Every author starts with an idea. Afterward, people think it’s smooth sailing from there – authors sit down with their laptops and continuously type for days on end. But what happens for most authors is that after having the aha! moment, the thought of interpreting the idea isn’t as simple as it seems.
Writing a novel isn’t an easy task, especially in writing science fiction. Besides, sci-fi authors aren’t simply narrating their experiences or day-to-day events; they create a new world. And as a writer, it is your responsibility to give your readers a new experience. Something mind gripping that they can’t help but revisit bits and bits of your book from time to time. Here’s how you achieve that:
For starters, your idea might not be enough to create a couple of chapters for a book. To have a solid foundation for your story, you need to consider more aspects – overall theme, fantasy world, characters – to make your idea more intriguing.
There are hundreds of sci-fi stories out there. This means one thing: competition is tough. For you to stand out, you need to experiment with new ideas. Don’t be afraid to write about something new. One way to do this is by finding inspiration from the real world and putting your twist over it.
Take Wayne Scott Harral’s sci-fi and mystery book, Moon Luck, for example. Its main plot is simple: in a group of scientists, somebody dies, and they need to find out who killed them. But Harral adds his twist to the seeming cliche plot – he made it happen on the moon. The unique setting thrusts the story to a new perspective, where the characters have a different and limited means of solving their problem than how they normally would have.
Know Your Audience
If you’re thinking of publishing your work, you’re writing for others and not only for yourself. To create a compelling story, you must first know who your audience is. Whom are you attracting? What are the possible expectations they might have?
Plan Your Plot
Your characters need to have a circular character arc to be effective. This means they transform, grow and change throughout your story, and this can only be achieved through an organized plot.
To help sort out your plot, you need to pinpoint the heart of your story. What is its core? Is it about a son’s revenge against his family’s killers, or is it a story of acceptance and healing? After you’ve decided on your story’s core, you can then build conflict, complications, climactic events, and resolution around it.
Do Your Research
Just because you’re writing fiction doesn’t mean you can just write everything as you go. While most of its element does revolve around fiction and the somewhat impossible, science fiction – as the name says – is still, in a way, based on science.
Make sure you’re writing the right things. If a detail in your story mismatches your audience’s expectation, this can affect their immersion, likewise, your story’s impact. But while having accurate information is essential, you shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with facts. You don’t want them to feel like they’re reading a science textbook instead.
Create an Interesting World
Besides creating your plot, world-building is one of the most critical elements that carry your work to perfection. After all, everything in your story takes place in your made-up world. Therefore, if you fail to design it clearly, your readers will also have difficulty imagining your story.
Besides the structures in your world, you also need to pay close attention to how you mold your characters. Enjoyable characters are those whom your readers can relate to. While it’s understandable that it’s difficult to relate to wizards or superheroes, besides, we can’t shoot lasers from our eyes; you can still make your characters relatable by giving them actual everyday conflicts and fears. Make them more human than fiction.
In Moon Luck, though not everyone can relate to being an astronaut or a scientist, there still existed a more mundane plot point which was all about finding out who killed their colleague.
Be consistent with how you present your world
The structure of your world is essential to plan out but so should be its mechanism – the laws and the overall logic governing it. A novel doesn’t just end after a couple of short chapters. It means there is more room for you to commit mistakes with the uniformity of your world. Remember, while your story is fictional, your world should appear believable. Having a consistent world creates credibility and makes your story more enjoyable.
Ultimately, writing any type of novel isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of brainpower and creative juices to make your idea come true.