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10

If space travel is as common and casual as current methods, then treat it the way you would treat current methods. That is: Take it for granted. Ignore the physics and ignore how it is operated. When you get in a car to drive, you barely even think about how you operate it, much less the physics of internal combustion engines, or the mechanics of universal ...


8

There is one fault with the previous answers by Dale Emery and Henry Taylor, and that is that the basic principles of sailing and combustion engines are a part of every school kid's education. And if something new is invented, as for example solar cells, it is extensively described and explained in popular media from newspapers to television. Any educated ...


7

You are overthinking this. There is Fantasy. Magic, fairies, dragons and such do not exist, yet the suspension of disbelief works without a special effort on the author's part. There are alternate histories. Utopias. Children's books about impossible creatures and events. Crime stories about crimes that never happened. Fiction with characters that do not ...


6

Some of the choice of words depends on the desired feel of the story. The reader might be an invisible observer of this alien world with a fellow human guide explaining various details. This expert may be a tourist or have a more scientific bent (e.g., sociological, biological, or physical/chemical). With such a feel, wording would be more human-oriented ...


6

You can publish them yourself. If you do that, you retain all of the rights to the stories and the book. That way, nobody can get the rights to the book and throw them away. To publish an ebook, you can make an epub file and distribute it through Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Smashwords, and other places. They won't steal it. They want to sell it for ...


6

In my own writing, I skip everything that I'm not interested in. I don't care if it is usually part of other novels, because if I read those, I usually skip reading those parts as well or only scan them quickly to have an idea of what is going on. I totally rely on my readers to have seen so many movies and read so many books in my genre, that they are ...


5

I agree totally with Dale Emery, but would perhaps use a long train/boat ride as the metaphor. Not only should the average passenger (a.k.a. the reader's point of view) be uninformed of how the vehicles operate, or the physical principles behind their locomotion, such passengers should not even recognize that their ignorance is unusual. Their attention ...


5

You should find a way to skip ahead. If you don't want to write it the reader won't want to read it either. And your references to 'some switches' and 'several lights' suggest you aren't really invested in this scene at all. If you want to jump ahead though, you need to jump too something so concoct a little bit of drama. Things to try: Focus on the main ...


4

The first and most important thing to consider is your reader and, for the most part, I imagine they're humans. Writing a science fiction story where there is nothing for the reader to relate to becomes tedious, and unintelligible. To carry it to its extreme, assuming you're writing your story in English (sorry, you did mention you're not a native English ...


4

First, think about what is universal and what is specific to our own planet, species, or culture. Like, would aliens have the color blue? Color is a basic phenomenon of physics. The same colors exist everywhere in the universe. I suppose it's possible that there would not be any blue things on their planet, but this seems pretty unlikely. Surely something, ...


4

All fiction is about the suspension of disbelief. Decades ago I read a statement that sticks in my mind to this day. A writer discussing science fiction said that he had an easier time believing that it is possible to travel faster than light than he did believing that Perry Mason only gets big murder cases with innocent clients and always wins. A good ...


3

I don't think there's a right answer for what you're asking. At the end of the day, you're writing in English. English, like any language, reflects the history and collective views of the society it came from. For example, English has many words for water related things, especially about things that relate to sailing, because throughout its history (through ...


3

You're right that it's a cliche and they don't "need to". it is quite silly and one would expect it only from mediocre or lazy writters I agree. See TV Tropes: Birthmark of Destiny See also scars, beards and hairstyles. Villains also sometimes come with convenient labels, e.g. The Omen's Damien: See TV Tropes: Mark of the Beast. Frodo is one ...


3

It sounds like you don't really have a story yet, but a world. But a story is the journey of a character who wants something. Try one of these: Start with a character who lives in your world. What do they want? How they get it is your story. (If they have everything they want, you don't have a story; take something away from them). OR Start with a big ...


3

I would counter that it is only possible to find your own voice, make your own way if you accept the element of isolation that is essential to the writing process. Yes, you may take a class, join a group, find a wonderful mentor. In the end, it will be you and the world, and how that intersection expresses itself in words that will vault you into the task. ...


