Secrets to writing good Sci Fi


If you’re like me, there’s something wrong with you.

You were normal once; just a carefree person who loved watching Trek and Firefly.

Then it happened. The one thing that could turn everything upside down.

You decided to write.

For me, it started in the spring of 2012.

My friend Nick had just finished his first novel, and he asked me to be a beta reader. I read it, and it is delightfully a thriller with a sci fi twist, and something stirred inside of me.
I thought about all of the sci fi I had read and watched. I thought about how many conversations I had with Nick about sci fi. And then I thought something else:

I can do that.

So I set out to write a novel!

And I wrote something that’s as long as a novel, but I wouldn’t really call it that. It needs some heavy editing, and maybe I’ll release it as a novella some day.

But back to my point: at some point in our lives we decided to write, and now our lives are different.

I find myself thinking of stories instead of thinking about someone else’s universe. I have a desktop full of unfinished and unedited manuscripts. I scour the web for places to sell my stories. I drew this funny little confused robot guy on my ipad and launched this blog.

All of this because I thought I could write, and write well.

And now I have this wonderful problem of writing stories all the time. And I do, I write all the time. I write at work, I write at home, I write when I’m away from home. It’s not just something I kind of do anymore, it’s becoming part of who I am. And through all of this, I feel that I’ve been getting better and better.

And since it’s now 2013, I thought I would share some of the things that help me write stories.

1. Genre

Science Fiction…duh.

But more specifically, what subgenre am I writing? I started a story today that I specifically wanted to be Steampunk. I wrote a Cyberpunk story that I wanted to be a noir detective story. My novel is hard sci fi with some mech thrown in. Knowing what specific corner of sci fi you want to fit into will help your story move along smoothly.

2. World Building

World building is something that I really love to do. I hold in my brain the ability to create whatever I want. I have created a city with integrated fiber optic cables in a seedy underbelly blocked from sunlight. I have created a world where war has divided society into castes of socialism controlled by capitalists. I’m in the process of creating a world with steam powered machines. Anything goes.

3. Character Development

Characters are tricky. When I set out to be a writer, almost every character I came up with was me. The main character was me. The supporting female was me. The robot was me. They were all me.

That’s lame.

Spend time on your characters. Some people like to write a full bio for characters before writing the story. Others like to make a small chart of every character. Perhaps you do something else.

The main thing is to understand genre and world building. Hard Sci Fi usually requires military, steampunk has mechanics; those sorts of things. Flesh out your character within the parameters of the genre and world they’re in. They don’t have to fit inside of a cookie cutter mold, but if they’re the one brownie in a world of snicker doodle’s, everyone is going to notice.

New Year, new stuff. I hope everyone is working on some sort of project!

5 thoughts on “Secrets to writing good Sci Fi

  1. Pingback: Secrets to Writing Good Sci Fi part 2 « Silly Robots

  2. Pingback: Summer Ideas | Silly Robots

  3. Pingback: The Zen of World Building | Silly Robots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s