Space Opera Questions

Once again, I’m basically going to be using this post to throw some ideas at the wall as far as my Nanowrimo book for this year.  One of the big questions, is what kind of story I’m going to tell in this world of various species.  Should I tell it like a grand history, having the main characters be entire civilizations?  Should I pick some people who are going make a very important change to the galaxy and tell of how they made that change?  Should I instead focus on a much smaller story, simply taking place in the larger universe that I plan to create around it?  Could I do something like Aasimov’s Foundation series, and tell a series of smaller stories, that all tie together into a more cohesive look at the world?  

The latter of these sounds very appealing to me, but I am not sure if I have the talent to pull it off or if it would just end up turning out really disconnected or forced.  The idea of simply telling it all like a history or an encyclopedia entry has a certain appeal as well, as I generally find knowing the whole story and finding out about the world to be the most interesting part of a lot of sci-fi or fantasy.  Doing that would make it very different from anything I had done before, and without the luxury of being able to focus on individual things that happen to a given character I may find myself unable make the story 50,000 words long.  It also might not really help me get much better as a writer to do it that way, as encyclopedia entries get to write in a way that would be considered bad if it was fiction.

Since I decided to do space opera, I might as well go big or go home, so the small story is probably right out, unless it is something “The greatest story never told”-esque.  I might be able to cheat, and do encyclopedia entries at the beginning, giving a history of all the different races and such before getting into the story proper.  On the other hand, I might just want to write some encyclopedia entries for myself during october, and simply let the story reveal most of the facts as it goes along.  I was playing around with having some races “first contact” be the start of the story, with their growing understanding of the universe coinciding with the readers.  I’m not sure whether that’s just an easy out, or a necessary conceit in a world with a lot of background detail.  In any event, hopefully I can answer a few of these questions before November rolls around.  

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