This ever happen to anyone? And what should I do?

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Glelas, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    I figure I am 900,000 words away from becoming a passable writer, so while I have much more to learn, over the last few weeks I am finally completing some really bad short stories. Anywhere from 2000 to 10,000 words.

    With that said, I planned out an entire near future earth. All of the short stories would take place anywhere from 20 years in the future to 2000 years. But all the major "changes" took or take place in the next 20 years or so and most of the early stories are set 20 years from now, give or take. Some have the same characters, some are loosely tied together, some overlap.

    The initial intent and tone is near future sci-fi/contemporary fiction genre thriller.

    When I write my last sentences, I want to turn the thing into a crossover/alternate world fantasy story. Every single time. A change of a sentence here or a change of gizmo there, and I could have a fantasy story. A Fantasy world parallel to our world, gateways, the usual crossover nonsense etc.

    Instead of my protagonist whipping out a pistol to kill the bad guys or delivering a briefcase full millions of dollar to save the day, my gut wants him to whip a sword or a sack of gold coins.

    Do I force myself to stay disciplined with my original intentions or just go with what I am feeling?

    Edit: I would also like to add, that sometimes I wonder if throwing in an irrelevant fantasy angle take less thinking on my part and it is the lazy or easy way to finish the story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  2. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    I'm a little confused here. Why do you have to change it to swords and gold coins to be a fantasy story? Plenty of fantasy stories use pistols and briefcases of money. Yes, you can change the gizmo here and there from a tech based premise to a magical or supernatural one and make it a fantasy story, but that doesn't require a radical revamping of the world you've created. (You might want to check out the near future, alternate Earth fantasy Inspector Chen series by Liz Williams for instance.)

    So this becomes entirely about what you want and what areas and themes you want to explore and what sort of research you want to do. If you really don't want to write science fiction stories, I'd expect you'd run into some problems trying to write science fiction. If you really want to write science fiction, but fear you can't manage it, that may mean that you start writing awful fantasy fiction because you think it's somehow easier. You need to think about why you're writing the stories in the first place, what is the point of them and within the world that you've started building. Fantasy and science fiction are tools, not destinies, so it's a question of what tool fits the job and what tool and job you want to do.
     
  3. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    What I was saying is, after writing these short stories, each time I neared the ending, a fantasy setting/story reared it's head and completely shifted the tone and gear of the previous let's say - 4000 words.

    I used the sword replacing a gun as an example of how the reader is going down one familiar path and is suddenly thrown into another. (I am aware I could use guns and briefcases in fantasy.)

    While I could probably handle sci-fi as well (or as bad) as I could handle writing fantasy, I am just second guessing myself and wondering if I am taking some kind of short cut throwing fantasy elements in what was previously not supposed to be fantasy - if that makes any sense.
     
  4. Brian Kittrell

    Brian Kittrell Author & Writer

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    I think what you're running into here is not the question of genre logic. It's more on the question of commercial logic. I've been wrong before, but this is my best guess, and I'll explain.

    In other words, your mind is trying to anticipate a reaction in the reader, and you're trying to ancipate the reaction of readers as a whole. This falls more in the marketing/commercial/sales realm.

    I would say that this isn't the best thing to worry about right now. The first thing you should be worrying with is your style, honing your storytelling style. It doesn't matter if your stories are about purple unicorns who can fly, go to universities to give lectures on nonsense, and eat jelly donuts as their only source of sustenance. What matters early on is developing a style that is easy to read, is clear to understand, and contains the information that you intend to convey.

    Once you've gotten a clear voice, you can worry about formulating stronger plots (recommend: use outlines and plan carefully), consider logic and flow of the story, and so forth. You should always be thinking about these things, but flow and style should be explored prior to getting too deep into the mechanics of full-length work.

    That's my thoughts on it at any rate. Hope that it helps a little.
     
  5. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    Brian - I think you hit the nail on the head here. I am thinking like as if I was reading my own stuff (as a reader) instead of just writing it and not caring.

    Once you said it was a marketing/commercial issue, it clicked.
     
  6. Brian Kittrell

    Brian Kittrell Author & Writer

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    Glad that I could be of some assistance. :)

    You'll want to eventually get to the point where you're writing commercial genre literature, but give yourself time to get to where you need to be with your style and voice.

    Alot of people say that it takes a million words to get really good. Not all of them know why, though: this is the time where you should develop that style of writing that you can maintain for prolonged periods of time. Anyone could just sit and write a million words of gibberish, but that doesn't make them good; somewhere in that million words, they will hopefully develop a comfortable, salable writing style. Plotting and outlining comes later (along with the editor, which I also recommend hiring if at all possible).
     
  7. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    Sweet. 900,000 words to go. :)
     
  8. Brian Kittrell

    Brian Kittrell Author & Writer

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    lol Well, the 1,000,000 is a rough figure. It comes faster sometimes. :p
     
  9. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    lol, I know, I know, but it can also come slower - :eek:
     
  10. Brian Kittrell

    Brian Kittrell Author & Writer

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    Oh, my... if it comes slower than 1,000,000... well, I'm sure it won't take that long for you. :)
     
  11. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    It makes sense in a multitude of ways. It makes sense in what Brian is talking about, which is feeling fantasy would be the better, easier choice, which you seem to feel is sort of what is happening. But it also makes sense in the way in which your heart is more in fantasy writing right now, but you keep trying to write science fiction and so the stories keep squishing where the right side of your brain would like to go. So that is part of figuring out your voice and what's important to you. Do you really like fantasy and want to play in that backyard or is it just a matter of that feeling like a safer backyard? Because either you are forcing stories to be science fiction when they are fantasy stories or you're forcing science fiction stories to be redone as fantasy stories. And the forcing is the part that is likely to get you into trouble.