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.

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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!

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  • 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 '12 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. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 20 '12 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 '12 at 7:42
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    @justkt: meta.writers.stackexchange.com/a/9/99 - Kill it! – John Smithers Feb 20 '12 at 12:12
  • 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. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Feb 20 '12 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.) – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 20 '12 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. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Feb 20 '12 at 21:18

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