The Space Opera: SPACE SHIPS!

Hi guys,

So today’s writing update comes from the news that I have picked my NaNo project back up, now that I’m finished with the side project that I went down a rabbit hole for over December and January. Oops. But really, it was nice to have a break, and now I’m ready to finally finish that gosh darn manuscript that I’ve been working on for two years. 

If you weren’t around in my first month of blogging, I started this blog initially to chronicle my experience with NaNoWriMo 2016 (national novel-writing month), where I contributed 50,000 words to a manuscript in the 30 days of November. Basically, it’s a space opera following a princess, a knight, and a squire through space as they try to save a planet from destruction. Fun stuff to write.

And that brings me to the Space Opera, the genre which I have decided to label and promote my story as. How did I come to this? Maybe you’re asking yourself what a Space Opera is in the first place?

[Note that I am not by any means an expert on this genre. I am merely a lover of it, and I’m only writing my first ever novel in this field, and I’m not even a published writer. So, if you want, like, legitimate and in depth advice, I would do further research than here.]

Well, the term Space Opera started out as a negative name for science fiction that was unrealistic or ridiculous in the eyes of those who were fans of hard sci-fi. But over the years, more and more people started liking these stories (moi included) and now it’s used to describe very dramatic epics that happen to be set in space. These stories have futuristic themes, but they don’t necessarily reflect a plausible future. Some examples would be Star Wars, Star Trek, and Carve the Mark (by Veronica Roth). I like to think of it as an epic fantasy, but with futuristic science instead of outright magic.

So when I say that my current project is a space opera, you can expect it to have lots of drama, heroes and villains fighting in epic battles, a quest-driven plot, and, of course, space ships. Lots of space ships.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to write a science fiction in general before, but when I attempted hard sci-fi (basically a more realistic sense of the genre, like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984) but I found it difficult to work with. Maybe it’s just that I’m inexperienced, but I always kept coming to places where I felt much like a fish out of water, trying to learn how to breathe air. I’m a natural fantasy writer; it’s what I’ve connected to most in reading my whole life and it’s what I first started teaching myself to write novels about. I think what was the most difficult for me was the explaining of things and how they work. In fantasy, I love coming up with laws and complex magic systems, but you can’t really do that in hard sci-fi. The rules are already there, and they are called science and you can’t really break them. That makes me feel like I’m in a box, and I soon abandoned writing hard sci-fi, because I felt I couldn’t do the story justice without first mastering the subject of science and math. And I hate math.

This isn’t to say that I can throw out all the rules that sci-fi demands in my space opera. I still have to make things realistic; I can’t just go around making magic-like things happen and call it science. I guess an example of this unrealistic-but-still-sciency science (wow, what a great term XD) would be Star Wars light sabers. I hate to break it to you, but light sabers aren’t scientifically possible; the beam of light would just keep going on and on because, well…that’s the way light works. But it isn’t magic; it’s portrayed as a futuristic (or I suppose it was a long, long time ago, but you get my point) piece of technology, powered by a source (called a kyber crystal) that we don’t have on Earth and thus it might not follow the same rules that we have in nature here.

I can’t even pinpoint what about this genre is so insanely cool to me. Maybe it’s that I was brainwashed as a toddler to love Star Wars (thanks Dad. But really, thanks) or maybe that it reminds me of my favorite parts of fantasy; the adventure, the grandness, the drama, the heroes and the fighting and the wars. Big, epic things that span entire countries, or in this case, galaxies. Something about it is just mind-blowing. It’s my favorite kind of story. And space ships you guys. Space ships.

____________________________

So what about you guys? Had you heard of space operas before? Do you like them, or do you prefer the more practical hard sci-fi? Personally, I love both, but of course I’m biased when I say that space opera has taken my heart XD.

I’ve recently been listening to the podcast “Writing Excuses,” which gives advice and tips for creative writing. It’s hosted by a few authors (one of which is Brandon Sanderson, who is a fantasy/sci-fi -writing god) and they give really great advice for just about any writing topic you could imagine. If you’re interested, the link to the space opera episode is here. (Of course, they don’t know I’m doing this or anything, I genuinely think that it’s a great resource for writers, both published and unpublished. And their banter is hilarious.)

And as always, I hope you have a lovely day, and I’ll see you again soon. Keep writing writers! 🙂

-Abigail

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