Practice is nothing to be sneezed at.
This particular contest, hosted by WYRM, a writers group at Writing.com that promotes Spec-Fi, is one of my favorites. I don't normally write speculative fiction, so the contest flings me far outside of my comfort zone. Since I've been concentrating on the genre for the past month, I thought I'd share what I know here.
Speculative fiction is an umbrella category, under which fall stories usually incorporating elements of science fiction, horror, fantasy, paranormal, etc. So what makes a story spec-fi, and not simply one of those genres? To answer, you have to focus on the word "speculative."
Speculative fiction premises ask the question, "What if...?" What if a major world event had ended differently? What if space aliens walked amongst us? What if humans took an evolutionary leap, yesterday? What if...?
What distinguishes speculative fiction is that the story's supernatural or other-worldly facet is more than just a sidekick cat that can talk. It is a fundamental element around which the entire plot swirls. If you take out that element, the plot collapses.
J. Golden at Squidoo.com has provided an excellent list of sub-genres under the speculative fiction umbrella. I use it here with permission:
I submitted my speculative fiction contest entry last night. It could be classified as Horror/Dark Fantasy or Slipstream. It was sooooo hard to write; although, once the main character and plot solidified in my brain I found a rhythm that worked (I think) really well.
Should anyone be interested in reading it (3500 words), here's the link. To whet your potential reading appetites, I will say this: the title is a huge play on words that can be interpreted in (at least) three different ways.
Here's the link: Controlling Nature
How about you? Ever dabbled in Speculative Fiction? What do you find is the biggest challenge in the genre?