How can I get readers to relate to a non-human character in a story?

 

I suspect it’s the ONLY way to describe a character because, as humans, we don’t know how to describe anything other than ourselves and, fortunately for writers, that includes a huge range of characters from the most lofty, nicest characters imaginable to the worst scum of the universe.

How do I write a science fiction short story when I don’t have any ideas on what to write about?

 

No, I didn’t steal the stories themselves, that would be impossible when all that was given was a one or two-sentence blurb giving a general idea what they were about.

But they gave me ideas that eventually ended up becoming my own stories.

Sometimes I’m sure I changed the endings, though that was usually impossible to know since the endings are seldom given away in those brief descriptions.

I probably also changed the protagonists to suit my whims and the needs of whatever story was beginning to form in my imagination from reading those brief descriptions.

Still other times I’m guessing that I changed the settings, time frames, socio-economic status, family situation, age or sex of the protagonists. Again, I’ll never know because such things are seldom explained in those short descriptions.

Whatever I did, each and every change made the story so significantly different that the result was never even remotely recognizable as the story that provided the inspiration.

I wrote for the women’s market so I looked for women’s stories. If you want to write a science-fiction story, then look to that genre for inspiration.

The picture is the cover of one such story I wrote.

And good luck to all you writers out there.

Does writing exhaust or energize you? What are some common traps for aspiring writers?

 

Traps for new writers? They are all mental:

  • Thinking you’re not good enough, which is a trap because writing is a craft that, like every other craft, can be learned.
  • Thinking that your writing is good enough ‘as is’ and falling in love with your own work to the point that you’re not willing to change a single word. Or sentence. Or paragraph. I can’t count the number of times I’ve mentored a new writer whose work would have been wonderful — and more than up to publishing standards — IF they’d have been willing to rearrange or eliminate a few words. Okay, a LOT of words. Because new writers tend to use way more words than are necessary!
  • Thinking that you just write what you want to write and it will be published and read by interested readers. Wrong! Publishers — and readers — want to be able to find what they are looking for easily and that means looking in familiar categories for something that they will like. So if what you write falls easily into some genre — any genre — you’re good to go. If not, you’ll struggle to find readers.
  • I’m sure there are many more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

Should I plan the novel or just start writing?

 Depends ——-
There are two kinds of writers of novels:

Pantsers’ write by the seat of their pants. They just sit down and start writing. They normally end up doing a whole lot of revision and rewriting and, occasionally, even changing the thrust of the story, but they say this method allows their mind free rein and results in a better product.

Plotters’ outline their novel and describe their characters and often describe and research the setting before beginning. They are comfortable doing this because they know who the story is about, where it’s going, how it’s going to get there, and why they are writing it in the first place. They usually spend less time changing and rewriting but that’s balanced by the extra time they put in before beginning.

So it just depends on which kind of writer you are.

I started out being a ‘pantser’ and ended up being a ‘plotter’ when I realized I was writing pages and pages of beautifully worded fluff that said nothing and went nowhere.

Space Junque by L K Rigel

Space Junque (Apocalypto, #1)         http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0041T59IY

Review:  Space Junque by L K Rigel

I liked this book enough to read it straight through. Though the book is complete in itself, (a wonderful and somewhat rare thing in a series), if you want to truly know what happens later, you must read the sequel. A generous portion of the next book is included at the back and I liked that but I’m  not sure I’ll go looking for the sequel though I will read it if I happen to come across it.

It’s the dystopian sci-fi story of the end of the world as we know it and of the few people who can start anew because they were on one of several space stations when the end came. The plot is a bit more complicated than I prefer but I like straight-as-an-arrow plots that go in a predictable manner from beginning to end. This book’s complex route took a couple twists and turns that I believe would have come off better if they’d been foreshadowed.  If there’s anything truly negative about Space Junque, that lack of foreshadowing when the plot suddenly makes a 190 degree turn is it.

But I liked the story. I like end-of-the-world stories as long as there’s a new future in sight and there is in this book. And I liked the characters, all of whom were the right people in the right place at the right time to do what needed to be done. And I loved that the sex, of which there was a fair amount, was done right. I got the feel for the emotions of the characters without being overwhelmed with details.

So it was a good story and I’m glad I read it. And maybe I will read the next in the series after all. I want to now what new world they can create.