When I first thought of writing what would become Singularity and Survival I did not consult the New York Times Bestseller list to see what genre of fiction was selling best and what was most popular. Instead, I wrote the story within the writing genre that interested me: science fiction.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in the writing genre of science fiction. Whether it was because I grew up after the Star Wars movies first came out or because of my engineering bent, I do not know. It fascinates me to think about new worlds and advanced technology. But there is something more about reading and writing in the genre of science fiction and its cousin, fantasy. While I do not believe there are aliens “out there,” or elves or dwarfs or dragons, reading and writing about alien worlds and alien creatures can help to frame the human condition in a way that surprises and arrests our attention.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty in ordinary life that brings out the human condition. After all, we are actually living as humans. And it is beneficial to take time to reflect on our actual lives and the lives of others. But like the parables Jesus told in the Bible, it is often helpful to use a story to focus on one or two principles, virtues, or teaching points. It helps to clear away the clutter of everyday life and put in sharp relief the things that matter most. Fellow Kellan Publishing Author, C.J. Turpin brings this out in the blog post about her book, The Salvage of Rapha.
Not only that, but our involvement in real life has a way of excusing our own actions and opinions rather than analyzing them critically. We are not neutral observers in life but are biased, having a vested interest in what we have already committed ourselves to in terms of perspectives, opinions, and actions. I read not only for enjoyment, but also to better myself in the process. As I wrote Singularity and Survival I wanted something enjoyable but also thought-provoking.
For me, the writing genre of science fiction (as well as fantasy) does this best. The new worlds and alien life and advanced technology serve to make the story interesting and disarming, freeing me to consider deeper truths, to reflect on character, motives, flaws, and strengths. While authors in other genres might focus on other aspects of writing a story to bring out the human condition, it worked best for me to write in science fiction.
Not only does the writing genre of science fiction work best for me with this, but the story that worked itself out in my mind occurs in the future, with technology that doesn’t yet exist (although some might argue it is closer to us than we might like). It was enjoyable, then, to write this story as science fiction, with the kernel being something timeless.
So if you are thinking about writing a book, choose the writing genre that interests you. Not only will you enjoy the writing process, but since the story conveys some of your own humanity, it will be more enjoyable for others to read.
~ T.M. Wagenmaker
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