So, you’ve always been a fan of the genre, and now you’ve decided to go about writing your own science fiction masterpiece. You’ve got a killer idea, a handful of interesting characters, and a setting to make a tech-head swoon. Maybe you even have a plot mapped out, or at least a few interesting scenes ready-to-go. But now what?
Well, now comes the difficult part — translating those pieces into a complete, engaging narrative and adhering to the genre conventions enough that you write the sort of book you want to write.
This is a lot to consider, and maybe as you’ve started, you’ve begun to overthink the whole thing — what makes science fiction good? What makes it “science fiction” for that matter? As with any genre, there are as many rules as there are exceptions to those rules, but there are a few key things to keep in mind when approaching this sort of writing.
Luckily for you, I’ve got a handy guide here, ready to give you a handful of tips to consider while you craft your masterwork.
1. Science Fiction is Based on Speculation
More so than any other genre, science fiction is future-leaning, which means the heart of these stories is speculative. But what does that mean for an aspiring sci-fi author?
Ask good questions of your story and of your world. You should have some key idea or quandary that you want to explore; this could be as simple as: “What sort of lawyers will be needed in a hundred years?” to something more complex and existential like: “At what point in the technological revolution does humanity become something else?”
Wherever your interest lies, this sort of speculation is what sci-fi fans really crave, and it's the kind of thinking that forms the soul of any sci-fi work.
Keep in mind though that good sci-fi asks interesting and puzzling questions, but that doesn’t mean you have to find any solid answers. Sometimes, speculation is enough, and there are some quandaries that can’t be wrapped up into a neat little bow, not even within a novel. Just because you don’t know where your key question might lead you, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the chance to explore it.
In fact, it’s exactly those sorts of questions that create a compelling world and story.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Emphasise Character and Narrative Over Ideas
This second point might seem to contradict the first, but really, they go hand in hand: good science fiction is fiction, which means that story and character should be taking centre-stage. <