zaelle: Kiwis are descended from T-Rex (Default)
[personal profile] zaelle
Crossposted from Tumblr, because it's fun and I would love a discussion, but I'm not a Tumblr celebrity :P

Tl:dr - I’m trying to write a sci-fi short story for the first time and I was looking for tips/thinking about what makes a) a story memorable and b) sci-fi as a genre memorable. Answer: Both define and question what being human means (even in the strangest or most extreme environments).

Do you agree? What are your thoughts?

Though I’ve read several sci-fi works (and loved them), I’m attempting to write in this genre for the first time. I’m hoping to have something around 7000 words ready to submit to an anthology in May…fingers crossed if I manage to do that, my experience will be more straightforward and better than the last time I tried to submit a short story.

I have a basic skeleton of an idea in my head, but when it comes to Sci-Fi, I’m awfully influenced by the stories that I love - Star Trek, Hyperion, Dune, The Left Hand of Darkness, Imperial Radch…and I’d like to not completely copy them (I know art is imitation but yeah…).

Originally I was going to ask for tips, but what I want to do is begin a discussion instead on:

a) What makes a story memorable; and
b) What makes sci-fi as a genre memorable.

I think answering those questions will provide enough tips, and that way whoever is in my boat now/in the future can also benefit :P

What makes a story memorable?

Like most one-liner questions, it’s pretty subjective isn’t it? Here’s the top 5 list for me:

1) It pushes us towards self-knowledge
2) It makes us further analyze the world and society we live in
3) It gave me hope when I needed it (even if the story is not the happiest one)
4) It helped me better understand people and the world I live in
5) It doesn’t hesitate to pose difficult questions about our society

What makes sci-fi as a genre memorable?

A bit of an explanation before I go into this list, I’m highly influenced by Ursula K Le Guin when I think of what the genre does. She summarizes it better than I ever could:

“Science fiction is often described, and even defined, as extrapolative. the science fiction writer is supposed to take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intensify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future.” (read the full thing here)

With that definition in mind, I’ll go into the top 5 list for sci-fi:

1) It makes me think of what the future will look like
2) It makes me think of my legacy
3) It makes me hopeful - usually when I look at sci-fi, I look for what I hope my descendants will be able to see and experience
4) It is familiar - because no matter how futuristic or alien we try to imagine things, these are ultimately still human stories, and the characters act in very familiar ways (even in the farthest reaches of space)
5) It makes me want to explore what’s beyond

I do feel that technology and space call out to us because it’s humanity wrapped up in one nice bow - the innovation that our species have always used to invent and adapt to surroundings that we likely had no business thriving in, and the drive to explore and discover (to push the boundaries of what can and cannot be done).

Okay, this is too long, tl:dr summary up top.
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