Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Worldbuilding For Science Fiction Romance Part 3 - Body And Soul

Worldbuilding For Science Fiction Romance
Part 3
Body And Soul 

Previous parts in Worldbuilding for Science Fiction Romance are:

Part 1

Part 2 - Imagine An Impossible World

Now in Part 3, we look at the inhabitants of the built world.

The "world" you build around your Characters arises from your Theme which from the point of view of the Characters is what they refer to as, "The Story Of My Life."  Or, sometimes, "Every Single &%$#@! Time This Happens To Me!"

The point of reading a novel is to explore how to break those "every single time" patterns in your own life.  The power of fiction lies in the ability to convey to the reader a clue, an insight, about how the reader's life works and how the reader can take command of their life and "edit" their fate-destiny-plight-theme to be more amenable.

So you are looking (as you scan the headlines) for a popular theme which recurs because of a misconception you can spot.  Once you fully understand the mechanism driving that misconception, then you can transpose that misconception into a well-built world where you can expose the misconception -- and be very entertaining as you do so.

I say "transpose" because this writer-craft process of crafting themes relevant to you, and to your reader, is just like adapting a musical composition to be played on different instruments and perhaps in a different key.  It's "the same but different" which is what purveyors of fiction look for.

Let's take an example.

In Science Fiction Romance one must blend "science" (the study of physical reality) with "Romance" (the bonding process of the Soul).

In science, there is no such thing as the Soul.

In Romance, no scientific declaration of "impossible" is a barrier to two Soul Mates joining -- Love Conquers All is the master theme.

In Romance, there is such a thing as "science."  But it does not govern the limits of the possible.  In Romance, the Soul governs.

When you join Science (the study of reality) to Fiction, you alter the Science to fit the Story and use that altered Science (what if you can go faster than light?) to drive the Plot (Interstellar Wars).

When you join Romance (the experience of Truth) to Fiction, you alter the actual, real-life experience of people to fit the Story and use that altered version of Romance to drive the Plot (Helen of Troy).

In both cases you have to start with something to say (theme).  That statement you are making has to be a reply to what your target readership is thinking and feeling.

In today's world, young people (teens-20's) have been immersed in a world that makes little distinction between thinking and feeling.  In fact, what people feel is considered a more reliable determinant in all decision making.  Thinking, while admired and even shrouded in the mystique of expertise, is a subordinate ingredient in distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad.

Those are the readers you are talking to, answering the questions they torment themselves over.  Those are the readers you, the writer, are to show a way out of torment, a way to change "the story of my life" -- to edit reality.

One subject the Romance field took up decades ago is the thesis that reshapes all lives and all realities when adopted -- that the sexual impulse, sexual arousal, can be "irresistible."

The feelings, hormones, emotions of the Body pre-empt all thinking.

Many today regard the Body as the thinker, and much Science (grant money) is being channeled into studies of the brain, nerves, genes, cells, ostensibly to create cures or treatments for disease and to extend life-span.

Science is the Body for many people, at least when they are young.

Most young people (teens) do not have much awareness of having a Soul, of being a two-part composition.

So the writer looks for a theory of Body and Soul which is TRUE in the World she is building, and dubious in this real world.  Choose a statement about Body and Soul, and build the entire fictional world around it (usually by starting with a Character.)

There is an occult theory that the Soul is first joined to the Body at conception, but only a tiny bit of contact is made.  As the fetus grows, more Soul pours into the little body.  At Birth, even more of the Soul is inserted into the Body, and then the contact is choked down to a tiny channel. By the teens, the channel has gradually opened to allow more Soul to pour into the Body.  This continues to life's peak, and then the Soul (having learned the lessons it is here to learn) starts to retreat.  With Aging of the Body, the Soul has only to pass on its lesson.  Death is the complete freeing of the Soul from contact with this Body.

By this esoteric theory of Soul, "the story of my life" -- the thematic pattern that repeats every ^%&$#@@@ time -- is the Lesson the Soul is here to learn.

You have to pass age 30 to have lived long enough to identify some of these patterns, and perhaps 50 to see which one is the lesson of this life.

But in the teens, the awareness that there are patterns is what causes the teen-angst we are so familiar with (and scornful of.)

If your life is about your Soul -- and the Body is just a disposable vehicle like a phone or a car -- but you deny the possibility that Soul exists, you are in Conflict.  That is an Internal Conflict.

If you deny that Soul is real, then meet a Soul Mate -- what do you do?

If the Soul "remembers" that every single &^^!@#$ time this new Soul has touched a Life you were living, everything went wrong, then how would the Soul/Body combination of this life react to yet another meeting -- another chance?

Now consider the Soul Mate Couple -- each has lived a series of Lives designed to teach them that the Soul is real, but neither of them has learned that lesson.

Into their Meeting Moment in this life, you put a Character who has complete Soul awareness, and whose body and soul are fully blended and activated.

This third Character would deal with each of them -- and everyone else he/she deals with -- as Souls, with the experience and awareness available only to Souls.

Other Characters in their lives, and the two Mates, would deal with each other as Body alone -- no Soul dimension to be considered.  Body's Lust is irresistible, emotions are truth, humans are primates who talk.  Do what's "natural" to the primate body - it's not healthy to do anything else.

The Other Characters behave that way because they live in the World you have built around them -- they fit their world.

The Third Character does not fit their world.

The Third Character is a source of Conflict, external and internal.

The Third Character is also the resolution of both Conflicts.

The way he/she resolves these Conflicts, leaving both Soul Mate Souls having learned the Lesson of this life, will be the thematic statement you choose.

Many Resolutions of the "I don't believe in Souls" Conflict are possible.  Think about it. The Resolution might be "Souls Are Fiction" or "Souls Might Be Real" or "Some People Don't Have Souls And Are Just Primates That Talk," or "What's That Got To Do With Anything."

Complications and Plot Twists galore open up if you include a pregnancy.

To get more ideas, just go to the Mall and sit, people-watch for a while.  We, in our current world, predicate our speech and deeds on the assumption that other people are just Bodies.  We deal with store clerks, patrollers, wandering advertisers wearing sandwich boards, or handing out flyers, all with Body-to-Body dynamics.

Read The Dresden Files -- and other Fantasy Series -- that include "The Soul Gaze."  When a Mage stares into your eyes, he Sees your Soul.

It is a common Fantasy element because Historically it was deemed a real world possibility.

Think about that.  Do some research. Imagine what a world full of Humans who deal with each other Soul-to-Soul might be like.  What Laws would they make?  What manners would they adopt?  How would they phrase statements and observations -- what would their Headlines say?

Such a world would seem strange, bizarre, uncanny, to your readers, but it might be irresistible.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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