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How changing one thing can change the world

Change one thing in the technology or science of the present day. It could be the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we eat, drink or think. It might be something as small as a development in processor technology or as fundamental as a law of physics. If you can’t think of anything, look up some science news websites or read New Scientist. Take a very small idea, perhaps battery miniaturisation. How far could that go? Could we reach a point where a human could carry a reactor’s worth of power inside a wrist watch, or something smaller? What might they do with that power? What technology might replace the battery? What if it were impossible to store power?

Remember, science fiction does not have to be possible, simply plausible. It can follow its central question: ‘what if?’ with almost anything as long as it stays consistent as it develops its answers.

Consider how will this change in technology affect us today? In five years’ time? In 20 years, 100 years, 1000?

Questions you might want to consider include: who has access to the technology, what sustains the technology, what benefits will the technology bring, what drawbacks? How much does it cost? What modern social structures will the technology support? Which ones might it erode? What supporting technologies might the central technology require? If you are going to have spaceships that let you travel to meet aliens, will your society develop universal translators, thought transfer, or just really big guns? Things can surprise you, so think openly. When I was a child, we were told we would live in a leisure society because robots would remove the need for work. That overlooked the fact that the owners of the robots would not be remunerating the people they made redundant. Rather than a leisure society it looks like we might be heading to a world sharply divided between haves and have nots. Always have in your mind the question: ‘How could this go wrong?’

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Developing and explaining new ideas

1. You don’t have to be entirely original. There are plenty of very good, best-selling stories out there…

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Your Character vs Technology

Write a short scene of up to 1000 words in which your protagonist is interacting with your imagined…

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Bringing Dramatic Action Into A Scene

The purpose of this exercise is to help us bring dramatic action to our scenes. Firstly we should…

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Flip the Scene

We’ve all got one in our distant past: the great love that got away because we were too…

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6 Tips on Writing Queer Fiction

If you’re describing a same sex relationship or one involving someone who is trans or intersex or in…

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Inside the Shed

Sometimes we are really keen to tell our readers everything, to make sure that they understand what it…

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You don’t have to tell young readers as much as you think

There is sometimes an assumption that younger readers won’t understand what’s going on unless the plot and the…

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Drawing your childhood memories

We all have child’s eye views – many in fact. Some might say we’re already a step ahead…

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Creating ‘Child Eye’s View’ when writing for young people

Young people don’t just come under the heading of one audience. There are so many different ages and…

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Emotionally Engage

If you think about plays you’ve enjoyed, that stay with you, and try and work out why they…

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Gas Ring – the game

A quick exercise to show the importance of writing high stakes for your characters when writing a play….

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