Writing Tips from Science Fiction Author

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6 TOP Writing Tips from Science Fiction Author

Louise Viljoen, a South African author, just celebrated the successful launch of her Afrikaans science fiction novel, Die Roofdier (The Predator). Die Roofdier is published by Thompson Boekdrukkery who, together with Afrifiksie, aims to promote authors who write science fiction and fantasy in Afrikaans.

What is science fiction?

Science fiction writing is all about creating imaginary worlds and civilizations whilst incoporating sience and technology. Authors can create totally new worlds or simply write about our own world as they imagine it to be in the future. There’s no limits to possible scientific and technological innovations and advancement in the genre – the only rule is: know your created world’s reality and stick to it. Magic has no place in science fiction; all action should be based on scientific theory.

Keep the following in mind when writing science fiction:

  1. Don’t even think of trying your hand at science fiction writing if you don’t read the genre.

  1. Never forget the human element when writing science fiction. Readers need to identify with human emotions and limitations. The more human the protagonist is, the more the reader will relate to him or her.

  1. Characters drive the plot. Know your characters well and do not depict them as perfect. The ideal character is complex and flawed and do not have all the answers. He or she makes mistakes like any other person.

  1. Use ordinary language that your readers can relate to. If you do invent a new world where an alien language is spoken, use the alien vocabulary sparingly.

  1. The SF reader is a gamer who brings a problem-solving intelligence to the story. This is the SF writer’s one great advantage. Use it.” Thus states Terry Bisson, a succesful science fiction author.

  1. According to Allison Emm, a writer and illustrator from Colorado, a science fiction author should ask the following questions when plotting a story: “How does technology change human interaction, global economy, and everyday needs such as food and transportation? Do the same rules of physics apply in your fictional world as they do in the real world?”

Die Roofdier makes science fiction seem ordinary

Bekka Malan owns a farm and grows organic vegetables for a living. Strange things start to happen and Bekka is convinced that her life is in danger. She is shot at and her shed is burnt to the ground. Hector Krige wants Bekka’s farm and is willing to do anything to have her sign the offer to purchase.

Nicholai Craigg is a handsome stranger who rides into town on his Harley Davidson. The colour of his eyes spiral and he can read Bekka’s mind. Bekka receives a hologram-message from her late parents wherein they warn her that a predator is coming for her blood.

Who and what is Nicholai? Is he the predator? Why does Hector want Bekka’s farm? Exactly who or what is hiding in a cave in Kransberg, the mountain on Bekka’s farm.

Louise Viljoen’s Die Roofdier can be ordered here. Louise Viljoen is a writer, proofreader, editor and manuscript developer. Contact her at freelancewriter@truewan.co.za for all your freelance writing needs.

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