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Jessica
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Plot: SF Plots

Do you believe that plotting is more important or less important in SF than in mainstream fiction? Explain.


Reply to this message to discuss this topic.

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mae-V
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

My first impression is that plot is more important in SF than in mainstream fiction. Because mainstream fiction deals with elements that are grounded in common reality, some kinds of narrative events like motives and means, don't have to be explained. When cause and effect are not the expected, describing them clearly is important. Being punched in ordinary life doesn't have the same consequences as being punched on the moon would have. The possibility of a car skidding into another dimension would have a significant impact on the ordiniary act of reprimanding kids fighting in the back seat.
#Play tasty!#
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marta_randall
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

There is an entire branch of literary fiction that, apparently, is devoted to stories in which nothing happens, or very little happens. I can't remember who typified such stories as "the drama of the teacup" but I like the phrase quite a lot.

So the story is: Two sisters hate each other.

The plot of the teacup drama: Madeline boils water for tea. Josephine brings the tea sandwiches to the table. Madeline puts tea leaves in the pot. Josephine lays out the tea service. Madeline brings the teapot to the table. They both sit. They drink their tea. Each eats a sandwich. They do not speak. They clean up the tea things. The end. [Come to think of it, if you use the right details you could pack quite an impact into that plot.]

The plot of the mystery drama: Madeline boils the water for tea. She poisons the sugar cubes. Josephine poisons the cucumber sandwiches and brings the tea cakes to the table. Madeline puts tea leaves in the pot. Josephine lays out the tea service. Madeline brings the teapot to the table. They both sit. They do not speak. They drink their tea and each eats a sandwich. Madeline does not use sugar in her tea. Josephine hates cucumber sandwiches. They both drop dead. The end.

What would the science fiction drama be, remembering that the s.f. part must shape the story?
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WriterJim
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

Your mystery story sounds like an ill-fated "Gift of the Magi."

In the depths of interstellar space, two ships randomly come within a fraction of a light-year of each other, bound for different systems. The two pilots, the sole conscious representatives of their ships, cannot talk to each other except through a translation matrix. Human languages have evolved and moved in different directions in their parts of the universe. What they find they share in common with each other is a love for tea. So each projects a holographic image of itself-herself-himself into the bridge of the other's ship. They boil the water, start their tea, and enjoy it in each other's company, until their signals fade out and away. Goodbye.
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doeyeou2
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Registered: ‎04-24-2007
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

The Wizard conjures up the teacups and saucers. His dinner guest, a Galactic Space Slug that has no appendages prepares the tea. The Slug mentally transports the teapot to the table. The Wizard prepares a plate of sandwiches and a plate of grub worms sautéed in a peppermint wine. Through the automatic brain scanner they negotiate a trade agreement between their two worlds.

Cheers,
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marta_randall
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

Well done, both. I'll never look at a cup of tea the same way again.

Anybody else want to play?
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mae-V
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

If I were to continue the "Vincent and Princess" part of the Monkey Crown story as a graphic novel, this would make a nice scene.
Princess perched on Vincent's chair. On the monitor, they IM each other using avatars and images.
Image of Princess: Tea set Question mark
Image of Vincent: Image of two chairs and table
Image of Princess: Orange cup Grey cup Question mark
Image of Vincent: Grey cup
Image of Princess: Cake Sandwich Question mark
Image of Vincent: Cake
Image of Princess: Telephone Question mark
Image of Vincent: Exclamation Point
In the kitchen, a phone rings. Vincent's mother accesses the FridgeFront monitor and types in her message.
Image of Mom: Counting down clock from one minute.

The best I can do working on final projects, but I couldn't resist.
#Play tasty!#
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Griff
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

TEA PARTY WHIMSY.


Story 1 "Untitled"



Tea no longer exists.

Science approaches magic.

Bodies have become unfashionable.

Hobbyist researcher discovers last remaining fragment of Alice in Wonderland (the tea party scene).
Hobbyist becomes enamored of experiencing a tea party.

Hobbyist re-engineers all participants from base genetic stock and re-embodies himself as the Mad Hatter.

Hosts tea party on uninhabited planet.

Hobbyist discovers he hates tea, but loves Alice.

Hobbyist decides to stay embodied and live on the planet.

All survive and thrive for the next thousand years.
End.



(Sequel) "Hatter’s World"

Hatter’s World has just reached pre-tech levels (early 19th century).
The descendents of the Cheshire Cats, White Rabbits, and Alice’s Children have formed a stable, if bizarre society.

