Writing Sci-Fi

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Hope Ann Hope Ann 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #28195
    Profile photo of Dragon Snapper
    Dragon Snapper
    Participant

    Does anyone have any experience in writing science fiction? I’ve recently begun to write a sci-fi book, but it is my first attempt, and I’d appreciate any input you all can give me. And also book suggestions that are good sci-fi examples. Anything you can tell me is welcome. But if you want specificities, I’d like to know how to describe mechanics (the special cool stuff that is completely and entirely made up and that no one knows about except you 😛 ), actions scenes that unfortunately don’t include swords or dragons, and how to write without epic capes. And book recommendations (if there are any) Thanks!
    @leumeister (you’ve written some sci-fi, haven’t you?) @writefury @sarah-h @jess @daeus @kate-flournoy @rachelle @hope @jane-maree @overcomer @gretald @perfectfifths @Brandon-miller @aratrea @anyone else who likes sci-fi

    #28201
    Profile photo of Jess
    Jess
    Participant

    @dragon-snapper Soooo I come from a family that is very sci-fi oriented. (Except for my mom, and younger brothers.) So basically just my dad, but he makes up for everyone else. I recently finished a (messy) first draft of a dystopian/sci-fi.

    How to write Sci-fi? Ummm… I don’t know. Just like any other book, but a little different, I suppose. (Wow Jess, very helpful.) I tend to like Sci-fi that is set in the future, and often with a bit of dystopia/ and or space.
    Cool stuff? I don’t really go into detail about gadgets because I’m not a tech-y person, but I love coming up with gadgets. I’ve had micro-bugs, and gadgets to destroy them, hi-tech nail polish, earrings that play music that only you can hear to match your mood, etc. Basically, anything is possible. You could also make up words to describe how things work, or you could do a lot of research (a LOT of research.) I’ve made up elements on the periodic table to help explain stuff.
    (Side note: worldbuilding is just as important in sci-fi as in fantasy, in my opinion)
    Action scenes? I don’t have a lot of experience writing these things, but fight scenes have guns or other high-power weapons. (Like light sabers!!!) Or fighting sequences with martial arts. (I don’t really know what else.) I wrote a fight scene in virtual reality where people could bend the landscape with their thoughts.
    NO CAPES! (Incredibles flash) Capes are cool, especially if you’re writing superhero stuff. But very dangerous. (Thunderhead, snagged on a missile fin. Stratogale, caught in a jet turbine….)

    Books? The Five Kingdoms by Brandon Mull (fantasy and sci/fi. Note, author not Christian.) A good author is Margaret Haddix, The Giver, by Lois Lowery (amaze. Book or movie.) The Out of Time Trilogy by Nadine Brandes.

    I might come back to this later. Not sure how helpful this is, but anyways 😛

    #28204
    Profile photo of Ethryndal
    Ethryndal
    Participant

    @Dragon-Snapper As far as describing mechanics, I’d recommend getting a Star Wars cross-section book and studying it to death. And come to think of it, the Rogue One visual dictionary had some pretty good stuff on that as well.

    (And that is as far as I’ll venture, because I’ve never written a sci-fi. 🙂 )

    #28206
    Profile photo of Kate Flournoy
    Kate Flournoy
    Participant

    @Dragon-Snapper whew… I haven’t written scifi yet, though I’ve got one in the works. And… quite honestly, most of my inspiration for the actual science-y stuff came from studying physical science in my schoolwork. Like… the nature of time. And space. And how gravity is a result of those two, bent. And how stars work… and what gases do what to what and why… and electromagnatism combined with light particles and the properties of sound… so if you’re really really hardcore, take a physical science course. :’D
    BUT, if for (understandable 😛 ) reasons that’s not an option, then just pick and time and sit down and brainstorm. As @Jess said, literally anything’s possible. If you wanna experiment to get inspiration, take two magnets and play around with them a bit. Physics is an amazing thing.

    Fight scenes? Same rules as in a fantasy. Just different weapons.

