Category Archives: Science-fiction

Coming Up Soon!

After a busy summer counting birds and writing, I come back with the first English graphic novel for a long time!

On the leafy planet Luurdu, young Adalou dreams of becoming a wind mistress. Alas, she faces a thorny competition because the kite choregraphy brings a high prestige to women who excel in this art. Adalou must overcome her family’s opposition, her biological limits and the jealousy of high-class rivals to conquer her place in the sun.

A graphic novel set in the universe of the space-faring Gardeners, sprouting from the fertile imagination of Michèle Laframboise.

My fresh new YA graphic novel, Mistress of the Winds, set in my Gardeners’ universe, will be out an about in September. 92 pages, B&W art. The pre-order link is here.

An extract here.

I’ll Be Moon for Christmas

My Holiday-themed story, “I’ll Be Moon for Christmas” will be featured in Asimov’s end-of-year issue. With fine cover neighbors like Kris Kathryn Rusch and Ray Nayler! I devored their previous stories, which doesn’t mean I won’t discover the new (to me!) voices in this upcoming issue.

This will be my fourth publication in Asimov’s, laying to rest the idea of a fluke when the magazine accepted my first story. It is also my first Holiday SF tale and. by the title, you may guess what immortal song is playing in my mind!

Meanwhile…

On the Canadian front, I will have two stories coming up in Polar Borealis 25 and 27, edited by Greame Cameron. On the French front, there will be a hard-SF story coming up in the French SF magazine Géante Rouge at some point in 2022 or 2023.

Meanwhile, I tend to lag behind in the reading department… I should finish my current SF mags OnSpec, Analog & and Asimov’s !

Collections of Short-Stories

I came to SF by reading the collections of short-stories on my father’s bookshelves. There was the Marabout collection (in French) of 1950s-1960s fantastic, SF and horror that got me acquainted with the genres. Reading a short-story gave me an open window on an author’s style, favorite themes and personal voice. It eventually guided me towards their longer works.

When you do not have a lot of free time, plunging in a 800-page saga that turns out to be disappointing (for any reason outside the author’s talent, like: not to your taste, or your favorite character dies to thicken the plot, or you’re not into space-faring, chocolate-sauce-gurgling vampires etc.)

Hence my own offering of short-story collections. As the number of my published works rises, I started to publish reprints in collections that won’t consume too much reading time, while giving a taste of my brand of science fiction. Most of those books are under 160 pages, their electronic edition easily affordable.

The two books on the ends are my collections in English ; the three others present my numerous French short-stories reunited under themes.

5 Hard and Crunchy SF Tales

Sink your teeth in those crunchy SF tales!

Welcome to the Big Bang Bar, where the playground of the ultra-rich spans whole solar systems. Follow a cyber-butterfly soaring over the scarred Earth, with strings attached! Watch a proud woman stranded in the pitiless Martian desert find her way out — or die trying. Discover why an alien ship must keep eternally shifting its parts. Or would you prefer to jump a few billions years forward to witness the end of our universe?

Five hard and crunchy science-fiction stories, cooked by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise, with the help of translators Sheryl Curtis and N. R. M. Roshak for two of those stories.

  • Thinking inside te Box (2017) Compelling SF 7
  • Ice Monarch (2018) Abyss&Apex 67
  • Closing the Big Bang (2017) Fiction River no 21
  • Women are from Mars, Men are from Venus (2006), Tesseract 10, Edge publ.
  • Cousin Entropy (2020) dans Future SF Digest 7

Get your copy

5 Histoires de SF dure et croquante (French collection)

The French version of 5 Hard and Crunchy SF Tales!

Five hard and crunchy science-fiction stories, cooked by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise.

  • Penser à l’intérieur de la boîte (2015) Géante Rouge 23
  • Monarque des glaces (2010) Solaris 175 – Prix Solaris 2010
  • Fermer le Big Bang (2021) dans Solaris 218
  • Les femmes viennent de Mars et les hommes, de Vénus (2002), Solaris 140
  • La cousine Entropie (2016) Galaxies 40

Pour l’acheter / buy it in French

5 Histoires de SF dystopique (French collection)

What will happen when AIs write better, and faster, than writers? When Montreal freezes under the ice and the budget cuts, will solidarity hold? See humans gifted with eternal life experience a cruel reminder of their mortality. A termite woman whose life in the mines has lost value wants to live her last vacation. And what about the young people trapped in a generation-ship that is falling apart over the light-years?

Five dangerous visions of Sf author Michèle Laframboise.

