Introduction

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Introduction

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.” - Isaac Asimov

This “How To” comes to you from Wattpadder Gavin Wilson - also known as TheOrangutan - from Wattpad HQ. He’s someone who has spent years reading and writing (and, in some cases, publishing) in the Science Fiction genre. He’s also one of the chief caretakers of the official Science Fiction profile. We’ve let him loose on the profile to write this How To Guide so, sit back, grab a pangalactic gargleblaster and enjoy. We’ll pop him back in his straight jacket when he’s finished typing.

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This piece is intended as a bit of a Help guide, a point of reference and hopefully something people will enjoy, as ultimately all of you will have different experiences reading and writing science fiction, and writing in general. If nothing else, I hope it inspires you to try your hand at writing Science Fiction if you haven’t already.

Will this make you into the next Asimov, Clarke or Heinlein? No. Only you can do that, and even those three started by writing things which were probably pretty dire compared to their later works. But, hopefully, the following text will give you a bit of a hand, a place to start, or maybe make you realise which sub-genre you really fancy having a go at in the massive universe of science fiction.

The first thing you must do to be any kind of writer is to give yourself permission to write badly. We all do at some point, and everyone has to start somewhere. Just give it a go, and don’t worry about anyone watching. For every hundred words you put down, there may be only one sentence or phrase that’s a gem. But there will be that one wonderful bit of text.

Now, while it can be dangerous to make assumptions about your readers, I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you’re predisposed to try your hand at writing Science Fiction, or you’ve already done a bit and want to do more. We’re also assuming you’re not Isaac Asimov, ‘cos he’s dead (at least in this universe, but that’s a conversation for another time).

The science fiction audience is, in many ways, the best audience (in my humble opinion) to write for. It’s made up of folks who are often science-oriented, inquisitive, and open to new ideas. They like to think as they read; they like to be taken to places no-one has visited before (even Captain Kirk), and they enjoy being challenged. When trying to decide whether they love a science fiction writer, the audience rewards writers who can tick these boxes.

In this piece, I’m not intending to tell you how to write fiction in general, as that’s another volume entirely, but I do hope to give you a basic introduction to writing science fiction, much of which can be applied to other genres, too, in a broad way.

So, official blather and disclaimers aside, welcome to How to Write Science Fiction. Let’s see where this takes us.

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