25 March 2014, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 234 Extrapolating Nations
Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series--they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere', China, Sveta, and Klava--at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. 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.
I am writing about the extrapolation of science and technology to be able to write science fiction. I made the point that it is almost meaningless to try to fully extrapolate a universe (world) that is 10,000 years in the future (and maybe 1,000 years in the future) without applying some cultural and technological shaping.
By shaping the cultures of your science fiction universe, you can shape the science and technology that is extrapolated. Here is how I culturally shaped the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox to make the 10,000 year extrapolation work.
I'm not intentionally dissing the Danes or the Germans, I'm simply pointing out that cultural, political, and social choices make a real difference in any potential future. It is unlikely that Denmark or Germany will be leading the next transition into space, but who knows--if their cultures, societies, and politicians make different choices, their nation could become a technological and future leader. Let's explore characteristics that give a nation a potential future leadership role.
The first is national exceptionalism. We mentioned this with morale. A nation whose people believe their culture and society is both exceptional and worthy of sharing will be a nation who's ideals are shared based on their power and ability to project that power. The USA is an example of a nation that in the past had a strong national exceptionalism. I already discussed the characteristics that give a nation this type of ideal.
The second is reproduction. This should likely be on the top of the list, but history has shown that the most reproductive are not necessarily the most productive. They are directly related, but cultures, especially in the modern world, that just reproduce although they produce a lot of geniuses, without an ideal toward exceptionalism (and technology). The main point is that a culture that out-reproduces other cultures is usually the one to survive.
The third is national drive. This is much less powerful than exceptionalism, but describes the push of Russia and China. These are nations with little national exceptionalism, but lots of national drive. They are unconstrained governments because they are ultimately despotisms. China doesn't have the capability to move too far economically--it is a controlled economy with almost no freedom. Russia is also a controlled economy with very little freedom.
Also 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 http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: