- science and technology are very important
- science and technology needs to be realistic and logic (if your heroes live on a planet with zero gravity, then you have to figure out how the heroes will go around that and how it affects the human body)
- the setting is usually a created (alien or futurist) world
- this imaginary world has rules you have to respect
- humans have evolved in some way (they can breath under water)
- humans master new technologies (they can pilot inter-galactic ships)
- usually third-person omniscient
- visual effects are important. Your descriptions should create a sense of wonder, transport your reader to another world.
- Pay attention to details. Details must be true and believable, and plenty.
- develop a specific vocabulary for your story
- Buy science oriented magazines. Examples: Scientific American or Discover. Visit the NASA site.
- remember that the concept is just a base, not the goal. The story is not supposed to support the concept. Do not forget to tell a story.
- do not find another explanation for what already exists (like the formation of stars or the Big Bang). Instead, research what scientists say about it.
- relate a theme to the characterization ("For example, if your protagonist struggles internally with a lack of self-esteem, and feels trapped by it, can this be used to explore the wider issues of freedom lacking in certain parts of the world, or maybe a look at the power the media has in creating our body image?" Michael Cairns)
- use a concept that inspires and frightens at the same time
- the world of SF has a deep problem
- the heroes go against the society or against what everyone else believes or does. They are not well adjusted to their world and they want to or have to change it.
"If you want to write science fiction—bear with me here—you have to create a story with some piece of extrapolated science (such as dinosaur cloning or the ability to zap a corpse back to life) that’s so integral to the plot, you can’t remove it without destroying the story. Remove the cloned dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, and you have no story. Remove the reanimated dead from Frankenstein, and you have no story. Science is the element that makes these novels into science fiction instead of, say, adventure or romance."
-- Carpenter, Courtney. "An Introduction to Writing the Paranormal Novel & Supernatural Elements." Writer's Digest.
Vorkosigan Saga by Bujold (female hard SF)
The Illustrated Man or Fahrenheit 451 or The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.
Davies. Richard. "50 Essential Science Fiction Books." Abebooks
How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card.
Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by David Gerrold
World-Building (Science Fiction Writing Series) by Stephen L. Gillett
"How to Write Science Fiction." Creative Writing Now.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Writing Science-Fiction and Fantasy.
Female Science Fiction Authors.
Science Fiction Story Ideas.
Science Fiction Story Starters for Kids.
Varner, Jeremy. "Five Writing Tips for good science fiction." Dreams from Walnut Dust. November 18, 2013.
African American Science Fiction.