Friday, May 11, 2012

Writing a Space Opera/Science Fiction Romance

One of the standard pieces of business that comes along with publishing your own work is the decision of how to classify it which affects how it appears in searches.  For an ebook, this is critical SEO for both the internet in general and for sales channels.

When I uploaded the first book in the FORCED TO SERVE Series, my brain was aching trying to figure out one or two categories that would work. Is it science fiction? Well, soft sci-fi probably. I am not a physicist or a biologist and I didn't write it to debate the possibility of life beyond our tiny planet. I am beyond the arrogance of thinking the Earth is the only one of its kind, but I get that my work might not be science based enough to be science fiction by some standards.

Is it paranormal? It has a demon. It has mysticism. It has Khalsa warriors who can speak ancient words of control which have vibrations that automatically manifest in those hearing them, such as turning the person's energy against them in a fight or causing a trance.

Someone early on who read THE DEMON OF SYNAR and THE DEMON MASTER'S WIFE said they considered this series primarily "fantasy". Okay. I don't mind that either. I'm definitely a "rose by any other name" sort of author.

Readers who chat with me seem for the most part to be very open-minded about categories. Like me, they don't care which label a book carries if they like the story. The only reason I have to care is because the label, title, keywords, metadata, and so on is how the book gets found, outside of word-of-mouth recommends, which is my favorite kind of growth.

So what did I do to categorize?  In addition "paranormal romance", I chose "space opera" as a category because I liked thinking of the series that way. I know some who write work classified as space opera find the term derogatory. I simply don't have that problem at this time. The FORCED TO SERVE Series really is a "friends in space" body of work. The primary setting for all the books is the spaceship they all work and travel on around the galaxy. No I haven't dug deep into the scientific impossibilities. Half the fun is assuming it's possible and then getting on with the plot. Each book sends a small sub-set of crew members to do a mission, and then they come back "home" to the ship.

I created this series in the tradition of what seemed to me to be "a soap opera set in space" as the definition says. It is a bit Star Trek, a bit Star Wars, and some Firefly. It is mostly about the relationships between the characters and their personal development. It's not a political or sociology platform for anything--or at least I don't see that in the books myself.

For those who have read my contemporary romances, and/or followed me on any social media at all, you are well aware that my only goal is to provide entertainment for a few short hours. I want to make readers laugh, sigh, and maybe wince a little, but in the end I want people smiling as they finish. There is a need for escapist science fiction stories that don't leave a reader feeling emotional beat-up like apocalyptic ones that make you cringe with their darkness. There's PLENTY of those on the bestseller list. And I read one myself now and again.

But that's not me as an author. That's not the creative space I want to write from when creating my stories. I want to write about healing, spirituality, space travel, mystical creatures, and humanity reaching beyond itself to evolve.  So that's what I am doing in the FORCED TO SERVE Series.
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