Skip to main content
57 votes
Accepted

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

Without reading the other answers, my answer is that your premise is fine as long as you set the contract with the reader. The reader is fine with your premise if you do not promise a science-based ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
53 votes
Accepted

Does everything have to be accurate?

Generally, @MichaelKjörling and @HenryTaylor are right. Let me, however, look at the issue from a slightly different perspective. If you explain something, it has to make sense. If you don't explain, ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
45 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

One comment he repeated several times was that parts of my text sounded "too conversational." I think meant that I didn't sound professional or academic enough. You'd be better off asking for ...
Flater's user avatar
  • 3,147
40 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

Spiderman was bitten by a spider and developed spider-like abilities. Superman is from a different planet and afraid of a glowing rock, even if this human-like creature can shoot lasers from his eyes. ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 5,686
38 votes
Accepted

How to explain the main plot with science based concepts, without the non-sci-fi fans getting bored?

I don't find anything wrong with your explanation per se. You have a range of options as how to best present it, and what works depends on your aims: Don't explain it at all: This is a legitimate ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
32 votes

Does everything have to be accurate?

You appear to be a nonfiction or science fiction writer, attempting to create a work of fantasy. In either of the former disciplines, critics will come out of the woodwork to spotlight every ...
Henry Taylor's user avatar
  • 10.8k
27 votes
Accepted

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

I think you may be thinking a little too hard about things as the writer. Instead look at things from your characters' perspectives. Unless you're writing an engineer or someone actually building X, ...
scohe001's user avatar
  • 1,354
26 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

No, people won't say that, not even full time working scientists (like me). I know a great deal about genetics; I've published academic articles about it. That did not prevent me from enjoying the TV ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
23 votes
Accepted

How to avoid or mitigate heavy science lingo and "technobabble" in a science fiction story?

Remember that 100% of what is in your book is there because you want it to impact the reader in one way or another. Nothing absolutely has to be in there except what you choose. If it isn't serving ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
22 votes

Does everything have to be accurate?

I kept coming back to this passage in your question I keep feeling the need to explain everything in hyper detail Please, consider just not to. There's a saying along the lines of that the author'...
user's user avatar
  • 3,754
21 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

I'll start with something of a confession - I've been (and often still am) a supervisor who suggests changes to technical reports, instruction manuals and guides to functions which appear to have been ...
ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere's user avatar
21 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

There is no need to justify your explanation scientifically. But. You must not, under any circumstances try to scientifically justify anything else. In effect, by making a scientifically implausible ...
WhatRoughBeast's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

What level of understanding should you have of Quantum Physics to write a hard science fiction novel?

To echo the comment from F1Krazy, you only need knowledge of quantum physics if your story depends upon quantum physics. You could write about information technology, orbital mechanics, synthetic ...
JonStonecash's user avatar
  • 5,257
17 votes

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

"Scientific plausibility" can be tempered by exoticism, time, and distance. It can also be flatly ignored because it's just a plot convenience, or substituted as a metaphor for the real story you are ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
16 votes

How to explain the main plot with science based concepts, without the non-sci-fi fans getting bored?

You have another problem, if you solve that, you solve this. How did we figure out it was quantum computer activity that signaled them? If this is told omnisciently or from the alien POV, you have no ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
15 votes

How to avoid or mitigate heavy science lingo and "technobabble" in a science fiction story?

If you watch enough Star Trek (at least the good series... the bad ones tend to do groan worthy stuff that makes no sense) you'll find that the "Royal Smart Person" will rattle off a string of ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 13.5k
14 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

What you're writing appears to me to be "science fiction". There are at least two kinds. Hard science fiction: Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an ...
ChrisW's user avatar
  • 502
12 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

When I wrote user manuals and so on, for A Big Company, they had a corporate style guide for technical writing. Part of it said to minimise the "reading age" or "grade level" of text: to maximise its ...
ChrisW's user avatar
  • 502
12 votes

How should I respond to a supervisor/editor who thinks my technical writing is "too conversational?"

How should you respond? Take a careful and critical look at your own writing, and - in effect - do as your supervisor has suggested. We all get attached to our own writing, word choice, phrases, and ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 221
12 votes
Accepted

Making science for toddlers easy to remember

It's been decades since I was a kid watching cartoons on TV, and I can still sing some of the Schoolhouse Rock songs. Schoolhouse Rock, for those unfamiliar with it, was a series of short (2-3 minute)...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
11 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

As a general rule, if there is any portion of your premise that you do not want your audience to concern itself with, you need only avoid bringing it up. This is especially true for fantasy and soft-...
Michael Macha's user avatar
11 votes

How to avoid or mitigate heavy science lingo and "technobabble" in a science fiction story?

I, personally, hate one of suggested approaches of "following it up with for the dummies in the back", which seems to be very popular in US-made works. It just screams: "Hey, reader, me, hero is smart ...
Oleg V. Volkov's user avatar
10 votes

How do I describe Newtonian physics to the reader in a way that is realistic yet not too complex?

Describe the effects, particularly where the effects in space without the presence of air resistance/friction differ from the familiar effects in an atmosphere where friction slows things down. ...
Lostinfrance's user avatar
  • 2,951
10 votes

How to explain the main plot with science based concepts, without the non-sci-fi fans getting bored?

I am a sci-fi guy, and I find this whole concept a little boring... it would be like if Robert Kirkman comes up with this explanation for the Walking Dead, would anyone in the audience really care? ...
ashleylee's user avatar
  • 1,152
9 votes

How to explain the main plot with science based concepts, without the non-sci-fi fans getting bored?

As somebody that likes to play role playing games, I love it when the game gives me the option to read up on the lore. Some games do this very well, like the books you can read in the Elder Scrolls ...
Dnomyar96's user avatar
  • 201
9 votes

Do I really need to have a scientific explanation for my premise?

No. You can have unrealistic elements as parts of your premise but you need to introduce them to the reader as parts of your premise. Otherwise the reader will not understand your premise and things ...
Ville Niemi's user avatar
  • 1,875
9 votes

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

The easiest way to show your technology fits science fiction is to have it break, and then get it fixed by an engineer with a spare part or something. More generally speaking, in the reader's mind ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 103k
9 votes

What level of understanding should you have of Quantum Physics to write a hard science fiction novel?

I cannot do better than the answer by JoeStonecash in addressing the big-picture question, and I encourage you to take that advice and in particular to not worry about quantum physics until it somehow ...
sincos's user avatar
  • 91
8 votes
Accepted

What is the image size in scientific paper if indicated as "a single, 1.5 or 2-column fitting image"?

This is a good visualisation which helps alot.
Juan's user avatar
  • 96

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible