Tag Archives: science fiction and fantasy

Writing Science Fiction with Science Resources

7 Mar

Science fiction, by definition, has science weaved within the story, but as a science fiction writer, I often get asked where my inspiration comes from. Where do I learn about science? Do I have a science background? How does one get started when pursuing science fiction? All great questions!

There are many ways to find inspiration when tackling science fiction. First and foremost, you’re going to want to figure out whether you’re writing hard sci-fi or soft sci-fi. As the name suggests, hard science fiction typically requires more rigorous research; the science has to make sense and have strict, believable rules, whereas soft science fiction is a bit more lenient. After that, you’re going to want to study sub-genres, such as space opera—like Star Wars (though you could make the argument Star Wars is fantasy, not science fiction)—or cli-fi (climate-centered science fiction, such as The Day After Tomorrow).

Decisions aside, science will come into play, so where do you start?

Many get science fiction inspiration from, well, reading and watching science fiction. And that’s totally valid. But aside from reading the latest science fiction books, or watching that hit near-future TV show, there are more resources out there—and you’re going to want to expand your knowledge if you want your story to stand out from what’s already out there.

Magazines & Newsletters

I’m lucky enough to work in a library, but I’m especially lucky that my library provides free magazines. Subscriptions can get expensive; even the online versions can cost money. But I can pile up a collection of science journals and magazines on my desk every month for free. (Here is my plug, asking you—yes, you—to go get a library card.) I love flipping through magazines like Wired, Scientific American, and Discover, not to mention magazines covering topics I’m not so great at, i.e. fashion. (I mean, clothes have to exist in the future too, right? But I digress.)

If you don’t have access to magazines, there’s always the online sphere. One of my favorites is Futurism. Articles cover quick, trending topics, as well as some obscure, bizarre news. You will absolutely feel inspired by all the weird, possible, amazing tech out in the world. And who knows? Maybe you’ll dream up your own.  

Podcasts & Audiobooks

There are some awesome science podcasts out there, and most of them are free. Some also have Patreons where they offer additional content. My favorite is Flash Forward, a podcast that explores future tech as if it already existed. They start with a “play” in the time of the tech, and then talk to experts about all the nitty gritty details that go into it. An episode I recently enjoyed was CRIME: Moon Court. There’s also the Ologies podcast, a comedic science podcast that explores all the different “-ologists” of the world. Did you know there are experts in procrastination for instance? Listen to this episode of Volitional Psychology, and maybe you’ll find ways to stop procrastinating on your scientific research. 😉  

Similar to podcasts, there are always nonfiction audiobooks. Last year, I enjoyed Astrophysics for People on the Go by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs: A New History of Their Lost World by Steve Brusatte. Two starkly different topics. And yet, I learned so much—all while doing the laundry and dishes.

Channel your inner three-year-old: Ask why, why, why, why

Let’s pretend for a minute that audiobooks, magazines, and podcasts don’t exist. Do you know what you still have? The world! Science is happening all around you every day. I mean, how does your coffee pot heat up? How do those lights at work know when to turn on when you enter the building? Why do those clouds look purple and bumpy today?

Ask yourself why and how about anything and everything—and then, look it up. Read everything you can on it. Or dream up your own world’s explanation.

Science is often found in the little everyday things all around you.

Discover truths. Discover possibilities. Discover the future.

Discover science.

~SAT

P.S. Sandra Proudman and I started a new weekly hashtag on Twitter called #LiftABookUp. We announce themes on Tuesday and spend Wednesdays lifting up books we love. I hope you’ll join us to chat about science fiction books on March 11! Find Sandra Proudman @SandraProudman and I’m @AuthorSAT

You might also notice that I have a new headshot. I recently chopped off seven inches of hair. (YES, SEVEN INCHES.) So, I figured it was time. I managed to get my favorites in the pic: coffee, cats, and world domination (for cats).

If you’re new around here, I post a new article on the first Saturday of every month. Let me know what you want to hear about next in the comments below, then check back in on April 4. If I choose your idea, you get credit!

#MondayBlogs Writing About Real and Imaginary Locations

24 Aug

Intro:

I’m passionate about many things, but writing and traveling top my list, and I find myself combining them all the time. Need a location for a story? Hey, that place I saw last summer would be perfect. Need something more exotic ? Maybe something surreal? Combining and creating comes into play. Today, our guest blogger, Natacha Guyot, is talking about just that.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

#MondayBlogs: Writing About Real and Imaginary Locations

I have loved imagining worlds and stories since I was a kid. I think I was a storyteller even before knowing how to write. From a young age, my passions have been Science Fiction and Fantasy. These remain my favorite genres to read and write. Even my nonfiction projects often focus on these genres.

I wrote my first novella and novel when a teenager. Even during my ten year break from original fiction, I still took notes about new universes. I love world building although my stories most often start with one or more characters when I only have a vague idea of the settings.

I still write about imaginary locations but end of 2014, a shift happened. I started writing a short story collection, which will be the first of a series. It is a Supernatural / Urban Fantasy universe. Most of the events take place in the UK. While all locations in the stories exist, I decided to focus a lot of my characters’ lives in the London area and Oxford. In 2008-2009, I lived in London and it has been my favorite city since then. As for Oxford, I visited it in 2012 for two conferences and fell in love with the place too.

I make sure to look up for some details (without getting lost in them) even for real locations I am familiar with. One of the funniest things about the scenes in London was using Google Maps to check on some streets and places. One character lives near where I used to and I was shocked finding out that my student residence had closed!

Mansfield College in Oxford, where I went to in 2012 for 2 conferences. It inspired my Fae character Dylan's estate in Clairvoyance Chronicles

Mansfield College in Oxford, where I went to in 2012 for 2 conferences. It inspired my Fae character Dylan’s estate in Clairvoyance Chronicles

This experience made me want to write more stories in places I love, regardless of how many Science Fiction and Fantasy universes I’ll keep creating! My home town still has a special place in my heart, so I decided to write a series about vampires taking place there! I am only at the note taking stage now but am excited about “Vampiric Versailles” (very tentative title). I studied in Paris but I am not a big fan of it. I have always preferred Versailles and its direct area. Most tourists come for the palace, but I like its gardens better. I hope to include lesser known parts in my story.

If it wasn’t enough, I am currently developing the early outlines for a YA Fantasy trilogy which will take place in Perigord, where I spent most of my holidays when in high school and a few more years afterwards. I will create imaginary castles that are related to families in my story, but I am looking forward to blend made-up and real places.

What about you? Do you prefer writing imaginary or real places? Do you include a mix of both?

Bio:

Natacha Guyot is a French author, scholar and public speaker. She works on Science Fiction, Transmedia, Gender Studies, Children Media and Fan Studies. She is a feminist, a fangirl, a bookworm, a vidder, a gamer and a cat lover.

Her released titles include Feminist Bloggers: The 2014 Collection (editor), Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Study of Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno and La Cité de Sharianth. She is currently working on a revised version of A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation and Storytelling in Star Wars with additional content and other nonfiction titles

She also writes Science Fiction and Fantasy stories.

Connect with her on natachaguyot.org, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

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