  • Les âmes gelées (1999) recueil Transes Lucides, Ashem Fiction
  • Quand le dernier écrivain est mort (2014) Solaris 92
  • Petzis (2017) Solaris 203
  • Dernières vacances de la femme termite, Solaris 215
  • Un vœu sur l’Araignée Solaris (2018) Solaris 207

Pour l’acheter / buy it in French

5 Histoires de SF douce et fondante (French collection)

On Mars, an augmented gorilla must protect the cyber-pollinators in his garden… and the morale of his human colleague. Elsewhere, a first contact stumbles on an advanced race that shuns numbers. A lonely biologist wants to discover the secret of migratory trees threatened by a project. The captain of a cargo ship on a diplomatic mission must go out of his way to convince a talkative door to open. Finally, after the climatic catastrophe, what are we ready to pay to make the Moon habitable?

Five science fiction stories that melt on the tongue, by author Michèle Laframboise. A cocktail of science, humour and tenderness. 

  • Tinkerbelles, Galaxies 61© 2019, Michèle Laframboise,
  • Ceux qui ne comptent pas, Solaris 149 © 2004, Michèle Laframboise
  • Sous réserve, Brins d’éternité 43 © 2016, Michèle Laframboise
  • La récalcitrante du Cachalot, Anthologie Pulp Aventures Sidérantes © 2020 Michèle Laframboise
  • Pitch de vente aux Archétypes, Galaxies 60 © 2020 Michèle Laframboise

Pour l’acheter / buy it in French

5 Hard and Hopeful SF Tales (upcoming)

A stomach technician experiences the pitfalls of living off the land, in the quest for a viable world. On Ganymede, a young girl receives an invasive lifeform for her eleventh birthday… A young heir discovers the exploited inhabitants behind a balmy resort planet. A weary cargo Captain deals with a stubborn door and a infected ship. On a luxury cruise ship, a lonely technician discover an eccentric lady, and an odd friendship blooms.

Five hard but hopeful science-fiction stories, cooked by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise.

  • Essential Maintenance (2022) NeoOpsis 33
  • Moby Dick’s Doors (2022) in Space Opera Digest 2022 Have Ship, Will Travel
  • Renter’s Report (2022) in Polar Borealis 21
  • October’s Feast (2022) Asimov’s Vol 47 (Jan-Feb issue)
  • Ganymede’s Lamps (2019) in Luna Station Quarterly

Coming in August !

Other collections are in preparation !

Good reading !

Double publication in Asimov’s and Analog SF magazines!

Currently on sale in kiosks and specialized bookshops.

I am sharing this special milestone with some trepidation: my double publication in the July-August issues of Asimov’s & Analog! *_*

I am still reeling from the shock of reading my name on the Asimov’s cover. I did not expect the simultaneous publications in both summer issues of Asimov’s et Analog. As I was born in July, I considers this double publication as a fine birthday gift. Especially as my name is featured on the Asimov’s cover for my third story there. My late father, who was an avid SF reader, would be proud.

In the SF short-story field, Asimov’s Science Fiction (founded by writer Isaac Asimov himself) and Analog Science Fiction & Fact (formerly Astounding SF, counting John Campbell as a long-standing former editor) are the top mags that receive thousands of submissions per year. So this represent an important milestone (but not the end of the road!) in my writing career.

My hard-SF stories there are :

Rare Earths Pineapple in Analog

Screaming Fire in Asimov’s.

As some of you know by now, I write mostly hard and crunchy SF stories!

Far from an instant success, this milestone is the fruit of more than 15 years of submitting stories to SF&F mags. I got more rejection letters than I can count, so I am taking a few hours to bask, then, it’s back to publishing my indie collections and the graphic novel. And submitting new stories to anthologies and magazines…

I do love telling stories, and whatever the number of readers, I am putting out new work every month.

I do not neglect the Canadian genre mags, because I currently have stories out in OnSpec 119 in Alberta and NeoOpsis 33 in BC. I am also regularly featured in the French SF magazines Solaris in Québec and Galaxies in France.

So if you are a writer and love telling stories, do not let discouragement bear you down. Go, learn, persist!

It’s been a long time… (since I published a graphic novel)

Feast yer eyes! A mock-up of the book.
I am waiting for my author copies…

I am emerging from a frenzy of art events in Montréal and the complexity of putting up a graphic novel with *Vellum* of all things. Now I can proudly boast my latest publication :  Maîtresse des vents, a 92-page graphic novel in French, from my own SF universe. My cover pic has been put into magnificent colors by my talented colleague Frank Fournier.

It is my first graphic novel published since a few years. I published with my own indie house because I was tired of waiting after various French publishers all hoping for the next popular thing.

I had a blast drawing 16 new pages and sketches to complete the story, and will work to distribute the paperback version in some outlets. Here’s one of those recent additions.

