Writing a sci-fi romance novel can be a daunting task. It’s a genre that requires you to delicately balance two completely different worlds and make them work together seamlessly. But if you keep these seven tips in mind, your book will engage and delight readers for years to come.
Create an interesting setting
The setting of your story should be detailed, interesting, and believable. Your world needs to feel real enough that readers can imagine themselves in it, but fantastical enough that they can’t wait to explore it further.
In the Dark World trilogy, the story starts out in modern day Seattle, Washington. I’ve spent enough time there to know the city quite well — the things that tourists never see, and the day-to-day grind that jams up the freeways, and even the scores of humanity, robotically working their way to corporate America. It’s a believable setting — even the earthquake that follows. Most Washingtonians live with the awareness that at any point The Big One could strike.
Once the book moves to the future, a very dystopian landscape begins to emerge. But even then, readers familiar with 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games will feel the thread of how we could have gotten to this broken, new world.
Develop Memorable Characters
Your characters should have depth and complexity; they should be more than just one-dimensional paper dolls with no motivations or emotions of their own. Give them flaws, strengths, hopes, dreams—the more fully developed they are, the easier it is for readers to relate to them and invest in their story.
To that end, don’t forget to add a very human backstory to your villain. Outside of your main hero/heroine, the antagonist is the single most important character in your story. Your reader should understand his/her story enough that there is understanding — if not empathy — for how they ended up on their path.
Showcase Your Uniqueness
Science fiction romances tend to run together because so many stories follow the same formulaic ideas and tropes. To stand out from the crowd, focus on what makes your story unique—whether it’s an unexpected romance between two unlikely characters (like Caitriona Sinclair and Duncan MacKinnon) or a never-before-seen sci-fi setting—and use this as the foundation of your novel.
Use Technology To Enhance The Plot
Technology is integral to any good sci-fi romance novel; don’t let yours fall flat by having it take a back seat to the plot or characters. Instead, use technology as an integral part of both the world and the characters’ journeys; make sure it enhances rather than detracts from their stories.
For example, in the Dark World trilogy, next-gen weapons, genetic detection and highly advanced drones are used as part of an intricate worldbuilding. The technology underscores the advancements of the New World Order and is at striking odds with the often simplistic, non-technological way of life that is imposed on the Dwellers who’ve fled to area caves.
Don’t Forget About The Romance
No matter how much science fiction elements you incorporate into your story, don’t forget about its romantic core! Make sure you include plenty of scenes between your main couple so readers can see their relationship develop over time; this will help draw them into your book even more deeply than if you simply focused on worldbuilding or action sequences alone.
Find The Right Balance Of Action And Emotion
A good science fiction romance has plenty of action sequences mixed with moments of emotionality between characters—this helps keep readers engaged while also allowing them to connect with your characters on a deeper level (which is essential for any successful book). So make sure you find a balance between these two elements throughout your writing process!
Pick A Suitable Point Of View
When creating your point of view for the novel, consider carefully who would tell this story best: which character has had unique experiences within this world? Which character knows all the secrets? Who does the reader want to follow along on this journey? Choosing wisely will help ensure that you create a captivating narrative from start to finish!
In Dark Awakening, Dark Gathering and Dark Storm, the point of view often switches between characters so you are able to view events through that character’s eyes. I’ve also created several back stories that you can find on the blog to provide added context and differing points of view.
Writing a successful sci-fi romance novel takes time and dedication; but by following these seven tips, you’ll be able set yourself up for success! With these tools in hand, you’re well on your way towards crafting an exciting sci-fi romance novel that will engage and delight readers for years to come!
What tips have you found to be successful?