Getting really excited for this one. I love working on stuff for anthologies. So far I’ve participated in two of the three “Fables for Japan” volumes. And it is an experience I’ll never forget. So when I was turned onto “Futuredaze,” I knew I had to submit something. Not only is it an anthology, but a YA SciFi one at that!
So over this weekend I began brainstorming on ideas.
First thing I did was refresh my memory on SciFi themes. To make sure nothing popped out at me that I may have forgotten. I tend to lean toward more “hard” SciFi, and even though this is YA, I wanted to keep that aspect of my writing personality and run with it.
With that said, one of the questions I love playing with in SciFi is, “What does it mean to be human?” I then answer it, or at least ask it, within the context of a SciFi background.
My first idea that really grabbed me was a take on “Frankenstein’s Monster.” In this case the idea germinated with how does the world react to the first Cyborg? There have been plenty of stories dealing with Androids. But what about a person who is mostly cybernetic, but with a few human parts left.
Specifically, what if this where a young boy–say ten–who was in a tragic accident? And his parents, unable to bear losing him, agree to allow his brain to be transplanted into a cybernetic body. This had a lot of possibilities to me; a lot of questions. Is he still human? How does the world react to this? How does he feel about it? Could someone so psychologically young be able to comprehend the gravity of their situation?
I was really digging its direction when my brain threw out a red flag. One of my fellow writing group members had something similar. Not necessarily about a boy and a cybernetic body. But it was close enough that I no longer felt comfortable going through with the idea.
Then it was back to the drawing board.
A bit bummed, I watched some Youtube videos and then headed to bed. And in that wonderful twilight of sleep, I got it. The idea that was both unique–at least to me–and that still dealt with the question, “What does it mean to be human?” I then fell asleep…
Some of you are thinking, “Ha! He didn’t write it down. He forgot it. Silly, sad, Jeffrey.”
But I didn’t remember it. So, shame on you. Because I have a ethos that I go by. I don’t write down general ideas. And I’ve been called crazy for it. But my belief is, if it was a strong idea, it will stick with you. It will resonate with you and your brain will continue to mull over it.
Come morning time I did a bit of rethinking and pulled it back up. Now was the time to start writing down the details. Within an hour I had the basics completed with the central conflict ready to roll.
At this point I don’t mind telling you all that it borrows from Star Wars and Les Miserables (considering I had just seen the show, it is no wonder). Quite a pairing, isn’t it? But there are two elements in both that my subconscious latched onto. Clones and little kids scavenging the battlefield for ammunition.
That’s what I’ll leave you with. I hope it makes some of you sit up with interest like it does me.