Imagining the Future: Tips and Prompts for Writing Science Fiction
One of the most common settings for science fiction novels and short stories is the future. Who doesn't want to imagine what the future will be like? As a writer you have the power to make the future a bright happy place where the problems of today are only a distant memory. Or you can make a dark future where everything has compounded into apocalyptic proportions. But where do you start?
The Importance of Writer Expectations
One of the most important elements of a story is the reader’s expectations. I’m not talking about guessing what readers want or trying to write for the market. Writer’s must find the balance between fulfilling the readers’ expectations and surprising them in pleasing ways. If the reader’s expectations are fulfilled too exactly, they will get bored because they can always tell what is going to happen next, but if the writer puts in too many twists and turns, the reader will get confused and frustrated. There are different levels of expectations to keep in mind and they can be treated differently. The way you handle the reader’s expectations for the…
How to Make Your Setting a Character
The setting of your story should be dynamic enough that it acts as its own character. By forcing your protagonist to consider elements of the setting when making decisions, you fill your your world and create a more compelling story.
How to Turn Your Idea into a Story
Okay, you’ve come up with a great idea, but how do you turn that into an actual story? This is, for some, the hardest part. Often, once you know what the story is, the part where you turn that into a written text is no big deal. (If only, right?) I have come up with a list of questions meant to help you dig into your idea and find the threads of narrative hidden within. They are divided into three main categories: Conflict, Characters, and Setting. Some of the questions seem like duplicates but by virtue of appearing under a different category they are slightly different, with slight nuances. I…
10 Tips to Keep Readers Engaged with your Fantasy World
World building for a Fantasy novel or story can be incredibly fun and rewarding. But it’s easy to forget about your reader while you craft your sparkly new geography, fauna, and cultures. As the author you know all the ins and outs of your new world and can picture everything clearly. The reader must be introduced to everything you’ve created and can sometimes get intimidated or confused by all the new information. I’ve made a list of tips that can help keep your reader engaged with your new Fantasy world. 1) Keep some things familiar. The reader needs something to use as an anchor while they explore your new world.…
Tips for Writing Characters with Social Anxiety
Once in a while I read a book or story featuring a person with social anxiety. Sometimes it’s done brilliantly and other times…well, improvements could be made. I’d like to help out any writers who find themselves writing a character with anxiety. I’ll give a list of some characteristics of social anxiety and then some tips for portraying anxious people in stories. I am focusing on social anxiety since that is a largely misunderstood condition and the one which I am most familiar with. Characteristics 1) They are all unique. The most important thing to know about people with social anxiety is that they are not all the same.…
20 Tips for Writing Magic Systems
So, you know you want to write a story with magic in it, but you want to come up with something new. Where do you start? The possibilities are practically endless. Below I have compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself to get started and then a few ideas for the basis of a magic system. You can also check out my other articles on this topic in the section Creating Magic Systems. Some general questions: 1) The most important thing for you to decide about your magic system is what the cost is for the users. (I wish I could take credit for this but I got…
10 Ways to Add Depth to Your World Building
World building is a daunting task and creating a culture for your fantasy or science fiction world can be complicated. Many culture traits are out in the open and easy to see, such as religion, fashion, and language. But there are many facets to culture and most of them are so ingrained that we don’t even realize they are there. If you can find subtle ways to incorporate these elements into your story, your world will feel more like a real place filled with real people. The trick is to make it seem natural not forced or listed. I discussed this problem with relation to Character Development as well. Combining…