In sitting down this week to write a Space Opera-y short story, I started generating a lot more non-fiction than fiction. As the story focused on the fusion rockets of two freighters (note that this is important for the reader to understand, so they can have an Ah Ha! moment when The Problem presents), I wrote a page for my own benefit on the equations behind the drives, their strength in real-world rocket terms, etc. Not technobable; I didn’t care to write how the mechanical underpinnings worked. I needed to know what the capabilities were, and I didn’t want to have it be an ass-pull I’d always need to refer back to. This way, I have an equation, and my numbers, and we’re good to go.
Then reading a few book reviews, and a short piece on genre tropes, got my mind thinking on what I want to communicate in my writing. Both what’s important to me to express, and what’s important to me as a reader, in what I enjoy. There’s the idea that I will be picking on themes that either intrigue me, or that bother me on a fundamental level. In other words, I write space battles because I’m entertained by space battles, and because I hate the idea of pointless violence and need to explore what drives us to the point of dropping rocks accelerated to 300km/sec on a planet.
So I wrote down the themes I like, what I want to explore, and what I want to bring out in my writing.
Looking over that and the previous notes from before, I had written 3 times more words about my writing than I had in the story. And that’s not counting this post! But this wasn’t to dodge witting a story; each time I could re-approach where I left off with a fresh sense of purpose and energy, and exceeded my word counts for those sprints.
There’s times when I just need to get another idea down and out on paper to sharpen what I’m already working on.