3 tips for writing watertight fantasy, science fiction and time travel stories

I agree, plausibility is very important, as is consistency. If someone can cast magic what are the limitations? What can they actually do with that spell? Can it be countered? If someone has a raygun, how is it powered? What armour is effective? Keep it consistent. If the spell turns someone to ash the first time, why does it turn someone to ice the next? Readers aren’t stupid, they will notice. If you aren’t sure of your world, as a writer, don’t expect your readers to be sure.

Nail Your Novel

The Hills Are AliveYou could argue that fantasy and science fiction are the genres where we can be most imaginative and inventive. But this very freedom brings responsibility. I see a lot of science fiction and fantasy authors who confuse the reader because they don’t cover a few very important bases. And I’ve had to address a few of these issues myself in my sci-fi fable Lifeform Three.

1 The logic of the world must be established – and stuck to

You need to establish, early on, what can be done and what can’t. If you have robots, for instance, what can and can’t they do? Are they benevolent? Of course, you don’t have to explain this if your story is a mystery, where the characters have to puzzle out the logic of the world, but otherwise you need to cover those bases as part of the setting description.

This particularly applies…

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One thought on “3 tips for writing watertight fantasy, science fiction and time travel stories

  1. Thanks for sharing my piece, Alexandra! You’re right, we need to put a lot of thought into our gadgets and powers. With my novel, I spent a lot of time scribbling notes on details of the world and considering consequences. I didn’t necessarily use all of them, but – as you say here – they gave me a bed of consistency to write with confidence so that the reader would feel they were in safe hands.


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