Stories about space, technology, the future, and other things that could be real but aren't.

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15
votes
8answers
2k views

What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
12
votes
6answers
255 views

How to deal with common Earth references in a non-Earth setting?

Until now, I have mostly written in settings similar enough to Earth, mostly with human beings. For the first time, I am writing a short story set on a different planet, where the protagonists are not ...
11
votes
4answers
243 views

How do I avoid tech/social errors in near-future fiction?

Not long ago I read a novel set in the near future (mid-21st century). My suspension of disbelief was totally fine with time travel, an implanted "universal translator" of sorts, major medical ...
11
votes
3answers
246 views

When do I explain my created world scenario in a prologue vs. letting it unfold in the story?

Let's say I'm creating a unique world for my book. New planet, maybe new species, complex society with complex rules, history, government, and so on. Some of these details are absolutely necessary to ...
10
votes
5answers
399 views

Can Readers Relate to a Book without Humans?

I've been working on a story idea for a few years now, during which I designed a world (fantasy-based) in which it would take place. The thing is that because this is a different planet, I thought it ...
9
votes
9answers
2k views

Avoid blending Fantasy and Sci Fi

In the world I'm writing, there's a decent amount of magic - mages, spells, healing, etc. There's also a few aspects - hoverboards, strength/speed enhancing experiments - that don't quite fit into the ...
9
votes
5answers
549 views

What's “fair use” for borrowing someone else's invented term?

Let's say I'm writing a sci-fi novel. I want to use a word which another writer has coined, which has become well-recognized outside the original book, for the name of an alien species in my story. I ...
9
votes
3answers
291 views

Conlang question

Diving (OK, dove) into conlanging for a novel I'm working on. The Conlang is atmospheric and allows for some subplot intrigue, but it's not absolutely essential to the story. I've got basic grammar, ...
8
votes
7answers
424 views

Potential confusion: referring to home planet as “Earth”

I'm writing a science fiction story and it's based in another galaxy, colonised by humans originally on a geographically equivalent "Earth". My current usage refers to it as "Earth" and provides a ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters

How can I invent names for fictional characters in a future-setting Sci-Fi story so they won't be connected to any existing culture? I considered the following options: Invent some random names. ...
8
votes
4answers
286 views

Will science fiction as a genre ever go the way of the western?

It is a fairly undisputed fact that the genre of western fiction has had a declining audience for decades. The Western Writers Association still exists, but if I had never worked in a Border ...
8
votes
5answers
738 views

An engineering student wants to write fiction, where to start?

I'm a computer engineering student, programmer, avid book lover and have a very vivid (some would say "screwed up") mind. I recently thought up an idea for a very cool short/medium story. It's like a ...
8
votes
3answers
288 views

World Building critique: Building an SF society off a tangent of “Adaptation”

I'm writing a short story for my english final - I'm a junior in high school; we've already taken our AP exam, but our teacher wanted to finish the year with something meaningful. Anyway, I have been ...
8
votes
3answers
416 views

Spiritual elements in a science-fiction novel

Does using unexplained spiritual elements (soul, "spiritual"/non-physical beings, afterlife, God, etc.) in a story with a futuristic setting make it science fantasy rather than science fiction?
7
votes
5answers
289 views

How should I introduce new and complex technologies or tools?

I'm writing a Science Fiction book. While this book doesn't push reality very far, there are some new technologies and tools that I have added. One tool is used more frequently than all the others, ...
7
votes
4answers
366 views

Spaceships - It or She?

I'm writing a Science Fiction novel and describing a space ship. Sea Ships are usually feminine, while space ships don't seem to be either feminine or neutral. Would you stick to one? Or would you ...
7
votes
6answers
266 views

Is it safe to create a wiki for a book (or something featured in it) before the book is published?

I'm working on a sci-fi novel, and it contains a lot of fictional creatures, which are in some ways separate from the novel because I came up with them a while before I actually got the idea to write ...
7
votes
1answer
386 views

How to show that something is different than in real life?

I'm writing fiction set in the near future (~15-20 years). The world is still mostly the same and thus familiar to the reader, but an important part of the story is that a few things are radically ...
7
votes
6answers
205 views

A cross-[What] kind of romance?

In the scientific taxonomy of Living Things, you have: Life Domain Kingdom Phylum Class etc. down to Species, and maybe thence to Breed. If I were talking about my neighbor's dog who is half ...
6
votes
5answers
257 views

Vision/dream as an effective opening?

I'm looking for opinions on the effectiveness of this opening scene. It's a vision, not that he knows that at first. He thinks it a dream and won't quite act on it straight away. The vision was given ...
6
votes
5answers
421 views

Can we enable readers to connect to far future humanity, without pretending they wouldn’t be different?

Everything about our culture has changed so dramatically over the course of the last hundred years that it’s very hard to believe that we’d be the same as we are now in five hundred years. This is an ...
6
votes
4answers
226 views

How can I convey dates (with ordering) for events happening under different dating systems, e.g. a Sci-Fi story spread over the galaxy?

So I want to write a Sci-Fi where humans have spread across the solar system and into the galaxy. There are multiple stories going across at several different times. E.g.: Aliens attack Pluto 3 ...
6
votes
6answers
169 views

How can I dig conflict out of an optimistic SF-nal premise?

I frequently have ideas for what could be called "optimistic" science-fiction premises - imaginary technological or social changes which I think would create an unusual and interesting setting, and ...
6
votes
5answers
261 views

How to introduce a world that's alien to the reader

I'm writing sort of a space-opera and I was wondering what would the best way to explain everthing about the world to my readers. The story is kind of a political intrigue, and it would be very easy ...
6
votes
5answers
156 views

Why do heroes need to have a physical mark?

It seems that a lot of authors want their heroes to be marked in a special way. It is not enough that these protagonists are going to be heroes, no; they seem to require having a mark that makes them ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Research about science fiction readers?

Has research been done (at any level) that gives demographic and other statistical information about the readers of science fiction? I'm curious about age, gender, educational level, reading ...
5
votes
5answers
198 views

Does this entice the reader to continue?

This is the beginning of my science fiction book that I am currently writing. I tried to be more specific, but without giving away the full idea. I might have failed at that. I wanted to know if this ...
5
votes
4answers
253 views

Should my story's main obstacle be secret or common knowledge to the society?

I'm writing a teen dystopian adventure/thriller/romance novel. I've been thinking about the plot for awhile. I've got an idea I want to develop: a dystopian world where the government has gotten rid ...
5
votes
5answers
355 views

What are the pros and cons of building the setting before the characters and story

I have a science-fiction setting I have been kicking around for sometime, but I am not sure how to go about fleshing out events or characters that would make for stories within this setting. What are ...
5
votes
3answers
163 views

Does this opening somewhat grip the reader?

I took the advice of very helpful people on my last question. I considered many possibilities to start my book, but I chose this one. This is only a snippet of my opening. I am going for a strong ...
5
votes
3answers
165 views

Best way to convey an immediate change of scenery

Okay, bear with me. Think of it like this: My character is stuck in an situation whereby every time he sleeps, he wakes up at a different time (as in the past/future, not 8:00am), in a different ...
5
votes
2answers
261 views

Querying for a setting-heavy speculative fiction novel

I'm an attentive follower of Janet Reid's Query Shark, and I've learned a lot. But Reid doesn't represent speculative fiction, which seems to present wrinkles of its own. Particularly, Query Shark ...
5
votes
2answers
107 views

Portraying life in a current milieu for science fiction that wants to be timeless

Should a science fiction that wants to stand the test of time go into detailed daily life of the city it is set on, with all it's modern references that might become outdated? An example would be a ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

For Sci-Fi books, what is the purchasing split between regular and ebooks?

