3 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 3 Extrapolation
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.
Yesterday, I wrote about extrapolation and knowledge of science. The point is this, it is
impossible to extrapolate from a position of ignorance. You must have some
level of detailed knowledge about science to extrapolate from a basis of science. That
level doesn't have to be super detailed. You do need to know the basics of
science or you might have your space ships banking in space, or you might hear
explosions in space, or some other stupid impossibility. Science is not about
impossibilities, but about possibilities. So, even though A.C. Clark told us
that science looks like magic to the ignorant--there is still a whole lot of
stuff that is impossible. You have to know what is and is not in reality before you
can write about future realities.
So, science knowledge is critical in writing
science fiction. If you don't have some strong science background or education
or knowledge, don't do it or go get it. Once you have the knowledge, the next
step is extrapolation. If you visit my website http://www.ldalford.com/ or http://www.lionelalford.com/, under the
educator section, I have a whole series of lectures on extrapolating
technology. This is a great place to get some ideas about extrapolation. The
trick is this, to extrapolate, you must know the linage of science and technology.
Extrapolation assumes you have a line (figuratively) to extrapolate from. The
more points on your line, the better your extrapolation. If you want to write
about genetic theory, you need to delve into the details of early genes and
knowledge about genetic theory. To extrapolate, you don't just need to know
current theory, but past ideas as well--otherwise, where is your line of
thought. In my Dragon and Fox Novels http://www.dragonandfox.com/, the future
society was genetically manipulated to create humans who could conquer the
galaxy. That is the main premise of the technological extrapolation. I built
this premise from extensive study about genetic manipulation from the beginnings
of human science. I folded in the idea that human colonization of space could
only be made possible by humans selectively breed and produced for certain skills.
This was the basis of technological extrapolation for the books. Everything
that ensued from this technological basis drove the culture and societies of the
future world I developed in the novels. You can see in these novels that this
is the driving framework of all of them. The political system, the cultural
system, the social system are all driven by the technological framework that was
the basis of the novels. Everything revolves around the idea of genetic
manipulation, but genetic manipulation is almost not spoken about in the novels themselves.
You see, as in the past and the present, the framework of the future is not
expressed by the people in it--it just exists. It is assumed--the writer
must express that framework to his readers. That makes great science fiction,
and that's what I'll discuss next time--how to get across the framework without
telling about it.
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.