One of the things I am learning about myself is that I often fear the unknown. In the case of Science Fiction this month, I was filled with so much trepidation about the genre that I had inflicted writer’s block upon myself. Up until last night, I was so worried that I didn’t have the “chops” to write SciFi – didn’t have the scientific knowledge, the lingo, the passion – that I wouldn’t let myself run with any of the ideas that were churning in my mind. I really felt I was lacking the key skill set necessary to write engaging science fiction.
Fortunately, last night’s live lecture [yay, Full Sail University!] really put things in perspective for me. Understanding the “formula” for successful science fiction and realizing that I do not have to be a Quantum Physics major to construct a strong story premise made me feel so much more comfortable with the genre.
Huge thanks to my instructor for all of the excellent examples he provided last night of both good and REALLY TERRIBLE science fiction so that I could see what TRULY matters: following the rules that you create.
In science fiction, you design and define a new reality. You create a new system of rules that govern the principles of physics, of society, and of the world as a whole. If you violate your rules – and do not find an intelligent way to explain/justify the divergence – you destroy the foundation of the world you’ve built.
This is the primary reason why Science Fiction has such a negative stereotype in the entertainment industry; so many writers have either gotten lazy [e.g. “if we put a big explosion right here, they won’t notice the glaring plot hole!”] or they’ve broken their own rules to ensure a “happy Hollywood ending.” If an advanced alien life form has the capability of space travel, possesses highly advanced weapons, and can use our own technology against us, is it really plausible that the human race can overcome them? Hello, Independence Day!