Writing Advice Category
Is the name “Terra” an enormous cliche, and when is it okay for science fiction writers to use it?
Advice on how to write a winning entry to our Alien Week competition
If you’re having trouble thinking up new and original ideas for a science fiction story, here’s a little writing exercise that may help. It’s based on the adolescent party game ‘spin the bottle’.
It’s useful to consider a story as having four sections; the introduction, complication, climax and resolution.You can see the four part story structure in various works, from printed works of literature to movies. We’re going to use the movie Jurassic Park as an example.
Writing large numbers of characters in any fictional work can cause confusion for the reader. This is especially true at the start of a book, when multiple characters are being introduced at the same time. While you may have a picture-perfect view of exactly who everyone is and what they are doing at any given time, you cannot expect your readers to share in your clarity.
The world of science fiction literally epic and incredibly complex. The genre can be divided into dozens of subgenres, each with their own unique themes and attributes. Any one science fiction story can cross the boundaries of several of these subgenres, or even break off into its own cult category.
In science fiction it’s safe to say pretty much anything can happen. With a good enough reason, characters can be brought back from the dead to continue their story.
Faster-than-light travel is one of the most revolutionary ideas science fiction has ever explored. This simple narrative device has made it possible for writers to explore distant worlds and expand human civilization out into the depths of space. However, it’s worth noting that FTL is just that; a narrative device – a means to an end.
This is an approach to story structure taught to me by my old creative writing lecturer, Nick Pemberton. He calls it his ‘good sex’ strategy, although he freely a rollercoaster metaphor would be more appropriate. I’ll walk you through the idea using both metaphors for the sake of clarity.
If you are desperate for ideas, this might help…
I found this article on the Ongoing Worlds blog. It has some good tips on how to make your characters more believable and more likable by making them stumble a few times on the road to success. http://ongoingworlds.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/make-your-character-fail-a-few-times-before-succeeding/#more-306 The Ongoing Worlds blog offers advice on roleplaying (specifcally play-by-email RPGs) but this advice is relevant to all [...]