Writing the Science Fiction Film


Writing the Science Fiction Film describes the kinds of stories that work best as science fiction, explores the parameters of the science fiction genre, and shows what science fiction can offer to writers that other genres cannot.

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Writing the Science Fiction Film

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Writing the Science Fiction Film describes the kinds of stories that work best as science fiction, explores the parameters of the science fiction genre, and shows what science fiction can offer to writers that other genres cannot.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615931361
  • Publisher: Wiese, Michael Productions
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 1,429,697
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Grant is a filmmaker, screenwriter, critic, and script consultant based in London, with a penchant for science fiction and fantasy. He sits on the jury of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature, the most prestigious science fiction award the UK has to offer, and is one of the core team behind The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film. Grant runs the workshops and panels that make up the filmmaking and literary strands of the festival, as well as serving as Literary Editor for Sci-Fi-London.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Writing the Science Fiction Film

By Robert Grant

Michael Wiese Productions

Copyright © 2013 Robert Grant
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781615931361

“What is science fiction?” is a question that’s been debated since the idea of “genre” has been around, and it’s never really been satisfactorily answered. It’s a bit like being asked “What is good taste?” It’s kind of hard to pin down, but you’ll know it when you see it. I mean, it’s easy when you’re watching a film with spaceships or aliens in it to point at the screen and say “Now that’s sci-fi.” But really, we both know there’s a whole lot more to science fiction than the obvious tropes.
Whenever this question comes up I always say that the clue is in the name. It’s SCIENCE fiction. That means that the story must absolutely rely on science in order to be told, and if it doesn’t, then it’s probably fantasy. Now that doesn’t mean that the science in the story has to be real. Neither does it have to make sense (except within the logical parameters of its own world, and we’ll get to that later). And it doesn’t have to be set in the future, so I’m not necessarily talking about robots or spacecraft or “phasers on stun.” But the science does have to be one of the major driving forces of the story. Without the science, the story could not be told.


Excerpted from Writing the Science Fiction Film by Robert Grant Copyright © 2013 by Robert Grant. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What is Science Fiction?
• ?The difference between science fiction and fantasy
• Why write science fiction?
• A genre or a setting?
• The science fiction landscape
• Exercise one

Chapter 2: Finding your story
• Finding the future in the present
• Everyday tools for collecting ideas
• What if? and the vast pool of story sources
• Close to home or far, far away
• Exercise two

Chapter 3: Creating characters
• But it’s about people, right?
• Who is your hero, and why that guy?
• Sidekicks and buddies
• Family, factions, friction and foes
• Human characters
• Non-Human characters - how alien is alien?
• Thinking about viewpoint
• Exercise three

Chapter 4: Plotting
• Turning an idea into a story
• Brainstorming
• What are you trying to say?
• Establishing Theme
• Avoiding clichés
• Exercise four

Chapter 5: Building your world
• Deciding on setting
• Establishing rules
• Sketching the backdrop
• Drawing in the detail
• Exercise five

Chapter 6: ?Getting the Science Right Part 1
• Indistinguishable from magic
• When the science matters….
• ….and when it doesn’t
• Right science and lazy science
• Doing the research
• Exercise six

Chapter 7: ?Getting the Science Right Part 2
• People and places
• About robots
• Travelling through space
• The physics of space
• Noise and explosions
• A word about time travel
• Exercise seven

Chapter 8: “George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can’t say it.”
• The dialogue of the future
• The way people speak
• Make it make sense
• Formal speech and street slang
• Creating an alien language
• Dealing with exposition
• Making description work harder
• Exercise eight

Chapter 9: Start writing
• Mood and tone
• The opening scene
• The first 10 pages
• Don’t bore the reader
• Don’t baffle the reader
• Exercise nine

Chapter 10: Why stop at writing?
• The future is now
• Lo/No-budget science fiction
• Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing
• Shooting on digital
• Desktop CGI, Props and f/x
• Digital distribution

The Last Word

Genre Festivals

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