3

Plot... Story... blah blah blah. You're talking about a journey. You're talking about a quest. You're talking about a goal, a conflict, and a resolution. What I don't like is the use of the term "filler content". You can't go into a story thinking like that. Everything you write has to be important, every sentence should define a character or the world, or ...


3

In the strongest writing, everything that's been included by the author has a reason to be there -- adds something relevant to the theme, moves the plot forward, develops a character, etc. If you're already suspecting that an item is superficial, then you should probably remove it. You wouldn't want an unnecessary element to accidentally remove the reader ...


3

Answering more from a reader's perspective than a writer's, I'd prefer the version without the "cool for cool" powers --whenever I read something like that, it just seems like the writer being self-indulgent. You also run the risk of introducing plotholes. For instance, in the Harry Potter series, there are a number of over-powered magical devices (the ...


2

This is an interesting question -- kind of the holy grail of "learning to write". The question is : Is it possible to learn to write better on your own? I believe it can be. Learn the Basics From Books Learn the basics from writing books. My all-time, knock-down, marooned-on-a-deserted-island favorite is: Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost. Learn the ...


2

Think up an alternate history and develop it logically - or parodically. Take for example a more serious approach - Steampunk: Electricity never passed beyond "mad inventor" sphere, and world developed finding new miraculous fuels to power increasingly advanced steam engines; external combustion engines got more popular than internal combustion ones, ...


2

It's science fiction, and more specifically dystopic fiction. That means the purpose of the story is to highlight the differences between the fictional, 'incorrect' reality and our own 'correct' one.^ That means that in order to keep the reader interested, you have to start the scavenger search for anomalies as soon as possible. What you should be concerned ...


2

My personal opinion? Do not rush it. Do I need to know that its 31st August? Do I need to know that main character is 17 years old boy? Do I need to know that there is some "Wall" which needs to be protected? The intro should give me a hint about what’s going to happen. And not little details about something which can be revealed later. I will think about ...


2

It's worth considering the fact that characters are a product of their world, and their world is a product of key characters: I work in IT, working in IT defines a big part of who I am, IT makes up a huge part of the world I live in, IT is a product of people like Babbage and Turing. In short I find World Building is best as a free form ...


2

I notice that you didn’t mention theme among the basic elements you had in place. You didn’t say much with your question, so forgive me if I wander off into speculation. In fact, I’ll toss a couple of ideas out there and hopefully something will stick. Several writer friends of mine and certainly many successful pros are plot-focused, genre writers. ...


2

Constrained Randomness. One fun trick is to take a bunch of names from one or more cultures with lexically interesting names, then generate random names that are different but lexically similar. The Gibberizer. I created a free (and open source) tool to do generate such lexically similar names: The Gibberizer. It's a little old, but it still works just ...


2

As another example, Asimov's Foundation series does a good job of this. You say, "I want to be able to write about spacecraft in space as authors in the golden age of sailing would write [about] sea ships on the sea." In that case, you cannot ignore the technology of spacefaring. Those ships in the golden age of sailing were the technological marvels of ...


2

You mentioned that I do not trust myself to be fully capable of judging my own work against what others might think of it. I may have an answer for this. I suggest writing a little every day, as you said, but not editing. Try to keep from editing for several days in a row. Then once or twice a week edit whatever you have. I prefer music when I edit ...


2

The problem with references is that they are funny only if people understand them, and they can go stale fast. This isn't necessarily a killer, but it's something to keep in mind. Ancient Greek comedy is loaded with references to people who have been dead for thousands of years, and whom we only know about because of the funny references (you can take that ...


2

Is there one POV character or multiple? I would always aim to put the calendar according to the POV character. If it's just one character, it's pretty easy. Post through their perspective only. They can always make a comment when talking to other alien characters. "It happened in 3987. Oh, I guess that'd be #$nei9 according to your calendar." If you ...


2

Ensuring relevance/believability are key to stories/characters and magic/superpowers. When reading, I become fully immersed in the fictional world that if a power/ability appears 'just for show', the book's credibility weakens to me and I am cautious/fearful any new aspect that is introduced will also end up being a pointless trait. Though, I do enjoy when ...



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