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Author SG Blaise On How To Write Compelling Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

An Interview With Ian Benke

First, you need a rich world building like in Harry Potter stories or Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. Second, you need a compelling storyline like Dune or Star Wars stories have. Third, you need a great cast of characters like Guardians of Galaxy or Avengers. Fourth, you need an intriguing and encompassing theme like in Dark Knight or Handmaid’s Tale. Fifth, you need a premise that will entice readers to pick up the book like in Princess Bride or Godzilla. These are just a few examples out of many of my favorites.

Science Fiction and Fantasy are hugely popular genres. What does it take for a writer today, to write compelling and successful Science Fiction and Fantasy stories? Authority Magazine started a new series called “How To Write Compelling Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories”. In this series we are talking to anyone who is a Science Fiction or Fantasy author, or an authority or expert on how to write compelling Science Fiction and Fantasy.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing S.G. Blaise.

S.G. was born in a faraway land of castles, monarchies and fallen dictatorships, aka Hungary. During her childhood, Hollywood movies were largely forbidden under Soviet oppression, but her dad smuggled them in anyway, risking his life so that his children could experience the magic and hope inherent in those stories.

She watched rebellions unfold in real time. Journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean for love. She ended up in sunny California, where she is living her dream — writing stories and annoying family members.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what first drew you to writing over other forms of storytelling?

Storytelling has been part of my life ever since I was a young girl. Whenever I had trouble sleeping, I wrote short stories in my head until I fell asleep. I found that this method helped with anxieties. Working them into stories helped me process my thoughts. These stories urged me to write them down so I wouldn’t lose them. In many ways, this encouraged me to continue writing and pursue it as a lifelong aspiration to be a best selling author.

You are a successful author. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

That’s a great question! I would have to say a passion for reading, perseverance, and imagination. Books always had a special place in my heart because they allow me to explore new worlds and keep my imagination alive. Part of being an author is learning how to continue improving your writing craft. English is not my native language, and it took years to learn and convert it into writing. Developing my craft has been an amazing journey on its own, one that I will continue for as long as I live.

Can you tell us a bit about the interesting or exciting projects you are working on or wish to create? What are your goals for these projects?

I am currently working on the next book in the Last Lumenian Book Series! It has been such a pleasure working on this series, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. However, I hope to develop a comic book version as well to bring more visual features to the story. This project is years in the making, and I can see so many facets growing from it. There is even a potential for a spin-off story for some of the characters! You will have to stay tuned to find out more!

Wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define sci-fi or fantasy? How is it different from speculative fiction?

Sci-fi and fantasy are both related to speculative fiction. Sci-fi explores technology and its effect on society; while fantasy focuses more on the hero’s journey, often including magic and gods, to simplify their definitions and not be too technical.

We might define speculative fiction as how it relates to the world we live in yet these worlds do not exist. In this respect, sci-fi and fantasy stories are similar to speculative fiction. The difference is how these stories focus on specific world building elements, themes, history or supernatural aspects just to name a few.

It seems that despite countless changes in media and communication technologies, novels and written fiction always survive, and as the rate of change increases with technology, written sci-fi becomes more popular. Why do you think that is?

I think there are a couple reasons why written sci-fi is still popular.

One of them is the fact that reading a physical book is still fun. The feel, the smell and the joy that comes from a freshly purchased book all create a unique experience.

The other reason can be found in the sci-fi stories themselves, they introduce us to technologies, space travel etc. that are not so distant in the future; they also captivate us with the common human experience we can all relate to and seek out to escape from reality.

In your opinion, what are the benefits to reading sci-fi, and how do they compare to watching sci-fi on film and television?

Reading sci-fi in comparison to watching it on film and television is like comparing oranges to apples. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The act of imagining it in your head, as you read each chapter, brings more depth to the story, environment, and characters. In some instances, having it on film or television can deviate or miss something influential to the story that the viewer may have only picked up on if they read the book. In other cases, certain aspects of a story change for film and television adaptation because they do not translate the same from the book. Although I absolutely love watching sci-fi on screen, there is something special about reading it the way the author intended it to be.

What authors and artists, dead or alive, inspired you to write?

Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Diana Gabaldon, Patricia Briggs, and Ilona Andrews are all great examples of authors that inspired me to write.

If you could ask your favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy author a question, what would it be?

What challenges arose during the development of your stories, and how did you cope with them?

We’d like to learn more about your writing. How would you describe yourself as an author? Can you please share a specific passage that you think exemplifies your style?

I would say my writing style is a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy, sprinkled generously with humor and romance. I wanted to create a series that reads like a movie — descriptive, captivating and with a rich world building. Combined with a great cast of characters and a relatable and inspiring heroine. Example:

“I’m not afraid,” I mutter. My breath comes out in a puff of fog as I watch the tremendous black spaceship descend a hundred feet from me. It aims to land at the edge of the snow-covered Fye Island, where my friends and I wait.

The two setting suns paint the massive warship, the size of a small city, in a rosy light. I shiver as my gaze trails its jagged surface with cannons, missiles, and energy-shield piercing arrays. I’ve witnessed these world-erasing weapons in action.