They have been rediscovered by the inhabitants of the local cluster and are selling tea to traders both human and alien.

The gengineered (my word) tea has many unusual properties both good and bad.
An aggressive and technological race has decided to exterminate the local inhabitants and appropriate the tea plantations for themselves.

The locals are losing the battle. Their only recourse is to find The Looking Glass, the legendary home of the Hatter and Alice in hopes of finding lost technology to help against the invaders.

A human, cat, and rabbit set out on the quest.

After an arduous journey where they encounter a few obstacles the find the Looking Glass—it'sdeserted except for the mysterious mirror at the center and a mad computer who refers to itself as “The Red Queen.”
Eventually they convince the computer to release her robotic guards to destroy the invaders; but only if they promise to search for the Hatter and Alice who have gone ”through the looking glass”
End.


(Sequel II) "The other side of the Looking Glass"

To be plotted later...


Hmm... might even try to write some of this


Grif
Griff
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marta_randall
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

Bravo, Griff! I think you have come up with, first, a coherent and whimsical story line and, second, a darker continuation to hang from it. I like them both, but do keep an eye on the tone of two pieces. Too great a disconnect between the two related tales might be a bit rough on your readers.
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Griff
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Re: Plot: SF Plots



marta_randall wrote:
Bravo, Griff! I think you have come up with, first, a coherent and whimsical story line and, second, a darker continuation to hang from it. I like them both, but do keep an eye on the tone of two pieces. Too great a disconnect between the two related tales might be a bit rough on your readers.


Thanks for the good words. The stories could easilly fit into the constructed universe I'm developing. I am trying to write SF action-adventure with overtones of Mytholgy and fantasy. The Mad Hatter and Alice could fit nicely next to Loki, Fenris, Arachne, and Kali. I'm striving for a cross between Zelanzy and Webber, with just a dash of Resnik thrown in for flavor. (He said laughngly)

It's a good exercise.
Griff
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doeyeou2
Posts: 45
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Re: Plot: SF Plots



marta_randall wrote:
Well done, both. I'll never look at a cup of tea the same way again.

Anybody else want to play?




The president loved his world, but the war had taken its toll on his people. The economy was in a shambles. No longer able to pay the Scammrs their full price, the president had sent a spy into the Scammrs organization with the intent to steal their technology. The shocking truth of what he learned from the spy was why he was now talking to the Yeros, his sworn enemy. The Scammrs were a front for the weapon merchants from the planet Deth. The Deths were also the weapon merchants for the Yeros. He had learned the Deths had on several occasions committed assignations on both worlds to prolong the war. Destroying the economy of two worlds. No one had ever been to the Deth's home world and direct dealings with them were not permitted.

The president surrounded by his security team was exhausted by the negotiations. He knew it was dangerous to be on the enemies’ turf. But, it was the only way the Yeros would agree to talk. The war between the Yeros and the Whits had been going on for 250 years. Each time the two races came close to negotiating a peace an event would occur that destroyed any chance for peace.

The president’s team notified him the day’s meetings would be postponed until the afternoon. After a frustrating morning dealing with more loss of lives caused by the war, the president could not remain behind his console. The president walked through the palace's gardens. After a while he began to relax and his mind began to practice the words he would express this afternoon. He heard a giggle coming from his left. Turning that way he saw a small girl child sitting at a small table. A tea set was set out on the table with several stuffed animals sitting in chairs around the table. The girl’s giggle was so soothing and pleasing to listen to. The girl turned to her furry companion and asked him if he wanted more tea or biscuits. She saw the president standing there and smiled. “Oh hello. My name is Sarh. My friends and I are having a tea party would you like to join?”

The president smiled at the thought of taking the time to have a child’s tea party in the middle of a war and danger. “I would love to. It’s been so long since I had tea with my daughter.”

“Oh come and have a seat, I have an open chair right here.”

“You are so kind, thank you.” The president sat on the small chair, his knees bent almost to his chest.

Taking a cup from the chest on the table she placed it before the president. “I have the most delicious tea and biscuits. You just have to try them.”

As the little girl poured the clear liquid from the tea pot, the president thought to himself, “Why couldn’t the delegates sit down to a cup of tea and solve all the problems.”

Taking a small sip of the minted water, the president smiled at the small girl.

Standing up the president thanked the girl for the tea and said his goodbyes.

Walking back into the palace the president knew exactly what he needed to do to stop the war.

