Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

12

It's actually totally easy. Just let your characters interact with their environment in a natrual way. Here's a real world example, showing different systems of paying the fare for a public bus: Out of breath from running to the bus stop, John was still struggling with the ticket machine when the bus approached around the corner. (Konstanz, Germany) ...


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 ...


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 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 ...


5

Short version: Carefully. Long Version: It is definitely true that any kind of fantasy/sci if setting that departs in its construction significantly from the shabby parade of commitment phobic half-truths we call reality will require some explanation to, and understanding from, that most ferociously temperamental creature known as the reader. The best ...


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

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

You may be interested in Brandon Sanderson's lecture series on writing long form fantasy and science fiction: https://www.youtube.com/user/WriteAboutDragons/videos This is an excellent series on the practical craft of writing and particularly about what you asked about, writing about what is alien to the reader. He talks at one point about the dangers of ...


3

I'm always a bit surprised by this question. My first impulse is to ask: Don't you read the type of book you want to write?!? You should remember how the world was introduced in those books, and how you reacted to that. Personally, I never read prologues, interludes and similar detours from the main plot. My recommendation is: Just write your story. ...


3

Exploit your own weakness! Yes, you've got a problem - but luckily for you, you're writing a comedy, and your problem is actually funny. You should openly address the issue of having "Mr. Save-The-Day" cliche. Turn it into a main theme in the story. Let your main character actually be distressed by it, or maybe even neglect his duty because of it. It makes ...


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

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. ...


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

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 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 ...


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

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

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

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, ...


1

I would suggest reading stories by hard science fiction authors, especially ones where they discuss how space-travel (or teleportation) limitations determine what is possible in the world. For example: Larry Niven's Rammer series of short stories explores relativity. Larry Niven's "Theory and Practice of Teleportation". Jerry Pournelle's Mote In God's ...


1

Marks can indicate that the hero is "special" - chosen, if you will - and because the reader identifies with the hero, they too can feel like they're special. Is it a necessary device? That depends on the discretion of the author. Sure, there are "everyman" heroes who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and are brought along for the ride by ...


1

Writers love their heroes. Look, my first male hero in my first story was actually me, myself. And I obviously wanted my hero to be my better self, more muscles, more manly, more outgoing... So, I obviously gave such treats to my hero Lots of people like to pimp their ride You already bought the best phone on the market. And after few days you realized, ...


1

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 ...


1

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. ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible