Why I Write Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Writing fiction is really like a big playground where adults can be kids again.  I can be serious or run around with reckless abandoned, no one will stop me.  It’s a place where my imagination is the only limit and fantasy is as important, if not more important, than reality.  So at some point I have to ask myself, which part of the playground do I want to play in?  It’s a tough choice considering all of the genres and the blending of genres these days.  For me it’s an easy choice.  My heart has always drifted toward science fiction and fantasy, more so the science fiction.  So I thought I would tell you a bit about why I’m in love with science fiction and fantasy.

What Is Out There?

For as long as there has been creatures on this earth with conscious thought, they have looked to the heavens and wondered what was up there both in a spiritual sense and a scientific sense?  Children and adults alike have gazed upward with awe and wonderment.  With time came more and more questions about what they observed in their night-time sky.  From Galileo spotting Jupiter’s first moons to the Mayans recording their calendar off of observations from the stars, people have challenged old thinking to learn more about our world.  To this day I can look through my own telescope and see the Galilean moons the same way Galileo did in the 1600’s.  It still gives me goosebumps every time.

Sci-fi and fantasy genres take you to a place you've never been.
Why I Write Sci-Fi/Fantasy. With all of the knowledge we have about the universe, there is still so much we don’t know. We don’t even know what we don’t know. The possibilities are endless.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Despite all the questions and everything mankind has learned over time, we still don’t know much about what most of the universe is made up of.  Answering one question leads to more unanswered questions or worse yet answers that are barely understandable.  I could listen to astrophysicists all day but some of the topics they discuss are no more tangible to me than magic.  Maybe the fact that it is both science and fantastical at the same time is what draws me in to science such as the quantum world.  There is so much out in space that we can’t explain that it lends itself to the perfect playground for writers.  Sure there are hard and fast rules about the universe that we know but in other ways there are no rules, at least not yet.

Strange New Worlds And Mysterious Creatures

Another aspect I love with both science fiction and fantasy is the worlds and creatures that can be created.  Again a playground without real limits.  I can create a new planet with an amazing alien race or I can develop a mythical land with dragons.  The imagery and artwork possible for science fiction and fantasy are the playground for the artist.  If a mind can comprehend it, a writer or artist can create it.

Hard Sci-Fi VS Soft Sci-Fi

Any hard core fan of science fiction has their idea of what sci-fi should be and no one is going to sway them from their opinion.  The great thing about this genre is that there is a spectrum of sci-fi stories to fit everyone’s preferences.  Hard sci-fi leans heavily on the technical, accurate or at least possible, detail oriented science to drive their stories.  The softer sci-fi stories are driven more by social sciences or the character and story with less emphasis on the actual science.  Science is still a part of the story but takes more of a back seat.  Some soft sci-fi even get so fuzzy on the science details that you could argue that they are approaching the fantasy world if not jumping right in .  Just like ice cream, though, you can have your hard scoop or your soft serve.  There is something for everyone – now I want ice cream.

For me the latitude and options available to let my imagination run wild in science fiction and fantasy are too hard to resist.  I love the hard science but I also love the openness of the unknown.  The sky really is the limit…  My current work in progress “Rock And A Hard Place” ended up being more on the soft spectrum of the sci-fi world.  I had intended it to be more hard sci-fi but that’s not the direction the characters wanted to go.  You can’t argue with the characters.  It is currently in the editing stages so that I can put out the most amazing story possible.  I hope you check back for progress updates.

 

 

Showing VS Telling: Brooklyn 99 Style

As I’m starting out into this crazy world of writing, I find I have some bad habits.  Shhh!  Don’t tell anyone.  I am guilty of all the “beginner writer” faults such as passive voice, adverbs, adjectives, and too much telling and not enough showing.  It’s easy to get lazy and have the writing slip but I’ve gotten more wise.  I catch myself in the act of making an infraction instead of after I get hauled off to writing jail.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and I can’t transform into Ernest Hemingway overnight.  Thank goodness because I would make a horrible looking man.

I find the showing vs telling rule one of the harder ones to master so I’ve tried to gather more information.  I’ve read books on writing, googled the subject, sifted through my Pinterest boards, and paid extra attention while reading in order to improve.  So here I am trying to become a better writer and my mind keeps wandering back to a Brooklyn 99 episode.  This episode, in particular, makes me laugh when I think about showing vs telling so I thought I would share it with you.

Brooklyn 99 Season 3 Episode 22

In Season 3, Episode 22 of Brooklyn 99, the detectives hook up with an FBI agent to break into the FBI building to steal a file.  Their hope is to catch a dirty FBI agent and put him in jail.  The scene that I want to draw your attention to is when the group are standing around a sheet of blueprints for the layout of the FBI building.  They are getting ready to plan their heist.  In the room there is Detective Jake Peralta, Detective Rosa Diaz, Captain Raymond Holt, and FBI agent Bob Anderson.  They are huddled around the blueprints and are trying to work out who will take on what role and at what time.  The problem is they need something to identify each of them on the map.  Jake Peralta has the solution and begins our lesson in telling.  The hilarious part is in the dry, monotone, matter of fact speech pattern of Captain Holt and Bob Anderson.  Check the show out on Netflix or TV to get the full effect.img_0753

 

Jake Peralta: “We will be represented by these things I had in my pocket.  All I had was lint.  It was a pocket full of lint.  Everybody remember what your lint looks like.”

Bob Anderson: “My lint is round.  My lint is approximately 1cm in diameter.  My lint is blue.”

Capt. Holt: “My lint is oblong and it is approximately 1/2cm in length and is also blue.”

The team progresses through their plan minute by minute until Rosa moves the wrong lint on the blueprint.

Capt. Holt: “That’s my lint.  My lint is oblong.  My lint is blue.”

When I feel like I’m telling more than showing, this is what I think of and it makes me laugh.  It may not be the best example but I bet it’s the funniest.  Anyway, that’s my short little tidbit for today.  You really should see the episode.