Not So Run of the Mill Science Fiction
Have a story that stretches the boundaries of current Science Fiction? Is it unpredictable and fresh? Do you shy from the neat happy endings that are commonplace in today's fiction? C'mon in, lets share some links and compare notes!
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Drieden
Hey, you know what? I get those exact same two problems. I once tried and tried to rework a certain story I wrote but even when I got the willpower to do it, I sat down... and had nothing to write. It really does suck. However, bear in mind that other people can be happy with your stuff; I've read a few of yours and they're quite good, so don' sweat it too much about getting them right.

Back to the topic, yes. A friend of mine brought that point up, and was saying you don't HAVE to make something new that nobody else has done before. I ge the same thing as you: I'm full of ideas, and I can see a scene work out perfectly in my mind, but the whole rest of the story, building up to and leading away from that scene, becomes a big stumbling block. What you can do, however, is write that scene down (actually writing them out, perhaps) and add it in a text file to wait until you have a story where you can slot that scene in. Never just delete anything--a character, an item, a plot, a location, and so on--that you don't use. You can always use them later.

Also, uh... it really helps to have a friend or aquaintance to talk to (especially on instant messengers), exchange ideas with, proofread your material, give real-time criticisms, et cetera. The best for this job would be someone who can just talk and listen for days, and doesn't get bored with hearing all about your latest storymajig. Heck, bother me if you want, sometimes I fit those criteria. :P

That's about all i can think of.

6/18/2007 #61
Darwin
I agree with Mr. Hat on this one...if you get an idea, write it out as far as it will go, when you run out of inspiration stop and set it aside. This goes for idle thoughts and dreams as well.

Ideas for a sequel to gemutations: Mercenaries and Angels started popping up while I was still writing the original story(some seven years ago). None of them made any sense or connected in any cohesive way at all...it wasn't til about two years ago that I came up with an idea, several actually, that would allow me to tie them all together.

Plot bunnies about Tigershark's scuffle with Scud (now only a mention in the current plot) and Cortez trying to kill or discredit Tiger and dreams about Tiger infiltrating a submarine(Now a cruiser named the USNS Clinton- snicker) could be threaded together. All of those elements threaded with the idea of an overarching line about a virus that threatens humans and in turn threatens gemue livlihood.

My point? All ideas are important! Write them and keep them at hand the will come to use!

6/18/2007 #62
dreamshell
Just Ray, the Handyman, doing the things they can't pay anyone else to do.

I know that whole angle on writing sci-fi or fantasy has become a little more prevalent now, but I just wanted to sound cool and say I've thought up a neat little suffix I like to use for those type of stories. You know how gritty, dark stories always end in "-punk"? Cyberpunk, steampunk, etc. And the lesser known ending of "-prep" (generally a more optimistic look at the worlds in which a person is writing)?

Well, forget all of that. Ignore the idealized and the dystopian. Make the mundane your goal! Write "-blah!" Cyberblah (much like Hat's handyman idea), steamblah, splatterblah, whatever. The wonderful world of Blah is open to all, and has, in my eyes, great potential.

...Okay, enough of me being a word-coiner.

To echo Hat and Darwn, keeping everything you write is a good way to go, if not also a little inconvenient when you find your computer full of half-used files (what I call The Shelf). It can be an eyesore and even a disheartening experience to look at all that unfinished work, but believe me, interest is cyclical. A story you are in love with today will bore you tomorrow and three months from now, you'll be aching to work on it again. It's weird.

Also, uh... it really helps to have a friend or aquaintance to talk to

Just to offer the opposing argument, I've heard (or read maybe, I dunno) that sharing ideas with other people actually *dilutes* your interest and can lead to a greater likelihood of a story never getting done. Apparently it's because if you're talking about it all the time instead of actually working on it, you get a good idea of what the story will be through conversation and then when it comes to the writing, you're left uneager to begin. Or something like that. Personally, I have the same problem myself where I'm always wanting to blab on about my latest thing, but showing a little restraint does tend to help some.

