A beginners guide to writing science fiction, fantasy, etc for male literary fiction writers who have decided to give it a go, possibly for financial reasons, despite having no real knowledge of, or interest in, the form.
Lesson Four. Fashion.
One of the great things about science fiction is that nothing ever goes completely out of fashion. You keep on thinking that nobody would be daft enough to revitalise the submarine adventure sub-genre or bring back sentient helicopters but there is always somebody willing to give it a shot. And good for them, I say. Good for them.
Don’t be afraid to add a new spin to an old story. Somebody does a new version of The Tempest every six months, so why not have another crack at that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Riker thinks he is sixteen years older, with no memories of the intervening years because of a ‘space virus’, but actually an insect teenager has put him in a holodeck? Maybe you could be the one to make it suck that little bit less.
Or why not try…
The Planet Punchers of Gilrathxian 7
Something that is, arguably, due a revival is big monsters that float through space fucking up planets for reasons. Moon eating space goblins, star smashing moon dragons, that sort of thing. I’ve gone for Planet Punchers, because it sounds pretty cool but feel free to come up with something else if you don’t like it. The principal remains the same. Something massive is going to attack earth. What will we do?
The drawing isn’t earth. Clearly. It is an earth-like planet getting punched. I suggest you use this as an opener. Perhaps even let the reader think it is earth, for a little bit, to build tension and that. Oh, and I gave the Planet Punchers two thumbs but don’t feel you need to stick with that. It was to make them feel more ‘alien’ but in hindsight it is probably a bit insensitive to people born with an extra finger. Sorry for any offence caused.
Generally you will split the book into three.
- Part One: A Big Thing Approaches
- Part Two: Can We Communicate With It? (the answer being either ‘no’ or ‘yes, but Planet Punchers care not for our despair’)
- Part Three: Earth’s Reply: The Puncher Becomes The Punched
Obviously you can play around with all this a bit. On no circumstances though should you kill the Planet Puncher. Why? Well, we’ll get to that next week, which is all about… money, and how to make it.
If you want to write this novel, remember to be the first to bagsy it in the comments. Have fun writing it!