Writing Science Fiction: Easy Steps to Success!

Writing science fiction is a great companion activity to current science units.This page outlines my step-by-step process. Save it as a favorite in your science fiction writing resources.

Science fiction novels are often cited by upper elementary and middle school students as their favorite kind of story to read. Consequently, they want to try their hand at science fiction writing. Kids like their efforts to be "right." It's important to them to be able to craft a story that fulfills the basic criteria of this genre.

So What's a Characteristic of Science Fiction Writing?

Glad you asked! A quick review:
  • Plot: The primary events might really happen, based upon current scientific facts that we know to be true.
  • Setting: The tale generally takes place in the near or distant future, on Earth, or another location that real scientists have theorized may exist.
  • Problem: The characters solve the dilemma through using actual scientific data.
  • Characters: The characters are fictional, but their actions make sense from a scientific point of view.

Your Quick and Easy Science Fiction Writing Lesson Plans!


Use Science Knowledge to Plan Science Fiction Story Writing

These exercises are designed to help young authors use their backgrounds in science to help them make that leap into authentic science fiction story writing.

Step 1: Discuss how scientific facts are a result of long-time observations, experimentations, and conclusions (ie, photosynthesis, gravitational pull, metamorphosos, etc.).

Step 2: Have students form research/writing groups to discuss other "hot" scientific topics in today's world, such as the use of growth hormones to increase size and weight, genetic altering to create resistance to diseases, or how certain animals can regenerate themselves (starfish, etc.).

Step 3: Have writing groups outline and write a story that centers around one of the science topics they've discussed. The outline should clearly state the science background and use it to develop the major problem within the story.

Here's a quick example:

Characters: Dr. Sarah Marsh, lab assistant Bill Bailey, police detective John Williams, and newspaper editor/reporter Aimee Greer.

Setting: The University Insect Research Lab, twenty years from now.

Central Problem: Should humans tamper with nature?

Science Background: Worldwide, scientists are investigating substances that can increase growth and intelligence in many species.

Plot: Dr. Marsh uses isolated genes to create supersized honeybees. The bees get loose and look for flowers, swarming over the silk floral arrangements at an outdoor wedding.

Resolution: Dr. Marsh captures the bee colony, injecting them with a drug to heighten their intelligence, so that the bees can discriminate between real and artificial flowers.

But Who Knows What Smart Bees will Decide to Do?

As you can see, writing science fiction can lead to an imaginative series of episodes! Have fun!

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