Science fiction, often termed as SF, sci-fi, or scifi, is a speculative fiction type of genre which typically deals with imaginative concepts such as extraterrestrial life, futuristic science and technology, time travel, faster than light travel, and parallel universe. This kind of fiction often explores on the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations. It has been called a ‘literature of ideas’. Unlike the related genre of fantasy, it usually avoids the supernatural. Science-fiction stories were also intended to have a grounding in science-based fact or theory at the time the story was created.

One of the earliest and most commonly-cited texts for those who are looking for early precursors to science fiction is the ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, the first known work of recorded literature, with the earliest text versions identified as being from about 2000 BCE. Until now, a lot of ‘bookworms’ patronize novels with a science fiction genre. On the other hand, have you ever wondered how a sci-fi novel is being written? What are the elements that consist of a sci-fi novel? Here, we will be talking about the PATTERN System in making a good sci-fi novel.

‘P’ is for Physics. A lot of people talk about the two categories of this fiction – soft science fiction and hard science fiction. Writers of this kind of fiction tend to differ in the degree to which they plot their writings in current scientific theory and the degree to which they elaborate the story. A writer must think of the first question as to whether physics and physical laws largely resemble the world currently live today or whether there have been drastic changes. Always remember that it is worth running through questions to see if they will spark creative ideas.

‘A’ is for Adventure. Always consider the things the protagonist will explore in the novel. Start figuring out the parameters of the protagonist’s world and what is available for exploration.

‘T’ is for Technology. Technology which is considered as a source of wonder and fear is actually as old as the sci-fi novel itself. The fear of artificial intelligence with computers taking over is actually a preoccupation of a modern life for many. Factory workers who lose their jobs to robots is a good example of this. Always bear in mind that it is essential to figure out the role of technology when plotting your sci-fi novel.

‘T’ is for Transportation. The writer should ask himself/herself how will his/her characters get from point A to point B? In some science fiction stories, transport may underlie the entire premise of the story. Spaceships might be nearly sentient or might be entire life support systems for people who travel continuously for generations.

‘E’ is for Environment. Environmental change can serve as the premise for a novel. A sci-fi novel might be built around how a society deals with an environmental disaster or handles building a new environment following an apocalypse. Although, writers should also keep in mind that there are few limits when it comes to designing a science fiction environment.

‘R’ is for Risk. Often termed as ‘The Danger Zone’, always think of what would be the struggles the writer’s characters might face given their environment and technology. The writer should consider the types of risks the characters will face. One thing to keep in mind is that if you, being the writer, are going to push the limits of believability, you need to establish this early on and return to it throughout the novel in order for it to be successful.

‘N’ is for Neologisms. Imagine how language has evolved. By that it means you can use different language, or change your characters’ language. Also, even if you have decided to do very little to suggest altered linguistics, you’ll still probably need to think of names for science fiction concepts that do not yet exist in our world. Although, always remember that toying too much with language is risky for a writer because there is always the danger that the reader will simply find it too much work to follow.


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