Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Writing science fiction

Although we are not a specialist science fiction competition, we do get the odd sci-fi entry so what makes good science fiction? Here are some thoughts:

* The best science fiction writers create fantastic worlds but write about them as if they were completely normal. You need to do so as well.

* Make sure the reader is able to suspend disbelief. The plot and events need to be believable.

* Base your ideas on good science - that is what makes the best sci-work, it could happen. If a story comes over as impossible, you are moving into fantasy rather than sci-fi.

* You have to explain more as the reader needs more help to see your weird and wonderful world.

* Science fiction must evoke a sense of wonder in the reader. They must want to be in that remarkable world, to meet aliens, to travel in time and space

* Awe and wonder is all very well but what is also needed is a command of writing: bug-headed aliens does not negate the need for skilful writing
What makes bad science fiction?

1 The great Science Fiction editor John W Campbell said that a science fiction writer should never put beings into a story that are so far superior to Man that we cannot understand their motives, we cannot overcome their will or we cannot meet them face to face in a fair fight. It’s a rule that stands true today


2 Don’t try to re-create popular sci-fi stories. You can be more original than that!

3 Make your aliens alien but also make them realistic

4 No, it wasn’t a dream - no one waking up to discover they were in bed all the time!

Plenty of time to enter the latest Global Short Story Competition at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean

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