Mingwei Gu

writings on business, meditation, technology, markets, sci-fi, organizations

24 Sep 2020

Writing Science Fiction

Why the flurry of posts recently? Well, I’m dusting off an old dream: to write science fiction. And the blog posts are a way to get me writing again.

I liked writing in high school and college. Seeing my ideas escape through my fingertips and materialize on screen made me feel so alive. Especially after taking forever to turn those ideas over and over again in my mind with a deadline approaching.

My favorite writing assignments were in history, philosophy and political science. And I see writing as a way for me to clarify my thoughts. To create webs of relationships between concepts and to transfer that web into someone else’s mind.

I regret not doing more of it in college or afterwards, but I’m coming back to writing as a way to express my ideas creatively and to reach a wide audience.

And why the sci-fi genre? I got into reading science fiction after college, and I’ve grown to love it. I like asking the what-if questions and to imagine what life would be like far flung worlds. And in the last few years, I’ve participated in a science fiction book club that’s got me reading way more.

There’s also the non-fiction reading I do. I like reading about society and political structures, and I’d enjoy experimenting with those types ideas in a fictional world.

And finally, I often wake up with these vivid, weird dreams. I jot them down in a journal, and I’ve thought they could inspire some interesting stories or settings.

All this said, I have a lot of bad writing to do before I get to the good stuff. So I’m aiming for volume. Also, I’m much more used to expository writing and persuasive writing. I’ll need more practice writing narratives.

I still have yet to find my voice, but I think my style will have (in order):

  • Easy to read, simple prose; influenced by copywriting
  • A gripping plot like a page turner; like Blake Crouch’s writing
  • A world that drives plot points, not just a setting
  • Characters you care about
  • Wry comedy, like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams
  • Minimal or no love interest (maybe in the future though!)

And the works I put out will be inspired by my:

  • Immigrant experience
  • Chinese values and background
  • Technology and financial industry work
  • Improv comedy performance
  • Meditation and spiritual experiences

I’m gearing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November, when I’ll be joining thousands of others to write a 50,000 word novel. And it’ll be a challenge since I haven’t finished a story since middle school.

In preparation, I’ll be publishing a daily blog post (fiction, non-fiction or personal) of at least 500 words for three weeks. I hope to get me putting more words on a page. And having this writing in public will keep me honest.

After that, I’ll write a short story every week of at least 5,000 words for three weeks. Hopefully, that’ll get me chewing on plot, characters, and settings and getting used to writing to a narrative structure.

And all while preparing the novel: plot outline, character descriptions, world building, etc.

It’s a big task ahead of me. But if I get all that done by December 1, I’ll be very proud of myself.