Fiction by nature is something that is considered, is not true or is not possible. However, part of the best science fiction is the one that makes you suspend your disbelief. We know, for example, that a man cannot fly, but I have lost count of how many “Superman” movies there are out there. Some rely on special effects, to the ooh and ahh of the viewers. Some try to impress with technical jargon and new inventions that make the impossible possible. But the best way to overcome the impossible is by focusing on reality. Real emotions, real fears, and doubts are signs of good character development. Because in the real world, people are what life is all about.
When it comes to superheroes, I like Spider-Man, BECAUSE I was hesitant and insecure … that’s why I related to him more. Not all of us will have the technical knowledge to write something as momentous as Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, which many claim was the real motivation behind the first nuclear submarine. But what you have are your own life experiences.
I wrote a short story called “Shooting Goliath” as a realistic story of what happened to me when I fell from a waterfall. BUT I also have a scene in my time travel adventure where my main character jumps off a waterfall to get someone else’s attention. Now I KNOW that’s fiction … because I’m afraid of heights, but I’ve had the experience that makes that section believable. I have a character from that book who lost his spouse after 30 years, which has happened to me too. My story is based on the concept that you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself. Each character has doubts and fears to overcome before they can complete their tasks. I focus on what I know, not what I don’t.
Yes, I have a character who is a writer and I have a character who is a photographer. My stories are characters driven by emotions that I understand. I am NOT saying that settings and plot are unimportant. What I’m saying is use your strengths. You don’t have to be a cop to solve a mystery. You don’t have to fly to write about superheroes. What you need to do is write about what you know to get people’s attention. Do I believe that a man can fly? No. Do I think Lois loves Clark? I have no doubt.
Use your experiences to bring the story to life. If you have been injured, write it down. If you have been afraid, write it down. If you’ve ever been in love, cheated on, overjoyed, given birth, buried a pet, had an accident, run a race, or had your heart broken, write it down. These are the things that will make your story worth reading, regardless of what it is about. Using your imagination does not mean that you invent everything from scratch. Ask yourself “what if” and connect your own experiences. This is what keeps readers interested and they turn page after page. Be yourself and keep writing.