Partridge India Writing Tips| Writing Space Opera Science-Fiction Pt 3

Jun 29

Partridge India Publishing concludes with Part 3 of Partridge India Writing Tips- Writing Space Opera Science-Fiction.



Partridge India Writing Tips| Writing Space Opera Science-Fiction
Events in a Space Opera storyshould have impact on the larger setting…

Building on the elements of People and Politics brought up in the prior entry, is the spectrum of Impact. This refers to the depth and breadth which events and actions in your narrative affect your setting and the people in it. Stories within Writing Space Opera Science-Fiction range from having relatively small impacts to massive far reaching impacts across the galaxy.


Questions you will have to ask yourself include: How large is the setting? Who will be affected by the events I have in mind? Will and can those affected have an effect in turn? To use a more a detailed example of Impact, we look at the series Firefly.


Firefly tends to be largely self-enclosed, with most episodes focusing on the individual characters, the crewmembers of the spaceship Serenity, their relationships with each other, and the various escapades and adventures they go through together. But despite the close, interpersonal, and relatively small scope of the series, the main characters are heavily and deeply impacted by the larger events and elements of the setting. The central government of the Firefly setting is deeply authoritarian and prone to abuses of power. This is shown through how the main characters view, discuss, and at times interact or even avoid interacting with the setting’s central government. Some of the most serious and largest threats to the main characters are the central government or its enforcers, whom the main characters go to great lengths to escape or avoid the attention of.


Buildup and Action

The final element we will tackle is that of Buildup and Action. A recurring narrative component for Space Operas is that multiple contradicting or coalescing forces and plots build on top of each other, building pressure, until something sets the spark that sets off a cascade of disaster.


A perfect example of this in modern media is that of The Expanse. In the setting of The Expanse, the three factions of the Earth, Mars, and the Belters (heavily oppressed workers suffering dangerous living conditions in the asteroid belts), each have their motivations and goals that make them all resent each other, not trust each other, and ultimately prepare to kill each other. In addition there are groups and individuals who seek to take advantage of these tensions for their own ends. The main characters- the crew of the ship Rocinante, various members of the Earth and Martian government and military- act to prevent fullscale open war, and react to brushfire events (possibly instigated by mysterious third or fourth parties) to hopefully minimize the damage.


Thus one of the running goals for many protagonist characters is to either prevent an outbreak of violence (Buildup), then figuring out how to react when things go wrong (Action) and prevent a very bad situation from becoming the worst situation.



In its own way, Writing Space Opera Science-Fiction is a juggling act. One has juggle different yet connected elements, to create a work that is both great in breadth but also in depth and human emotion. Partridge India hope these writing tips help you in writing your own Space Opera adventure.


Partridge India trusts this helps

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By Ian Smith

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