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Turning Reality into SciFi or Fantasy

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Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Gold Member
Topic starter
 

The ideas part of the workshop focused on coming up with story ideas for people, places, things, experiences you know or can research. However what I didn't quite grasp was translating that into SciFi or Fantasy. I found my way to create Q2 entry from the workshop to turn my story into SciFi. However, I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on doing this.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies

 
Posted : April 2, 2021 1:30 am
Edward Lang
(@elmontague)
Active Member
 

The human experience is universal.  Have you ever been surprised by a dog on the street?  What if it were giant spider?  How about a monkey in a Brooks Brothers suit?  I once walked up to a girlfriend's house and saw her talking with someone before any of them saw me.  What if she disappeared?  Or turned around with blood dripping down her chin?  Have you ever sat down with a bit of technology and thought if only?  Or held the hand of a loved one as they passed and wished there was a gene mod that could have saved them?  All of those things are built on normal everyday experiences and extrapolated to extraordinary stories.

 
Posted : April 2, 2021 2:47 am
LDWriter2
(@ldwriter2)
Gold Star Member
 
Posted by: @craydimensional

The ideas part of the workshop focused on coming up with story ideas for people, places, things, experiences you know or can research. However what I didn't quite grasp was translating that into SciFi or Fantasy. I found my way to create Q2 entry from the workshop to turn my story into SciFi. However, I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on doing this.

I start with a SF idea, or fantasy, so I am not sure how to explain it. But where is the opening scene? On a space ship, an asteroid, or a dry dusty foothills with rock formation sticking out of the ground, with dwarves looking for your main character? It is said that a certain SF Master changed how we write SF with one sentence  "The door irised opened". I open a book with the MC in his space ship and he has to land on a nearby human colonized planet to find more coolant for his drives. 

I do not know if this helps but that type of thing is how I usually start my SF. 

Working on turning Lead into Gold.
Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

 
Posted : April 7, 2021 3:48 am
Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Gold Member
Topic starter
 

So I wound up starting of both stories with an idea from real world and then started asking myself how would it change if... The exercise was kinda fun.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies

 
Posted : April 7, 2021 4:19 am
AliciaCay reacted
Reuben
(@reuben)
Bronze Star Member
 
Posted by: @craydimensional

So I wound up starting of both stories with an idea from real world and then started asking myself how would it change if... The exercise was kinda fun.

Exactly. For example, a story might start with you observing a man walking robotically across the street, and thinking: What if everyone in the world were robots except for one person?

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series started with imagining a world of mist, and ash. OSC's Ender's Game started with wondering how war would work in outer space, in which an enemy could come from six directions instead of four.

It's also good to change it up, like you did with the genres. Say What if more than once. For example, Ender's Game was taken one step further when OSC decided to make the soldiers not men, but children.  

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM

 
Posted : April 7, 2021 1:43 pm
Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Gold Member
Topic starter
 

Just read “Shadow Man” by Donal Mead from v25. I really loved the use of Hiroshima as a backdrop for the fictional story. Glad to see an example on how to use this technique.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V39: RWC, HM, P
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthologies

 
Posted : May 2, 2021 5:21 pm
AliciaCay and Yelena reacted
Yelena
(@scribblesatdusk)
Silver Member
 
Posted by: @craydimensional

Just read “Shadow Man” by Donal Mead from v25. I really loved the use of Hiroshima as a backdrop for the fictional story. Glad to see an example on how to use this technique.

That story was so good!!!

V36:Q3 HM V37: Q3 R, Q4 SHM V38: R,HM, F, HM V39: HM, SHM, ?

 
Posted : May 3, 2021 3:42 am
AliciaCay reacted
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
Gold Member
 
Posted by: @craydimensional

So I wound up starting of both stories with an idea from real world and then started asking myself how would it change if... The exercise was kinda fun.

I've been trying the same thing, going for more of the urban fantasy direction. I love reading deep science fiction like David Weber's Honor Harrington series, but I don't know that I'm ready for that depth of world building yet. Taking everyday situations and throwing in a fantasy or sci-fi element has been a lot of fun and easier for my brain to wrap itself around as I'm learning the mechanics of good story-telling. 

