As I’m re-writing my ‘space elevator’ novel I want to make sure that this draft is meeting some quality standards. Who better to ask for advice than Pixar? I’m using the ‘Rules of Storytelling’ to talk about why Mike Sierra Echo is going to be a great story. Read below for Part One:
#1 – You Admire a Character More for Trying Than for Their Successes
Micah of Mike Sierra Echo isn’t a perfect kid, he’s a little bit of a screw-up. He’s going to make some bad choices along the way to being the hero of the story, getting grounded, and putting himself between the grief of his father and the rage of his grandmother.
But there’s more to that story. Two of my favorite kid-era adventure stories were ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘The Goonies.’ Both stories are adventures, but I remember relating so hard to both stories because I wished I had friends like that. Mike Sierra Echo’s character arcs and development need to reflect the same level of emotional connection to its readers. One of Mike’s character arcs will be about making new friends, especially under difficult circumstances.
#2 – Keep in Mind What’s Interesting to an Audience
In true techno-thriller action, MSE is going to introduce space elevator technology and then take the reader on a wild ride through the reaches of outer space and when I say ‘outer space’ I literally mean ‘far beyond the thermosphere.’ How would a twelve-year-old hero handle a trip that lands him half-way between the Earth and the Moon? How will kids in the future respond to artificial intelligence companions, space travel, and nanotech weapons? Would they be scared, and if so, how would they handle those fears? The greatest kids’ adventure stories contain a big huge fireworks-show ending so Mike Sierra Echo needs that.
#3 – You Won’t See What the Story is About Until the End
They’re right – I’m not 100% about Mike Sierra Echo’s theme. I know what I think it is, but I’m open to being surprised. One of the things I do as an author is to map out the general story structure and then step back to figure out what else is happening to Mike and the universe he inhabits.
Does that mean I might need to re-write? Sure, absolutely. As I mentioned previously, a good story is like a stew that needs the the right ingredients and time to figure out what its taste really is.
We’re Just Getting Started
Wrapping up, these three points help you understand my intent with Mike Sierra Echo. I want to be the Bob Ross of science fiction, making ‘happy lil’ scifis’ that everyone can enjoy. Just as Ross’ mission was to ‘teach people that they could be valuable, they could be important in this world,’ I want every reader to know they’re valuable, they’re important. I hope this helps inspire you to think about a story you’d like to tell and then make it live!