Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Additions Part 1: Brainstorming!!

Happy Easter, everyone! It's the Easter long-weekend, 2011 - not only a chance to get away from the city and spend some time with family, but also a chance to get some quality writing done!

I've decided to buck up and continue with the task of writing some brand new stories - some "new additions" if you will - to my dystopian sci-fi collection, In-Futura. I've got 7 pretty good short stories in the can, and 8 more to go to complete the collection. What's the hold up, then?

Starting from scratch...

While my first 7 short stories were conceived fairly quickly, the next 8 are proving to be much more of a challenge. I'll have to go from inception, to plot and character development, to... actually writing the darn things.

That said, writing is a process, and so, I've decided to document my process here, if only to keep myself sane. But if you're reading this, I hope you gain some insight from it as well...

Part 1: Brainstorming!!

This is, I'd say, the hardest part: coming up with a story idea.

How do I do it? Well, when writing a short story for In-Futura, what I'm looking for is easy: an insight. One of the aspects I love most about dystopian science fiction is the social commentary underlying the premise. Think about it: most of the works in the genre ultimately speculate on a trend or question that humanity is dealing with now. This can be everything from what it means to be human, to our over-dependence on technology. Either way, behind every great piece of dystopian sci-fi is an insight about our current society.

And that's where I've begun. What are some interesting insights or trends that would be worth exploring in an alternate world - a world of the future? And where should I look to find them? Well, luckily, my work as an Advertising Account Planner has forced me to keep tabs on overarching consumer trends and issues - the thinks that impact how people think and feel over time. So, my first move is to scour my advertising blog and Twitter feed for any interesting insights and observations that I've made in the past.

Here are a few that I'm playing around with:
-Tweetups (meet-ups where people get together and socialize... by tweeting)
-The fear over the fallout of a nuclear meltdown (the crisis in Japan has opened up new fears and concerns that go all the way back to Chernobyl and Hiroshima)
-Social media tribes (different social media platforms seem to illicit different types of almost tribe-like behaviour)
-Advertising profiling (ads that get better at identifying hot prospects and serving up deals at the right time and place... although I feel like this has been done to death!)
-Our reliance on dating websites
-Too many "friends" thanks to social media (they've become commodities to be traded)
-Societies fear of infection and contamination (keeping our kids in a bubble)
-Privacy as a form of online currency?
-Leaving our fate up to a Google Search
-Child activism
-Fair trade chocolate!!

There you have it. The current version of my freshly brainstormed list. Some insights or ideas seem to have lots of potential, while others aren't as interesting.

What do I do next, you ask? Stay tuned for Part 2...

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