’s an article from Newsy that explains what scientists did and why they think it is a big step. I’m not sure I follow a lot of it, but it gives some ideas to think about transporters in the future.

So, what are your opinions on transporters? Do you even want to see them?

A little bit more about metal.

My chemistry teacher has some awesome stories.

Potassium is highly reactive with water and air, as I discussed last week, a scientist must conduct experiments in a highly controlled environment. Well, he knows someone who took a can of potassium, tossed into the lake, and then shot it with a gun.

This caused a bunch of repeat explosions, for lack of better words, because the little bit of potassium would react with the air, explode, and show more potassium and that would explode, and so on and so forth.

Another experiment that they would show is  take a cube of potassium and I’m not sure how they did this exactly, but the cube is probably covered with potassium oxide of sorts. They would take this cube of potassium, cut all six sides of it very quickly, and then wait a few minutes. After a few minutes, they would snip off the corner of the cube and pour out liquid potassium. This would happen because the reaction of the air with the fresh potassium would cause it to heat up so much, it melted the potassium on the inside.

Yeah. Wow.

Now, we can discuss magnesium. Magnesium isn’t reactive, and it’s light, so it makes perfect sense to make ships out of in. In fact, that is exactly what Britain did during a war with Argentina. This didn’t go too well however, since fires on the ships could not be put out once started.

Strontium is another fun metal. A certain isotope of strontium, Sr-90, is used in atomic bombs. Well, Strontium can also be used to replace calcium in our bones. Our body needs calcium though, not strontium so this leads to anemia,  and leukemia. If it can replace the calcium in our muscles as well, then we are in serious trouble, because our muscles need calcium to contract.

What is science fiction?

Besides questioning the “what if” of our world today, science fiction apparently has a lot of other things to offer.

Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.

— Susan Sontag

But it’s not all hopeless.

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.

— Isaac Asimov

Concerning living in space

The best one for me to know was about the space sickness, since I was having a character turn off the gravity in his ship. Wonder if he can still do that….?

10 facts about living in space

To create a world

Do you make helps for your stories? (i.e., portraits of characters, maps, glossaries, character indexes, family trees, &c.)