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June 23rd, 2006, 05:56 AM
I've just started writing a novel, its a sci-fi one but im concentrating mainly on human characters. I've not thought all my ideas through yet and the whole thing remains very much a work in progress. This is my first attempt, im 17, and have wanted to write a novel for ages. the reason for this post is to ask for any tips on how to make this work. Im writing sci-fi as i mentioned, all i know on the subject has come about through you know reading other novels, watching films, shows etc. (Star Wars, etc.) Obviously then my own ideas have similarities to those things, how do i avoid going down a track that would lead to my book being to similar to differentiate from the likes of Star Wars etc. Like to point out a fantasy example, i read Lord of the Rings(MY FAVOURITE BOOKS) and then later Terry Brooks Shannara Series. The similarities are unbelievable eg. small questing party against overwhleming odds, Druid Allanon = Gandalf, valemen= hobbits, always a dwarf and elf and warrior with them.

June 23rd, 2006, 10:35 AM
The only way i could help is to say don't put it on a grand scale and tell teh story from failures point of view. That being said, failure witnessing success.

June 23rd, 2006, 06:04 PM
1. Tolkein and the Shanara series are from a different time, don't worry about them.

2. Repetition of elements is par for the course. You have nearly 100 years of sf writing to deal with. If you obsess about doing something nobody has done before, you'll go mad.

3. That being said, read as widely as you can, preferably present day writers, but get in a few sf classics too. These do not simply tell you ideas that have been done before, since ideas can be revisited; they give you an idea of the kind of things you can do with story ideas.

4. For sf, research is your best defense. Even then, you'll probably get something wrong, but the more info you have, the more you'll have to work with for what you want to do.

5. Have sf fans read your stuff, but don't do whatever they say.

6. Accept that nobody has the secret forumla.

7. Enjoy being 17.

June 23rd, 2006, 08:00 PM
5. Have sf fans read your stuff, but don't do whatever they say.

6. Accept that nobody has the secret forumla.

7. Enjoy being 17.

But he/she is doing what YOU say. :confused:

Dragon Child
June 24th, 2006, 12:47 AM
Hey, eireace, nice to meet you! I'm a 17-year-old novice writer too!:D And now I'm going to put my two-cents in, yay!

A lot of people worry about the whole being original thing, I think. The problem is you can't look at it too broadly (ew, ugly word). Sure LOTR and the Shannara series have a lot in common, and I guarantee those aren't the only fantasy books out there like that. What makes your story different is what you do with those played-out ideas. It's the little twists that make the story it's own.

Someone somewhere at some point in time said something along the lines of 'there aren't any new ideas, just new ways of looking at them' .... I probably butchered that all to hades, but you get the idea right?

June 24th, 2006, 09:21 AM
Thanks for the advice, the research obviously is a good idea and ill have to improve mine and hopefully i'll be able to put together a decent first novel.

June 24th, 2006, 09:35 AM
Don't worry so much about the elements as about the story. I think one clever way of adding freshness is to do some genre-hopping. For example, there was an interesting sci-fi movie from the early 80s called "Outland," starring Sean Connery, that was actually just a space station version of the old Western "High Noon." The story made it work.

I did something similar with my first manuscript; I decided to write an espionage story in a fantasy setting. I had films like "The Usual Suspects" and "L.A. Confidential" in mind as well. The story has since expanded far beyond that, to the end of second manuscript, but this was the original seed.

Oh, and unless you're a writer of considerable natural talent for a 17-year-old, whatever you write is going to suck. Just know that ahead of time and don't get discouraged. Keep writing until the story is done, and then go back and edit and revise; see what you do well and see what you do poorly. Through this process, you'll learn how to write much better the next time you set out.


June 24th, 2006, 10:59 AM
As an aspiring writer, you should keep "originality" in mind. Now I know it's hard to come up with pure and genuine ideas nowadays, but that's where the true fiction wirter enters the scene ;)
Now if some characters and themes from other stories like The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars inspire you, then use them as paradigms for creating your own set of things. Take the War of the Ring for instance -- how it all began, and how it ended. Study its aspects then imagine yourself being in J. R. R. Tolkien's shoes. Imagine yourself planning to break the whole setting of the War of the Ring in order to create an infrastructure that Eireace sees fully compatible.
Think of breaking the boundaries! It's a tough job... but it will surely boost your innovative impulses. So that when you return to your own sci-fi universe, you have maintained a systematic approach to forging ideas, based on bigger ones that you have reconstrusted (mentally of course :D).
In the end, you could end up getting a sci-fi novel with the grandeur of a high cosmic setting that even surpasses Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings! It all boils down to Eireace's independant skills.

I'm truly looking forward to checking it out!

Wishing you the best of luck.

June 24th, 2006, 11:11 AM
Every first draft STINKS no matter who writes it. It has nothing to do with age or experience. That's why editing is mentioned everywhere. Dont sweat about it being completely cohesive and beautiful. Just get the story written, think of it as a major data dump. THEN you go back and fix-it.

June 24th, 2006, 12:04 PM
But he/she is doing what YOU say. :confused:

True, but I'm not commenting on eireace's actual writing. Still, I'll rephrase it: these are things you might want to consider when dealing with this issue. I certainly am not going to try and order eireace around. :)