Tag Archive | Star Trek

I’d Rather Watch Star Trek…At Least on Tuesdays

I’ve had a long weekend.  And by that, I mean I’ve had three glorious days of work being cancelled because of bad weather and everyone being stranded at home because it’s either too cold to leave the house or there’s too much snow blocking the door from being opened.

Yeah-I was so disappointed having to sleep in.  *sarcasm*

On the bright side of “Snowmageddon’s” great arrival, three days of work being cancelled meant three extra days of all the glorious writing I could muster!  It was like a dream come true.  I could write and edit and write some more.  When Monday came, I woke up and wrote until my fingers ached.  I ignored digging my car out of the snow banks and instead chose to sit in my chair, laptop on my knees, continuing on with writing my novel.  During breaks I even had the opportunity to research some freelance writing gigs.  It was pure bliss.

The first day was a success.  And when the weather man said it would be cold and snowy for pretty much the rest of the week, I rejoiced even more.  This was the week I could pretend to be a stay-at-home author.  It was a test-run for my dream job, and I expected it to be perfect.

Oh, how reality hit fast.

There are (usually) two types of stay-at-home workers: those who get things done and those who get things done but have to force themselves to do it.  On Monday I found myself in the first category, but when Tuesday came along, and all those old DVD’s stuffed in my cabinet were calling my name to be watched while eating old left over Christmas cookies (don’t worry-they were frozen), I found myself having to force myself to write at times.

This was unexpected.  Me, the writer, choosing to watch old Sherlock episodes and the Star Trek movie instead of writing my beloved book?  I was shocked.  I didn’t expect myself to be so…fickle, for lack of a better term.  I thought it would be easy to be able to sit down for hours on end and write all day, every day, and after one 24-hour time period, I was already finding excuses to ignore my book and just go straight to Captain Kirk’s adventures on the big screen.

But being the *somewhat* responsible person that I am, I forced myself to write, even when I wanted to see Chris Pine run around the Enterprise while I binged on chocolate.  After about an hour, I found myself getting back into the groove, writing and immersing myself into my work.  And by the end of the day I had two chapters written and finished with enough time to watch Star Trek after dinner.

I learned a valuable lesson during my time off.  I love to write-it’s my passion, it’s my calling, it’s near and dear to my heart.  But like any other job (even a fun one), sometimes it’s easy to want to take a break and have fun.  This isn’t a bad thing-after all, all work and no play makes a person, well…a workaholic.  But with too much free time it’s also easy to put off the work and ignore it.  For me, I learned that even though I love writing and it’s fun, sometimes I have to force myself to work on my writing.  Because let’s be honest-Star Trek is more interesting than editing grammar (at least I think so).

It also made me take a look at the writing profession in general.  I used to think that being a professional author (like the kind who do nothing but write as their daily job) was easy, fun, and perfect.  How could a job like that be stressful or difficult when you love what you do?  For some, it wouldn’t be difficult-they could write all day and be content.  But for me, I found that even though most days I love to write, there are days when I frankly…don’t.  I don’t feel like re-reading the same paragraph twenty times because it doesn’t sound right or I don’t feel like changing the first chapter fifty times because it’s too boring.  There are some days where yes, I’d rather watch a Star Trek movie and eat frozen Christmas cookies.

And that’s where dedication comes in.  As a writer, I had to ask myself-do I believe in and love my work so much that I’m going to do it even when I don’t feel like it?  Obviously, there’s a time for rest and recuperation and I’m not saying to do nothing but work all the time like a machine.  But for me, being the person that is easily tempted by cookies and Star Trek (apparently), I had to decide whether I really wanted to write-feelings or not.

And I’m glad I made the choice to write because (five new chapters later) my book is that much closer to being finished.

I Don’t Like Sci-Fi (But That’s What I’m Writing)

You know the age old saying for writers, “Write what you know”?  Yeah…I probably should’ve thought of that more when I started writing fiction.

I’m not one to really stick with writing in one genre.  I’ve got one series in the works that is a high fantasy/romance piece.  I’ve got another one that’s historical fiction/adventure.  But the one genre I seem to keep going back to is science fiction.

And that’s the one genre I know next to nothing about.

Fantasy stories aren’t a problem for me.  Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are the books I read annually and practically live off of when I need a good book.  Historical fiction and adventure stories are what I grew up reading as a kid, so there’s no unfamiliarity there.  But science fiction?  Not a chance.  Honestly, the only science fiction books I remember reading ever are two Star Wars: Clone Wars books I read a few years ago.  Other than that…nothing.

The problem I had with sci-fi books was that I couldn’t relate to the stories.  I love space travel, I love imagining the future.  Heck, I grew up wanting to be an astronaut (who else does their first research paper on Neil Armstrong?)  But when it came to actually sitting down and reading them, I always got stuck after a few pages.  Often the stories I *tried* to read were filled with scientific words I didn’t understand or had plot lines that focused more on the technology instead of the characters.   Sci-fi films and television shows weren’t a problem for me-I loved Star Trek and Star Wars.  But the sci-fi books I had seen were just too difficult for me to understand or too boring for me to continue with.

Now for friends and family I have, sci-fi is *their* genre.  They love it and can’t get enough of it.  They enjoy the technical lingo and terms and love to debate the various technologies (the favorite debate is The Enterprise vs. The Death Star.  Who would win?  And no, you can’t factor in The Force.)  Taking the technology and terminology out of sci-fi would be like taking the word “science” out of science fiction.  All you’re left with is…fiction.  It no longer is it’s own special story.
So as I’m writing sci-fi, I’m thinking of two audiences my stories are geared towards.  The non-sci-fi fans (like myself) who have a hard time understanding or being interested in the science of it all, and the sci-fi fans (like many of my friends and family) who live and breathe all the amazing technologies that are mentioned.  How can these two audiences be brought together?  
I think I found my answer by observing the sci-fi stories I do like.  Grant it, they’re mostly movies, but a story is a story, no matter what form it takes.  I asked myself why I liked stories like Star WarsStar TrekDr. Who, and the like.  And this is what I discovered:
  • Science fiction creates a sense of wonder.  What will the future be like?  What impact will modern technology have on our society?  What if the impossible suddenly became possible?  
  • Science fiction is inspiring.  Many of our current gadgets and technologies were developed by people who were inspired by science fiction stories.  You never know what technology you imagine will inspire a future-scientist or engineer.  
  • Science fiction stretches the imagination.  Remember the cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope?  That’s a lot of different alien species, all with their own looks, language, and culture.  With regular fiction, you’re often times just describing humanity-something we’re all familiar with.  But describing an imagined species takes a lot of creativity.
  • Science fiction looks deep at humanity.  Whether it’s the morality of advanced technology or the question on whether the past or future can (or should) be changed, science fiction often makes us take a look at hard, difficult questions we may not want to ask.  Stories like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or I, Robot take a look at technological progression not through rose-tinted glasses but through a crystal clear lense where our future may be more difficult than we think, and it’s our humanity that may be the deciding factor on whether things will go good or bad.

Taking these few observations has made me look at sci-fi in a new light.  Could it still be boring?  Like any story, yes.  Writing can be good or bad in whatever genre it’s written in.  But as long as we look at what science fiction really is-not a long list of boring terms and slow plots but a gem of exploration, observation, and imagination-then a sci-fi story can win over both fans and non-fans alike.