Trying to Narrow in on Genre of Sci-fi

Mell

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Apr 29, 2022
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Hello. I've started plotting out and writing a story, but I'm struggling a bit with I guess the style or type of sci-fi I want it to be. Basically when I googled tips of sci-fi writing I came across this - "Know your readers and what they want" - and came up blank. Looking into it, apparently there's a lot of different sort of sub genres in the genre, each with their own sort of focus and readership, and I think if I could narrow that down it'd help me sort of smooth out the rough edges I'm having getting it started and flowing right. To kind of help figure out what sort of story this is, here's the basic concept of the plot I'm thinking (I apologize since the first little bit needs to be a little bit technical).

In the far flung future on an isolated world in the early stages of terraforming, not all human beings are organic/biological. Some people are kind of what you'd call "transhuman" or "posthuman" I guess. But they still get born and grow up like everyone else. Difference is that an inorganic human's age isn't tied to how many years they've been alive, but the age model of their techno brains and bodies. This is because they still go through the same stages of growth as biological people, newborn, baby, toddler, child, preteen, teen, adult, but their robo-bodies can't grow all the way from babe to adult. There's only so much their bodies can grow. So their brains are engineered to grow only as much as their bodies grow, like a five year old inorganic person would have the mind of a five year old. They just grow a certain amount and hit a wall, only able to learn so much, have so much mental maturity, etc. To continue growing they need to move onto a different body, download their minds into a new brain. And usually this goes smoothly, with them moving from one body to the next as they need to in order to grow up.

And this is where the conflict of the story begins. Melltryyn (why I chose the name Mell for here) hasn't been able to get the next stage of life body in order to grow and learn because a war's broke out. So she's been 12 years old for 9 years, and she really wants to become a cool teenager already and not be stuck as a kid any more. Finally there's a lull in the fighting, and it seems to be safe to travel to the protected city where she can get a new body and start to grow up both physically and mentally again. But of course there's an ambush and she's separated from her mother behind enemy lines where she's captured. The crux of the story is making friends with a biological human, overcoming various ordeals, and finally making her escape and reuniting with her family. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

So, who is the audience for this kind of story? What kind of style/sub-genre even is this? Knowing that would really help me iron out some issues I'm having with it (I think). It's not too weird an idea is it?

Any help/feedback on this idea and what kind of story it best fits as would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

(Edit - Sorry I kind of skimmed over what sorts of ordeals she goes through - I'm still pretty early in the ideas process so I'm not really sure)
 

Wayne Mack

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This sounds like an interesting concept. I would say this definitely qualifies as science fiction. If the main character is twelve years old, then it *might* position the story at the younger end of YA, towards more of a juvenile audience. If you positioned the character, instead, in 16-18 year range, that would seem to put it in the middle of the YA with cross-over to the main adult audience. However, the main thing is to tell the story that you want to tell. Someone else can figure out the right label.
 

Mell

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This sounds like an interesting concept. I would say this definitely qualifies as science fiction. If the main character is twelve years old, then it *might* position the story at the younger end of YA, towards more of a juvenile audience. If you positioned the character, instead, in 16-18 year range, that would seem to put it in the middle of the YA with cross-over to the main adult audience. However, the main thing is to tell the story that you want to tell. Someone else can figure out the right label.
I debated the age a bit, and while it was a bit arbitrary I kind of decided on around 12/13 for two reasons really. One was if they were mid to late teens the desire to "grow up" might not hit as hard as if they were a bit younger, since some people kind of view late teens as "practically an adult". The other reason was mostly just because I thought someone waiting almost an extra decade just to hit puberty was kind of funny. Admittedly not the best reason, but sometimes you got to trust the funny bone.

Younger Young Adult could work, but then I'm worried about the "war" aspect. Not that I ever intend to get bloody or gory really, just...not something I'm comfortable writing (I can do it for like a horror story, but war violence hits a little close to "too real" for me), but I'd still worry about the concept of war being too intense maybe.
 

JS Wiig

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Personally, at this point and as @Wayne Mack has stated, I would focus on writing the story you want to write and not worry about what you think readers want to read.

Sounds like you have a good idea what the story is about, I would say get to writing and let any issues you may think you have, just get it onto the page, then things should be clearer in your mind and you can hopefully solve the problems via revision.
 

therapist

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I like the concept, sounds interesting. To me it sounds like a coming of age story with a cool sci fi twist. As others have mentioned, find out what interests you most in this story and focus on that. For me I would want to explore the idea of 'age'. If someone has been 12 years old for 10 years, how old are they? How are they different and similar to a normal 22 year old? And to a normal 12 year old?
 

Bramandin

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There is a character in Download on Amazon that might interest you.

Animorphs seems to be about young teenagers and is geared towards 9-12 readers. That might give you an idea about how gritty you can make the war stuff without alienating younger readers.
 

Please Be Nice

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Yea that would be Transhumanism fiction whicc links with post-human. Thing with post-human though is that post-humans are 0% human anymore. They are something that comes after and are their own species not a new type of human.

I think writing your chaarcters as their own species and forgo the human connection would help you make sense of it.

Also the age of the characters is irrevelent in regards to genre. Being young doesn;t make it YA by default.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson is a prime example of this.
 

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