One of the challenges of writing fantasy is making it real to the reader. To do this requires getting the details right.
In our upcoming release, TIGER TIGER, we have a trauma veterinary surgeon who discovers a rogue tiger shifter is killing homeless men in their neighborhood. If someone with no medical background found a body, the descriptions would be shocked, horrified, even “grossed out”. Since our main character is a doctor, we have to go with a more calm, clinical attitude. Rather than describing the body in general terms, he would use the medical terms for things. And when his friends are injured, he’s going to react as a trauma surgeon and want to fix it, rather than simply worry that they’re hurt, or run away in fear.
Any good fantasy or science fiction story is going to have this emphasis on the details. In Battlestar Gallactica’s reboot with Edward James Olmos, they first showed paper with the corners cut off as a cosmetic detail indicating the expense of paper. One of the special effects supervisors said they regretted that since the show had such a long run and they had to cut the corners off everything. Details.
Even more silly shows that stand the test of time follow this rule. Star Trek, the original, remained faithful to its own rules throughout its run. Later, in subsequent, spin-off shows they kept to those same rules. This made it seem like warp-speed travel is something we’ve already discovered and not something that was made up.
What’s your favorite fantasy or science fiction story that stands up to the details test?
– E.E. Cummings
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