Science Fiction from Skillshare

Science fiction is in a class by itself.

Check out this link to expert advise on steps fir writing your next sci-fi adventure.

Maybe work out some stumbling blocks in your current manuscript with these 6 steps.

You don’t have to write sci-fi to get something meaningful from their helpful structure hints.

Let us know what you found useful in this post.

Do you have other strategies you would like to share?

Are their genres you would like similar information on?


A very workman-like set of advice (and none the worse for that).

Just back myself from an evening out (on a school night, no less!), where the conversation turned to writing; and I reiterated my own top tips:

  1. Sci-fi (or fantasy) setup is just a jumping-off point. My fantasy stories are really just Westerns with swords. They could also be Samurai movies. Or straight up Tudor/Roman/Ancient Greek settings. The setting is just a hook. In GoT the dragons are cool but the politics keep us watching. West Wing? House of Cards? The Tudors? No dragons. Or spaceships. Or robots.
  2. Character first. Hmm, where have we heard that before? People read for the relatable characters, not the latest pseudo-science wizz-bang. Unless they’re really superficial…
  3. Iceberg theory of world-building: only 30% need be visible above the surface. And the reader only need think you built the other 70%.

I’ll take a somewhat judgemental attitude to the article here, because I feel that science fiction has been invaded by people who see it as just fantastical storytelling that earns good money. A key feature of sci fi is that it tries to be true to the science.
I have a great dislike of the so-called sci fi that is really fantasy wearing a cloak of sci fi. It’s characterised by the use of magic, invariably done by a quick burst of technobabble, often breaking basic laws of physics.
This may seem a strange objection coming from someone who writes cross genre sci fi fantasy, but just as science can’t explain some things in real life, I’ve partitioned my world into the parts where science applies, and the aspects where magic does.
I think this article was basically good except where it encouraged people to write fantasy under the guise of science fiction.

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You have just called out why i always struggled to be able to differentiate the genres. Thank goodness someone said it! Cheers.

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Excellent post!

The iceberg theory really resonated with the issue that holds many writer’s up, of wanting to solve every possible answer, even before the question has been posed.

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I was being kind when I called it ‘workmanlike,’ it was quite generic writing advice.

There’s a siding scale of science fiction that moves between ‘science’ and ‘fiction.’

Arthur C. Clarke and Asimov tried to stay ‘on’ science. Kurt Vonnegut and Frank Herbert (as social and political commentators) did not. Famous astronomer Patrick Moore wrote hard-science non-fiction but escapist YA sci-fi - because he could.

I’d actually prefer if we dropped the moniker ‘science fiction’ and stuck to ‘speculative fiction’ instead.

Personally I find it helpful to have the distinctions: knowing the genre helps me decide whether to buy or to read. Sometimes I’m in the mood for sci-fi, sometimes for fantasy (that’s assuming the book is good in the first place, ha ha).
The label is not enough on its own, but it factors into my decision making.
For some purposes though I agree - it’s enough (and more sensible) to label something simply as speculative fiction.
One drawback is that it has the same abbreviation as sci-fi, so the abbreviation is gradually adding to the confusion around “what is sci-fi?”

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The counter to my proposal is that speculative fiction (‘spec-fic’ as I believe the Cool Kids call it) is also way to broad to be much use.

I had this debate with one of my tutors (she wrote a whole book on it) over one of my term papers some XXXX decades ago. And here we are…

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