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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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