Writing a Space Opera is no trivial task. It challenges you on so many levels. You have to create an interesting and deep universe to play in and then you have to fill it will fascinating characters with compelling problems that don’t border on the melodramatic. Not everyone can do it, and even those of us who attempt it, don’t always succeed at it. It takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to do it right. But when it is done well, Space Opera can be one of the most interesting and enjoyable sub-genre’s of Science Fiction.
With that in mind, these next few posts will be about all the tedious back story and universe building aspects of writing my next Space Opera novel, Starforgers. I hope it will give you, the reader an appreciation of what goes into writing a Space Opera. And it will give me, the writer, a chance to organize my thoughts on my next novel. For those of you not familiar with my Galaxy Collision universe, you may want to read Starstrikers, my first Space Opera book. Other pertinent stories can be found on Scribd and include anything featuring Stellar Ranger, Devon Ardel or the android, Thirty-seven.
Starforgers is primarily about how a peaceful Federation is forced into a protracted and violent galactic war. It follows the politicians and military leaders who enact the change that transforms the naive Federation into a strong, militaristic Alliance that is capable of defending itself. Following the tenants of good Space Opera, Starforgers follows the lives of several people who are responsible for making sweeping changes in the landscape of the story. Politicians, military leaders and even common citizens who are swept up by events in the story and forced to survive under new and deadly conditions.
Introducing The Hero
Meet Devon Ardel, a Stellar Ranger serving on a back-water planet not in the Federation. She’s a tough, politically incorrect leader of a motley Ranger Company at the edge of known space. Charged with keeping the peace among Pirates, bandits and other low-life’s, Devon is a bit rough around the edges and perfectly suited to take on a new and violent race of aliens known as the Votainions. The Votainions are the bad guys of the series. A race of planet conquering, violent people who live to extend their Empire throughout the galaxy by any means.
Devon and her best friend Hap are the first humans in the Federation to encounter the Votainions. In a thrilling, single combat starfighter duel, Hap is killed by a Votainion pilot who then must deal with a vengeful Devon. Devon brings down the Votainion fighter but is unable to kill the pilot. The death of her friend and the need to avenge her, leads Devon to resign from the Stellar Rangers and join a new military group that is sent to defend the Federation from the Votainion fleet. She does not realize it at first, but the pilot who killed Hap and got away, was the leader of that Votainion fleet, Lord Kantor.
Here we introduce the reader to the main hero and her nemesis with action and a character defining event. What better way to get Devon into a new fight than to have the enemy leader kill her best friend. Revenge is a base human emotion that we can all relate to and it gets us into the story with some exciting action elements. The scene also introduces Devon’s android, a Silicant known as Thirty-seven. Thirty-seven will later play a key role in the creation of the Alliance.
The character of Devon Ardel has been developed in many short stories set on Ocherva, the back-water world where she is stationed. You can catch the best of those stories in the new e-book anthology, Tales from Ocherva Volume One, due out this summer from GB PRESS. She’s your typical, hard drinking, hard fighting, Space Western hero on a desert world type of character. A hoot to write and a blast to read. I really didn’t have to do much in the way of creating her character, I just had to think of a way to piss her off and get her into a new fight. Turns out that wasn’t too hard to do.
The second character of import introduced in this early scene from Starforgers is the Silicant android, Thirty-seven. It plays a minor role in this scene, but the reader is exposed to it and several human Rangers that are important to Devon. Perhaps the most important part of this scene is the introduction of the villain. It’s always good to introduce the hero to his or her nemesis at the beginning of the story, whether they realize it or not. It sets up the conflict lock and lets the reader know that this is their story more than anyone else in the novel. We see that Lord Kantor is not a sit on the bridge and give orders kind of leader. He’s a get in the cockpit and duel it out with the enemy kind of leader. This makes him more interesting and sets the overall tone of the story by making the conflict more personal.
Well, that’s all for now. Next time I’ll introduce you to some other main characters and their subplots.