Another thing, with me anyway, is that despite the fact I use outling like a literary crutch, some of my best stuff has been written spontaneously. Anyone else have this happen to them? I guess sometimes the right things just piece together in your head.

--dreamshell--

6/18/2007 #63
ecwix
Another thing, with me anyway, is that despite the fact I use outling like a literary crutch, some of my best stuff has been written spontaneously.

Actually, random spontaneous writings are pretty much where most of my stories end up. I'm sitting in the middle of class at school, and all of a sudden, I get this brilliant idea. So, of course, (I'm near the back of the class, for most of my classes :P) I just pull out my handy notebook and start spamming down words, wishing I had a computer--with no internet access, of course.

Three periods later, I'm done with the rough draft. Of course, I've just completely missed like 4 classes worth of material, but I'm still feeling happy because I've actually finished something.

Then the story stays in my notebook for like, a month before I finally force myself to type it up, realizing how bad it is.

I type it up (Sometimes it takes more than one sitting because I get bored and/or distracted... grrr the internet is so evil sometimes). Then, I print it out... and if I ever get bored at school, I pull out my copy of the story and start editing the heck out of it.

Go home, type up the edits and additions... print it out again.

Usually, this cycle repeats a few times before I give in to my inner cravings and post the story up, although many of my stories have never reached that phase. Some of them just sort of... died off after I wrote them the first time due to lack of enthusiasm for typing it up. The problem with writing up stories by hand... sigh, but doing stuff by hand allows one to write nearly anywhere and stay away from distractions on the computer.

Outlines, for short stories, I don't even bother. There's really no point. For longer works... well, let's just say that by the time I get the thing outlined, I feel as though I've already exhausted myself writing the story once already. And then there's also that problem that ALWAYS seems to pop up that one of my characters decides to be him/herself and does something unplanned, hence ruining a huge section of that outline I've slaved over. I guess I'm just sort of a spontaneous writer. I do some planning in my head, have a general idea of where I'm going, and let myself go and just follow where I lead myself. Unfortunately, this often leads to getting stuck and huge deleting and rewritings... which get my mind off the writing even more...

I guess I'm just not good a finishing anything long. Heck, I was amazed when I finished my short novelette (about 14k words in length). But it took me at least a whole month later to actually type it up (taking many nights), and I've printed it out, but I looked through a bit of it, and I'm down in the dumps because it seems like it sucks, even though my beta reader says he likes it a lot. I still have to get back and edit the thing... urgg. Any suggestions for getting myself up and un-lazy-fied?

Well, forget all of that. Ignore the idealized and the dystopian. Make the mundane your goal! Write "-blah!" Cyberblah (much like Hat's handyman idea), steamblah, splatterblah, whatever. The wonderful world of Blah is open to all, and has, in my eyes, great potential.

I'd be an expert at that. I wrote this other short story at school, and it'd fit perfectly into the "blah" catagory. I read it over... and it was just completely boring. No action whatsoever. Heck, I was actually pretty bored writing it and I just forced myself through. :P. And that's only one story. I'd say a lot of my "attempts" at writing would fall into that sort of category.

You hear people talking about plot-oriented writers, character-oriented writers, situation-oriented writers, all that sort of stuff. I guess I'm a setting-oriented writer. I have this setting or technology in mind, and I end up with a completely mundane story in which "x" character makes it through in "x" setting or "x" technology.

Wow... I wrote a lot...

6/18/2007 #64
Darwin
Just to offer the opposing argument, I've heard (or read maybe, I dunno) that sharing ideas with other people actually *dilutes* your interest and can lead to a greater likelihood of a story never getting done. Apparently it's because if you're talking about it all the time instead of actually working on it, you get a good idea of what the story will be through conversation and then when it comes to the writing, you're left uneager to begin. Or something like that. Personally, I have the same problem myself where I'm always wanting to blab on about my latest thing, but showing a little restraint does tend to help some.

That is interesting because I am the most psyched, the most productive when I have someone to bounce ideas off of... I have three really good friends who provide this creative babble bounce that have allowed me to write an entire novel in six months (Starting Over), and one of my longest efforts (Only Half). I disagree with the idea that talking about it dilutes the effect. But I may be the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself.

