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voicing concerns for the future of the planet
exploring the possible damaging effect of new technology
when taken to the edges of theoretical probability
using technological advances to provide a futuristic set-
ting for an adventure story or political novel.
Recognising an alien
Aliens, like ghosts, can be hostile or friendly, depending on
the tone of the story. Many are humanoid but if they are, they
always have one strange characteristic by which they can be
identified.
Of those that aren t humanoid, hostile aliens tend to be
slimy or scaly, whilst friendly ones are usually cuddly and/
or furry. However, watch out for aliens disguised as earth
creatures. These may take the form of insects or small
mammals, only revealing their true identity under certain
traumatic conditions.
As all aliens function differently from Earthlings, one effec-
tive method of introducing humour is to give your alien a
slightly irritating quirk or habit which may or may not be the
same as any special powers or abilities it may possess.
Travelling in time and space
Travel to the past often aims to prevent a catastrophe in the
future or tackles political issues such as what might have
happened if historical events had taken a different turn.
Travel to the future tends to explore the human potential for
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self-destruction, the effects of over-mechanisation, pollution
and nuclear warfare.
Discovering new worlds
We now know so much about our own solar system that, if
you wish to write about inter-planetary travel, you need to
go much further afield.
Due to the vast distances involved, you have to find ways of
preventing your characters from dying of old age before they
reach their destination and there is a number of methods you
can use:
suspended animation
deep freezing
 warp speed drives for your spaceship
 hyperspace  a dimension where distance is reduced to
zero
a  generation starship, i.e. a moving, living colony in
space.
Losing sight of the story
Science fiction has so much to offer the writer in the way of
technological background, exotic settings and political
themes that it is all too easy to lose sight of the characters
and plot.
In order to ensure that the setting does not swamp the story,
follow the same rules that apply to every other form of fiction
writing: well-drawn, believable characters and a story that is
carefully planned and plotted from beginning to end.
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CHECKLIST
1. Have you written a chapter-by-chapter plan of your
novel?
2. Have you charted the plot developments?
3. Have you thoroughly researched the background to your
story?
4. If your story is based on true events, haveyou fictionalised
the characters sufficiently?
5. Is your storyline credible and within the bounds of prob-
ability?
6. Have you revealed just enough of the story for the reader
to use their imagination to fully involve themselves in the
plot developments?
ASSIGNMENT
A teenage girl is babysitting for a couple new to the neigh-
bourhood. She hears a noise upstairs, investigates but can
find nothing amiss, the two children aged 3 and 9 are sound
asleep. Continue this storyline, including the following
points:
other unusual events which occur throughout the evening
an apparently innocent explanation of the noise
a more sinister explanation of the noise
the discovery of something relevant to the noise
the implications to the girl and the family of this incident.
9
Writing for Children
THINKING BACK TOYOUR CHILDHOOD
For many novice writers, the desire to write for children
springs from their enjoyment in making up stories for
their own offspring.
Telling bedtime stories
Despite the influence of television and computers, bedtime in
a comfortingly large number of families is still synonymous
with storytime.
Parents still enjoy reading to their children, as they were
read to when they were small and will jump at the chance to
dig out their old favourites and introduce them to a brand
new audience.
Sometimes, however, the stories need a little alteration. Per-
haps the vocabulary is too difficult or the story rather
frightening. We may feel a few changes are in order and
before long, we are making up our own stories, replacing
the leading characters with ourselves and our children.
Entertaining the family
Both child and parent gain a great deal from this exercise. The
children enjoy being part of a nightly adventure and parents
have fun letting their imagination run riot.
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There may well come a point when an admiring relative or
friend urges you to write these stories down and turn them
into a book and if this is your intention, bear in mind that:
family stories usually include lots of little personal asides
and  in jokes
the stories often feature incidents which are amusing only
because they happened to family members
telling stories to your own children is enjoyable because
they understand and relate to your sense of humour.
Consequently, the very things about your stories which appeal
to your own children may hold little or no interest for anyone
outside your circle of family and friends.
Broadening your horizons
If you intend to write work of a publishable standard for
children, you must considerably broaden your horizons.
Begin by exploring your attitude to children in general. If you
love them all unreservedly, believing them to be delightfully
angelic creatures, children s writing is probably not for you.
LOOKING AT LIFE THROUGH A CHILD S EYES
In order to write effectively for children, you need to think
and react as they do. To help you look at life through the eyes
of a child, consider how a tiny baby functions within its
environment. Under normal circumstances, a baby cries
for the following reasons:
hunger
discomfort
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pain
tiredness.
We learn how to stop the baby crying through a combination
of instinct, trial and error.
Manipulating adults
At the same time, the baby also uses trial and error to manip-
ulate the adults who pander to its every need.
It learns very quickly how to stimulate the desired response
in its parents and understands all too well how to react in
order to avoid certain situations. At a very young age, the
babywill be capableof quite complex behaviour guaranteed
to drive its parents to distraction.
It is at this point that the baby begins to form the very
accurate opinion that adults are highly irrational creatures.
Thinking rationally
Children are refreshingly direct in their thoughts and actions. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]