EXCERPT from "Building Science Fiction and Fantasy Worlds" by Nancy Kress in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction
You want to write a novel of speculative fiction. You have a situation you’re excited about and characters you find interesting, and you can’t wait to get started. Nonetheless – wait.
First take the time to plan your world. Doing so will save you – and I speak from rueful experience here – weeks of rewrite and a lot of Tylenol. Your book will be easier to write, more consistent, and more interesting if you have a firm grasp of where it’s happening. Plus, working out the details of your setting may suggest plot turns. Such a deal!
The first question is: Are you writing science fiction or fantasy?
Nancy Kress is the author of twenty-one books: thirteen novels of science fiction or fantasy, one YA novel, two thrillers, three story collections, and two books on writing. Among her novels are Probability Space , Probability Moon , Probability Sun , Crossfire , Nothing Human , and Crucible . Kress’s short fiction has won three Nebulas: in 1985 for "Out of All Them Bright Stars;" in 1991 for the novella version of Beggars In Spain , which also won a Hugo; and in 1998 for "The Flowers of Aulit Prison." Her work has been translated into fourteen languages. She teaches regularly at Clarion and was a guest lecturer at Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program in June 2005. Visit her online at http://nancykress.blogspot.com/.