26 votes

Is it okay if my fictional country is like a real country?

Absolutely. Many sci fi and fantasy authors have done it openly. The Shire was rural England. Ankh-Morpork is London. Prydain was more or less Wales. The thing to decide is if you are commenting on ...
user avatar
22 votes

How do I write about hacking and hackers?

Start with the works of other cyberpunk authors, specifically the father of the genre, William Gibson. Neuromancer and Burning Chrome are a little dated, but in a backwards kind of way. They are set ...
user avatar
  • 10.7k
20 votes
Accepted

How and where should you explain how the physical laws of your sci-fi universe significantly differ from the real world?

It's important for you to understand how your scifi universe works. It is NOT important for your reader to understand. With 2 exceptions: If it directly affects the plot. For example, if traveling ...
user avatar
  • 7,883
18 votes

How do I write about hacking and hackers?

I've been working in Cybersecurity for 20+ years, and while I'm not a penetration tester (aka "white hat hacker") myself, I have worked closely with those for many, many projects. Real-world ...
user avatar
  • 4,400
12 votes

How do you respectfully portray a character that cannot walk when they have the power to visit an alternate dimension where they can walk?

For starters: A character being able to walk in the specified dream world does not necessarily take away from the character's struggles with not being able to walk in the real world. Since in the ...
user avatar
10 votes

How and where should you explain how the physical laws of your sci-fi universe significantly differ from the real world?

Show Don't Tell: I agree that it isn't always important for your reader to know the rules of your world - at first. Some things, like how the FTL system works, can be taken for granted - readers know ...
user avatar
  • 12.5k
10 votes

How do I write about hacking and hackers?

"Good writers borrow, great writers steal". Real-world hackers have already found ways to solve this problem so just copy them. They've already solved the problem of presenting the often ...
user avatar
9 votes

Is it okay if my fictional country is like a real country?

Note: This answer was written on Worldbuilding. A dice-and-paper RPG has different requirements from a novel. You should decide if you want to use the similarity to inform your players, or if it will ...
user avatar
  • 191
8 votes
Accepted

Why do authors invent fictional countries on earth in their novels and how do you keep the lie up?

BE DODGY: If you want to have a setting, but reality comes with a lot of baggage, then you need to create a new place. This can be LIKE a real place, but just a bit off so you can justify things that ...
user avatar
  • 12.5k
7 votes
Accepted

When writing about a fictional city, what's important to know?

Don't get Bogged Down in the Technical Stuff: It is outstanding to have this level of detail in mind when creating a fictional city. Kudos. But these things are best for you to have in the background, ...
user avatar
  • 12.5k
7 votes

How can I make my story's worldbuilding magical but not too far from realistic?

I think the key to realistic world-building is having coherent details that impact the character's every day life. Pretend your world is 'The Flintstone's' for the sake of argument: literal stone age ...
user avatar
  • 7,465
6 votes

Is it okay if my fictional country is like a real country?

Of course it is. Countries don't have trademarks on their culture, or cities, or anything else. I'd worry more if your fictional country is too close to some published author's fictional country. Too ...
user avatar
  • 90.9k
6 votes

Is it odd to have a bunch of characters with unique personalities and gimmicks in one place?

I think one answer to your question is found in comic books. Would there have been a Lex Luthor without superman? Would the molemen have attacked if it weren't for the existence of the Fantastic ...
user avatar
  • 7,465
5 votes

How do I write about hacking and hackers?

Social The most successful hacking is usually at least partly social. It depends on poor human judgement as a weak point. Getting an executive in a corporation to click on a link to download and ...
user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How do you prevent a plot hole when coming up with a hard magic system?

Newtonian Physics: When you're talking about a magic system, you are by definition breaking the world in a small way. But careful attention to detail should cover you. As long as you diligently follow ...
user avatar
  • 12.5k
5 votes

How do you respectfully portray a character that cannot walk when they have the power to visit an alternate dimension where they can walk?

