When writing guest articles, I often flounder with what topic I want to cover that I haven’t already done on my own website because let’s face it—I post on there far too often. With the flood of Top 10 Lists on social media from Buzzfeed and other sites, I decided to crawl out of my comfort zone of talking writing and gaming to examine what I’ve learned from reading science fiction & fantasy. While I could, I promise I won’t make this all about Joss Whedon, no matter how much his mad genius has taught me. Without further ado, here are the top ten things I’ve learned from reading SF/F:
1. Worldbuilding and scenery porn are either loved or hated, depending upon how old you were when you discovered J. R. R. Tolkien.
2. We would destroy any alien society we come into contact with, no matter what the prime directive says, because we’re a self-centered people afraid of anything different.
3. Magical systems must have rules until you’ve published your fourth book in the series. Then you can do whatever you want by the laws of being famous.
4. Friendship is magic. (No really—friendship among characters will carry a character farther than flying eagles, walking trees, and wise old magicians.)
5. There’s always a bigger sword.
6. Faster-than-light travel is probably improbable, if not impossible. Yet we continue to dream.
7. Few care why the story works if the story is good.
8. Science fiction isn’t about the future. Instead, it serves as a social commentary about the time during which it was written.
9. Be yourself because no one else will be, even if you’re a villain.
10. Late at night in a fog as thick as your head, someone went fishing. A slithering something wearing fins snaked through the water and walked on land. The fisherman screamed and fled to the village where he told folks he’d seen something of the gods. And thus, a mythical creature was born for writers everywhere to pontificate about.
Always remember that truth is stranger than fiction.
Raven Oak is the author of the bestselling fantasy novel Amaskan’s Blood and the upcoming space operas Class-M Exile and The Eldest Silence. She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet.
When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on with tabletop games, indulging in cartography, or staring at the ocean. She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.
Raven is currently at work on Amaskan’s War and The Eldest Traitor.