8 September 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 39 What not to Extrapolate
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.
The first and most important point is you must be able to extrapolate technology and science if you wish to write science fiction. Technology is applied science--so, while you might include science that is not applied, your technology must be applied science. If you are not extrapolating science in your science fiction, you are not writing science fiction. To extrapolate science, you must understand science. I'll write more about this, but at this point, it might be worthwhile to explain when you might not extrapolate science too much.
Some scientist authors are really good at this, that is extrapolating their created world uniformly and fully. Most are not. Most don't get it. Many of the greatest science fiction authors didn't get hardly anything right about future technology--yet their writing was awesome. For example, Robert Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel is an outstanding piece of hard science fiction from the late 50 early 60s. The problem was that he didn't get most of the potential extrapolated spacesuit capabilities at all. He did use current technology to move just a little into the future and provided an excellent hard science fiction novel. The point is that not everything in Heinlein's book was extrapolated. He kind of took the late 50, early 60s culture and life and overlaid a more modern science on that framework.
If a science fiction author could extrapolate everything, his audience might not get anything out of his writing. A writer must connect to some degree with his audience. The world of the early 21st century would not compute to anyone from the early 20th century. It is likely that a science fiction novel that got everything right would never be read because a person in the early 20th century wouldn't be able to understand. It is important to connect with your readers.
However, it is also important to realize that most of the problem with science fiction is the inability to properly extrapolate science.
Also remember, I'm trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: