What I Learned from Orson Scott Card

After reading Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy I got some good takeaways I want to share. (Nota Bene: these are my reflections based on what Card wrote, not his advice verbatim.)

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Don’t try to be 100% original, or you’ll be unbearable. No idea you come up with will be truly original anyway, so write what you want to and bring your voice to it. That’s what your readers are buying.

Doing the work to build your world before you write at all will set you free. Even if you don’t use all of that information, having it all worked out only helps with your expository writing.

Science Fiction Readers are intelligent and inclusive. Don’t patronize them and don’t betray their trust. If you did your homework, they’ll respect that.

Warp Drive. That’s Star Trek only, newbie. And it’s not even good science, so while we suspend belief for a good time with Captain Kirk, Sci-Fi readers will throw your book out the window unless you’re writing fanfiction.

If the world follows our rules, it’s science fiction. Science Fiction is about what could be but isn’t; fantasy is about what could be. Fantasy has trees, Science fiction rivets.

Be willing to change anything. There’s nothing sacred about your original idea! During the creation stage, be true to yourself, even if that means the final story is COMPLETELY different!

Know the difference between characterization and a character story. A character story is about the transformation of a character, his internal turmoil etc. Characterization is caring about the people involved in the events of your story.

And of course, he recommends that all authors do their homework: read ALL of the greats, figure out why you like what they wrote (Or not! That’s fine too!)and only then will you have a better idea about what you want to write yourself.

So, get to it!

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