Tips on Writing Sci-fi

So we’ve been going through different genres and exploring tips for how to write them. I’d like to continue that journey today by talking about how to write Sci-fi. Let’s take a look at some tips now.

  • Read, read, read other Sci-fi, both hard and soft. See what works and what doesn’t work in the genre. How do other authors approach the technology and science involved in the story? How is it balanced with the fiction aspect? You can learn so much just from reading other Sci-fi stories.
  • Obviously Sci-fi is based on science and technology that’s either present or based on something attainable in the future. This means we have to do research to understand what is and isn’t possible and why. This can be incredibly daunting, but will add depth and credibility to your writing. Set aside time separate from writing each week to do the research needed to bring your story to life. This helps you tackle the task of researching while still protecting your writing time. Need to look up something that pops up in the middle of writing a scene? Just put [rabbit] in the text. Later, when it’s time to research, use the control F function to search for all the [rabbit]s to figure out what you need to research.
  • World build. Whether it’s a completely new planet your characters are inhabiting or Earth set in the future, you’ll need to do some solid world building to create your story world. Even though some elements may be fantastical, things still have to be believable, especially in Sci-fi. So have realistic limitations and rules for your technology, and have realistic traits and characteristics for your characters and cultures. If humans are suddenly blue, you better have a good explanation for why. I talk a bit about world building here.
  • Know what to research. Research is crucial, but if it’s a small detail that doesn’t really matter in the end, do we really need to spend five hours on Wikipedia to get it? Research the big things that matter. Research things you’re not familiar with to get them right. But don’t waste time if it’s not significant and doesn’t add much to your story.
  • Don’t info dump. Now that you have all that knowledge, it’s tempting to try and cram it all into your story. Don’t. Give your reader only the information they need to move forward with the story. Use details to give your world depth, but don’t spend paragraphs on them. Avoid the dreaded info dump at all costs.

But most of all, don’t be afraid to write in this genre. Every story requires research and believability, so don’t let these things stop you from writing that great idea you have in your head. A little due diligence and imagination are all you need, so get started! And happy writing!

Julia

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