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June 2nd, 2001, 11:52 AM
I'm curious, because I want to get an outline going of a book that I want to write. I want there to be something that people can connect with on several levels. So, what topics or ideas do you find compelling?

There is plenty of stuff in the media: cloning, nanomachines, aliens, etc.

I've only written short stories, so I don't know how a book or series of books would be different. Unless you count the fact that books or series of books are longer than short stories. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

I take it, that the general theme should be extended throughout a series? (Say the impact of nanomachines on humans.)

June 2nd, 2001, 02:38 PM
Unless I misread your request, I don't think I can help you with this. If you want to write a book, then the plot (the story) should come from you. If it is a topic that you feel strongly about then that will come through and that will make the book compelling to readers. Assuming of course that you are a decent writer. At least that's my opinion.

June 2nd, 2001, 02:48 PM
Well, if you're talking sci-fi, the things that interest me are ruthless alien races at war, wars between cyborgs and humans, cloning controversies, giant war droids and battle machines, futuristic vehichles, alien plagues and viruses for biological warfare, genetic mutation, and impressive starships and warships, and wars encompassing other planets and galaxies.
If you are talking fantasy I like various mystical races, vicious dragons, ferocious demonic monsters, menacing demons, terrifying evil spirits, powerful and magical weapons, massive gritty wars, neck-breaking battle scenes, powerful sorcerers and wizards of light and darkness, ancient magical and mystical artifacts, tough heroes and heroines, breathtaking and exotic worlds, looming castles and fortresses, powerful and war-hungry armies, both despicably tyrannic and strongly benevolent rulers and kings, warring and radical religious factions, chilling and compelling political intrigue, and powerful but distant and mysterious gods.
Well, that's my list of what I like in sci-fi and fantasy, I'm sure you'll probably find it unbearably modest in size! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif LOL

[This message has been edited by Zsinj16 (edited June 02, 2001).]

June 2nd, 2001, 02:52 PM

Well, I don't mean specifically for the book that I want to write. I basically want to have brainstorming session with other brains. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

June 2nd, 2001, 07:31 PM
I suggest you think up two opposing parties, give them conflicting goals and write the book showing both sides. It means you can really get into both main characters, and if you get fed up writing one (who may be on the 'right' side) you can swap over and give the other one a go.

Now you have to give them something to fight/argue/war over - and that could be something as mundane as scientists vs govt or as wild as a dominant planet trying to steal tech/research from a minor planet. Imagine the fun you could have with all the velvet gloved machinations on one level, and the dirty tactics and commando-type raids on the other. Intriguing.


June 3rd, 2001, 07:06 AM
I have to agree with KATS. Begin with a topic that you already know something about (or are passionate about). Then, in order to create a novel, be prepared to do a lot of research.

In my novel, and the sequel I'm working on, I began with the following things:

1. A general plot outline
2. A list of themes I wanted to develop
3. The names, descriptions and biographies of the main fictional characters.

I then concentrated--in parallel--on the following points of the story:
- Set-up (introductory chapters which grab the reader and set up the story)
- Ending/finale (where the story is headed)
- Big Scenes (major plot points which drive the overall novel)

Once these things are done, the rest of it becomes clear. It's a matter of dedicating the time and effort to see it through.

-- John Morrison

June 3rd, 2001, 08:04 AM
I agree with John's 1,2,3. Though, you don't need to have thought everything from the beggining; create as you go. Writing a book is a magical journey, so don't take all the surprises away!

About the theme, the important thing is to be inspired by it. If you write about something others tell you, but you don't like.... Need I continue?

June 3rd, 2001, 10:10 AM
Gotcha, guys. The main reason that I asked, was to get some ideas going through my head. I have a block (maybe that's due to finals? heh). The secondary reason was that I am surrounded by engineering graduate students, and we all think alike. I suppose that I was trying to cater to a particular group (this board). I'll step away from that.

I have another question. When writing about a certain event, or series of events, is it easier to write when you have experienced those events for yourself? Say you are writing about an accident, and the same thing happened to you. For myself, I would have to say that it does, because I can go into excruciating detail about what happened. In other words, I can convey a clearer picture.

Oh, and the plot that I am working on for my book is something along the lines of the impact of fast transit throughout space. The technology base is strictly human; somehow we stumble across some secret of physics and then using it for getting places.

June 3rd, 2001, 10:22 AM
Tell you this: How possible do you think it is for every fantasy writer to have taken a sword wound, to have gotten in a sword fight, to have been burned, to have fall of his horse, to have riden a horse (I haven't!), to have gone to war in medieval times?... etc, etc, etc
You get what I mean? If you can have personal experience, that's good; but if you don't, try to think how it would be like.

June 3rd, 2001, 10:47 AM
Hrrmmm I wonder how one would cater to this board (other than giving us all publishing contracts). Sure we all write sci fi / fantasy, but there is a lot of room for diversity in sci fi / fantasy. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

As to your question about the personal experience, I suppose it depends on the person and the actual experience. You mentioned an accident but to be honest most people have been involved in some type of accident. Let’s use extreme hunger (starvation) as an example. A character struggling to survive is a fairly common occurrence. If they are on the run, food may be hard to come by. Does that mean that you need to starve yourself to be able to write about it? No. You do need to educate yourself on it though. Read true life accounts or talk to people who have been in that situation.

I did want to comment on one thing you alluded to. Excruciating detail is not necessarily a good thing. Too much detail can actually be a hindrance to the story. As the author you have to determine what parts of the story “need” detail and which do not. For me, this is one of the most creative, time consuming, thrilling, boring, and all around hardest part of writing a good story.

Bardos: You mean that you haven't done all those things?!? Personally I found the medival war a bit tedious. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif (The smily is suppose too indicate that I am JUST KIDDING - in case some read this and didn't realize.)

[This message has been edited by KATS (edited June 03, 2001).]