Writing Science Fiction: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

The genre of science fiction is vast with many subgenres. The common theme with them all is that some kind of science is important to the story. While science fiction takes the reader into a new world it is also grounded in shared human experiences. It’s not enough just to have a ‘what if’ question that you want to explore. It must be woven through a good story idea. I have put together some articles and podcasts that share advice about writing science fiction.

  1. Writing Science Fiction: The Ultimate Guide (prowritingaid.com)

This article tells us that writing science fiction can feel a lot like exploring the expanse of the universe. It’s a big undertaking in a big genre. One thing is certain: science fiction involves scientific elements or principles that are central to the plot of the story. It goes on to share 7 steps for how to write a sci-fi novel. Start by asking a big’ what if’ question. Prowriting Aid explains that Novum is a term that describes the element in sci-fi that is fictional but reconcilable with reality. It advises you to start in the past, plan your society, develop your technology, and solve or cause a problem with science. The article also shares 5 tips to help you turn your story idea into the next great sci-fi novel. These include asking what if, reading in your genre, doing your research, and being mindful of negative tropes.

  1. 5 Tips for Writing a Science Fiction Novel – 2023 – MasterClass

Masterclass tells us that science fiction is one of the most popular, varied, and enduring genres. It takes readers to a new world that’s an extension of our own. A science fiction universe diverges in some key way from the real world as we know it. It’s not an easy process, and science fiction requires many unique considerations. The article shares five writing tips for creating a memorable science-fiction novel. These include remembering that sci-fi is about ideas, and making sure you’re telling a good story – it can’t just be a thought experiment. Creating an interesting world and making the sure rules of your world are consistent is important as is your character development.

  1. How to Write a Good Science Fiction Novel: A 10-Point Plan (cornettfiction.com)

Cornett Fiction has a 10-step guide to writing a science fiction novel. These include identifying the ‘big idea’ in your story, knowing what your readers want, and making science integral to your novel but not let science overwhelm the story. Create believable characters and show your character’s motivations. Take the reader to another time and place.

  1. 6 Fantastic Tips for Writing Stellar Science Fiction (reedsy.com)

Writing science fiction is possibly one of the most immersive and fulfilling experiences a writer can embark on. It’s a vast category with many subgenres but it’s important to distinguish between hard and soft fiction. This article from Reedsy explains each and shares examples. It moves on to tell the writer to give your world believable structures but don’t overwhelm readers with exposition dumps and don’t neglect your characters. It also encourages you to read beyond the realm of science fiction.

  1. How to Write a Science Fiction Novel – Writer’s Digest (writersdigest.com)

This article from Writer’s Digest shares how to write a science fiction novel from beginning to end, including 4 approaches for the first chapter of your novel, tips for writing about fictional technology, writing dystopian fiction, writing a science fiction series, and more. With links to other articles covering all of the above, this is a useful article.

PODCASTS
  1. Episode 32 – Interview with Alastair Reynolds (castos.com)

In this episode, they chat with Alastair Reynolds, a British science fiction writer, about advice for aspiring sci-fi writers and the state of science fiction literature.

  1. Fiction Writing Made Easy Podcast | Savannah Gilbo

Check out episode 5 from the Fiction Made Easy podcast for world-building tips for sci-fi and fantasy writers.

Writing science fiction requires world-building, creating believable characters, and making your ‘what if’ science question integral to your story. If the writer can do this well, you can transport your reader to another time and world. I hope you have found this week’s column useful. As always, please get in touch if there are any topics you would like me to cover.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel, The Lies Beneath – to be published by Poolbeg in 2023.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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