Thursday, October 12, 2006

Science Fiction Light

As I was working on my current WIP today, I got to thinking about something my critique partner said to me a few months ago. That is the fact that I don't write science fiction romances, but rather sci fi light. I'm not sure if that was her term or a term she'd heard from someone else, but I thought it was brilliant. I like the flavor of science fiction, without having to have a major in astrophysics, quantum psychics, or heck, even math!

The thing to remember, is that the setting, even if it is light mode, still needs to be relevant and have an impact on your plot and characters. Currently, my WIP is set on Mars. Now with my first draft I'm pretty much going light on the setting and working on the developing relationship between the hero and heroine. When I begin my revisions, one of the things I have to make sure I do is go back in and layer the sci fi element. The question I have to keep asking myself is why Mars? Why not set the story in New York or Toronto? If I can't adequately answer that question, then I have a problem.

In science fiction, as in historicals or any other period piece, the setting needs to take on the role of a character. It's not just a matter of having your characters fly space ships, go through worm holes, and fight aliens. You have to know why then and there? Why on a colony on Mars that was settled by Earth three hundred years earlier? In my case, it allows me to introduce a device that brings my characters together and places then in unique danger that would only work in that place and time.

When you choose your setting, make sure it's not random. Think about they why.

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