A few weeks ago, I posted a little expert of my first sci-fi short story Guardians of Darkness. It was my first attempt at the genre. Writing the piece was easy enough, the writing bit is always the easy part for me. I think easy is the wrong word – the writing is the routine part for me.
All my manuscripts up to this point have been set in the present day, in places I know and frequent. This was the most efficient way of writing, particularly my first novel. But my mind swirled with ideas for new worlds. Some the same as this one, but with fantasy elements and then I went right down the sci-fi track, chasing galaxies far, far away.
Writing the story was fun, I finished, did some edits and then looked at it, and I wondered. This is the beauty of being a writer, what I write goes, and as I started to wonder about the world I had created, I asked questions. Like how does the garbage get collected? Is it burnt, or melted, or dumped somewhere? That led to the types of materials that consumables were made of. If they’re not biodegradable or can be turned into other useful products, then there’s probably not much need of them in a space station.
Then I thought about the basic functions oxygen, gravity, sunlight, human waste disposal, taking care of the dead? I put my book away and answered these questions and more before I went back. I found that the character motivations and their emotions are the same no matter what ‘world’ they live in, but the way they interact with that world will depend on the rules or lack of rules that I place upon it. Now, this I loved.
Once it was how I wanted it, I thought about my characters. I had already chosen their names in the initial phases. Some characters aren’t human but are humanoid. My main character in Guardians of Darkness is Serasion. She looks human, talks, walks and speaks like a human. But she has a rapid metabolism and it means she can’t get drunk, and certain medication just won’t work on her because she burns through them too quickly. Not only does the world need rules, but so do the characters, and with only two ‘humans’ in this story, I had a lot of rules to set.
This went beyond my usual writing and I loved it so much I might turn the short story into a full-length story. I have a couple of other things on the go at the moment, but being able to control, or do the opposite and relinquish control in this genre was ridiculous amounts of fun.