Do you love Sci Fi? Do you love books? Do you love it when they come together? Well then, you’ll love this post! Check out Author Kristi Helvig’s guest post of her top 5 tips to writing Sci-Fi! Also, read on to see the deets on her Burn Out series, and enter our giveaway for a chance to WIN a SIGNED Copy of BURN OUT (book 1)!
Top 5 Tips for Writing Sci-Fi
1.) Read (and watch) a lot of sci-fi. This is the best way to know how good sci-fi novels work. If you haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time yet by Madeleine L’Engle, go do so immediately. Well, you can finish reading this first, but then go! I also believe that watching good sci-fi helps with elements of story structure and pacing, so whether it’s Dr. Who, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, or Firefly, get your sci-fi on!
2.) KISS. Since I tell my kids not to use the word ‘stupid,’ we’ll call this “keep it simple, silly.” ;) When it comes to world building, I think sometimes sci-fi writers tend to go overboard in an attempt to make their world different than this one. Even if the story takes place in a different galaxy or with a new race of beings, if you make things too complicated, you could lose your readers. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add in elements of a new language or explain how time travel works in your story, but a little goes a long way.
3.) Do your research. There’s the word “science” in front of fiction, and though one of the benefits of being a writer is making up stuff, you still have to follow things like those pesky little laws of physics. I consulted with astrophysicists for both BURN OUT and STRANGE SKIES because there were certain scientific things I needed to be correct (e.g. how the sun could plausibly burn out early, how the distance from the moon impacts planet rotation speed, etc.)
4.) It’s not that different from writing other things. Many aspects of writing a good sci-fi novel are the same as writing other genres. In terms of plotting and pacing, you still need to have the essential plot points, story arc, climax and resolution. Sure, a sci-fi climax might involve bioenergetic super weapons (in my case), instead of what you’d find in say, a historical fiction novel, but the basics are still there.
5.) Be creative and have fun. One of the benefits of writing science fiction or fantasy is that you get to make up a lot. You get to make up new worlds, new civilizations, and/or new creatures. I’m still pinching myself that I’ve gotten paid to do this! Yes, you have to do some due diligence with your research regarding the science, but then you get to run with it. It’s such a blast so if you’re not having fun with it, go back to step one, read or watch some of your favorite sci-fi and find your joy again. Good luck!
BOOK ONE: Burn Out
Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth’s final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns “red giant,” but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.
Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone–her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun–one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.
When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora’s fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father’s request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.
BOOK TWO: Strange Skies (releases April 28th, 2015)
Action, adventure, and romance are heating up in this sequel to the futuristic science fiction thriller Burn Out. Perfect for fans of Across the Universe and The Memory of After.
Caelia is the new Earth. That’s what the Consulate told everyone and, against all odds, Tora finally has made it there. She can’t see the ocean from her cell in the Consulate’s containment center, and she doesn’t know what happened to the weapons her father died for and she’s risked her life to save.
But as she plans her escape, she runs into the last person she ever expected to see-her dad. The Consulate has kept held him prisoner in a complicated plot designed to lure Tora out of hiding. Now Tora has a new purpose: break free, get the guns, and save her father.
But first she’ll have to navigate a strange new planet, track down James (whose loyalties still remain questionable), and find Kale…before he finds her first.
Releases simultaneously in eBook format (ISBN: 978-160684-482-3).
Story Locale: Caelia, a planet colonized after Earth becomes unhabitable
Series Overview: In a future where the sun has turned into a red giant, making Earth unhabitable, a teen girl fights for survival while trying to protect the special weapons her father invented from falling into government control.