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Writing Science Fiction: The Ultimate Guide

Writing science fiction can feel a lot like exploring the expanse of the universe

Is it the campy creature features of early cinema or the esoteric, philosophical stories of classic literature?

One thing is certain: science fiction involves scientific elements or principles that are central to the plot

Whether you’re writing hard science fiction, pulp sci-fi, or something in between, we have everything you

Every great story starts with a question, and that’s especially true of science fiction

Science fiction scholar Darko Suvin coined the term “novum,” which is Latin for “new thing,” as a

In essence, novum is a new, fictional idea that is grounded in or reconcilable with reality

It’s the difference between sci-fi and fantasy, and it’s crucial that you find the novum

But what if a virus causes people to need to suck blood to survive? Viruses are real

Some explore what it means to be human or the indomitable human spirit

Dangers of technology, surveillance, and fascism are other major themes

Once you have a big question and your science element, ask yourself what themes make sense to

For example, the themes us vs them and exploration can make for a great space odyssey book

But another important part of world building is creating the history or backstory

Whether your world is about to encounter aliens, or it’s an advanced space-faring civilization, or a

How did your world get to the point it’s at when your science fiction novel begins?

This information is crucial for establishing a well-developed science fiction world within your story

Now you have the foundation for the world you’ve built, you can start planning the details

The more detail you plan in advance, the easier constructing the plot will become

Be sure that you keep science and your novum in the forefront as you develop societies for

But if science is not a guiding force in the world and the story, it is not

It’s time to turn on your geek mode and create an exciting new reality for your

Here are some questions to consider as you develop your science fiction tech:

As you answer these questions and others, you may find new plot conflicts or storylines to explore

But now that you have an amazing science fiction world built, it’s time to fill it

How will their character developments, traits, and flaws help you explore the themes?

This is true for both main characters and background characters

Every character should have goals and motivations that make sense within the framework of the world you’

This is where the major conflicts of your science fiction novel lie

Or the science in your story may be causing their problem or hindering them from achieving their

By the time you’ve figured out what role science plays in character development and story arc,

Now you know the steps to writing a science fiction story, you’re off to a great

Science fiction has a long history, and not all of it is positive

Racism is prevalent in both old science fiction and modern works

It doesn’t matter if it’s green skin or three eyes: when any race with physical

Likewise, depictions of oppression—whether aliens, androids, or robots—can also be damaging

Likewise, if all the military leaders or scientists are male, you’re alienating a large group of

Because science features so heavily in the plot of these stories, science fiction authors must become semi-experts

To understand how your sci-fi technology exists, you must understand what science currently says about that field

If you’re writing about genetic engineering, you need a solid understanding of the field of genetics

Sci-fi readers are often science nerds, and they can tell when your science doesn’t feel plausible

This is especially true if you’re planning on writing a science fiction series

When you’re creating new technologies, species, or classes, you need a reference

A book bible is a living document full of the details of your world and your characters

There are softwares like Campfire and World Anvil that will help you build a book bible

Note-taking apps and organizational apps can also be customized for book bibles

Story inspiration for science fiction writing lies in the “what if?”

It might turn into a whole novel, a plot detail, or a supporting storyline

If you get stuck when creating a new planet or a new technology, start asking yourself what

The best questions will lead you down a never-ending rabbit hole of ideas

The best way to learn how to write science fiction is to read science fiction

Pick up books from authors who come from a different background than you

Science fiction has dozens of subgenres, from space odyssey to robots to weird sci-fi

It will also let you know what is already out there so you can create a fresh,

Writing science fiction is a fun way to explore big ideas in a new world

Sci-fi remains a popular genre because readers are always looking for new realities to escape into

You can also use ProWritingAid to turn your sci-fi story into a masterpiece

You can also use our Sensory Report to improve your sensory details

Premium users can compare their science fiction writing against the works of bestselling sci-fi authors like Madeleine