Saturday, August 17, 2013

My First Date with a Shiny New Idea

So I've been spending a lot of time lately brainstorming new ideas. Not that I need something new to write, but I want something new. The idea of writing a new idea fills my stomach with spastic butterflies. But a shiny new idea for a story is like a first kiss.

All that anticipation leading up to an event that isn't as great as you imagined.

Not that I have problems coming up with ideas. I've got dozens of 'em running through my brain every day. The problem is chasing down one of those ideas and seeing if I can do the hard part - turn that idea into a story.

Stories are much bigger than ideas. Stores take a fluid, boundless idea and attempt to shape it into something concrete. They require developed characters that have wants and needs that are then thwarted by a problem. They require work.

And that is where the shiny new idea loses its luster. Work. Fun work. But work.

So yeah, ideas are like kisses. Exciting when in your head, but not quite as exciting when they become real. Because after that moment of plucking the idea out of my head and placing it on a page, I have to flirt with it, date it, and then ultimately commit to it - or set it free while I continue to search for "the one."

So who am I to my story ideas? A loyal girlfriend? Or a commitment-phobe?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Science or Fiction?

Science Fiction. Those two words strung together define my "genre" of writing. Well, along with Young Adult, but that's an entirely different post. :)

As I work through revisions of my book, I find myself examining what it means for my manuscript to be labeled science fiction. It's definitely fiction, but does it really have enough science? I mean, how much science needs to be in science fiction - and does that science need to be sound? If I use wormholes for space travel, must I explain what a wormhole is - or just assume that people will take my device and run with it? (I am really hoping for the latter. After all, wormholes are still just theory, not an fact unless I'm completely out of touch with the scientific community).

I suppose one must find the fine line between wishful thinking and hard fact. I wish we could travel in spaceships across the galaxy without taking hundreds of years. Right now, that's not fact. But in my fiction, it is. I must take that ability and ensure it is not only logical, but possible. Well, maybe along with a dash of suspension of disbelief.

Now this is where those two other words Young Adult come in. Do teens care about the theory behind laser jet propulsion? Or do they just want their characters to get to the planet already? Perhaps it is my responsibility to present a world based on scientific probability and not fantasy - my responsibility to pepper in the science in  my fiction. Good thing my dad's a science nerd!

Anyone who's out there: What does science fiction mean to you and do you lean towards science or fiction?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

To Tell Or Not To Tell

To Tell Or Not To Tell

Revising a novel is tough. Revising a sci-fi novel, even tougher. Although, I wouldn't really know the difference as this is my first novel ;)

What is tripping me up is the fine line between giving too little information and too much. With my novel, I've created a new world. Actually, 132 of them  - all under the framework of an alien realm. Okay, so we don't really get to see all these worlds in the book...actually only 2 of them...but how much of the whole do I need to reveal to the reader? I'm pretty sure no one picks up a YA book wanting a history lesson on a new society. And even though I am way too excited about playing God, not everyone will be as excited to learn the inner political workings of an alien government. Snore.

I suppose all the hours and hours of research and mapping and creating is really for my benefit. And maybe, maybe, it'll seep through when necessary. Assuming, of course, I know when it is necessary.

There is the rub.

As I go, I find myself deleting more and more informational tidbits because they detract from the story - my MC's journey. In their stead I focus on character thoughts and feelings. I guess that's what it really is about, or else I'd be writing adult sci-fi. And I'm not.

I sometimes wish writing were as simple as connect-the-dots. But then, we'd lose the joy of creating. Journey, not the end, right? Let's hope so.