It's Not All About Space Battles

It's Not All About Space Battles

One of the first stories I ever wrote was some Star Trek fan fiction while I was in college. Star Trek was still in its 

heyday and there were countless sights devoted to it before Paramount pulled the plug on most of them.

The story was an offshoot of the episode “Lower Decks” and followed the exploits of a group of lower rank crew members. At one point, there was a battle between the Enterprise and a Ferenghi cruiser and I literally went shot by shot for at least a page.

The dialog was all about firing phasers and photon torpedoes. The action prose was about the rocking ship and the impact of the enemy's weapons. The Enterprise naturally won and I finished my story. I was rather proud of the very amateur piece and submitted it to the moderator for approval. A few days later she e-mailed me with a rejection saying it wasn't quite what they were looking for.

When you watch a science fiction movie, there is generally a tremendous amount of action. Space battles, daring chases through asteroid fields with a little story mixed in. You can't do that in a book. A scene that may take 30 seconds or a minute in a movie can drag out for pages in a book.

A good science fiction writer must craft a story that is character driven because relying on action will simply lose your reader in a sea of photon torpedoes. This is especially true in short stories. Keep the intense action to a minimum unless it significantly drives the plot.