The meeting came to order with all of the delegates around the room focused on the president. “I want to thank all of you for allowing me to appear before you.” The president had a smile on his face remembering the sweet little girl and how she had made the words come to him. “I have some very important information to relay to you. On behave of my world I…..” The president felt a burp come up through his throat across his tongue. The burp had a taste of mint. Embarrassed, he was unable to stop it…then a second burp. The gas from the first burp floated through the air until it came in contact with the cigar of a delegate and exploded. The explosion raced back to the president and upon reaching him blew apart half the palace.

The Deths are a race of beings with a genius for death and the face of a child.

Tea anyone?
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marta_randall
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

Griff, have you read Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS? I think you might like it.
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marta_randall
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

doe, that's positively chilling. Well done.
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mae-V
Posts: 147
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

I've been challenged to try again (and in 100words):

There is no tea. No party.
The essence of teaness suffuses the field of the One as it drifts through non-gravity, not yet weightless. The beginning of stirring enters Its consciousness. Stars circle the bowlness of the Universe-as-teahouse. It is the whisk. It is the stirring. It is the warmth of the bowl in the gravity of the sun.

This is the season of Gravity. In the almanac of motion through the Universe, this is the favored season. So close to the blueness, suffused with desire and longing.

That distant mirror
Held in light embrace.
How long before you darken?
#Play tasty!#
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Griff
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎05-07-2007
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

No, but I'll google it and see if I can find an excerpt.
Griff
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Griff
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

Seems like it might be something I would be very interested it. The Wikipedia entry was enough to whet my appetite. I’ll order a copy today.

The universe I’m building for my stories is (hopefully) seeped in mythology and folk tales, and my characters are based upon mythological archetypes, both ancient and modern. Although the stories are SF action adventure they contain elements of fantasy. I hope to hone my characters to the point they’re addictive.

You’ve met Loki, joker of the universe, and his dog (of steel)
Kali waits in the wings—a lethal force for destruction, who longs to be human but hasn’t realized it.
Arielê— her conscience.
Lucas, the shy catholic vampire—and gunman.
Arachne—the oldest woman in the universe and reluctant protector of humanity.
Ayane—her daughter, fighter pilot and duelist.
Empress Bam-Bam (Don’t call her Bambi)
And the Hatter and Alice (as soon as I write a story or two for them)

I can only hope to do it well :smileyhappy:
Griff
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marta_randall
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

Mae, this is wonderful. I especially love "This is the season of Gravity. In the almanac of motion through the Universe, this is the favored season." That poem at the end is also great. I like it that the reader has to think her way through the levels of meaning, so that when you arrive at "How long before you darken?" the question's chilling impact is apparent.

Do you think you could reformat the narrative paragraphs into the structure of poetry? It shouldn't take much because I think this is poetry already -- and there are markets (believe it or not) for sf poetry.
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mae-V
Posts: 147
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

[ Edited ]
wow, thank you. and, Yeah, i think so.
[edited: Only, I don't know about a title yet]

There is no tea; no party.
The essence of teaness
suffuses the field of the One as
it drifts through non-gravity,
not yet weightless.

The beginning of stirring
enters Its consciousness.
Stars circle the bowlness of
the Universe-as-teahouse.

It is the whisk.
It is the stirring,
It is the warmth of the bowl in
the gravity of the sun.

This is the season of Gravity.
In the almanac of motion through the Universe,
this is the favored season.
So close to the blueness,
suffused with desire and longing.

That distant mirror
Held in light embrace.
How long before you darken?

Message Edited by mae-V on 05-14-200712:33 AM

#Play tasty!#
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KristenS
Posts: 136
Registered: ‎02-09-2007
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

[ Edited ]
Wow, this is a riot!

I have tea in my stories, mostly because they've gotta drink something and it just sounds cooler. Haven't given it the depth it now apparently deserves.

Although I do have colonists throwing coffee out an airlock in a taxation protest....

editing to say ... the depth part just hit me. It was a total throwaway line meant to inject humor, but when you think about it, coffee tossed out an airlock will probably just sit there forever, perfectly preserved, if the atmosphere on the planet is not too hostile to it. I can see a whole monument being built around it. LOL. And of course it makes no sense to half the planets in the system, since they don't share the common history. Okay, it's not really depth, but it's making me snicker. :smileyhappy:

Message Edited by KristenS on 05-22-200709:48 AM

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marta_randall
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Plot: SF Plots

" ... coffee tossed out an airlock will probably just sit there forever, perfectly preserved, if the atmosphere on the planet is not too hostile to it."

Right, and two hundred years down the pike, people will be making good money coffee-mining for the stuff.
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