I read Thomas Covenant when I was about 11. I couldn't understand why when they were in the alternative world they were fully healthy, had friends and were respected. When they came back to the real ...
user avatar
  • 51
4 votes

How do I write about hacking and hackers?

I don't think it is possible to write about "hacking" (between quotes because personally I give it a different meaning than you) in a realistic way without scaring all your readers away with ...
user avatar
4 votes

Why do authors invent fictional countries on earth in their novels and how do you keep the lie up?

Why: Kinda simple, to avoid offending people. Take DWKraus his example of Sokovia, it is most likely inspired by Slovakia(or a other eastern European nation). The nation is depicted as pretty much a ...
user avatar
  • 1,615
4 votes
Accepted

Are there any graphical diagrams like the Freytag's Pyramid that help you keep track of different timelines, universe and dimensions?

Here's a brief overview of a survey of diagrams I've found, part of an ongoing research project on this topic: 1 - Gustav Freytag (1816-1895) In Die Technik des Dramas (1836), translated into English ...
user avatar
4 votes

How and where should you explain how the physical laws of your sci-fi universe significantly differ from the real world?

Novels like Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep or Alastair Reynolds' Terminal World play in universes where the laws of nature are different, which plays a large role in the plots. In a way, most ...
user avatar
4 votes

How and where should you explain how the physical laws of your sci-fi universe significantly differ from the real world?

In The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells, author Ben Bova emphasises the importance of four elements: Character Background Conflict Plot This is no different from any other work of fiction....
user avatar
4 votes

How do I motivate myself to write when I have been focusing on worldbuilding first?

I've had similar experiences. Boy Meets World Boy Meets World seems to have more discovery potential. Anything could happen. The protagonist is an undeveloped personality with an incomplete ...
user avatar
  • 24.2k
4 votes
Accepted

How can I make my story's worldbuilding magical but not too far from realistic?

Realism has nothing to do with magic. You can write unrealistic police-procedurals, or unrealistic kitchen-sink dramas, or unrealistic hard-sci-fi. What makes something realistic is much simpler than ...
user avatar
  • 2,276
4 votes

When it comes to superhero stories, would an audience be accepting of a weak character that is superhuman?

No, in fact to me, the more god-like and invulnerable a character is, the less heroic he is. What do they have to be afraid of? What makes them struggle? If you are invulnerable, it is not "...
user avatar
  • 90.9k
3 votes
Accepted

When should you put information that makes a dialogue understandable?

There is nothing wrong with keeping the dialogue. From your excerpt, it helps to make your world feel real through the characters. There are a few ways you can choose to explain your dialogue. The ...
user avatar
  • 426
3 votes

When should you put information that makes a dialogue understandable?

This depends on the perspective from which you are writing. An authorial (omniscient) narrator can bring this information before or after the dialogue, because the narrator explains the world directly ...
user avatar
  • 389
3 votes
Accepted

How do you format a chapter intended just for exposition?

The short answer is, you don't put exposition in a chapter of its own. Here are some questions on writing exposition you might find helpful: How to avoid the 'magic explanation' info dump in ...
user avatar
  • 4,668
3 votes

Should I use real world names for specific objects in my fantasy world based on history?

Go ahead and use the Burmese words. How many English speaking readers do you think will recognize the Burmese words for what they are? They look "fantastical" enough as they are. Some (few)...
user avatar
  • 1,590
3 votes
Accepted

How do you write a worldbuilding manuscript?

I am not aware of any standard format. Most worldbuilding exercises I have seen begin with a map of the world, cities in the world, climate information, etc. The written part is some sort of world ...
user avatar
  • 90.9k
3 votes
Accepted

What are the most important parts of worldbuilding that may have a big impact on the story or narration?

Q: Can worldbuilding affect my story? A: Yes, if you have no clue about the story you want to tell. It is entirely possible that you like the idea of world building. You set up your world and then ...
user avatar
  • 10.5k

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