I have a dilemma, and anyone’s opinion on the matter is valuable. The short version of my question is:

Is my story SciFi?

Here’s the problem:

When I think “SciFi,” I think space. I think aliens. These stereotypes are leftovers from being raised with Star Trek as the very definition of SciFi. Well, yesteryear I had a brilliant idea for a story. Basically, everybody over the age of twenty is killed by a disease. (NOTE: I looked up other stories of a similar nature after the fact, and realized that this sort of thing has been done. Mine’s unique, though. So there.) I thought, Okay, my story falls into the category of post-apocalyptic. Post-apocalyptic, it turns out, is a sub-genre of SciFi. Cool. No problem.

Except, when I think “Post-apocalyptic,” I think mayhem. I think the world just after it ended. Well, my story isn’t about the aftermath of the end of the world. It’s about the after-aftermath. The post-post-apocalypse, if you will. It’s set approximately one hundred years into the future–and again, “future” conjures up thoughts of SciFi–and the main character, Iris, has no idea that people used to live to be older than twenty. To Iris, twenty years is a lifetime. Living beyond that is unfathomable. A boy named Kaleb arrives in Iris’s town and says that he’s on a journey to find a cure for the disease that kills everyone at age twenty–a disease that Iris didn’t even know was a disease. So, curious mind that she is, she decides to go with him. The story is their journey to find the cure. It’s about how they bond. It’s about the journey to attempt to conquer death as they know it.

The thing is, although it’s in the future, there’s nothing technologically advanced at all.

The thing is, even though it’s after the apocalypse, it doesn’t seem very post-apocalypse-ish.

The thing is, even though it’s fiction based on science (the disease), it doesn’t seem very science fiction-y.

Honestly, I’ve read very few SciFi books. I would have read more if I’d known that one of my own story ideas would end up in that category. For all I know, there are a bunch of stories out there in the SciFi community that are similar enough to definitively put my book into the SciFi category. So what do you guys think? Do I have science fiction here, or do I have something else?


Sample Sunday #2

Wow, it’s been a week already? Sample Sunday time!

This one is also from my current WiP, Ethan. Enjoy!

Ethan sat down at the table again, did a quick count to make sure he hadn’t lost any of his cards, then started shuffling. He’d shuffled exactly two and a half more times when his mother’s voice sliced out.

“Ethan, I’m trying to count stitches here, and it is not easy to do with you making so much noise. Could you please find somewhere else to do that?”

Ethan sighed. That was a joke. Even if he went into the closet in the bedroom and shut all the doors in between, she’d still be able to hear him shuffling. He thought about voicing this thought, but made the wise decision to keep his mouth shut instead. He put the deck back in its box and went into the bedroom, where he pulled out the small knapsack of cards he’d packed for the trip.

Cards were nearly all he’d brought, actually. There was no sense in bringing his Gameboy–on a full charge he could make it last maybe one day if he was frugal, but with no way to charge it after that it would be dead and useless. To have brought it would have been a tease. He had a few books that Dr. Davis had insisted he bring, but he didn’t have much interest in reading lately.

So he’d brought cards. Lots of cards. Seven decks of cards.

Ethan was built like his father for the most part. He was in an awkward skinny phase right now, but people always told him that he had the makings for the muscular firefighter his dad had been. Given the opportunity to time travel, Ethan probably could have passed for his father’s twin brother at age twelve. The only features he’d inherited from his mother were her hands and long, nimble fingers. Evan Everrett couldn’t have shuffled a deck of cards at age twelve, but he’d been able to teach his son how to do it at that same age.

That was three months in the past already, though, before Evan Everrett had taken it upon himself to get killed fighting a fire in central Bend.

Ethan had never taken any particular delight in playing card games, but there was little he loved more than the feel and the sound of a deck of Bicycles shuffling under his fingers. It reminded him of his father now, but that never seemed to make him sad. It was like shuffling kept him frozen in a time when his father had been alive and happy and playful. When he shuffled, he would listen to the sound and he would be Little E again, because there was still a Big E to complement him.

Could he still be Little E now that Big E was dead? Ethan didn’t think so. Big E had become the Big Empty, and it was a void that swallowed Little E up with it. He was just Ethan Everrett now. The kid with a dead dad and a static mom.

He didn’t realize he was crying until two teardrops fell from the tip of his nose and landed on the deck of cards in his hand. He packed away the deck and crawled into the sleeping bag that was going to be his bed for the summer. Within five minutes he was asleep.

Here I Am

I have crossed over into the land of Self-Published e-Book Authors.

Check out Catch at Amazon or Barnes, download the sample, see if it’s what you’re into.