I love the synergy that comes from talking about my and my friends stories, plot bunnies, etc, because it gives me immediate feedback when I am feeling shaky on an idea, reinforces my own thought that something works and gets me excited to see the first hand reactions to what my friends are reading.

one of these three friends and I are writing a collaborative crossover (Common Ground). The other two, Kafkaman and myself are resurrecting a round robin project we started back in 2003/4(?).(After the Rain)

I think it is fun to share ideas with others because I know it helps my creativity.

6/18/2007 #65
dreamshell
Man, your grades must be horrendous! Except maybe in English class... :P

(Sometimes it takes more than one sitting because I get bored and/or distracted... grrr the internet is so evil sometimes)

Same here. I actually have a fondness for writing long-handed (mostly because I'm an egomaniac and in love with my handwriting... is that weird?), but a keyboard just works so much better. And by the time I've written something on paper, then copied it onto the computer, I've totally lost interest in working on it anymore at that moment. First off, having to read through about fifteen pages (front and back, mind you) is just annoying when you have to stop every few seconds to type out what you just read. Second, it's a little depressing when you realize your fifteen pages equals to, like, seven onscreen.

well, let's just say that by the time I get the thing outlined, I feel as though I've already exhausted myself writing the story once already

Totally. It's like thinking the whole thing out takes away the joy of even bothering to write it.

And then there's also that problem that ALWAYS seems to pop up that one of my characters decides to be him/herself and does something unplanned, hence ruining a huge section of that outline I've slaved over.

That happens to me a LOT with outlined work. But actually, I kind of welcome it. Mostly 'cause it brings back the element of surprise in my writing of the story, which keeps me interested. But when it goes against what you've already planned out, it can be very aggravating trying to make the new thing work.

I guess I'm just not good a finishing anything long.

Welcome to the club. I finish a short story over ten pages and I feel like a champ.

I read it over... and it was just completely boring.

But boring can be GOOD! I mean, the juxtaposition of a really dull story going on in a hyped-up universe really fascinates me.

You hear people talking about plot-oriented writers, character-oriented writers, situation-oriented writers, all that sort of stuff.

I have no idea what one of those I am.

--dreamshell--

6/18/2007 #66
dreamshell
That is interesting because I am the most psyched, the most productive when I have someone to bounce ideas off of...

I don't necessarily agree with the argument I made, either, Dar. I just thought I'd put that little bit of info out there. I guess it's different for everyone, ya know?

--dreamshell--

6/18/2007 #67
Emiya Shirou
Totally. It's like thinking the whole thing out takes away the joy of even bothering to write it.

Now I soo have to agree with you. I get the best Ideas for stories away from my keyboard, but when on there something strikes me withhelding me from actually tunneling it through my fingers..

6/19/2007 #68
ecwix
Now I soo have to agree with you. I get the best Ideas for stories away from my keyboard, but when on there something strikes me withhelding me from actually tunneling it through my fingers..

That's why I try to keep a notebook around me at all times, so whenever I get some brilliant idea, I can either just start writing it on the spot, or just make a note of it so I won't forget. In fact, I've already gone through one notebook, and I'm currently on my second. To be exact, I'm carrying about two around now, one steno and one spiral, since it's annoying to try to write a story in a steno (which is what my first one was) because the pages are so darn small and you can only fit like 100 words a darn page. So... I use the steno for short notes and ideas and the spiral for actual writing.

I find that it helps a lot of my writing, that I can do it near anywhere, except the difficulty in getting oneself to write just comes later in having to type it up, although that is also an small added bonus of a quick prelim edit as well. And there's also that problem of not being able to write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. When I go to type the things up, I often find that I'm skipping words, like "the", "of", sometimes even more important ones. Heh...

Man, your grades must be horrendous! Except maybe in English class... :P

On the contrary. I guess I'm just one of those really gifted people who don't even need to pay attention to do well. The saddest part is that right now, I'm ranked number one in my grade, despite my lack of attention in class. School is for reading, writing, and daydreaming... oh yeah, and a bit of learning, too.

