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How To Write: Science Fiction Writing Tips

Updated on April 17, 2016
What is this? Is it an unusual structure on the moon?
What is this? Is it an unusual structure on the moon?

As the author of the Sequetus Series, I learned a lot. I began writing the story in 1989. This was during the cold war. I cannot even recall what really inspired me to write. I just did it. Below are the five main points I found in writing.

INSPIRATION: A writer needs inspiration. He needs to want to do it. He has to want to write. I used to read a lot of science fiction, and then I thought, I can write too. I started to find that science fiction, which I loved, was becoming ordinary. So what was the solution? I wrote my own.

I centred my own stories around what I thought was unusual about this planet. I was mystified by many things in 1989, and I thought I could orient a story around it. That intrigue does not ever seem to be explained away, even now. For example, the above photograph I came across by magnifying a much larger photo. I was researching why the moon was not cold. It has magna inside it it. The moon has lava, which are the seas you see covering craters. So, I had a big picture of this. I magnified it and found this structure. Others have found it also. What is in it is two large towers, in the centre of a crater. But that is not all, there is a structural retaining walls built around the edge of the crater, rising sheer vertical. These retain walls are not in any other craters; only this one with the apparent towers. I was inspired to write my stories.

PERSISTENCE: If you have no real history of persistence, you will find writing hard. Today, is different to thirty years ago. Then you located a publisher, and they paid all the additional bills, and the writer got a royalty. Today's writers, have to get their own covers, publish their own work, do their own public relations, marketing and selling, or they drift off into obscurity. Two relative easy platforms that help are Amazon and Smashwords. The key however, even with them, is persistence.

Black Knight, as photographed from space.
Black Knight, as photographed from space.

RESEARCH: For me, research is what you personally want to know about. Understand that the reader is the ultimate boss. You, as an artist, have a dream, and that is what you must convey to the reader. If you are writing about your character staying in a hotel, go and visit one like it. If you are writing about a back alley in a city, visit it, even with google earth. This kind of research is important, as it adds reality to your story. It becomes believable.

My own story was about an intelligence officer from out there, sent to Earth in 1989, to find out why the planet had not been intervened with, by out there. There were strange things going on here, what were they? So to make my story interesting I had to look at what were the anomalies of this planet. There appeared to be unusual structures on the moon. There were unusual looking elements that looked like structures on Mars. Research tended to show me that there was perhaps even surface water on Mars, not just the obvious rivers that had dried up. All this found its way into my stories.

Research showed me an unusual craft like object, called Black Knight. This is a futuristic bomber type looking craft that has been circling the planet on a polar orbit. It has been there, orbiting Earth, well before the first sputnik went up. Astronauts have photographed it since.

When I was writing about travelling faster than the speed of light, I started to wonder, what would stop that from happening? For a start, what was light? How did it travel? How is it that energy can travel in a vacuum, when in space it is meant to be absolute zero temperature? Energy will not travel when it is that cold. I found that space was not empty, and it was full of matter that we simply cannot see or examine yet. And addition to that, space has temperature. It is not absolute zero. Well then, what is holding that temperature? It has a name of dark matter, but this really does not explain it all away. I am not going to explain it here, however. I also researched how an anti gravity machine works. It can you. How does gravity work? What is it?

Another question I had was, what is life, and how does life interact with the physical universe, and interact with time? If my characters were going to travel time, how could they do that? What were the mechanics of time? I researched all these, have very plausible explanations and from these, I constructed my worlds and story.

CONSTRUCT YOUR WORLD: You have likely heard this many times. You have to build your own world in your book. As I am a building contractor, I find this natural. I know you must have a good foundation to rest the remainder of the building on. For me, it meant that when I had enough research done for the story to rest upon, it was enough. I could write the story. You as the writer must decide how much that is. However, also remember it will really be your readers who decide.

TAKE OUT THE CHAFF: A writer should first write non-stop. He should not be inhibited in what he writes. He just lets the ideas pour out in a torrent without a lot of thinking and analysis. This is a method of writing that I used. When the story is finished, one can then look at what was written and what will and will not contribute to the story.

A writer must then reread his work, over and over, until all unneeded paragraphs, sentences, words, pictures, which do not contribute to the story, are removed. The readers' time is important to the reader. They will not continue reading if you have them reading what they have no interest in, no mater how passionate you are about it.

I went over my books around eight times, removing all that did not contribute. On the last read through, I could find only one word in one page, or up to ten pages. But this was still worth it.

If you do the above I am sure you will find writing successful. The world needs great dreamers and writers

The smooth dark areas on the moon are called maria. This is lava that has flowed out from the moon over its surface.
The smooth dark areas on the moon are called maria. This is lava that has flowed out from the moon over its surface.

MYSTERY

Mystery is a kind of glue that holds the reader to the book. The better the mystery the better the building. The best mystery will bind the reader past any errors you might make in the other categories above. Mystery is the glue that binds movies and books together. It does not matter if it is a romance, or a science fiction novel, it works. It works in non-fiction too.

The cover of Final Passage has more than just a picture of a planet or spaceship, it has some interest.
The cover of Final Passage has more than just a picture of a planet or spaceship, it has some interest.

COVERS

I do not have a lot to say about the cover of a book. It is personal. However, it is important that the cover draws the public in with interest. In my earlier books I did not do this. I selected what images pleased me, what I thought looked good. That of course was an excellent start. But then I decided I could find more and better, and create some intrigue or mystery.

In the cover above, when I saw it, I wondered what this person in the cover was doing, and where he was going? Was he diving straight down to the Earth, with no protective suit against the friction of the atmosphere? Was he falling without berthing apparatus?

In this book, called Final Passage, yes, the character is falling, without breathing apparatus, and with no real further protection that what he is wearing. In my book, my main character is doing this deliberately.

Good luck on your book writing!


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