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Writing Is a Job 📝

Published: a year ago

Greetings Humans! 🤖<

What I’m Writing: Very Few Words

Between starting a new job and recovering from the flu, I did not do much writing this week. When I set out on this journey, I knew that I’d have to put in a lot of work to hit my goal of 12 stories in 12 months. I’m still optimistic that I can get it done. But I need to start treating it more like a job than something I fit in after work when I’m not too tired.

The good news is that I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with this newsletter. So lucky you! Hopefully, you are getting some value from it.

What I’m Learning: Suspension of Disbelief

Last month, I sat in a panel discussion where a few published scientists, teachers, and writers talked about the science behind popular science fiction stories. There is a term in the world of stories called Suspension of Disbelief. It means that a reader or viewer has become so absorbed in the story that they turn off the critical part of their brain and embrace and enjoy what is going on.

The requirements necessary for suspension of disbelief can vary with the genre of the story, the premise, the audience, and even each individual. For example, a fantasy story can get away with more unrealistic things than a story set in the near future. Star Wars can have the mysterious force that can do telekinesis, but The Martian gets criticized because there is no way a dust storm on Mars has enough kinetic energy to destroy an astronaut’s camp.

These are concrete examples that came up in the panel I mentioned earlier. The point is to write realistic fiction and get people to suspend their disbelief; you have to do a lot of research to make it believable. Either that or you can just put a unicorn in there, and you suddenly have a free license to do what you want.

Hopefully, that was interesting to you. Most of the stories that I want to write are closer to The Martian than to Star Wars. That means I have to write slower and do more research because I can’t just wave my hand and make magical things happen. But, it also means that I get to learn cool stuff about our actual universe, and hopefully, you do too.

What I’m Reading: More Revelation Space

I finished Chasm City and now I’m on to a prequel for the Revelation Space series called The Perfect. It’s about a police detective operating in the same setting as the other books. I’m excited to dive into a crime/mystery story blended with a space opera. I feel like lots of exciting things happen when genres come together.

Do you have a favorite blended genre story? Maybe a space western or a gothic romance. Let me know by replying to this email.

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Rob Skidmore writes science fiction stories about being human. Raised in rural Western New York, he now lives with his beautiful wife in Utah. They have four kids whose initials spell HOME. By day he's a software engineer. By night he's exhausted. Every door in their basement is painted with a Disney-themed mural. His claim to fame is that he was an All-American and the 2004 New York state champion in the 400m hurdles in high school.

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