The other part of the story is that I had two math classes in one day, back to back. That's when I did most of the writing (I didn't pay attention for either lessons). But considering I'm on the state math team, it wasn't very hard to catch up. I guess I'm just one of those people society expects to go out and go and do something fancy in the sciences, and I think that's what I sort of want to do... except I find I like writing a lot as well. It's hard juggling so many interests, lol, although I guess I should consider myself lucky for being so freaking gifted. (Okay, that might have sounded arrogant...)

6/19/2007 #69
Emiya Shirou
I guess I'm just one of those really gifted people who don't even need to pay attention to do well. The saddest part is that right now, I'm ranked number one in my grade, despite my lack of attention in class. School is for reading, writing, and daydreaming... oh yeah, and a bit of learning, too.

Wow, even though I m on the highest level of highschool education offered in my country, i m certainly not as virtuous that I can afford to lack attention in class. I have to cycle one hour to and fro every school day. Usually I cycle with friends, but when I do not, my boredom emits these ideas I have. I know a lot of people whom in first class have also been designated as highly gifted (I do NOT belong to those :D) Yet, it seems that only the small girls with sprouts and inhumane long blonde hair seem to be able to actually do something with it, as there is this fourteen year old puny blonde girl in the fifth grade, where normal ages are 16. I can still daily find out from people that back in the first grade they were said to be gifted, yet that really isn't noticable.

I guess you are just even better than those. I know some people who are gifted and also write stories. Just like me they aren't your average high school student as, for example, shown in the hated Coca Cola No sugar advertisements. Writing, not only in english but also native dutch, out here seems to still be something for the purposively not so average students.

6/21/2007 . Edited 6/21/2007 #70
dreamshell
Wow, even though I m on the highest level of highschool education offered in my country, i m certainly not as virtuous that I can afford to lack attention in class.

It's different for different people. Some can do great without much effort, others need to work at it a little more. Doesn't necessarily mean much concerning intelligence, it's really more a matter of retention.

I have to cycle one hour to and fro every school day. Usually I cycle with friends...

What is "cycling"? Not riding a bike, I take it. Is it studying?

...as there is this fourteen year old puny blonde girl in the fifth grade, where normal ages are 16...

Again, must be the regional difference. Fifth grade equates to what in the States? Something in high school, I'm guessing. Sophomore?

I guess you are just even better than those.

Hmmm... Perhaps we should move on past the "Who's super smart?" part of the forum. Don't need any more ego-boosts. XD

Coca Cola advertisements?

Ah, I love them regional differences. It lets as all look like goofs to one another. :P

--dreamshell--

6/21/2007 #71
ecwix
Hmm, let's get back on topic. :P

I'm sorta planning to write another short story on a semi-overused concept: an alien ship comes to the Earth.

Well, basically, my main character is a biologist sort of dude who specializes in animal communications, so naturally, he's chosen as part of the team to try to communicate with this alien ship, which is just hovering in Earth's orbit.

The story actually starts, I think, just after the alien ship leaves and the humans are frustrated because it didn't seem to communicate with them (they were measuring all emissions from the ship and they found just about nothing).

It sorta ends with the main character just feeling annoyed that some of his colleagues are overestimating humanity's ability to understand the communications of other species.

The preliminary title is "Even the Rocks Cry Out". Sound like a good idea?

6/21/2007 #72
dreamshell
Kind of, but to play devil's advocate (something I'm fond of doing), it sounds like it wouldn't really go anywhere. And maybe that's the point, I dunno. Could fit into the "blah" category I mentioned. Part of me thinks it could be interesting, but another just kind of shrugs at it for some reason. Maybe just 'cause the immediate idea of how *I* would write it seems pretty dull. That's not to say you couldn't make it otherwise, though.

--dreamshell--

6/21/2007 #73
ecwix
I am the king of "blah", lol. I was going to sort of explore the philosophical possibility that other sentient beings might not even be on the same timeframe as we are, like maybe they communicate veeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyy ssssssssssllllllllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy. Maybe it would take them ten Earth years to say just one "word" of their language.

That was sort of the inspiration behind the title. Like maybe rocks are living things as well; they just move too slowly for us to see, heh.

