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Asking… what if?

The term ‘speculative fiction’ is often used in vague ways – crossing a variety of genres such as fantasy, sci-fi, young adult fiction etc. But to me, the most exciting way of looking at the meaning of this phrase is contained in the word ‘speculative’. To speculate. To ask… what if? What if… a house could talk? What if… all life, as we know it, is someone else’s dream?

As writers, we are always looking for things which interest us. It’s possible to find many things to speculate about in the ‘real world’ around us – in science, and nature, in overhearing strangers speaking. But we can also find great source material within what we think, as well as what we see. It’s our own ideas and thoughts, after all, which are present within everything we write.

Most of us have an ‘inner critic’ when it comes to our writing. That voice we hear, or the things we tell ourselves, which often stop us writing. The Impostor Syndrome, if you like – our internal fear that we aren’t good enough, or interesting enough, to be decent writers.

These thoughts are horrible. But instead of letting our inner critic have control of us, we can take control of them, by being playful. By speculating – asking, what if… that thought was taken to an extreme? If we do this creatively we can challenge ourselves to push our boundaries as writers. If we push our characters to extremes, using thoughts that we dislike in ourselves, it can lead our writing into unexpected places, especially if we then also allow ourselves to speculate about the worlds these types of characters might occupy.

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Don’t talk down to younger readers

Don’t think that all children want to hear about is fluffy bunnies, naughty elves and lessons to be…

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Developing a character

Imagine that there is a young character in your mind, waiting to step forward and tell you their…

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Narrative – Cause and Effect

Try to bear in mind that the story of your character/s – your plot or narrative – moves…

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Character-Driven Narrative

People tend to think about plot as though it’s something separate from character, with characters moving forward from…

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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…

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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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Writing Science Fiction – The New Thing

1. Remember as you shape your story, that you are writing science fiction. Understand what science fiction is…

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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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Write The Blurb For Your Novel

Write the blurb for your novel – the summary that appears on the back jacket of a book…

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