What Not to Write

A solid percentage of the people I meet at conferences and workshops seem to working in the speculative fiction genre (aka fantasy or sci-fi). While the genre does offer some great storytelling opportunities, it is also pretty easy to fall into cliche. I stumbled onto a list of Stories We’ve Seen Too Often on the Strange Horizons site that seems like a very good place to check out before you commit to your next spec-fic project.

I especially liked #6:

Technology and/or modern life turn out to be soulless.

  1. Office life turns out to be soul-deadening, literally or metaphorically.
  2. All technology is shown to be soulless; in contrast, anything “natural” is by definition good. For example, living in a weather-controlled environment is bad, because it’s artificial, while dying of pneumonia is good, because it’s natural.
  3. In the future, all learning is soulless and electronic, until kid is exposed to ancient wisdom in the form of a book.
  4. In the future, everything is soulless and electronic, until protagonist (usually a kid) is exposed to ancient wisdom in the form of a wise old person who’s lived a non-electronic life.

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