6/21/2007 #74
dreamshell
*points to those suspicious race of tree-people called Ents (in lieu of any other long-winded beings to which I am oblivious)*

Teasing. It's not a bad idea, really. But living rocks make me think of golems...

--dreamshell--

6/21/2007 #75
ecwix
Heh, not only rocks, but anything, really. What are we to judge what is living and non-living, if we only apply the criteria to the things that are like us?
6/21/2007 #76
dreamshell
Well, I understand where you're coming from to a certain degree. There's tons of life-forms that could exist outside of our perceived notions. But *rocks*? Dude. New Age-y like WHOA. Intelligent trees or energy beings or even gases are one thing. A pebble is quite another.

--dreamshell--

6/21/2007 #77
ecwix
Heh, it's not really using it as a literal meaning, just sort of figuratively, sort of like, just saying how little humans really know.

We're pretty sure rocks aren't alive, but... who knows? Maybe they just live very very slowly? :P

6/22/2007 #78
dreamshell
Keep tellin' yourself that. ;)

--dreamshell--

6/22/2007 #79
Emiya Shirou
like maybe they communicate veeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyy ssssssssssllllllllllloooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy. Maybe it would take them ten Earth years to say just one "word" of their language.

oO lol that would be funny though. 'Sir we are reading an EXTREEEEEEEMELY low frequency sound from this alien statue? what?'

Forgive me, I m just jumping the gun a bit eh? :P

But I guess 10 years would be a bit off. Doesn't fit in the laws of gravity.. I guess.

To continue on my FTL story, how about trying to make an own FTL. Using multidimensional portals, timeframe distortions and the-god-who-is-faster-than-light knows what else. I have an Idea wich cooperates to time travel, in which one can travel over a certain distance with it's basic ship with basic engine, but to add some timetravel device to make sure that you would like only need one hour to get from A to B. In essence this means that you, when INSIDE the ship, will have to travel for like 10 years to get to say The Kuiper Belt, but in the outside world you will have arrived there within an hour. Like how about earth sends a ship to the moon in about a minute, to find that in only one minute testing their experimental FTL ship, all the astronauts (or animals for testing purposes =O) have died of starvation, being lifeless bodies inside their ship. I think I can make something interesting about humanity is planning to use this without them having any advanced 'stasis' technologies to maintain their alive status for ages while the ship moves on in the 'space-time continuum'.

Let's face it. Perfected Stasis technology with a sorta unlimited propulsion could be the answer to send a millenium taking expedition to another world. This has been done many times to avoid the usage of an FTL, and still get people on another planet.

6/24/2007 . Edited 6/24/2007 #80
False Hollow Phantom
some timetravel device to make sure that you would like only need one hour to get from A to B. In essence this means that you, when INSIDE the ship, will have to travel for like 10 years to get to say The Kuiper Belt, but in the outside world you will have arrived there within an hour.

That doesn't seem like something people would be wild about doing. I mean, who'd willingly go through this, spending ten full years in a ship, only to exit out of this portal or whatever it is and find that, not only have they used up ten years of their lives, they've done it in -- to the eyes of everyone else -- a very small fraction of time. In fact, wouldn't the opposite be far more appealing? Jumping from A to B, taking years and years relatively, but personally having very little time pass?

6/24/2007 . Edited 6/24/2007 #81
Emiya Shirou
I've thought about that too, yes. But about that I didn't really appeal to me as a source for a nice story. Iunno. That came too awfully close to time travel, and it doesn't fit into the story of Travelling, which means go from A to B. In the alternative you described, if you just take away the distance, it is in essence a time travel device. But yes, you're quite right. For exploring it wouldn't be so useful since it actually wouldn't matter that you only take one hour in the real world when you yourself are not. But that's the dilemma I wanted to create.
6/26/2007 . Edited 6/26/2007 #82
Drieden
I know I haven't been active lately, life's been busy and I've been lookin for a job and people been needing help with stuff so... you know. I'll make up for it, I promise. :\

Speaking of time travel... has anyone thought about the idea of fixed-age time travel, where if you went back through time, say, a year, you'd arrive a year younger? And possibly start slowly losing your memory back to that point?

