I don’t know what possessed me to want to write a “space opera.” Of course, I loved the original Star Wars trilogy. As an aspiring fiction writer, it’s not that inconceivable that I’d want to try my hand at the genre.
But, boy, it is harder than it looks.
There are numerous magnificent entries into the science fantasy action/adventure genre. Too many to count. They span galaxies, timelines, themes, and tones. They are crammed with thrills, romance, mysteries, and just a little bit of science.
And—as someone who wants to write fantasy fiction, without boundaries—it seemed like the perfect place to jump in.
I guess I always jump into creative projects with both feet. Even as a kid, the excitement of drawing my own comic characters or writing my own adventures was enough to propel me forward. The enthusiasm I felt for creating my own stuff was enough for me to overcome whatever hurdles laid in my path.
A small sad dwarf sat at the end of the world. Everybody else’s time had come… why not his?
A small, sad dwarf sat on a stump, looking out on the rolling landscape in front of him. He didn’t remember his name or much of anything. A black army of clouds wafted up into the sky. In his mind, it looked like the souls of the world ascending into space.
He chewed a thin piece of straw. He didn’t know where the straw had come from. Little was left that could grow. The dwarf didn’t know why he was chewing the straw. Maybe, long ago, he liked to chew things. Or smoke thing. Or stick things in his mouth. He had forgotten.
The ground rumbled and the dwarf almost fell off the stump. That was good a reason as any to get up and move around. His legs were cramping something fierce and he assumed there wasn’t much use staring and the charred, desolate hills. Getting up, he reached up to the sky, craning his neck.
He let out a groan, it echoed, hanging in the air.
The most personal stories can be the most powerful
One of the most challenging questions aspiring writers have is where to look for ideas.
Well, we’ve spent plenty of time over the last few weeks exploring that question. And why, it can easily be solved.
Ideas are everywhere. And the more you think about storytelling, the more you will be bursting with ideas. When you implement a few practical tools for harvesting ideas, you will never run out of ideas for stories.
That’s, honestly, the easy part. The hard part? Crafting a story that is unique, sincere, and will resonate with a reader.
Last week, I detailed how real-life events can be jumping-off points for stories. The fact is, some of the most popular movies, books, and series were based on real life. It gives your work a kind of credibility (even if you don’t put in the line “Based on a true story”) and give a story a foundation from which you can experiment.
But how can you make a story more authentic? In an age when so many people are producing content—most of which is shallow and clickbaity—how can your stories feel real and meaningful? How can you make sure your story is going to connect with a stranger, to the point where they want to care about it?
The biggest hurdle I see from newbie writers is that their idea for a story just isn’t original. “But it’s been done before!” is their common refrain. My friend, yes, it’s been done before. But not by you. If you want to write and finish a story others will hopefully enjoy, you have to let go of that fear.
Because, honestly, it’s just an excuse not to take the plunge.
Once you get over that, you have an entire world to explore for ideas. Even then, it might be hard.
Let’s start with what we know best: what’s really happening around us.