What Are the Best Tips for Writing Science Fiction?

B. Miller

In many cases, science fiction is a forgiving genre that allows writers a great deal of freedom in developing imaginary worlds and characters. This amount of freedom can be challenging when writing science fiction, however, so there are some important tips that many writers will keep in mind. The first is to develop rules of the world in which the story is taking place; they do not need to be the same rules as currently exist on Earth, for example, but the world needs to have clear limitations and consequences, and the story should follow a logical continuum. If anything is possible, tension is lost in the story.

The plots of science fiction stories usually revolve around worlds and scenarios that are the author's creation.
The plots of science fiction stories usually revolve around worlds and scenarios that are the author's creation.

Another common tip for writing science fiction is to base at least some of the story on scientific fact. A writer may choose to do some research ahead of time in a few different ways, such as reading current articles in scientific magazines, or asking questions of professionals in the field. Even if the story is not directly based off any recent science or technology developments, they can certainly provide ideas and inspiration, and may make the end result sound more realistic and plausible. This can help to make readers more engaged in the story.

While the science aspects are certainly important when writing science fiction, it is equally important, if not more so, to remember the bigger picture. This means that the story should have some sort of overall theme that people can relate to, and fully developed characters that the reader can really care about. Action and adventure in science fiction is important, but most readers want to become more involved in a story. In addition, unrelenting action or descriptions of theoretical science and technology will generally get fairly boring to everyone except the most die hard science fiction fans, and so most writers intersperse emotional elements throughout the story.

Some people find that writing science fiction becomes easier when it is combined with another genre. Fantasy or even romance are some of the most common combinations when writing science fiction. This can allow more story development, and combining science fiction and fantasy, often referred to as science fantasy, allows even more freedom in imagining the world of the story and the limitations thereof. As with any other skill, becoming better at writing science fiction will take practice and persistence; many people find that allowing others to read their stories and provide feedback is one of the best ways they can improve. Taking inspiration -- though not copying -- from other classic, well known science fiction writers can also be a good jumping off point.

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