Writing Sci-Fi: Structure
In his wonderful book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (p.76), novelist Orson Scott Card says all stories contain 4 basic aspects: Milieu, Idea, Character and Event (MICE!). Here are some sci-fi examples (YA):
- Milieu: about a world or a society. Eg. Running Out of Time by Margaret Haddix about time travel to a past society.
- Idea: begins with a mystery to answer. Eg. Protus Rising by Ken Catran, murder mystery in space.
- Character: about character transformation. Eg.The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer about a clone who develops values.
- Event: when something goes wrong in the world. Eg. Box by Penelope Todd about an epidemic that strikes New Zealand.
Which aspect of the story matters most to you? That is the aspect that will give you the story’s structure. – Orson Scott Card