Science Fiction Writing


As an author of science fiction, can I call myself that before my novel is published?  I digress, as authors of science fiction and fantasy, we often have to shoulder the burdens of creating a world from scratch.  If we didn’t do it, it generally means we are writing   In the lingo of us super cool author types, it is called WORLD BUILDING, but basically it means that we have to create a world from scratch.  In other types of fiction, be it modern or historical, the reader already knows the nuances of life.  You say he wore a Hawaiian shirt, BAM, we can picture a Hawaiian shirt.  Tell me he drove a Porsche, I can picture a real life droll worthy dream car.  Say the knight wore armor, I can picture it in all it’s shining glory.  BUT, you try telling me he rode into town on a wee beastie [insert your super cool name here], then brother/sister you better commence to describing that thing in detail.


Now that we’ve established the basic concept of world building, lets get into one way it affects writers with armies in their worlds.  I recently read a great blog post by author Joe Zieja about creating the rank and culture of your army.  Things like the various ranks and how the forces are organized.  He titled his post Military in Fiction #6 – Rank and Organization, and I highly recommend you check it out!  I hope you find the piece as illuminating as I did, but either way let’s talk about it!


–> Note to Readers:  This post replaces an earlier reblog that might have inadvertently violated copyrights.

–> This image is under available under the free Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unreported license and originally shared through a Wikipedia posting. It was taken by photographer Murray Kerr and uploaded on 13 November 2008 at 13:17 hours.

24 thoughts on “Science Fiction Writing

  1. nicholeqw1023

    I call myself a writer and I haven’t published anything yet. It helps me stay motivated to actually write. And it sounds cooler than my actual job. 😉 Good luck with the world building. I want to delve into the Sci Fi but I haven’t quite gotten the confidence for it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you write, you’re a writer.

    I think world building is tricky. You want to give the flavor of the exotic without making your reader roll their eyes and close the book.

    Been awhile since I’ve read any “hard” fantasy, but the books I’ve been reading lately tend to use things like knight-captain etc. grounded in a military system we understand. Makes me think of Star Wars and Star Trek. Both used our already established military rank.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tell you what, I’ll work on accepting my status as a writer/author. In the mean time, I’ll wallow in my writerly insecurities and know I’m part of a vast dysfunctional club chock full of awesome people such as yourself.

      Now on to world building! What you say is very true, but sometimes you have to mix it up a bit. I want my ranks to feel futuristically possible, while not being to Anglocentric. I have ranks like Lance Sergeant which I added, but I also pulled some from obscurity, such as brevet and subaltern. Not to mention I switched Adjutant for Warrant Officers and a few other tweaks here and there. For my aliens, who communicate through pheromones, I incorporate scents into their ranks so they have Scent Leaders and Senior Scent Leaders. I imagine fantasy would have to tweak it even more, just to be fantastical instead of mundane.

      As for the ranks on Star Trek and Star Wars, well I found it to be a bit vague. As a military person, it seemed they threw a few military-esq words into the ether and forced us to hit the “I BELIEVE” button. It wasn’t a huge issue, it didn’t yank me out of the immersive world, but it was definitely noticed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I admit to not reading much hard Sci Fi or fantasy. Bring on the Space Operas!

        Are the ranks important to the work or merely part of the richness of the story-world in your mind?

        I know the pantheon for my fantasy world, though few of the gods are ever actually spoken of.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is only important if it takes away from the story, such as the old movie classic of the gun that never runs out of bullets. I notice, but sometimes that is all. Much like doctors watching shows where they get the medicine wrong, or any other career field where the writers mess bits up. It adds to the richness of the world, but isn’t necessarily required.

          Space Operas? Love those too!!!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. When I’m writing something a bit other-worldly, I try to keep in mind a piece of advice I got from a writer of strange-fiction (a term he used): As long as the reader understands the function or use of a thing with a “new” name, you don’t necessarily need to describe it. You can choose to let the reader fill in the blanks. As usual, nice post. As long as you write, you’re a writer in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

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