I would like to give a BIG round of applause to ALL of you who have taken what I believe to be the hardest genre to write in. So much has to go into writting Sci Fi. But for every great piece of Sci Fi, there are tons of really bad Sci Fi. So I'm asking for a small piece of your writting process. I'm not talking basic plot points or character development. These go into all story telling. I mean the things that only relate to Science Fiction. What you say to yourself as your writting about Warp drives, Lazer guns, psychic blast, Alien tech or whatever laws exist in your world that do not exist in the real world.

So please give me YOUR SCI FI DO'S & DON'TS

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That's a totally different situation, in a galaxy where countless races are aware of each other, and have long-established methods for bridging the language barrier.  I was talking about a first contact situation, and for sci-fi which does not border on the outright fantastical.  If you have an already-established galactic civilization, then such a thing may not be needed, but if, for example, you have a series where your protagonists make first contact with races all the time, you have to remember that you're writing a book, not making a TV series with time and money constraints.  You don't have to make it like Stargate SG-1, where just about every race they encountered, for some reason, spoke perfect English.  Take time to make your first encounters with an alien race realistic, or at least come up with a plausible reason as to why they can understand each other.  


Iran harris said:

Although... If aliens don't pick up the english language quickly the dialogue could be one big stutter fest so I would rather they assumed certain things and moved right to the dynamic epic light saber duels!

Darth Vader: "Luke... I am your father!"

Luke: "Sorry, I don't speak Huttese!"

Darth Vader: "Luke... I am your father!"

Luke: "I don't speak Jawa either!"

Darth Vader: "I be Padme's baby daddy!"

Luke: "I do speak ebonics however... Watchoo talkin' bout' Willis?"

I would say do your research. As in research trends in modern science to more acurrately portray what the world will look like in 20-30 years and beyond.

That said, the further into the future you place your story, the easier writing becomes, because no one can really say what the world will look like in the 2500's and beyond.

Look at all the mumbo-jumbo Star Trek has gotten away with!

One must have an at-least basic understanding of science, in particularly physics, but don't adhere to the laws of science like dogma. One should feel free to stretch the rules or come up with something new (I.E, new phenomenon not discovered yet, like Minovsky particles in Mobile Suit Gundam)

If your idea is outlandish and you know it's outlandish, at least be able to explain the theory behind how the technology works, even if it has no grounding in the real world, like Light-sabres and of course, warp-drive.

You should be aloud to have fun with it.

For example, i know my character,  http://adony.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2kx3e1Tachyon-Pulse's powers would NEVER work (Bombarding oneself with Tachyon particles won't turn you into a living pulse of light), but it works for how I need her powers to work. I think you get my drift...

That's what's called "Deus Ex Machina", or in Manga fandom "Plot No Jutsu".  Writing yourself into a corner and then coming up with some magical B.S out of nowhere to save your hero at the last minute.

Djeli said:

rotfl. true talk.



MARC said:


LOL, and also don't forget

Don't forget don't come up with convenient outs just because you're SCI Fi. I'm talking to you Superman II and your magical pulled out of your ass powers like invisibility and the S throwing net.
Night Manager said:

LMAO!! Ok!

DON'T... STEAL from other science fiction! I'm talking to YOU STARGATE UNIVERSE! 1st you had your "gates" which was fine but then your writers got LAZY and decided to start "beaming" people to planets. WE KNOW YOU STOLE IT!!

DO... some RESEARCH!!! You can make up anything you want! Really, I'm cool with just about ANYTHING...but if you're writing SCIENCE fiction you still have to base you fiction in some kind of science! Example? Mars is NOT over a THOUSAND LIGHT YEARS away! I'm talking to YOU STARBLAZERS!!!

DON'T...show off for the sake of showing off! If you're fighting Vampires and decide to kill one with "lazer Bat'leth" you're readers are going to wonder why your hero didn't just shoot the damn thing with a lazer GUN!1 I'm talking to YOU BLADE TRINITY!!!

DON'T...over explain your unique concepts. If it's magic...let it BE MAGIC. DON'T tell me that your wizards bodies are host to some parasite! I'm talking to YOU GEORGE LUCAS!!!!!!

Hell, yeah, gimme some of that blue chick with the white hair from "Farscape"!

Iran harris said:

I resent that last post on the grounds that if I am in to blue chicks and want to hook up with the tall blue girl from Avatar or the dancing blue girl in Jabba The Hut's palace I don't want any type of scientific rationale blocking me from getting mines!