“Good,” Callum says. He tucks a long, dark violet strand of hair behind my ear. “Don’t show fear and you’ll be fine.” His clear blue eyes glint with encouragement in his tanned face. The pale line of the scar that runs from his left eyebrow to his jaw crinkles as he gives me a smile. He looks younger than his twenty-five years, projecting a confident aura, dressed in his black, military-style uniform that emphasizes his muscular body.

I look away from Callum before he can detect worry in my dark violet eyes.

Muscles tremble in my belly. I press a hand over it, pretending to smooth my silver cape. I inhale the crisp winter air, which smells of the promise of snow.

I shouldn’t be this scared! I am nineteen years old and not a child anymore!

I close my eyes for a second. The black spaceship and the desolate ruins of the Crystal Palace that was once my home disappear from my view. I can’t imagine what Callum’s father thinks of my “backwater” world of Uhna that he planned to conquer, not ally with. But his plans had to change once I claimed his son.

The powerful spacecraft lowers three clawlike black metal prongs that tear into the frozen ground. Chunks of rocks break off from the island’s cliffside and plunge into the Fyoon Ocean below. Gusts of hot air, smelling of brine and metal grease, whip dirt into our faces.

Ten feet away on my right, a pair of wooden double doors remain. Still intact, they survived the devastation the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction, aka DLD, wreaked on Uhna. They stand proudly, refusing to give in to reality. The hot air from the Teryn ship blasts the doors, shaking them in their frame. The wood creaks, resisting the pressure for a moment. Then the doors come crashing down to the ground. If they couldn’t survive the arrival of the Teryn praelor, what chance do I have?

The back of the spaceship opens. A long metal ramp slams into the ground, reverberating under our feet. Black-clad Teryn warriors rush out, lining up like a living corridor in front of us.

Watching them, I realize I should have prepared better! I should have dressed more formally! Or I should have . . .

A hand touches my arm. I look down beside me at Glenna, my best friend and healer.

“You can do this,” Glenna whispers, her dark crimson eyes full of compassion. “You’ve faced worse and come out stronger.”

Nodding, I take a deep breath to release the tension.

A large but fit older man steps out of the ship. He wears a black uniform similar to Callum’s but with a lot more colorful buttons on its lapel. There is no denying the familial resemblance between them. With a grimace, the man takes in the sad state of Fye Island. Then his piercing blue gaze lands on me.

I smile in welcome, not showing fear. I hope.

The older man’s expression turns dark as he marches toward me. I can’t help but wonder if he is upset about my Bride’s Choice claim on Callum. We have never met, and he is already disappointed in me. Did he want someone else for his son?

I gulp down my rising anxiety.

The praelor wears an expression of confidence that borders on arrogance. He stops inches from me.

I refuse to step back and give in to intimidation.

Callum clears his throat and says, “Father, this is Ma’hana — ”

I flinch at his use of my royal title. “Just Lilla,” I interrupt him. I’m a princess in name only. There is a change happening to the Uhnan monarchy, and it may not last much longer.

“Sybil Lilla,” Callum continues, “right hand of the Archgoddess of the Eternal Light and Order, general to Her armies in this Era War.”

I cringe. This title sounds even worse. I have nothing to show for it — no army, only my seven friends who decided to join me, my only allies.

“General, is it?” the older man says with a snort.

Callum ignores his father and turns to me. “Lilla, meet Caderyn a’ruun, the Teryn praelor.”

Caderyn crosses his thick muscular arms while glaring down at me. Even his short black beard, with a few gray hairs in it, looks furious.

What do you say to a warmongering emperor who has conquered many worlds and displaced thousands of refugees from their homes in the process? Refugees that sought asylum on Uhna. “It’s uh . . .” I pause. I can’t say it’s an honor to meet him when he arrived at my world prepared to blast the corruption away with his armada, along with anyone who happened to be in his way.

I focus on his positive traits and say, “You have a nice beard! It looks well established. May I call you Caderyn?”

Caderyn scoffs. “No.”

Based on your own experience and success, what are the “Five Things You Need To Write Compelling Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.

There are many things you need, usually in combination, but here my top five things that make compelling Sci-fi and Fantasy stories:

First, you need a rich world building like in Harry Potter stories or Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.

Second, you need a compelling storyline like Dune or Star Wars stories have.

Third, you need a great cast of characters like Guardians of Galaxy or Avengers.

Fourth, you need an intriguing and encompassing theme like in Dark Knight or Handmaid’s Tale.

Fifth, you need a premise that will entice readers to pick up the book like in Princess Bride or Godzilla.

These are just a few examples out of many of my favorites.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Entertainment, Business, VC funding, and Sports read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would absolutely love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Oprah! She is a true gem and an inspiration to all girls and women around the world. I would love to talk to her about the book club she created and how it inspired others to read more. It would be incredible to speak to her about the importance of sci-fi and fantasy books and why they should also have a greater presence in her book club. Sci-fi and fantasy books offer a different perspective than other genres, especially when it comes to diversity, culture, self-acceptance and many more elements that influence our day-to-day lives.

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Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success.

Author SG Blaise On How To Write Compelling Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.