To sign up for Anne's free quarterly newsletter, click here.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blogger sci fi author Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

Science fiction presents special challenges to a writer. How much technology should you include? How accurate does it have to be? My guest, Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz, tackles this quandary and offers some sound advice. Her published stories include "Mirror, Mirror" and "A Past and a Future."

*   *   *
    Science fiction can be classified as hard (technological) or soft (sociological).  Soft science fiction deals with people, not machines. Although there should be some element of futurism, your characters need not go shooting off among the stars in a high-tech space craft.  It is important, however, for you to include elements of the future in your story.  It's not good enough to insert a few words about view phones and laser guns.  Be a little more daring.  Think of technology that exists today and project what it might become 50 years from now.  In addition, imagine how life will change with new technology.  Thinking back over the changes which have happened in our own lifetime, and how fast those changes occurred, will help you imagine your future time.
     As with any science fiction, you need a concrete picture of what happens in your world.  What rights do women and minorities have?  What type of government is in power?  What mode of travel does the common person use?  Where does your world exist?  Is it a future version of
     Earth, or is it a planet in a far-off galaxy which has been inhabited by humans?  Allusions to technology which could exist, but doesn't already, help place your work in the science fiction genre.  If, however, you concentrate your story more on the people and their problems, rather than describing the intricacies of your spaceship's drive engine, you are writing soft science fiction.
     You should research what is currently available in the way of technology.  Read issues of science and computer magazines to give you insights into the ever-changing world of science and personal computers. Read as much as you can of books already written in the science fiction genre.
     As a beginning writer, where do you look for markets for your work, once you've created it?  The obvious market guides are Writer's Digest and Novel & Short Story Writer's Market(published by Writer's Digest Books,1507 Dana Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45207, www.writersdigest.com ).  The other place is, of course, the Internet.  Do a search for science fiction magazines, speculative fiction magazines, and publishers of science fiction.  There are market newsletters such as Ralan’s (www.ralan.com )which specialize in speculative fiction.
     Now you know what determines soft science and where to look for markets.  The rest is up to you.  Send for guidelines and sample issues.  Study what kinds of soft science fiction sells in which magazines.  Write, revise, and send to an appropriate market.  If you do your homework,
you, too, may find your byline in a science fiction magazine, anthology, or novel.

*   *   *
You can visit Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz on her website and her blog.

Purchase "Mirror, Mirror" here. Purchase "A Past and a Future" here.

10 comments:

  1. Science fiction is the genre I'm totally unfamiliar with, so it was fresh to know (for me, at least!) about hard and soft sci-fi. Thanks for sharing this, Penny. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I did not know the term soft science fiction either. So thanks for that, Penny. And btw I did enjoy reading Mirror, Mirror. Thanks Anne for letting me know about such an interesting article.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for such an interesting and informative post, Penny.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anne, thanks for hosting me today. Claudine, Annie and Rosemary, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad I was able to share something new with you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oooh, great information. I'm in the midst of world building for what I now know will be a sociological soft science fiction novel :0).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Jaye, glad you know what to call your latest novel.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post! I've never written a straight forward science fiction. I have written fantasy with sci-fi elements though. Definitely fun.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Kelly, the cross over of fantasy and sci-fi is relatively new. I think it's great. I can still recall the first one I wrote and subbed. The editor was livid. She believed the two could not mix. Now, I see it more and more and love it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, great information. I sort of knew the difference between Hard and Soft Sci-fi, but since I'm more of a fantasy girl I never took the time to really ABSORB the differences. Fun post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Katrina, thanks for taking the time to read the post. Glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete