Any thoughts on how to write Sci Phi for an aspiring writer?

I have a guest post today from, Emmanuel A. Mateo-Morales (a.k.a Vunder Guy), one of the authors who has a story in issue #2 of Sci Phi. He asked me an interesting question and he is an aspiring writer so, what do people think?
I was wondering if anyone out there could shed some insight onto the following question: How do you make a serialized series that intends to go on for at least two decades, have large epic plots that still manage to make cogent philosophical points?
I ask because it seems that most tales that do make cogent philosophical points most seem to be one-shots. Even the Twilight Zone, as chock to the brim with far more insight than both recent live-action Star Treks combined as that show was, was an anthology, or a collection of one-shots with little to no serialization.
Though I love to make philosophical one-shots and read such one-shots, I must admit that my heart lies in making tales with long plot-threads, as it was such shows like, everything in the DC Animated Universe, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and Avatar: The Last Airbender that got me into wanting to be a writer in the first place.
I think that it’s not impossible, as those three things I mentioned above somehow managed to do it, but I’m just curious as to how one accomplishes such a thing and how difficult it really is, because I seem to be finding it’s mighty hard.

4 Comments

  1. The keys to a successful serial seem to be: a persistent and antagonistic foe to the hero, a growth of the hero over time, and a sequence of adventures, that logically connect each other to a needed conclusion. Long term antagonists are more interesting if they had some kind of close connection beforehand.
    For a Sci-Phi version, you could have the hero and villain have completely opposing philosophical outlooks, and no only describe them, but have them inform how they act, think, view the world and to the smallest effect of what they do.
    For a long serial, it could be where they clash in opposing philosophy, in different cultures, each in a conflict that also involves one of the great questions of philosophy.
    Then you just need a structure to make it work.
    For example: two close friends gain immortality form an alien device. They each become convinced of how to save mankind and deal with the far future, yet have radically opposing ideas as to how, and the consequences of getting it wrong are total. Throughout time and space the clash, interference in the cultures of worlds, or stopping such interference, while they travel the cosmos in a great scavenger hunt to uncover the secrets that the ancients left that could finally answer the greatest questions that have plagued all mankind.

  2. Ooph. Good question. One of my biggest influences is from anime; there were a lot of things I wanted to copy (I like the way some of the stuff layers in religion) and a lot of things I didn’t intend to copy– like turning my chapters into “episodes.” I didn’t mean to approach my novels that way, but there’s a definite inverted check-mark to most of my chapters.
    If you’re looking to go all Perry Rhodan and write for decades, I’ve got no clue how you maintain focus. But to learn to keep focus over 25 or 30 installments, you could maybe do worse than internalize some of the better anime series– maybe Macross Frontier, Escaflowne, Rah Xephon… You’ll notice most episodes of those shows have a climax, but move the stakes a little higher in every time.

  3. @David, Josh, and Ben:
    Wow… just… wow. If the advice you three just gave me were mountains, they’d be able to weather a thousand Tsar Bombas and still remain standing. I wish I could come up with better responses to you all considering how thoughtful and good your own were, but I’m afraid I do not yet have the stylistic skills to match yet.
    But I can say, with complete confidence: thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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