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Fun Friday–What Writers Can Learn from Star Trek

Friday, January 21, 2011

In addition to geeking out when I discover that things like Monarchy—a documentary about the history of England/Britain through its succession of kings and queens—are available to watch online at Netflix, as well as over the sci-fi superstar guest stars on Chuck, y’all may have picked up that I’m a huge Star Trek fan. Not so much the original series, but pretty much everything since then. (See here, here, and here for a few examples, in case you didn’t know this about me.)

So when I followed a link on one of the Trek blogs I read and read this article, I knew I had to adapt it for writers.

What Writers Can Learn from Star Trek
Seek out new life and new civilizations.

      If you aren’t seeking out new people, new cultures, new experiences, your writing is going to get stale and you’re going to eventually run out of new story ideas.

Non-interference is the prime directive.

      Resist “author intrusion” into your story. Let your characters tell their own story.

Keep your phaser set on stun.

      Especially at the end of each chapter. Stunning your readers with a great hook keeps them reading!

Humans are highly illogical.

      Yes, they are. And characters are human. So illogical things should happen to them—and there shouldn’t always be easy, logical answers to every question.

Enemies are often invisible, like Klingons, they can be cloaked.

      Hidden enemies make for great plot twists.

Infinite Diversity and Infinite Combinations (IDIC).

      Don’t write about the same kinds of characters all the time. Diversify. Put totally different/opposite types of people together in combinations that add layers of conflict to your story.

When your logic fails, trust a hunch.

      Not even Mr. Spock had a logical answer to every problem. When a story problem faces you, sometimes you aren’t going to be able to outline it away. Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut and try something totally illogical to solve the problem.

Insufficient data does not compute.

      Do more research than you’ll ever use in your story. Readers can always tell when an author didn’t do her due diligence and doesn’t have a good background in the fact-based aspects of her fiction.

Even in our own world sometimes we are aliens.

      It’s okay to be different from the non-writers out there. It’s even okay to be different from the other writers out there. The more unique you are, the more unique your experiences, the more unique your fiction will be.

And one I’m adding . . .
When the crew works together, the problem is always resolved.

      When all the elements of your story work together, you’ll give your readers a satisfying ending

Live long and prosper!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lyndie Blevins permalink
    Friday, January 21, 2011 9:32 am

    In a recent viewing of a Next generation episode, Jon-Luke told a visitor they in the federationno longer had need of material possessions. That thought has been haunting me ever since.

    Like

  2. Friday, January 21, 2011 11:38 am

    Since I AM an avid old-school Star Trek fan (which just shows how much older I am than you!), I have to say that some of my favorite moments come when SPOCK had to go with his “gut.” It wasn’t easy for him. Kind of makes me think of Forbes, now that I think about it.

    Like

  3. Saturday, January 22, 2011 12:47 pm

    I’m not such a big fan of the original Star Trek, but I did like the Next Generation and Deep Space 9 (even though I didn’t always understand what was going on). As a matter of fact, my dh is usually watching Next Generation at 10 pm during the week. It’s amazing how much I’d forgotten from when the show first aired.

    I nominated your blog for the Stylish Blog Award. You can pick it up at http://pennyrader.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-blog-won-award.html. 😀

    Like

  4. Sunday, January 23, 2011 6:28 pm

    It must have been a long time since I was on your blog- I’ve been popping in via twitter links occasionally, so maybe it is actually new- because I saw that *gorgeous* spread of covers for the first time and felt a burst of happiness for you.

    So incredibly happy for your continued success, and enjoyment.

    I did remember you were into Star Trek, but what I love most about your “media habits” is your self-described crush on secondary characters. I don’t think I’ve ever paid as much attention to the whole ensemble as I have since you brought that up.

    Like

  5. Monday, January 24, 2011 7:45 am

    This is great, Kaye. Having just rewatched the new Star Trek, you had me grinning all the way though.

    I’m the same as you. I like it all except the original series. That comes from being a child when Star Wars first came out. It was far bigger and more engaging to a grade school kid than the Star Trek of that day. Loved Next Generation and the rest since, though.

    Like

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