Tag Archives: science fiction

Character Actions Are Not an Endorsement of Behavior

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Characters are meant to be living entities in and of themselves.  They can act in ways both better and worse than the writer crafting their stories.

A writer may not be for thievery but may write about a thief, and the same can be said about any sort of immoral or deviant behavior.  The behavior of characters does not necessarily reflect the author’s own morality.  We live in a world where there are evil, careless, and self-centered people, and people simply have bad days and do things they regret.

My books are generally “clean” and family oriented because that is my target audience.  I also don’t believe in having over the top content for the sake of shock and awe.  With that said, I do see adding contented for the sake of being true to the character that might be unsavory.

As a writer and an artist, I don’t believe in censorship and stand firm that the author should be true to the character’s personality.  That may even include things that make the author or audience uncomfortable.  That said, the creator should also place some boundaries, there are certain things that are best left out of entertainment.  If there is a gory death, it is best to left it to the imagination instead, or implying it rather than directly giving an overly detailed description.  I have read scenes in books or movie descriptions out of curiosity that were stomach churning, the author should limit him or herself because there are certain things that are unnecessary.

Now, with that painfully obvious disclaimer out of the way, author’s including immoral behavior in a story doesn’t reflect the writer’s personal beliefs, at least not in a well-crafted storyline. Within the context of being sensitive to our audience, a writer is obligated to be true to the character.

Writing Lull


I wrapped up my manuscript last week, and now I have three books to edit. That means, writing books is on hold, and editing needs to take priority.

It is strange when I’m between writing books. While working on manuscripts, the stories become like old friends to me. I immerse myself so much into the stories that it is almost jarring when the initial writing is finished, leaving a void. However, it is always relieving to finish the first draft of a book.

Editing though is not something I particularly enjoy. Sure, I could leave the bulk of it for my editor, but then how could I learn to improve myself? My editor is also very busy and I want to make my projects as easy for her as possible. That doesn’t make the process easier or more fun. Editing is tedious, and requires intense attention, which makes it more challenging for me to do a good job without taking frequent breaks.

In the meantime, I am thinking about what to write next. Should I write a science fiction novel? Should I write the final novel in the Goandria series? I hope to have an answer within a week.

Unknown World

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The orange and green sphere gradually enlarged before the woman’s cockpit.  She pulled down on the throttle, and the whine of the engines subsided to a barely audible din. “There it is, finally,” she breathed, shifting in her seat. “Hopefully the air is breathable, I need to stretch my legs.”  The triangular wing of her craft reflected the nearby star’s light, into her face.  The woman raised her hand to shield her eyes while she arced her vehicle so the light wasn’t as much of a problem.

“That has to be a body of water,” she changed the direction the craft was heading again toward a blue-green stain on the sphere.  The star ship’s pointed nose arced down through the atmosphere, flames licked the black shiny hull of the vehicle, the woman eyed the orange and red tongues, but her face remained unchanged.  “Just a little further,” she whispered as the ship started to rattle violently, fire now filled the view port’s exterior.  The woman pressed a series of small buttons on the left control panel before her and a blue mist sprayed the exterior of the viewport and the flames died down enough for her to loose a short sigh.

The pilot set the ship down at the edge of the lake.  Its green liquid sloshed against dark gray, nearly black sand. She unbuckled the seat harness and depressed a glowing button five feet down from the cockpit, placing a breath mask over her face.  The woman unclipped a white, thin, square, device with a five-inch glass screen.  She pressed a button on the side and the device lit up.  “At least the air isn’t toxic, but it’s barely thick enough to breath,” she said, removing the mask. “But the water isn’t really water, great.”  The woman then pulled out some thick gloves from her pocket and put them on.

Even being on the day side of the planet, three moons were still clearly seen in the sky, one of which was a deep, rust red, giving an eerie glow in the already yellow-tinted atmosphere.  She walked to the edge of the liquid body, holding her instrument in front of her. “Water, methane, and an unknown substance,” she read off the readings that showed up on her device. “That isn’t exactly what I was hoping for, oh well, I guess it’s time to leave.”

There was a ripple in the water, the woman stared, watching, waiting, then as she was about to turn there was another, this time larger than the last. “I’m not sticking around to find out what caused that,” she uttered, running back to the ship.  Before she could arrive at the vessel, a loud growling, howl echoed.  The astronaut spun around, and saw it.  A black mass, with four clawed legs, propelled it out of the water.  The alien creature’s body reminded the astronaut of a slug or worm, it was long and segmented, yet looked like it had armored plates haphazardly stitched to its sides, reminding her of a patchwork amateurish art.  The alien’s face was a canine-like snout with rows of square teeth that looked like hatchets protruding from its gums.  Seven spines awkwardly poked up from its spine and the tips bent slightly before ending in a blunt end.  She withdrew a small laser pistol, knowing the weapon was unlikely to do much to defend herself.  The astronaut fired her weapon, and the bolt struck the creature in the side, it howled in pain, and charged at her.

Realizing shooting the alien beast wasn’t a wise idea, she dove to the side, just before the creature was about to trample over her.  The alien now stood between her and the ship. “Don’t’ step backward and damage my hull, I don’t want to be stranded here,” the woman shouted as if the beast could understand her.

She fired off a few more shots, and the creature lumbered toward her, swiping at a tree-like plant that reminded her a little of celery. The plant crashed down, causing a crevice in the soft ground, but fortunately it missed the astronaut and her craft.  The woman pulled the trigger three more times, aiming for the alien’s head, two missed and the last one hit it in the snout.  The beast stared her down then leapt up and its hook claws tore through her suit, blood dribbled down her arm.  She pulled the trigger on her weapon again, but nothing happened, a soft beep sounded from her weapon noting the charge was low.  She holstered the pistol, eyes darting around, looking for a suitable weapon of some kind.  There was nothing, save for a few rocks which would hardly work to defend herself.  She gritted her teeth together, grabbed the heaviest rock she could find and hurled it at the alien.  The rock thudded into the ground, completely missing the target.  Unsurprised, but grateful the distraction the rock provides, she bolted for the ship, opened the door and quickly sealed herself inside before the thing outside knew what happened.  It screamed and hollered in anger, madly searching for her, but its cries were answered by the roar of the ship’s engines.

She pressed a series of buttons and grabbed the craft’s yolk, blasting off to the safety of space leaving the creature behind confused and upset.

Science Fiction is not Fantasy

There seems to be a confusion at bookstores, online, on Netflix and every conceivable place that categorizes entertainment. We have all seen it, many have grown used to it, and some may have accepted it as fact. However, I find it to be a travesty as a fantasy author. Science Fiction and Fantasy are lumped together and are often seen as the same genre. Okay, I exaggerated. I don’t necessarily find it offensive, but these are two very distinct genres that are usually confused for the same thing.

These two genres are a part of the parent genre of Speculative Fiction, so they do share similarities. In fact Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror often have intersecting elements that can be transferred from one to the other. Horror and Fantasy may both use ghosts as plot devices. However, saying Horror and Fantasy are the same would be incredibly ignorant. Most would not say Lord of the Rings is in the same genre as Dracula.

Each story is different, and there may be a plethora of blends between Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy. However, Science Fiction tends to be more grounded in reality and the planets or galaxies we all know and love. It takes elements of real science and asks what if questions. Fantasy, on the other hand, often deals with a completely different world or alternate Earth with races and creatures that do not exist. In Science Fiction such creatures may be aliens, but in Fantasy they are natives to an exotic land. Fantasy, with the exception of Urban Fantasy, utilizes Medieval technology and weapons.

Another Cliché

Since I have utilized this blog to point out cliches I notice and try to avoid, like here, there is another one that I began to notice recently. Actually, I’m surprised I didn’t notice it sooner. This particular cliché seems more prominent in Science Fiction, more specifically Young Adult Science Fiction, but I feel it is worth noting.

What is this cliché? Let me depict it. Something devastating happens to the world, and there are a small group of survivors. They are the only ones left of humanity. A strong, independent, young woman rises up out of the ashes of human civilization. At first, she does not know her strength. She is timid, loving to others, yet unruly and rebellious. This woman has scrounged around in her world, looking to live a simple life, but then her parents die. At that pivotal moment, she finds a strength she never knew and fights back against those who seek to dominate the survivors. This bold young woman, having survived tragedies and injustices, symbolically cuts her long, flowing locks to show that a new, stronger self has emerged.

I have seen this become a reoccurring theme lately. In fact, once I noticed it, it seemed to be so common that it almost seemed silly to me. Why do these female protagonists need to cut their hair to show their change? Why do so many story tellers feel the need to include this to demonstrate character development? It seems the film Star Dust picked up on this cliché long before I did because it flips this archetype on its head and comically extends the male protagonist’s hair during the character’s transformation.

Have you noticed this as much as I have? Do you feel as silly as I do that you didn’t notice it either? Why is this such a common theme?

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Goandria: A world set apart

One of my favorite ways speculative fiction is portrayed is when the setting is a completely different world and environment. I like to see stories take place in worlds other than Earth. I understand the purpose of placing fictional stories in our home world, but for me to truly get immersed in the experience, I like it to be somewhere new. From my perspective, it seems that science fiction works much better on Earth than fantasy does.

Once again, I will use Tolkein’s mythology as an example. He paints a beautiful picture of Middle-Earth, filled with races and creatures completely different than we would encounter in everyday life. Yet the stories of Middle-Earth are supposed to be a fictional history of the Earth we know today. It is an intriguing idea, but there is a part of me that is disappointed. I feel that placing a magical world within our own ruins the mystery. Of course not all share my view and this is just a personal preference. However, when I set out to write my own stuff I decided it would not take place on Earth, nor will it be an alternate dimension. I made Goandria to be its own world. The best part of speculative fiction for me is the speculative part.

With making something entirely different with Goandria, I feel I have the freedom to be more fluid with the world. There is medieval technology in Goandria, but I mix in modern dialogue to show that Goandria does not necessarily follow the same developmental history as our own world. With Goandria I aim to take the reader on a journey that I would enjoy to go on. One where everything is new, yet there is a sense of familiarity that coincides with it.

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