Space Opera

by chris

Question: ok i guess this would fall under a sci-fi/action genre. i did a prompt in my college writing class about space pirates and was not having my best ideas. i can do action and romance scenes, but have never done sci-fi. everyone told me they would love to see me to expand upon it, but don't know where to start or what to do. i have it takes place in the future, a crew of space pirates that help a Resistance and i want to make the characters over the top. and i want to break the stereotype of a male "captain". after that, i have nothing. what should i do?

Answer: It sounds as though you are writing space opera, rather than science fiction. Science fiction is an extrapolation of current trends in science, technology, or social evolution in order to comment on them. Space opera consists of romance/adventure tales which incorporate advanced technology or space travel into the setting (for example, Star Wars) but are not a commentary on today's society.

However, as with all stories, the basic elements of structure apply. In fact, since space opera tends to be more plot-driven, they are even more important in that genre.

Take a look at the article on the 8 Elements of Plot and brainstorm with it, using your idea as a starting point. Here's the article...

Then move on to the article on Plot Development and Archetypal Characters on the "Write a Novel" tab.

That should give you a much more developed story.

Incidentally, Brian W. Aldiss described the general characteristics of space opera (in perhaps less than kind terms) as ...

(1) Style and Mood staunchly traditional
(2) Hitherto unknown places to explore
(3) Continuity between Past and Future
(4) Tremendous sphere of space/time
(5) A pinch of reality inflated with melodrama
(6) A seasoning of screwy ideas
(7) Heady escapist stuff
(8) Charging on with little regard for logic or literacy
(9) Often throwing off great images, excitements, aspirations
(10) The Earth should be in peril
(11) There must be a quest
(12) There must be a man to match the mighty hour
(13) That man must confront aliens and exotic creatures
(14) Space must flow past the ports like wine from a pitcher
(15) Blood must run down the palace steps
(16) Ships must launch out into the louring dark
(17) There must be a woman fairer than the skies
(18) There must be a villain darker than a Black Hole
(19) All must come right in the end
(20) The future in space, seen mistily through the eyes of yesterday

However, I think he is describing some of the worst examples. I'm sure you can improve on them with a little realism.

Comments for Space Opera

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Mar 31, 2016
Space Opera
by: Steve

A good series to read for a better idea on Space Operas would be David Webers' Honor Harrington series. On Basilisk Station is free on Amazon, it's worth checking out. Most Space Operas tend to use Navy terms for their space ships as well. Happy writing!

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