Writing Science Fiction – Revisited

There’s much more to sci-fi than science.


On this day last year, I wrote a post about writing sci-fi. Rather than reposting it, I’m going to rewrite it.
Science is important, but it’s not everything.
Chances are, your characters don’t live and breathe science on a daily basis. Even the ones that do will still think and talk about other topics like what they want for breakfast, the long work day ahead, or the dream they had last night.

To explain, or not to explain?
If you need to explain how spaceships work, you can make one character very “lecture-y.” They’ll annoy or delight, depending on which character’s listening and on whether or not your Reader is interested.
You could also have a character read a book about the subject. There are ways to make this exciting. Here’s an example.

She looked around and saw nobody.
She hesitated outside the library door, her palms sweaty, her heart racing, trying to decide if she should risk her life all for some crazy knowledge nobody wanted her to discover.

Great. Just great. Now I might need to write a story about this character. I need to find out how old she is, why the knowledge she’s seeking is forbidden, and whether or not her quest will lead her to it, or to some terrible truth.

Spice up your sci-fi.
There’s romance, politics, war, disease, crime, and every other aspect of life that we know today on planet Earth. The adventure of space travel may have its challenges, but never forget that if you’re writing about humans, there’s still jealousy, fear, anger, love, happiness, and as many other emotions and their nuances as there are stars in the sky above the planet V-101010101010.

2 Comments

  1. I love the book example. And I myself prefer the backstories to be in the background, with only the bare necessities cropping up to help the reader make sense of the world. Otherwise, I like to write without focusing so much on the other details. Maybe I’m boring, lol. Anyway, thanks for this post!

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