A Vah Jay Jay is a Vah Jay Jay even if it's blue!

Carry on...

Speaking of Aliens Speaking Perfect English, I first realized how ludicrous that really was the first time I watched Anime in it's original Japanese; Dangaio.

In it, we have a 3-women, 1-man crew of Space Pilots dealing with a band of giant cyborgs with psychic powers and such. Mind you, of the 4 heroes, though they were all humanoid, only one of them was from good ol' Earth; Mya Alice of Japan. The others all harkened from various different planets.

Never the less, EVERYONE in the show spoke PERFECT Japanese!

Wait a minute...

The English language is the most popular language on planet earth at least among the important business and political people from Washington D.C. to the United Nations and Wall Street where the love of money would make you foolish not to speak English.

Therefore it is plausible that English would be spoken intergalacticly once things expanded universally and aliens wanted to order Big Macs and fries without the hassle language barriers.

Some observations:

Most of the science fiction writing here takes place far enough in the future that anything can be created for the structure for the chosen universe.  This makes, as someone stated upthread, creating the framework in which the story takes place, easy.

The universes can be anything, regardless of whether or not the development of the species in question would have logically evolved in that direction, especially man moreso than an alien species I guess.

Over generalization of a race and it's civilization structure takes away the opportunity for subplots with different characters having diverse motivations for their actions.

I agree with those who posted about magic.  It's too easy as a plot mover most of the time and I absolutely agree that it should be consistent.  I read an article in one of the sci-fi magazines a few years ago that the best magic will have rules as consistent as physics in order to provide a believable background.

And I find the overblown "perfection" of the depictions of us in comics boring.  Ripped male torsos and oversized breasts in the women is so played out that it takes away from what could be a really good tale. IMHO. 

There's a million shades of Black skin, there's thousands of body types from Muhammad Ali in his prime to weight-lifting competitors to Fat Albert, but they are the exceptions on either end.  I have a hard time believing that even 1000 years from now everyone will be as the common drawings, unless nano technology gives everyone the body they want like in Pluto Nash.

Steampunk requires a methodical invention/development of technologies that are a combination of stylized Tesla and Rube Goldberg.  There's a built-in challenge that forces a writer or illustrator to perform within the existing structure with infinite opportunity for a creative story.  It's like a sonnet, the structure is not flexible but the content can be anything.

GP

"There's a million shades of Black skin, there's thousands of body types from Muhammad Ali in his prime to weight-lifting competitors to Fat Albert, but they are the exceptions on either end."

For a racially-mixed person like myself, I have to give a cock-eyed glance at comics for giving the same complexion to EVERY SINGLE BLACK CHARACTER!!!

At least "the Boondocks" gives their characters variations in skin tones, from Uncle Ruckus' way-dark skin (a result of his "Revitaligo", apparently) to the Freeman's reddish-brown hues (Hughie Freeman's hues, get it?) to Jasmine's mixed complexion. Good on you guys, Aaron McGruder and LeSean Thomas!

As for magic, here's food for thought:

You ever notice in "Doctor Who" there is ABSOLUTELY NO MAGIC, but they do make allowances for psychic or super-science based powers that appear to WORK like magic?

Good idea definitely, as long as writers can stick with it.

Or just look at role-playing video games; the hero will start off with basic spells like "Lightening Bolt" and "Heal", with a VERY limited amount of "Magic" energy (Usually depicted as MP or Magic
Points). But as the character grows in strength (STR) and experience (XP), they gain more magic stamina and greater spells. By the end of said game, the same hero whom would deplete his stores of magic power after throwing 3 thunderbolts can now summon ancient elemental beasts and wrathful torrents of "Megidos"              (wrongfully translated as Armageddon).

Write on, my fellow fans.

The best advice I was ever given on the subject came from Harlan Ellison. I hate Harlan Ellison, but his advice was sound. No matter what cool idea you come up with, or cool technology you create, your story has to be a "people story". It can't be about the technology, it has to be about the people the technology affects.

Co-sign y'all. And it's so much more fun :)
 
Milton Davis said:

I agree. That's why Philip K. Dick stories keep getting made into movies.

Lorenzo Heard said:

The best advice I was ever given on the subject came from Harlan Ellison. I hate Harlan Ellison, but his advice was sound. No matter what cool idea you come up with, or cool technology you create, your story has to be a "people story". It can't be about the technology, it has to be about the people the technology affects.

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