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My Giant Leap into Speculative Fiction

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The unexpected path to science-fiction

I never set out to be a writer. When I started writing my first novel, a historical fiction, I thought I could handle it because the bones of the world were already there—I just had to uncover them through research. The prospect of writing anything speculative in nature (sci-fi, fantasy, etc.) seemed too big. Worldbuilding is hard. And big. I would leave that to the real writers.

But here I am, one novel under my belt, a handful of speculative works in progress, and coming up on the 10,000 word mark for a science fiction manuscript I'm calling Quantum Butterfly Project.

It's the most ambitious thing I've ever written, and highly targeted toward neurodivergent individuals or anyone who wants to feel loved, appreciated, and like they can contribute something meaningful to the world without having to be anything other than what they already are.

🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

Here's the pitch

Ava is a millennial dog mom failing to adult in a world that feels like it's out to get her. After she loses her best friend to cancer, she swears she’s going to make some changes and stop living her life based on others’ plans for her. She leaves her fiancé, quits her corporate job, and spins up a crowd-funded social media project to help her find herself.

Before she can get it off the ground, Ava finds herself as the newest recruit of the Watershed Syndicate—an organization of misfits uniquely poised to receive messages from the future and secretly led by the Bay Area’s most prominent (and handsome) young tech billionaire. Tasked with making certain nudges to influence the trajectory of their timeline, Ava must find a way to work with her new team and do her part to build a brighter future, all with the newly-acquired understanding that she’s supposed to die in six months.

Will Ava be able to do her part to alter the course of history for the better, or mess the world up even worse than it already is? And how far is she willing to go to try to save her own life in the process?

Why me?

Science was my first love. Astrophysics, to be specific. So much so that I studied it in college. I've always said that I studied it long enough to realize I was utterly terrible at calculus (I took Calc 3 three times before passing) and was doing the world a favor by not going into the field. But I only realized recently that I was working with a disability I was unaware of.

I'm autistic and ADHD. It's hard for me to grasp certain concepts when I'm in a traditional learning environment. I also grew up really afraid to ask for help—like if I was the only one in the room that was confused by something, I didn't want to make myself look stupid by admitting I couldn't follow along.

In the end, I wound up being the recipient of a Bachelors of Art in Physics. That's right, folks, they created an alternative to the Bachelor's of Science the very year I graduated. And I took it. I felt at the time that I had failed—ashamed of having an "A" instead of an "S."

Well, as it turns out, the "A" just might be the perfect fit for a science fiction writer who's been blessed with endless curiosity, tenacity, and a penchant for following her dreams.

Quantum salutations,

Melissa

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