By the way, Barnes has yet to make my cover art available–I read on the forums that they’re “backed up” in that department, so we’ll see how that goes. It isn’t my fault.

By the way, the synopsis on Amazon has a typo. I know this. I saw it riiiight after I pushed the “Go For It, You Can’t Change Anything For A Few Days Now” button. It’s my fault. I’ll fix it as soon as they let me.


Progress (5)

So here are the numbers for all of March. That’s thirty-one days, and my goal was 1,000 words per day. Graph time!

Comparatively speaking, I got a lot done this month. Those who recall February’s chart will know that I put out about 10,000 words more in this 31-day period than I did in that 29-day period. I’d call that progress.

There are still a few zeros in there, and I’m not proud of that. But my average jumped to almost 1,300 so it sort of balances out.

April is going to be slightly more difficult, I think. I’m going to be finishing my current WiP and I’m not sure whether I’m going to be able to delve straight into my next one (although I do have the idea floating around up in my head somewheres). It might be easier than I’m anticipating to jump right in. But I doubt it.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Progress (4)

It might be best to start here if you haven’t seen them already.

Progress (1), Progress (2), Progress (3).

All right, this is it. Yesterday was the last day of the first month of my careful word-tracking to see exactly how many words I write in a month. It starts on the third of February because I finished editing my last manuscript on the second, so the third was my first day getting back on Iris, my current WIP. And I think for the most part the month went well. Here’s what the graph looks like.

My goal was to keep my average above 1,000 words per day, but although I pulled through and got it up there by the end, it fell below at one point during the month and dropped to 979. Not too disappointing I suppose since I still got over 29k words in 29 days, but still.

I’m going to continue keeping track of my words like this, if not for anyone else’s benefit then for my own–it will be nice to reflect on my days and remember which ones weren’t very productive and why.

In the interest of making it a bit more organized in the future, I’m going to start the next one on March 1st instead of March 4th, so there will be a bit of overlap. Stay tuned!

Any questions or comments? Feel free to speak up.

Progress (3)

So… I’m nearing the end of my first month of keeping exact track of my daily word count, and I have a few comments. Here’s the most recent screenshot of the spreadsheet:

Progress 2-26-11

Essentially, I’ve been doing well. My current average is just over one thousand, although if you were to look at a list of the running averages for every day–a list I, in fact, do have in a separate page of the spreadsheet–it should be noted that, for just a moment, my average did fall below 1,000. On the 25th, when I put out less than 500 after having a Zero Word Day on the 24th, my average dropped to 979 words. For shame!

But here’s what happened: Around the 23rd, my two main characters (their names are Iris and Kaleb, if that’s important) met the third, soon-to-be main character (his name is Adam, if that’s important). The problem was, I didn’t know exactly what their meeting was going to be like.

I’ve never been much of a “planner” with my writing–I hold the idea of where the story is going in my head and sometimes it ends up there and sometimes it doesn’t. More often than not, my characters surprise me and take it somewhere else. That’s normal, I guess. For this project (all of my works-in-progress are named after their main characters, so I’ve been calling this one Iris and I’ll continue to do so until I can come up with a real title) I think I may have written, like, half a page of bullet points about where I thought the story would go. If I were to look at that page right now–which I can’t, because it’s lost somewhere in the Deep Fathoms of my apartment–it would say something like,

  • Kaleb and Iris meet Adam

Great. Awesome. Thanks, outline. The only problem is, Kaleb and Iris haven’t seen very many people for Quite Some Time, and it wasn’t just as easy as saying that they met one another. For a few days, I was stuck at a point which essentially consisted of Kaleb and Iris standing at the top of a hill seeing Adam for the first time, and Adam standing at the bottom of said hill seeing Kaleb and Iris for the first time. That’s it. I’ve held Adam in my head for a while now. I know what he’s like and I’ve been waiting to meet him and fall in love with him like I already have with Kaleb and Iris. But when their eyes locked like that I was stuck. Stuck.

So if you’ll refer back to the graph above, you will see that I was stuck on this part between the 23rd and the 25th. Three days of pretty much nothing.

Honestly, I don’t remember a moment of epiphany, wherein I threw up a finger and screamed, “Aha!” with the idea of exactly how I was going to proceed planted in my brain and ready to leak out through my fingers. I know that at some point I thought I had it, and I tried it, and it worked. And after that everything that had been building up whooshed out of my mind all at once. Once I was past the blockage of actually meeting Adam, Iris and Kaleb had a chance to get to know him. And that is the stuff I was ready for, which lead me to double my quota yesterday and bring my average back above 1k. Yes!

So, it all balances out.

Progress (1)

Progress (2)