Science fiction and fantasy are known for their action. Sword fights, space ship battles, magic spells and solar storms. All of the exciting bits that make us cling to the edge of our seat. I even write a bit of this myself.
So imagine my surprise that my favorite reads this past year didn’t have any of that. At least not in the traditional sense.
Take “The Name of the Wind” as an example. There isn’t a lot of fighting in that book. 600 pages of studies, trying to get into the archives, miss adventures with girls, and a rivalry with another classmate. Not a whole lot of magic or swordplay. It was all about the main character using his wits to outsmart everyone else.
“The Martian” is another one. There is some action in the sense that he is trying to survive, and everything is going wrong, but the majority of the story is about the main character using his wits, and science, to figure out how to survive in a harsh environment. 95% of the story is one person against a landscape.
Nathan Lowell’s clippership books are about playing the markets and rising in rank. Much of “Wool” is about the mystery of the setting. All books I loved. All books with little to no actual struggle against good and evil. No main bad guy. No saving the world. Just quietly making their way in their own fashion.
It goes against conventional wisdom . I hear so often that you may “write to the market” but which market?
The times are changing. What makes a good story isn’t always good verses evil. Sometimes it’s just a man verses the environment, or the subtle hint of a mystery to be solved. Sometimes it’s just good old fashion economics.
This shows me that I need to be true to the story, no matter where it leads. No one knows what will make a hit book some day. No one can predict what will catch on and what won’t. You can only be true to the story, and make it the best that you can.
And it isn’t even just in books. The Anime “Spice and Wolf” is about a wild goddess learning about buying and selling between cities and countries. It’s fasinating. “Hetalia” is a funny way of teaching history. Then you have nerdcore music about games, history, computers, etc. Or we can go into games were thousands of them are just about solving puzzles, or just surviving.
Write what you love. Do what you love. Be friendly and open. Show your work to others. SOMEONE out there will like it if it’s interesting. You just have to keep working toward finishing it, whatever it is.