6/27/2007 #83
dreamshell
Speaking of time travel... has anyone thought about the idea of fixed-age time travel, where if you went back through time, say, a year, you'd arrive a year younger? And possibly start slowly losing your memory back to that point?

The only time I've ever seen something like that is when I read that Goosebumps book "The Cuckoo Clock of Doom" as a little kid. XD

But it does have some possibilities. I'm assuming by the rules you've set up, though, the farthest in time you could ever go back is to the day you were born (or maybe conceived)? Also, would there be two of you in this past timeline (both of the same age, apparently) or would you simply "jump" into your younger form? Imagine how many people would love to do THAT. Go back in time and literally live their lives over again? Now THAT idea has some potential.

--dreamshell--

6/27/2007 #84
Drieden
But that also opens up a whole 'nother box of problems. For example, how would you like to have to rewrite (to take myself as an example) all your school reports and papers, all your stories, the rules, information, weapons images and blurbs, character sheet and mission outline for a message-board roleplaying game, and numerous modules for several different games... all over again? And the whole time, knowing that no matter what you did, it wouldn't be the same?

Plus... all the other things in your life, say, the good stuff. You might not have it, things might not go a different way, you wouldn't get to see old (or in the "re-experienced" past, new) friends again because you did something different and your family didn't move somewhere.. it's an interesting idea, however.

And then there's the matter of fitting yourself back into the timeframe if you were done moving around for a while. Think of the smallest amount of time you can imagine, then cut that in half, and keep doing so forever. That's the margin (in my understanding, at least) that you have to fit into: the exact moment after you left, and it's infinitely small. If you don't, you'll end up stuck inside yourself, and that wouldn't be pleasant.

Just some food for thought.

6/30/2007 #85
dreamshell
Well, that's the idea. People so often grow nostalgic and wish they could go back to some other time in their lives and live it over. But they don't think about what all the consequences of actually doing that would be. So, the idea is you could kind of play around with the expectations and fantasies people have and then see how they deal with the reality of them.

--dreamshell--

6/30/2007 #86
MacKitty
eh, shoot, i posted the summary of my story in the wrong place. sorry, guys. it's in my introductory post. My story is a work in progress called, A Rei of Light, and it's set in a future alternate reality sort of thing. It's not a smart story in the ways of physics or math or whatever, but I'm pretty sure it's sci-fi. the focus is more on the characters, and the science fiction elements are woven into their lives and who they are; instead of the other way around where the characters are incorporated into the science fictional world and are second to it. gah, i really hope that makes sense. if it doesn't, sorry.

...

anyway, here's a shortened version of the summary:

Rei. Lucas. A prisoner and the doctor who comes to see her every day. The threads of fate that bind them have twisted and now it is all they can do not to strangle themselves on their own pasts...

2/7/2008 #87
Serenity Nightshade
I'm trying to write a story but can't really get on with it...It's currently called "The Razing of the Cat'hole". It's set in the future, how far I don't know. Basically it's Protestants agaisnt Catholics. The Catholics have their big warships and the Protestant rebels have their puny little cruisers. Then, the crew of one such crusier taken in by Protestant group mind called the Elipsani. They have a HUGE ship (be thinking in kilometers), appropriately named the Ramship Pendulum. Intense mind-numbing action ensues as ships get halved and blow up. The story comes with pictures I drew. The ships are driven by reaction-mass, which is mined from the hyperspace realms. I'm only on chapter...4, I think. Tell me if you want to read it or see some pictures.
2/15/2008 #88
dreamshell
Oh boy, petty wars over even more petty religious rivalries rock!

...Silly, don't you know there's no God in the future? Once we get laser cannons, we totally pwn that n00b. ;)

--dreamshell--

2/16/2008 #89
dreamshell
Oh boy, petty wars over even more petty religious rivalries rock!

...Silly, don't you know there's no God in the future? Once we get laser cannons, we totally pwn that n00b. ;)

--dreamshell--

2/16/2008 #90
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