    I’ll come back if I think of anything else actually helpful. 😀

    #28208
    Profile photo of Jane Maree
    Jane Maree
    Participant

    @Dragon-snapper alrighty. I’m writing a trilogy (not finished the last book yet) that’s Dystopian/Sci-Fi so I’d like to think I know what I’m doing. But actually I don’t have a clue. 😀

    In my trilogy I have a lot of Holograms, Hovering machines and some plasma/laser guns/bullets. For things like that it’s best to have a normal modern thing -for example a roadside billboard- and use that to describe your invention -a HoloBoard/Holographic moving billboard. Or a band around MC’s wrist that projects the time in a hologram above it -basically a watch.
    The thing is that if your book is clearly Sci Fi your readers will expect that there’s some quirky elements to basically everything. If you start off from the very beginning mentioning these random bits and pieces of technology, they’re going to learn that everything is going along the hologram phase, for example.

    Action/fight scenes have the same basic points. But there are differences in that the weapons used will be wildly different. Guns, lasers, things like that. BUT I’m going to say that you can actually use swords. In another plotted idea of a story of mine, I have a very Sci Fi world and people use swords as well as guns. Simply because guns are all very well for distant fighting, but as soon as you get up close it’s either hand-to-hand or blades/clubs (of varying sorts). Swords aren’t banned off your options. Take a look at some of the modern swords you can buy these days. They’re not all fantasy and curvy. Often they’re more deadly, dark, and they do have that almost Sci Fi look about them. (That could be just me though.) Seriously though, google search and check out the images for modern swords and Sci Fi swords. (I’ve heard of Sci Fi with spears before, so you really have free rein here.)
    Other than that…Huge battles are going to be man slaughters because so. many. soldiers. will die with all the advanced weapons. And it really depends on whether your character is trained in fighting, what sort of Sci Fi world you’ve got and other elements like that. (If you want to dump details on me, I honestly am open to brainstorming with you 🙂 )

    With epic capes you can actually take a look into a whole range of different clothing styles. Depending on your style, you could have super-tech suits, or ultra-thin+light armor, or clothes that change color depending on your mood, or…t-shirt and jeans. It really is completely up to what style of Sci Fi you’re wanting to write.

    Book recommendations I’d definitely say:
    Out of Time series – Nadine Brandes (brilliant Christian absolutely stunning books)
    The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer (although these aren’t Christian and do have some graphic violence in them, if that’s a problem)
    Jill Williamson also has some books that are Dystopian/Sci Fi I think. (Can’t remember what they’re called though.)

    Now that I’ve ranted on for twelve chapters and a prequel, hopefully that’s some help to you! And if you’d like to brainstorm with me, just ask, I’m happy to help! 😀

    #28210
    Profile photo of Leumeister
    Leumeister
    Participant

    @dragon-snapper

    Science fiction is… yeah, pretty much like any other story. Create a world. Could be a city, country, island, continent, two continents, planet, planet plus moon/space station, solar system, two solar systems, sector, sector cluster, galaxy, two galaxies, galaxy cluster, or entire universe… As far as you want to go. 😛 Then you build around that. Come up with some characters or possible names for characters, build on them, plonk them in your world. Then, let it stew for a few days to perhaps a few months, and then come back to start some more world building…

    Basically, it’s just like any other story, as I mentioned. The only difference is the setting and technology/tools and weapons available to the characters. So, if a girder falls on a character in a modern day fiction story, it may take some ingenuity to get it off them. In a sci-fi story, they could possibly use a special levitation device, either a biggish tool that they hold or a glove of some type, to almost effortlessly lift the girder off the character.

    Need to go somewhere far away? Generation ships, faster than light travel, slipspace/hyperspace, wormholes, and/or teleportation are good ways to get where you need to go. In Aquila, my story, I use faster than light (FTL) travel. The titular ship can go up to 2⅓ lightyears per hour. To put that into perspective, it would take 8 minutes at light speed to get to the sun. From there, at maximum speed, it would take a little less than two hours to get to Proxima Centauri, the next closest star.

