14 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 14 Science Fiction Theme
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
The point I've been trying to make is that to write science fiction, you must start with a science fiction based theme. A regular theme won't do. Now, if you are silly enough to define a theme with a single world, you might not have a science fiction based theme. This is why I've qualified the definition as a theme statement. To me, a single word is not sufficient to define a theme. That's why I want to break down a theme statement. I don't think you need every element that I will describe in your theme statement, but it can't hurt. If you do follow these simple directions, you will be able to write a theme statement and develop a plot from it.
The first element in a theme statement is the protagonist. This can be as simple as "the boy," the girl," "the woman," "the Captain's son," "the beautiful singer," "a girl who...," "a boy who..." and all. Let's state the protagonist in simple but specific terms.
The second element is the setting. This doesn't have to be very specific at all. If the novel is not a science fiction novel, I'd suggest the setting can be undetermined, but the setting is usually the part of the theme statement that makes the theme a science fiction theme. Typical settings are: on a spaceship, on a planet, during a planetary war, during a planet exploratory mission, etc.
The third element is a verb or action statement. Examples are: discovered, fought, rescued, found, investigated, invented, and all. The point is to have the protagonist do something in a scientific setting. This sets the theme statement in a form that can be turned into a plot.
The fourth element is an antagonist. This is not necessary, but if you can include the foil to the protagonist that's a step forward.
The fifth element, and optional, is the protagonist's helper.
I've written before, that with a setting, a protagonist, protagonist's helper, and an antagonist, you can write a novel. This is all you really need (well, along with imagination and writing skills). Here's an example of a theme statement built with the above elements. A boy from a space ship discovers a creature that appears to be an intelligent form; he tries to get the creature recognized by the government forces. The protagonist is the boy. The protagonist's helper could be the creature. The antagonist is likely the government forces. The setting is someplace where you will find an intelligent but nonhuman creature and a space ship.
Remember, I;m trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.