2 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 2 Science
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I do science, and you can't take the science out of science fiction. If you do,
you no longer have science fiction. You might ask, can't I write about the
future without worrying about science? The simple answer is no. Recently, I
wrote that you have to immerse your readers into the world of your writing. The
world of the future is a world defined by technology. If you can predict
technology, you can predict the future. You can tell what the world will look
like. The biggest problem is that most science fiction writers never got the
future very right. A few, like John Brunner, predicted what the world might
look like, but most weren't even close. Asimov, Clark, and Heinlein still
had their galaxy roaming characters using slide rules when computers were a
reality. Talk about missing the point of computers, but when computers fill a
room, I guess it is hard to see what they might become. I mentioned yesterday,
you have to extrapolate to write science fiction. You have to be able to
predict what future technology will look like and build a world based on that
future technology. You can't write science fiction without the science, and you
can't begin to think about the future without thinking about technology. So, to
be a good science fiction writer, you need to know a lot about science. Did you
hear me. It does no good to be ignorant about advanced science and try to write
science fiction. You will fail every time. No one expects a science fiction
writer to get the nuances of future science perfectly right, but don't you see,
knowledge of science is the basis for science fiction--you can't extrapolate
from a position of ignorance. This means that if you want to write science
fiction, you better start studying. That's the rub, by the way. I meet all
kinds of people who think they want to write historical fiction, but they
haven't and they will not spend the years of study required to know the world
they want to write about. On the other hand, many who want to write science
fiction, think they can simply pick up a pen and write any old piece about the
future and magically, that is science fiction. No pain. No work. Just a story
about the future and it is magically science fiction. I would like to let you
know, there is more work involved in studying to develop the world of a science
fiction novel than any piece of historical fiction. You have to build enough
knowledge to extrapolate the future. To do that requires you to know a lot
about science in the the past. Your extrapolation is only as good as the data
that makes up your basis. The line you build your extrapolation from must be
well grounded. The grounding is in the past--the science of the past. If you
can understand how the technology got to the point it is today, then and only
then can you begin to extrapolate a future world. Tomorrow, the how in building
a basis for extrapolation.
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.