Winner, Volume 39, 2nd Quarter, 3rd Place
V38: HM, HM, SHM
V39: HM, 3rd Place

Published Stories:
"A Properly Spiced Gingerbread" in DreamForge Anvil Volume 7
"The Last Quest of Corbin the Coward" in Factor Four Magazine
"Reassessed Value" in Third Flatiron's After the Gold Rush Anthology

 
Posted : May 11, 2021 11:27 am
AliciaCay reacted
AliciaCay
(@aliciacay)
Silver Member
 
Posted by: @craydimensional

Just read “Shadow Man” by Donal Mead from v25. I really loved the use of Hiroshima as a backdrop for the fictional story. Glad to see an example on how to use this technique.

Oh, I need to check this one out! Thank you for mentioning it.

I've been writing A LOT more historical speculative fiction lately, which is fantastical imaginings and magic, but set in an actual place/historical setting. ♥
That story sounds up my alley 😉

 

~A.

V32: HM (Q4)
V33: HM, HM, SHM, HM
V34: R, R, HM, HM
V35: HM, HM, R, HM
V36: R, R, SHM, R
V37: SHM, FINALIST, HM, SHM
V38: SF, X, SHM, SHM
V39: SHM, tbd, tbd
https://aliciacay.com

 
Posted : September 19, 2021 1:33 am
Yelena
(@scribblesatdusk)
Silver Member
 

Somewhat tangential to this, is it ok to use real historical figures for this contest? Say a famous athlete or some such who was abducted by aliens or is it better not to do that? For my story I initially planned to use an actual real person (it's a scifi story, the actual person died sometime ago but was very famous among his circles) but am now wondering if I shouldn't just smeerp him instead to avoid possible conflict. Can I do that while leaving all the background info I needed for the character in-tact or does it then become disingenuous? 

V36:Q3 HM V37: Q3 R, Q4 SHM V38: R,HM, F, HM V39: HM, SHM, ?

 
Posted : September 19, 2021 9:15 pm
Preston Dennett
(@prestondennett)
Silver Star Member
 

@scribblesatdusk 

Yes, it is apparently okay to use historical figures. There have been winning stories featuring Hitler, Plato and Edgar Allan Poe. Those are three that come to mind, but I am sure there are others. 

 

Preston Dennett
HM x 12
F x 1
Winner, 2nd place, Q1, Volume 35
40 stories published! (and counting!)

 
Posted : September 20, 2021 12:15 am
AliciaCay
(@aliciacay)
Silver Member
 
Posted by: @scribblesatdusk

Somewhat tangential to this, is it ok to use real historical figures for this contest? Say a famous athlete or some such who was abducted by aliens or is it better not to do that? For my story I initially planned to use an actual real person (it's a scifi story, the actual person died sometime ago but was very famous among his circles) but am now wondering if I shouldn't just smeerp him instead to avoid possible conflict. Can I do that while leaving all the background info I needed for the character in-tact or does it then become disingenuous? 

I know someone who entered and placed (not won) with a story with Napoleon. He wasn't the MC, though. In case that helps.

 

~A.

V32: HM (Q4)
V33: HM, HM, SHM, HM
V34: R, R, HM, HM
V35: HM, HM, R, HM
V36: R, R, SHM, R
V37: SHM, FINALIST, HM, SHM
V38: SF, X, SHM, SHM
V39: SHM, tbd, tbd
https://aliciacay.com

 
Posted : September 20, 2021 2:27 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Gold Member
 

@aliciacay 
Did that one involve  Malmaison?

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, HM

 
Posted : September 30, 2021 5:53 am
AliciaCay reacted
AliciaCay
(@aliciacay)
Silver Member
 
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

@aliciacay 
Did that one involve  Malmaison?

Mayyyyybe .... yes .... Lol

You read it? 😉

V32: HM (Q4)
V33: HM, HM, SHM, HM
V34: R, R, HM, HM
V35: HM, HM, R, HM
V36: R, R, SHM, R
V37: SHM, FINALIST, HM, SHM
V38: SF, X, SHM, SHM
V39: SHM, tbd, tbd
https://aliciacay.com

 
Posted : September 30, 2021 4:10 pm
Preston Dennett
(@prestondennett)
Silver Star Member
 

@scribblesatdusk Thought of some more historical figures which have appeared in winning stories.

