Those of you who have read me for a long time know that I have a certain preference for fantasy and science fiction. And if they come dressed in good humor, all the better.
So this time I want to share with you 8 tips for writing fantasy and science fiction that I have been collecting from here and there.
Go for it?
How do you write science fiction and fantasy?
1. No one will remember your protagonist if his name is Xtkhlmf’thukln
Or, in other words, baptize your characters in such a way that their name makes sense phonetically. Unless you dedicate yourself to humorous literature (in fact, in ‘ His death, thank you ‘ there is a gag on this subject).
2. Establish the rules of your world in the first act
It is clear that, if you write Science Fiction or Fantasy, you are going to make a lot of unusual things happen in your worlds (in the first case because science and technology have not yet discovered the advances you are talking about, in the second because in your world there are a series of special rules).
Magic may exist, human beings may be able to travel through time thanks to advances in science or maybe your protagonists have the gift of flying … who knows.
But, from a moment on, the reader will assume that those worlds work the same as his in the rest of the aspects that you have not told him about.
Introduce as soon as possible all the aspects that differentiate the special world of your novel from our ordinary world. If possible, throughout the first act of the story.
And never, never, I repeat, never make your protagonist fly away in the final confrontation of the novel, if he has not flown in any of its previous 300 pages.
3. Flee the clichés … but lean on them to prop up the story
We have all always been told to run away from clichés and that is excellent advice. A story full of clichés is usually synonymous with a writer who has not wanted to put in the effort. And if the writer has considered that his story is not worth the effort, it would be strange for the reader to think otherwise.
But sometimes clichés are an excellent tool for delivering a lot of information in a very short time. Clichés are nothing but narrative conventions that are well established in the collective imagination of readers, and it is very legal to rely on those conventions if we are talking about some secondary characters … as long as the rest of the approach of our novel is original, of course.
4. The more extraordinary your idea, the more ordinary your language will have to be
Einstein used to say that you don’t understand something until you are able to explain it to your grandmother.
If your novel talks about a fruit bowl with the soul of an artist who falls in love with a postal worker . Then you can complicate your language as much as you want. But if you are going to ask the reader to imagine a whole civilization that lives in space with totally different rules from ours. Then you’d better lower the level of your language … if you don’t want to lose their attention before page 20!
To all this, I want to remember that reducing the language of a text or using an apparently colloquial tone is NOT making it worse.
I’m very bad at names. But I remember an anecdote about an author who was told that he wrote the same way he spoke… and he replied that it had taken him many years to get it and that he appreciated the compliment.
5. Be succinct in your descriptions
Typically, we start writing our novel only after long planning. We will have detailed how our world works, how its strange inhabitants speak, what their customs are Nexus Ghostwriting, if they have some kind of mythology in which to support them, etc.
But it is NOT necessary for our reader to know all that. Let us remember once again that the important thing here is history.
So, instead of overwhelming the reader with data or peculiarities. It would always be more advisable to draw 3 or 4 lines that help him imagine that world in its entirety.
If your characters speak a strange language, don’t fill your text with lines and lines of dialect; it will be enough to swipe a word every now and then. If they have a morphology that is very different from ours, do not dedicate pages and more pages to describe it in detail; It is better to describe some of its characteristic features vividly.
6. Every action has its reaction
As you know that Every seemingly unbeatable warrior has a weak point.
Also Every gift has a price. Even if the recipient of that gift does not know it at the time it is received.
And Every spell demands something in return.
Is this not also the case in our world? Don’t make your fantasy world less real than life itself!
7. In a world where magic exists, magic will pollute everything
The first impulse one has when trying to create a fantasy world is to create it just like ours… and then add a series of differentiating characteristics to it.
Let’s imagine, for example, that we are talking about a world in which magic exists.
We will be tempted to make magicians only use that magic when they need it for something extraordinary. But we have to be aware that magic should contaminate each and every action of these magicians. They will interact with each other in a special way by Because of that magic, they will dress in a special way, they will cook in a special way!
Remember that you are who you are 24 hours a day.
8. Magic is not your story, your characters are.
They asked me recently in an interview. Where I had gotten the idea to fill ‘ His death, thank you ‘ with hilarious footnotes and to see if that technique had been invented by me.
I explained to the journalist on duty that no, that . I had already read it to authors like Terry Pratchett or Josh Bazell. And that it is only a way of prioritizing the development of the story over all those occurrences that I considered funny. But not strictly necessary.
What do I mean by this? That our goal should ALWAYS be to tell a good story, and that we shouldn’t let the wonderful world we’ve created blind us.
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