Saturday, March 08, 2008

Where No One Has Gone Before---Writing the Rosetta Stone

By Keith Fisher

Have you ever seen Star Trek? Do you like it? I’ve been a fan since the first series aired on television. I’m not sure why, but people called us Trekies. Now we’re called Trekers, and we’re proud of it. Even with the thrill of Star Trek, I’ve never been able to kindle that excitement in others. Have you ever watched a non-treker’s reaction to a conversation in a room full of Star Trek fans?

I was perusing the discount DVD bin in my local grocery store the other day and I found a director’s edition of Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn. Of course I bought it. I was delighted to get it so cheap and I told my friend about my treasure. I guess I was expecting jubilation, but all I got was a patient smile. I was crushed. How could anyone not realize the significance of my find?

In the Star Trek world, I believe the second movie is probably the most important piece of the puzzle. Because the original series was great, an attempt was made to transfer ST to the silver screen. To be honest, the first movie was kind of boring with scene after scene of the characters doing nothing but looking at a video screen.

"What is that?" one of the characters would ask.
"I don’t know," another one would answer.

It wasn’t a shining moment in movie making, but it brought Star Trek to a whole new generation.

When the second movie came out, those who like special effects took notice. More than that, however, was the reaction of the fans---they were thrilled. Like in the TV show, there was magic between the cast members, and the movie was tied to an episode from the series. It all made sense, and we cried when Spock died. We all knew he’d be back, but it was sweet sadness to see him hold up his hand and say goodbye to his best friend.

There have been more movies and whole TV series’ since. Some were good---some were not so good, but all of it adds to the magic that is Star Trek. Trekers are free to debate the finer points of the universe until the Nexus comes around to take us into our perfect day.

That was a little inside terminology that my friend doesn’t understand. Which brings us back to the point of this blog: How do you spark interest in Star Trek, or your latest novel, without explaining the whole thing?

We could lock our friends in a room with all the series episodes and movies then try to explain the difficult points, but some people still might not get it. We are left with feelings of frustration and we mutter under our breath, "How on earth can they not love it?"

Such is the world of writing fiction. There are those who will love everything we ever write, and there are those who will never get it. We have to accept that, but we must also make it flow. We can’t go from point A to point B in a story without providing a link between the two. Like the Rosetta Stone, Star Trek II provided a link between the original, and everything that came after it. In our writing, we must provide a plausible and entertaining link between the hook and the fantastic ending. If we do it right, our writing might develop a following. Who knows there might be a convention someday based on my story.

By the way, I heard there is a new Star Trek movie coming out this year. Time to dust off your Vulcan ears and tune up your tricorder.

Good luck with your writing, see you next week, and . . . uh . . . live long and prosper.


C. L. Hanson said...

Star Trek II was my favorite as well, and that was a great scene!!! I wrote a post comparing it to a few other famous self-sacrifice-and-resurrection stories here.

As for the "Rosetta Stone" of a work, I think that's one of the biggest challenges in fiction. It's only after you've invested the time in reading a book that you can really decide whether your time and effort were well-spent. So if a reviewer (or marketer) can capture the essence of a work in a short article which helps the reader decide whether s/he would like to read it, it's a big help to everyone involved.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm a definite TNG girl, myself.

Kimberly Job said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimberly Job said...

What a fun blog, Keith. It ALMOST makes me want to watch Star Trek!

Keith N Fisher said...

Hmmm. the third post says removed by the author. I didn't remove it. I would hope someone didn't say something we would all be ashamed of.

thank to the rest of you for your comments. Kim, I think we'd better lock you in that room. And tristi can sit with you and get an original education. thanks again for your comments.

Jenn said...

I never liked Star Trek until my husband made me watch it every night for about 3 year running. :D We went through the original series, TNG, Voyager, Deep Space 9, the movies. I have to admit, there are still some things I don't like about the show, and there are some episodes I won't even watch, but really, I do get it.

Hubby and I will frequently make jokes such as, (when we can't figure out how to do something) "We just need to turn on the deflector array and then it'll work"