Genius World-Building Tips for Science Fiction Writers

December 1, 20210Guest Article

Genius World-Building Tips for Science Fiction Writers

December 1, 2021 0
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Everyone knows that when writing science fiction, the sky’s the limit—but if you don’t plan on setting the story on Earth, then the sky isn’t your limit! Many readers pass over realist contemporary fiction and choose to read sci-fi instead. Why? Well, for one, they can find engaging plots and characters in this genre with no lack of adventure, suspense, conflict, and even romance. However, the main reason readers opt mainstream fiction is the imaginary setting that takes you on a world somewhat different from the one we live in.

These worlds may be basis of the sense of place in other genres, but it’s the very essence of any good science fiction. The setting is so much more than just a framing device in a way that may not be in a realist fiction. You can’t immediately assume that when someone grows plants that it’s going to be the same as it is on Earth. How do you grow plants on the moon? How does it thrive? Suddenly everything changes. Now, do a once over on Moon Luck by Harral. This book has a remarkable world which not only sets the stage for where the story revolves but also lays groundwork for the characters to interact and develop.

Thus, if you want a craft a compelling world like Scott Harral’s, then we recommend you follow the tips itemized below.

Pre-determine Every Detail

Although most writers prefer to build their world along the development of their stories, detailed plans are a science fiction writer’s best friend. And by detailed plan we mean every detail. From the environment of the world to the governing rules, down to the last features. Some writers juxtapose a real-world setting with fantastical elements, while others create an entirely imaginary universe with their own physical laws, logic, and populations of imagined races. This blueprint will be extremely helpful when you’re writing, you may decide to eliminate or change some of these details to your liking as you progress.

The downside of flying by the seat of one’s pants is that you may unintentionally forget characteristics that will be important to the overall plot. So identify all the features you want present on your world.

Take Charge of the Human Sensory

Get creative and go beyond simply describing the appearance to unlock the richness and depth of your fictional world. While there’s nothing wrong with relying heavily on visual descriptions, it can become too descriptive and less immersive for readers. Immersion is the one thing that any writer wants, and you should do, too. Using all five senses is a brilliant rule that helps make your fictional world come to life. Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Each sense a powerful tool on its own way. And when combined, they don’t simply describe the world that events take place in offers a full, riveting experience.

There is no necessity to use them all, particularly in a single scene. However, being aware of them as you write, and learning to use them effectively will result in a rich and believable setting that readers are going to want to inhabit themselves.

Use Existing Works to Inspire You

If you’re not like Scott Harral with experience and in-depth knowledge of his setting—the moon, then we recommend you try to revisit the works of other science fiction writers for inspiration. This one is a given, and it’s probably something you’ve heard many times before, but the importance of this can’t be stressed enough. Additionally, never steal ideas rather review the work to see how they built their world.

Plan with Caution

Discovering a new world is a whole lot difficult than building it before you get too deep into the writing. Yes, it can be fun but it is so easy to get lost in the small details you want to include as you progress. Therefore, it’s especially important to have a blueprint. However, over planning can also be a problem. Many science fiction writers become so engrossed in world-building that they find themselves entangled in millions of details, which can be confusing and monotonous. World-building must not come at the expense of your story. You may feel like you have to follow the plans you’ve laid out for yourself but your story and other details will continuously change along the way, so it’s better not to get too hung up on the minor things.


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Copyright by Scott Harral 2020. All rights reserved.

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