I have an idea that I think could make a good foundation for a sci-fi or futuristic fantasy story, probably suited to a small novel. I would like to ask, where and how do I start going about developing this idea, but I'm sure these questions have been answered many times before on writers.SE, so I am rather asking what to ask, and how to ask it, in order to help me get started writing.

I hope there is at least an iota of sense in what I just typed here.

1 Answer 1


Your question comes across as the question of someone who is looking for questions to ask; posting here in meta is eminently sensible. I think that a good first move for you would be to see how others have approached the sheaf of problems in developing a book.

You seem to be well aware that an idea on its own isn't enough to write a book. What you will need is a plot, characters, and a setting. Science-fiction can be trickier, since you need to develop the science. You also need to determine if you want to write a genre potboiler, a literary piece, or a cross between the two.

Tags for you to look at include and (there's some overlap between the two.) as well as .

Once you do that, you should begin to be able to ask some good questions on the topic!

  • I think we've discussed whether or not "beginner" is a good tag or a meta-tag (that adds no value in and of itself), but I'm not sure what we came to as a conclusion here on Meta. Anyways - not sure if I'd think that was more valuable than the other two tags, which seem way better as a start.
    – justkt
    Feb 20, 2012 at 3:05
  • @justkt - yeah, I think some retagging should be done with those - we don't need both preparation and development - but I figured I'd wait until I'm more up-to-speed on the site before proposing any retagging. Feb 20, 2012 at 5:54
  • I am indeed looking for questions to ask, thanks for making that clear to me. Now, even having the handles you've suggest, i.e. plot, characters, and setting, is a huge start. I could have arrived at that with the shotgun approach of just making trillions of notes and later classifying them, but having empty 'boxes' to start with is huge.
    – ProfK
    Feb 20, 2012 at 7:42
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    @justkt: meta.writers.stackexchange.com/a/9/99 - Kill it! Feb 20, 2012 at 12:12
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    No! I just got all excited seeing that there was a "beginner" tag. ProfK is absolutely correct: Sometimes you don't even know what you don't know, and it's useful to have someone give you a structure of "here are some basic questions to ask." There are "beginner" questions which aren't the same league as "expert" questions. Those shouldn't be deleted or banned. Feb 20, 2012 at 18:00
  • @LaurenIpsum - Nobody's talking about deleting questions, just retagging. I'll take a closer look at this and do a little retagging soon. (The linked question is pretty clear.) Feb 20, 2012 at 18:46
  • The accepted answer to meta.writers.stackexchange.com/questions/8/… specifically says "remove (and ban) those." That's what I was reacting to. Feb 20, 2012 at 21:18

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