    There’s a lot you can do with sci-fi. You can “relax” real life physical laws a bit to get things to go the way you want them, or you can rigidly and religiously follow real laws. It may keep your story in this system, but you can still do a lot with just that. Hope I’ve helped!

    #28221
    Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
    Josiah DeGraaf
    Keymaster

    @dragon-snapper What sub-genre of sci-fi are you looking at writing? Hard sci-fi? Space opera? Steampunk? Something else? I haven’t written much sci-fi, but I’ve read a decent bit, so hearing what type of sci-fi you’re looking at writing would help me know what to best recommend on the reading front.

    #28230
    Profile photo of Dragon Snapper
    Dragon Snapper
    Participant

    @jess @ethryndal That is helpful: thanks!
    @kate-flournoy Magnets. I like magnets. Thanks for the idea. (hehehehe)
    @jane-maree The nice thing about not knowing what you’re doing is that you get to wing it. 😛 And I do have the world and plot set up, actually, I just have to know if there is any rhyme or rythm to sci-fi in itself. Thanks though!
    @leumeister Thanks!
    @aratrea Ah…forgot about sub-genres. What’s Star Wars’ Genre. It’s on a different planet, and they have a lot of high-tec, and they can go into space, just not too far yet.

    Well, I can say, everyone, that sci-fi sounds like it’s a lot like fantasy, just with different elements. That’s good to know! Again, thanks!

    #28258
    Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
    Josiah DeGraaf
    Keymaster

    @dragon-snapper Star Wars is an example of space opera. Your story could be planetary romance or generic SF, tho. I guess I mostly wanted to clarify if it had a large space element or not.

    My hands-down favorite sci-fi series is the Ender’s Game Quartet by Orson Scott Card. Be forewarned that there’s some language in the series, if that bothers you, but it’s an absolutely brilliant series and I would highly recommend it. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series is also well-worth reading, though its style is probably not what you’re going for. Frank Herbert’s Dune and Robert Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy are also good, though my memory is rather vague on those books since I haven’t read them for a while. Dune is a sci-fi classic though. Hope that book list helps!

    #28391
    Profile photo of Aysia Serene
    Aysia Serene
    Participant

    @dragon-snapper no capes and swords? *shrugs* sorry, I’ve got nothing.
    Book suggestions, though, that I have. Two. Yeah, I really should read more sci-fi.
    1. Enchantress from the Stars. I read this one a few years back and remember really liking it. It has a bit of romance… but not too much. I found the whole book fascinating, but it was also the first sci-fi I read, so that could be slightly biased.
    2. Ender’s Game. *a moment of silence whilst I try not to scream*
    I love this book, I love this book so much. Orson Scott Card is a master of words, his writing style is amazing.
    Note: I have not read the other books in the series, and thus cannot vouch for them. However, “Ender’s Shadow” (which is not-exactly-in-the-series-but-kinda-is) is also a fantastic book.

    #28630
    Profile photo of Rachelle
    Rachelle
    Participant

    Ah, sci fi. I have a strange relationship with this genre. It’s not my favorite to read or watch, but it’s the main one I find myself pulling elements from to write with. XD
    I don’t have good answers to most of these questions except book recommendations (and even those aren’t hard sci fi):

    1. The Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars universe books)
    2. The Myst books by can’t-remember-the-author’s name (based off the Myst PC game by CYAN. Might need to play it first to know what’s going on, but I highly recommend it if you like puzzle games)
    3. The Safe Lands trilogy by Jill Williamson
    4. The Bright Empires series by Stephen Lawhead

    That’s all I can think of right now. =P

    #28788
    Profile photo of Hope Ann
    Hope Ann
    Participant

    @dragon-snapper I’m late to the party because everyone else seemed to say everything. But the Space Drifter books by Paul Regnier are very good. They’re well written and quite funny.

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