Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tips for writing SF, F & P

This is a great topic and I’m looking forward to seeing what my co-bloggers have to say about the art of writing Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Of course, a lot of writing is hit or miss with editors. What one loves another will pass on. Selling in these genres is a tough business.

Above all else, I’ve heard this over and over again from agents and editors. Solid world-building is the key.

I’ve been making up alternate worlds for as long as I can remember, and it has always seemed rather easy. My head was somewhere else anyway, and I was comfortable there, so how hard could it be to write about it? However, imagining another world, whether it’s a distant planet, a time far in the future or the past or just a world that’s slightly stranger than our own, is a lot easier than committing that world to paper and making it translate well for readers.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life in a world of my own imagining, but my readers have never been there, so in order to make them believe they are in the world of my story I have to provide not only a broad overview to anchor them, if you will, in my universe, but I need to give them the small details that will help clarify their vision of that world.

I tend to start big and work my way down. In my upcoming science fiction release from Ellora’s Cave, Rogue Heart, I’ve already created a universe where war with an alien race has left humanity scrambling to better itself, wary of all threats internal and external and struggling to survive on planets that are not the most hospitable. The canvas is broad, but the details I paint, such as characters requiring thick, dark sunshades to leave the confines of underground cities will hopefully help readers truly visualize the setting of my story. The detail is small, but significant. The clothes they wear reflect their status, muted colors for the lower classes who prefer to be as invisible as possible, yet dark red for prisoners, harkening back to the days when scarlet was considered the color of sin. These little pieces add depth to the picture and help readers become entrenched in the setting.

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Flickr Tags:
, ,

Del.icio.us Tags:
, ,

Furl Tags:
, ,

2 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

It is a tough process sometimes to get the world of your imagination down in words that will build that world for a reader.
However, those details you mentioned are critical, since you don't have an entire movie screen filled with your world.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

That's exactly it, Savannah! As a writer, I've always seen my worlds in my head, often as clearly as movies. When watching a movie, it's easy to miss the details when you're engrossed in the story, but when something is on film you can go back and just watch for all the little things you may have missed the first time around. With a book, if the details aren't in the prose, readers will never be able to see them, even if they do go back and read again.