I’m back from my first San Diego Comic-Con, which was more fun than it had any right to be. Very soon I’ll blog about why it was so fun, and what Daryl Saw at the Big Show and What He Learned There. But I will say this: the youth and energy of that con blew me away.
Speaking of youth and energy… there’s this girl I know — Kieryn Nicolas? She’s 15 years old, and she just had her first novel published by Echelon Press. Also, the book’s pretty damn good. It’s called Rain, and it’s about a girl who goes to a school for super-spies. It’s like Mission: Impossible meets Harry Potter, and it’s a blast.
Now, this is great news for anyone worried about the next generation. But it does make one member of this generation wonder about how soon he’ll be replaced. It took me until I was over 40 to get my first book out, and now here’s this kid with a 25-year head start on me. She’s already working on her next novel. By the time she’s my age she’ll have more pages out than James Patterson.
Or, meet her right now. I invited Kieryn on to do a guest blog post, and here she is talking about my favorite flavor o’ fiction:
The What-If Genre
I am currently in the process of cleaning my room. And trust me, when I say “process,” I mean it’s a process. I’ve only gotten through my desk and under my dish chair so far…and when I say “gotten through,” I mean most of the items that were in/under said furniture are now spread across my floor waiting to be sorted or placed.
The good thing about this process is that, since I am painstakingly taking the time to actually sort through everything, I find things from years-gone-by. Mostly what I find is writing related, because I almost never toss anything writing related. Words are awesome! Treat them as such, like me, by deciding not to throw them away and stuffing them back in the pile you found them to sit for another X years.
Yesterday, as I was actively organizing, I came across the folder from last summer’s Penn State Young Writer’s Workshop (where I officially met Daryl, incidentally). In that folder was a packet of science fiction excerpts and short stories that we’d been given for our sci-fi elective. Of course, since I was busy cleaning my room, I immediately settled down to read it.
Forty-three minutes later I had been sufficiently reminded why I like sci-fi so much. I spend half my time thinking “what if?” and science fiction is THE what-if genre. My favorite subset is dystopian, when a flaw in society is grossly magnified and you’re left thinking, wow…that could happen. And if the story is really great, then you’re also left with more chills racing up your spine than someone who’s just watched Hitchcock’s The Birds. (Trust me.) During the sci-fi class we were instructed to write the start of a novel that was a social commentary about a flaw we see with society. It was hard to choose just one, but I think I went with over-development.
That class and that idea of a dystopian society stuck with me. It’s one of my favorite genres to read, and now write. I was constantly reminded of sci-fi class at the Writer’s Workshop when I was writing my most recent story, a dystopia, which is kind of like Stepford Wives meets Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies. I definitely see myself exploring more sci-fi in the future.