I can get the data for ALL books. But can anyone direct me to regular/ebook purchasing data broken down by genre (specifically sci-fi)?
4
votes
8answers
407 views

How to distinguish if a novel is science fiction or fantasy?

Through the process of writing my novel, I've found that I really don't know where it fits in the written realm. I believe I should have a clear understanding to identify what genre my book belongs ...
4
votes
4answers
584 views

Defining Terms: To Capitalize or Not To Capitalize?

Let's say that I defined a new term in my writing, such as (yes, it's second-person): You spot a Holo-Reader—a long, silver metal tube that records holograms in three dimensions for later ...
4
votes
5answers
243 views

How to “defy” physics on a sci-fi?

I am an amateur at worldbuilding and I am already building a sci-fi themed world with fantasy elements. In my world there will be different kinds of new elements to the periodic table and some ...
4
votes
4answers
564 views

I suck at plots. Is there a way to sort of train oneself to think of creative plots, specifically in scifi?

I'm pretty good in the writing department as far as prose, it's just that I'll sit down and have no idea what to write. Perhaps it's a creative problem, I just don't know. I cannot figure out any ...
3
votes
5answers
90 views

Dealing with Extreme Distances - Space Travel

I know, you can go the Star Wars/Star Trek "hand wave" route and make it seem like everything is a few minutes or hours away, but... How do I implement a scenario where space travel is as common and ...
3
votes
3answers
315 views

Does this beginning hook the reader?

Guide lines Q no. 4: This is supposed to be the opening part, but certainly not the whole of the first chapter or page for that matter... I'm not exactly sure anyone would take 30 seconds to read ...
3
votes
3answers
185 views

My story portrays a process, not a conflict - how do I make the process my focus?

My current WiP is a science-fiction piece which is less about characters coping with a particular problem, and more about the process they go through in reaction to the SF-nal catalyst. My story is ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Is it okay to attempt to write in the style of another person, and how is that done well?

I want to write like Neal Stephenson- I read Snow Crash and absolutely fell in love with the style. I'm trying to write a cyberpunk style book myself, and I have a good plot (I think), but I want to ...
2
votes
3answers
134 views

How do you connect a non sequitur hook to a novel?

A pineapple is walking down a street, but here’s the kicker: he’s completely naked. That was a non sequitur hook I thought of. I figured that it would raise a bunch of really interesting ...
2
votes
3answers
96 views

How much can I talk about other people's works?

Let's say I'm writing a novel set in the future, clearly on Earth, with all the history that has happened through today. Obviously in the real world, there are numerous works of fiction that are ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Where and how to publish new work

I have made several stories, not short, but not long. They might make a small book. But im new and dont know anything, Where should i publish it, i mean, safely , as they could rip off the idea or ...
2
votes
3answers
169 views

Does this urge you to read further or stop?

I was wondering if this opening of my book enticed readers to read further. The book is a dystopian novel. This is NOT a complete chapter, it is only a part of it. Please leave comments on how I can ...
2
votes
3answers
191 views

Is there such a thing as a “setting sketch” for a science fiction writing?

I took a look tonight at the post titled What are the pros and cons of building the setting before the characters and story? It answered questions that I had concerning setting being more important ...
2
votes
4answers
74 views

Does this opening relate to the message?

This is now my third attempt of writing the opening of my book. I took What's advice and tried to send a message to the readers. the message was: What makes us strong is our courage. In the story, ...
2
votes
3answers
118 views

How do you effectively develop a plot when you have a proper back story?

I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy story, which is arguably not yet a novel, and has general similarities with most fantasy stories. I have a back story set and a fairly good idea on how the story is ...
1
vote
3answers
546 views

Cutting down on paragraph size

As a novice writer of fourteen, I've tried a few attempts at science fiction (military science fiction, to be specific), and of course my writing's got HUGE mistakes and shortcomings. But the most ...