Thursday, February 2, 2012

From Science Fiction to Fantasy

Or, "Why not continue an SF series?"

There is no question in my mind that my SF "Dancer" series has legs - I could keep milking both the rich world and deep characters I created until the cows come home. Several spin-offs come to mind, not to mention extending the main character's own story. I've seen many well-established authors do this with one book after another...after another.

I don't like being a one-trick pony. The world building part of me starts to rust when I've already an established house to build off of. This was part of my thinking when I took the step from writing SF into Fantasy - my current work in progress. No, I wasn't following the masses. No sparkly anythings. No were-this and were-that. Wizards? Fae? Nope, not going to find them. Instead, I wanted to revisit a core interest I've always had - one that didn't in the slightest mold itself into an SF venue. I also wanted to dabble lightly - enough fantasy to stretch the reality, but only a step away.

The premise is easy, too. The battle for free will. The craftsman against the assembly line. The long chains of guilt that pin us down. Oh, and that core interest of mine from my early teen days of watching the train yard outside of the salt factory where my father worked. The tentative title is "Trains." A twelve year old boy watches as a steam train rushes by and sweeps up his younger sister - right before the tracks disappear along with her. Ten years later a torn young man finds those tracks again, and heads down them to reclaim both his sister and his self-worth.

The rails of America are rich with stories, from the hobo camps to the rail barons. It doesn't take much to nudge them a bit more into something more, and add in a slight hint of steam punk while I'm at it. I'm sixty-five pages into the first draft, and have a whole new world and cast of characters to work with. I had forgotten how slow and tedious creating these things can be, but the change of genre has woken parts of my writer's mind that have been sleeping far too long.

Oh, I will return to SF. Right now, however, there is this long haunting whistle rebounding off the bluffs that can't be ignored. I even brought a tear to the wife's face with my latest installment - always a good sign (and yes, I gave her a good hug and took her out to lunch).

So, fellow writers, if you start feeling burned out - try another genre. Who knows?



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

How about TRACKS as a title?

Sounds as if you have the beginning to an excellent allegory.

KMTolan said...

"Tracks". You know, that might just work too!