1. George Burns and his wife Gracie! 

2. Ghengis Khan

Preston Dennett
HM x 12
F x 1
Winner, 2nd place, Q1, Volume 35
40 stories published! (and counting!)

 
Posted : October 1, 2021 1:48 am
Yelena
(@scribblesatdusk)
Silver Member
 

Thank you! If this will be a rejection I'll have nothing to blame but my prose.

V36:Q3 HM V37: Q3 R, Q4 SHM V38: R,HM, F, HM V39: HM, SHM, ?

 
Posted : October 1, 2021 2:22 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Gold Member
 

@aliciacay 
I did have that good fortune, yes. Such amazing description! A thoroughly enjoyable read.  grinning  

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, HM

 
Posted : October 1, 2021 2:01 pm
AliciaCay reacted
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Star Member
 
Posted by: @scribblesatdusk

Somewhat tangential to this, is it ok to use real historical figures for this contest? Say a famous athlete or some such who was abducted by aliens or is it better not to do that? For my story I initially planned to use an actual real person (it's a scifi story, the actual person died sometime ago but was very famous among his circles) but am now wondering if I shouldn't just smeerp him instead to avoid possible conflict. Can I do that while leaving all the background info I needed for the character in-tact or does it then become disingenuous? 

Well there is a story in V.38 called Hemingway, though direct associations must be inferred from what I gather.

For a few years I've had a story idea about a historical figure, but haven't dared to risk it. It's an alternate universe kinda thing. Suppose I can't do any worse than any of my other entries, and could always do better!

 

2x Finalist
2x Semi
8x Silver
10x HM
Finalist #2 Read it here!

 
Posted : December 7, 2021 12:09 pm
Yelena and storysinger reacted
Joe Benet
(@joe-benet)
Bronze Star Member
 
Posted by: @craydimensional

The ideas part of the workshop focused on coming up with story ideas for people, places, things, experiences you know or can research. However what I didn't quite grasp was translating that into SciFi or Fantasy. I found my way to create Q2 entry from the workshop to turn my story into SciFi. However, I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on doing this.

Typically, I envision the SciFi idea first, the cool premise, backdrop, etc., then inject the real world into that idea. So, going the other direction is difficult for me. However, at church one Christmas Eve as I sat people-watching waiting for the start of the service, huge, real-world camels strolled to their positions for the live nativity scene. It was a popular time for zombies (Walking Dead, et al.) so my wandering mind pictured how a wall of camels laying down would form a decent protective barrier. That moment birthed "Silent Night, Leper Night", an honorable mention from a few years ago.

HMx6
SHMx1 (Q2'22)

 
Posted : December 9, 2021 11:13 pm
ellisael
(@ellisael)
Advanced Member
 

I find this an extremely interesting pursuit. Have you read Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower? it is an incredible study in the close proximity of the sci fi and the reality. I think any exercise that would slowly expose the participants with small degrees of deviance from the reality would be worthwhile for the pursuit- 

 
Posted : December 14, 2021 6:47 am
Cherrie
(@clfors)
Silver Member
 

My preferred method for writing a story is to allow bits of inspiration to come together on their own when I'm not actively trying to think about it until the story reaches a boiling point in my mind and I start to write. At that point I generally have the base concept of the world and the problem and at least a basic character. Then it all comes together on the page. Most of my ideas start out sci-fi or fantasy even if they are based off of real experiences. 

I plan to play around with different ways to start a story concept to get in more practice writing with a prompt instead of chance inspiration. I think it's a different skill set and will be helpful for maintaining a professional writing career in the future. So after I work at this a bit I'll come back with any insights I glean from the process!

3x Finalist Illustrators
3x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
6x HM Writers
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : January 1, 2022 12:28 am
Wulf Moon reacted
ellisael
(@ellisael)
Advanced Member
 

This is such an absolutely useful technique-related conversation. I have always been fascinated with how someone like Octavia Butler works around with the reality around her and still manages to create a very engaging sci fi themes and also style. For example, something like Parable of the Sower becomes a masterpiece for the exact same reason!

 
Posted : September 19, 2022 10:05 am
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