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The Writer's Bag of Tricks Science Fiction Notes As we continue our exploration of genre specific topics, our focus this week is science fiction. SF usually deals with topics and ideas set the future, such as science, technology, space travel, time travel, extraterrestrials, and the like. The ability of the writer to create a world which allows the reader to suspend their disbelief is paramount, but like all fiction, writers must infuse writing craft elements or readers will put down the book. Take special consideration of point of view, description and scene setting, tone and mood, character and motive, plot and structure, and dialogue when plotting out your novel. The SF novel should be about something that happens to someone somewhere, otherwise what is the point? What makes for good science fiction? This is a tough question to answer, but I will throw some ideas out there for consideration. A good SF writer creates a world that seems authentic. This may require research into technology and science. Dont be scared. If you look for it, you can find cliff notes on all kinds of topics. But do your homework. The technology in the created world should seem plausible and realistic. I am not saying that writers shouldnt or cant invent some technology for their story, but if they do, it is best to take the time to figure out the details of the technology so that it seems real. The technology may need some explanation so the reader can understand it, but this should happen without coming across as a humongous information dump. No information dumps, please. Info dumps are boring. The use of magic in SF should be limited, if it is used at all. Magic is for fantasy. Technology and science are for SF. This is my opinion and Im sticking to it. The SF fictional world should also be complex and multi-layered. It should have a history and culture all its own. The world might or might not include non-human entities, but if non-human entities exist in the world they should be well-crafted. Each character should have a backstory even if the writer does not use that information in the novel. The backstory will help the writer to create characters with more depth. These characters can be human-like, or completely alien, but each character needs their own motivation and reason for being on the page. If the world is future earth, the writer should communicate the differences between the now earth and the future earth. But again, no information dumps. Info dumps are boring. The plot should by dynamic and intriguing. Conflict must happen. Something must move the characters forward through the story which pushes the characters to grow and change. SF, like other genres, has plot tropes. When in doubt, do some research and learn the tropes. Unlike romance for example, SF tropes can become clich and overused. Readers want innovation. If you are not sure which plot tropes are clich, take a wander around Google and look for SF plot tropes. You will find long lists of tropes. Clichs are not necessarily bad, mind you. Tropes are there for a reason. Just find a trope you like and twist it into something new and unexpected. Find a theme. Speculative fiction lends itself well to exploring themes, and SF especially so. Theme in SF is usually hidden beneath the story elements and structure, but is important for pulling off a great novel. Think artificial intelligence, or the end of the universe, religious ideas, gender issues, or the effect that technology has on us as a whole, or whatever is important to you as a writer. The possibilities are endless. Infuse the theme in the story. SF is a complex genre, and there are sub genres of SF. Regardless of what genre you are writing, take the time to learn all the elements writing craft. Writing craft is the thing that makes readers turn pages, and buy more books. And thats not boring at all.

The Writer's Bag of Tricks<p>Science Fiction Notes<p>As we continue our exploration of genre specific topics, our focus this week is science fiction.<p>SF …

Time Travel

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12 Ways to secure your Home The FBI says that in the U.S., one out of every 36 homes will be raided by thieves in any given year. Often, the burglars were able to get in due to the residents carelessness. Unlike the movies, in which burglars are hiding in the shrubs at night waiting for the homeowner to return home, then jump out and press guns to their ribcages, ordering them inside, real life burglars often literally stroll right through an unlocked door and help themselves to all the goodies. There are many ways the home occupant can make it easy for burglars to get in unnoticed. Unlocked doors and windows. A sloppy yard. This makes a thief think nobodys hardly ever home, and hell likely target the house for a break-in. Shrubs and bushes that obscure entryways. Burglars love it when they can conceal themselves in the dark with the help of plant growth around windows and doors. Posting travel plans on social media. Yes, burglars scout social media to see wholl be away from the house. Indiscriminately answering the doorbell. Burglars may pose as utility workers and talk their way inside. Or, they may push past the occupant and ransack the place while an accomplice restrains the occupant. A chronically dark house. Dont be a utility bill penny pincher. Enough lights should be on at night, including when youre home, to make a burglar think theres fully-awake people inside. Automatic timers that turn lights on and off will make the house look occupied, and will make it appear people are up in the middle of the night, when many break-ins occur. Newspapers accumulating in the drive or a package sitting on the front stoop, suggesting nobodys been home for a while. Beef up Your Homes Security Get a security system for the house that has it all: motion detectors, surveillance cameras, smartphone connections. Even if money is tight, you can still fool many a burglar with a fake camera installed above the front door, and security company signs around the houseeven though you dont have a system. But really, these days, there are systems for all budgets. Dog owners should hire a dog sitter rather than kennel their pet; a dogs barking usually scares off a would-be intruder. Put your paper and mail deliveries on a vacation hold. Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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