Science fiction is one of the most popular genres around, and for good reason. It’s a genre that lets you explore new worlds, meet interesting characters, and ask big questions about the future of humanity. But writing a science fiction novel can be both fun and challenging. You’ll need to come up with a believable plot, create believable characters, and make sure your science is accurate. But if you’re up for the challenge, here are some tips to help you get started.
1 – Make Your World-Building Compelling
Building a science fiction world around the conflicts in your novel can be rewarding. But you need to make sure your world-building is compelling for readers. Here are some questions to ask yourself when building your science fiction world:
Would this society work in real life?
What are the consequences of this society?
How does this society impact your characters?
Keep in mind that even if you’re writing a dystopian or utopian science fiction novel, not all societies are created equal. You’ll need to make sure that any scientific progress fits into your world-building, but don’t go crazy cramming in every detail. You’ll notice that these are the comprehensive sort of books that science fiction publishers gravitate towards. Readers don’t want to read a science textbook disguised as a novel!
2 – Make Your Science Accurate, but Don’t Get Caught Up on the Details
Science plays an important role in many stories about space travel, aliens, and time travel; but it’s important not to spend too much time on the details. Even the peer-reviewed science fiction novels that publishers love can get bogged down in details.
Keep in mind that even if you’re writing hard science fiction, not all scientific progress fits into your world-building. There’s no need to go crazy cramming in every detail, but do think about which topics might be relevant to your novel, and research those topics to make sure that your science is accurate.
3 – Make Your Characters Believable
Science fiction readers love getting attached to interesting characters; but if you want them to engage with your story, they need to be believable. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when creating characters for your science fiction novel:
Are their emotions too exaggerated?
Are their feelings about certain topics realistic?
Is there enough depth and detail in each character?
Keep in mind that if readers aren’t engaging with your characters, they’re probably not going to want to read your sci-fi novel. You don’t have as much room as you think you might for additional details or backstory, but do make sure that all of the important details are included.
4 – Make Sure Your Novel is Believable Overall
The world-building, characters, and science should all work together to create a compelling story that readers will want to read. If any of these elements are too unbelievable, it’s going to be difficult for readers to get engaged with your novel.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when making sure your sci-fi novel is believable overall:
Is the plot plausible?
Are the characters’ motivations clear?
Is there enough explanation about important ideas or terms?
You might find it useful to cut down on the more fantastical aspects of your science fiction novel if they don’t work well with other elements, but always think about how you can make them better. Great novels are motivating and engaging, so do what you can to make sure yours is!
5 – Make Sure Your Novel is Compelling
Even if your sci-fi novel is believable and accurate, it’s not going to be a success if you can’t make it compelling. Here are some questions to ask yourself when making sure your science fiction novel is engaging:
Do the characters have understandable motivations?
Does the character feel real and relatable?
Is there enough direction throughout the story?
You might find it useful to add additional details about characters or add more tension into your plot, but always think about how you can make them better. Great novels are motivating and engaging, so do what you can to make sure yours is!
6 – Proofread Your Novel Carefully
The most common critical feedback that publishers receive is that novels are riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Typos, in particular, can often be easily overlooked because readers usually read books on a screen rather than on paper; if you get caught up in reading your own novel, it might be hard to notice them. You should always leave time for a peer or an editor to read through your novel and give you feedback on what they think could be better.
7 – Find a Publisher That’s Right for You
Not all publishers handle science fiction novels, but most sci-fi authors want to find a publisher that is able to properly market their novel to readers. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when looking for the best publishers for your science fiction novels:
What are my favorite science fiction novels?
What are some of my favorite genres?
Who is my target audience?
Finding the right publisher for your novel is often a matter of trial and error, but if you do your research before submitting anything, it can help.
8 – Don’t Give Up!
Writing a novel, especially one that’s science fiction, can be difficult. You might find yourself having to draft your sci-fi novel more than once; and even if you get to the point where you feel like your novel is ready to submit, it’s possible that publishers won’t feel the same way. If this happens, don’t give up! There are plenty of other publishers out there, and you might find one that’s a good fit for your novel.
Writing a science fiction novel can be challenging because it requires a lot of detail and thought. If you’re prepared to put in the time, there are many tips that will help your writing process go more smoothly. Whether you’re looking for publishers or want feedback on how believable or compelling your story is, these questions should give you some good ideas about what could make your sci-fi novel better.