Saturday, June 10, 2006

When Intergalactic Aliens Hijack Your Novel...

Ah yes, another voice checking in from the Far Reaches, which is--as most of you know--in United Coalition space just a smidge past Garchan-3... I'm a far more experienced starfreighter pilot than I am a blogger, so bear with me as I learn the ropes here.

Writing the average novel with the average cast of characters is tough enough. Writing an SF novel with unique and strange characters and settings is tougher still. Writing SFR--science fiction romance--in which one must satisfy the desires of two sets of readers (SF and romance) is lunacy.

I love it. Writing, that is. Although lunacy does have its attractions...

As those of you who've read past posts here notice, there's simply something special about writing in this genre. To me, it has more texture, more depth, more flavor, more potential for wow-factor plot lines than any other genre. Writing SFR is like painting with a brush that only knows vivid colors and can paint in vividly colored patterns as well (Photoshop can do that, but I digress...).

One of the elements that makes this so unique is the novel's character(s). More often than not, he or she isn't your next-door neighbor (unless you live on Cirrus One Station). A character's upbringing, his social or cultural setting, her religious background, her political milieu is often different to vastly different from what we experience on this planet.

That's why readers read it. That's why I write it.

Because being hijacked by intergalactic aliens for an hour or three whilst tucked all comfy-like in your den chair is simply wonderful.

The average novel permits the reader to step inside someone else's skin. The SFR or futuristic novel (and yes, they are somewhat different) takes the reader not only inside another's skin but another's star system and often turns everything the reader knows topsy turvy.

What if (and all good stories start with a 'what if?') being blind was considered such a heinous flaw that the blind were put to death? And what if you survived as a blind child by seeking refuge in a nearby monastery whose monks viewed blindess as a sacred gift...but killed telepaths? And oh, you're a blind telepath.

That's the backstory for Frayne Ackravaro Ren Elt--Ren--a secondary character in my October 2005 release from Bantam, Gabriel's Ghost. Now, he's a secondary character--blue skinned aquatic, too--mind you. You can imagine what kinds of troubles the main characters have (they're Sully and Chaz and I invite you to experience them on my site).

But I couldn't build Sully's and Chaz's story without having Ren there. What Ren is directly relates to Sully's conflicts. See, they're long time friends. For a reason. And that reason almost gets them killed.

In SFR, intergalactic aliens, odd cultures, strange political structures aren't one-dimensional backdrops. They are the texture--the warp and weft of the story. And they're not always secondary characters, either. Sometimes they're a main character...

Umm, yep. Sully's not quite what he seems...

Oh, I'm Linnea Sinclair and I write SFR for Bantam Spectra. Look for my books in the science fiction section (not the romance stacks) of your local bookstore. I'm the odd-gal-out here. :-)

Come explore with us.

Hugs all, ~Linnea

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Linnea,

    Welcome, and thank you for a very thought-provoking post.

    You are absolutely right!

    Best wishes,

    Rowena Cherry