Writing Science Fiction

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
― Ray Bradbury

So I know that if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re a science fiction fan.

But are you a SciFi writer?

The quote above is a good indicator. Do you feel as if you need to pick up your dinosaurs and leave sometimes? I know that in my circle of friends, we bring our dinosaurs to dinner and play with them together.

My good friend Nick Thacker is one of those people. We were college roommates, so discussions were bound to happen. He has since gone on to write The Golden Crystal, and will release it later this year. Another one of my good friends Grant Barnes uses science fiction in his sermons, and we spent many hours watching Firefly and Star Trek.

I recently finished writing a sci fi novel.

The interesting thing about writing a sci fi novel is that you tend to want it to be realistic.

But, of course, you have to remember the fiction part.

And I don’t just mean the story; of course the story is fiction, you made it up. I’m talking about lightsabers, terraforming, and warp drive.

What fantastical ideas do you have?

In “How To Write Science Fiction (A Maximalist And Recomplicated Travel Into Sci-Fi)” Paul Di Filippo pretty much goes on a rant about putting every idea you have between the start and end of the writing process. He speaks of recomplicated story lines and hundreds of thousands of words being put on paper.

It sounds ridiculous at first, but if you’re a true Sci Fi writer it starts to infect your brain. You get ideas in your head that sound something like:

I really want to do this and see what happens.


Holy crap what if the moon blew up?

Of course you don’t have to.

In fact I recently talked myself out of it before i started a never ending project.

But the point is this: do you have an idea?

As stated earlier, I just finished writing my first novel, a SciFi novel, and it all started with one little idea. Then that idea grew into something much larger and allowed me to shove a whole bunch of ideas into 90,000 words, somehow creating a story. And I’m just a youth pastor who likes space ships.

So imagine what you can come up with!

As I was writing my novel I found that there are a few steps that helped me write, and I would like to share them with you.

1. Have an idea that asks questions

What does your idea say? Is it just a cool idea, or a cool idea with say, philosophical questions? Like Prometheus or Equilibrium? It’s no secret that SciFi is used as a jumping point for much larger questions, so why not ask them? As a fan, I love it when writers take their craft seriously, which is why I’m such a fan of Star Trek TOS. Great production? Maybe for its time. Great Story telling? Absolutely.

2. Watch Television

I can’t tell you how many ideas I got from watching TV while I was writing. Most other authors are going to bash me for this, but it really helped. Maybe some subtle plot points came from a sitcom, or cool character names stemmed from a drama or a host of a news show. It sparked my creativity when I was stuck. Plus SciFi tv helps you get a grasp on what you want your universe to be like.

3. Read

I love reading. When I was in Junior High I read almost all of Anne Mccaffrey’s ‘Dragons of Pern’ books and most of Brian Jacques ‘Redwall’ books. I also have an extensive collection of comic books that is still growing. Not to mention all of the non-fiction I read for my Master’s degree and studying for when I preach or teach. Learning other writer’s voices has helped me shape my own. Not to mention there are tons of ideas to pull from reading.

4. Have Fun

What’s the point of writing if it isn’t fun? Sure there are days when it seems taxing, but ultimately you want it to be something you live for, not work. If you want writing to be your work, go be a news reporter. Writing SciFi is much more of a hobby-turned-profession than a work-a-day job. If making up alien worlds and different emotionally scarred characters is particularly burdensome to you, maybe you should consider a genre change.

These are just a few things that helped me write my book.

What are some things that help you write?

Let me know by leaving a comment!

5 thoughts on “Writing Science Fiction

  1. Dude. Good stuff.

    Thanks for the shout out, and for the helpful tips. I thought you were just a fantastical being from beyond the stars, but it turns out you can right good two.


  2. Pingback: Musical Connections « Silly Robots

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