There is a section with various sketches at the end of the book. It will be a small pocket book format. The electronic copies are available on various platforms.

If you are patient, I will get the English version done as soon as possible. After all, the computer technology and Clip Studio make this endeavor less painful.

Useful infos

Title: Maîtresse des vents, Un récit de l’univers des Jardiniers

format: 5.25×8 in
length: 92 pages
B&W interior pages
Price: 14.95 cdn paper, 4.99 cdn eBook

https://books2read.com/vents

A Snowstorm of Publications

A snowstorm of publications happened this month, in both official languages.  I share this good news which, unfortunately, coincides with some not-so-good news in the vast world outside books and writing. (my good news coincides with the invasion of Ukraine, a country that has done nothing wrong, except being prosperous. By the way, yesterday I sent a short story for a collection in support of the Ukrainians.)

  • Publication of my story Moby Dick’s Doors in the 2022 Space Opera Digest anthology HAVE SHIP, WILL TRAVEL, edited by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Le secret de Paloma (Paloma’s Secret) is a finalist for the Alain Thomas Award at the Toronto Book Fair. The show is held in person on March 19-20, 2022. (The award is the former Christine Dumetriu Van-Saanen Award, but we lost Alain, that dedicated worker, in 2020).

  • Publication of Cousin Entropy in the Rosetta Prize Archives (a prize that rewards translations of a text published in another language). Thanks to N.M. Roshak for this beautiful work on La Cousine Entropie. See the Future SF site for more details. A Mandarine translation of Cousin Entropy should also be published.
The Rosetta Archives
  • My illustration for the Salon du livre de Toronto (Toronto Book Fair) illustrating this year’s theme: our legacies. Our legacies, theme of the 29th Toronto Book Fair
  • I just published a novel with Echofictions, Safe Harbor. Read more about it!

    A warning to my faithful fans: this is NOT SF! But an ‘eco-fiction’ with an ecological and human problem at its core, set in a coastal village. A tale of a beautiful friendship between two women who have each lost a loved one. Dedicated to my mother, Thérèse Laframboise née Lorrain, who grew up along the river and loves fishing harbors.
  • Publication of my short story Essential Maintenance in Neo-Opsis 33, a Canadian speculative fiction magazine edited by Karl and Stephanie Johanson.
  • And, to add to the flurry, an email last Thursday announcing a second SF short-story accepted at Analog! It’s a great start to the month, and to Women’s Rights Day, which is really encouraging for a female SF author

TL;DR : Michèle’s new books and SF short-stories publications are out in several venues, in both French and English


Michèle Laframboise is a Canadian SF writer, with more than 60 stories published. Her most recent story, October’s Feast, is available in the Asimov’s SF Magazine. She is a fair low-level athlete runner, a lousy gardener, and avid birder. More on her official website here.

Diving into the Writing : Concentration levels

Some details missing like the scuba and palms, but you get how I feel when writing… or reading a good book!

Those who enjoy scuba diving (or who, like me as a kid, had watched Commander Cousteau’s documentaries) know that before going back to the surface, you have to make mandatory decompression stops to allow the molecules of nitrogen/ helium who had taken refuge in your tissus under high pressure to leave your body, via your exhaled air.

Otherwise, the nitrogen can decide to turn back into gas while it is still lodged in your veins and your cells, and it would not be a pretty sight. Decompression sickness is as dangerous as its opposite, the deep nitrogen narcosis which develops sneakily if you spend a too long time at 100 feet deep.

Diving in deep water

For me, writing feels like diving into deep water.

Except that my decompression breaks are in the opposite direction! It takes me a long time to reach the level of concentration deep enought to penetrate a story. Levels of ‘compression’ or concentration…

My first level takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I go over what I wrote the day before to get the story and its atmosphere back inside my head; I check notions, places, etc. If I write 100 words in that period, that’s normal.

At the second level, which takes me about an hour to reach, I am entering the story at 300-400 words per hour.

At the third level, everything becomes magical: my fingers hug the keyboard and the ideas are transmuted into words without my having to stop. I feel like the story is writing itself, and I’m approaching 600-800 words an hour.

If I keep this on without interruption, I reach my fourth level of concentration: the story tumbles like an avalanche in my head, fingers and words roll like marbles on a flat table. It is paradise. I smash through the 1000 words per hour wall. Often, this happens in the evening, when I have a deadline approaching.

BUT… I do not descend to this 4th level often.

Ah, if only my concentration levels were simple steps! (Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com)

Interruptions!

On the other hand, to go up to the surface, there is no need for decompression stops. Any distraction can yank me up in a jiffy. The phone, someone calling me, or the family member.

As soon as my enthusiastic husband comes to tell me about a techno gadget he saw on the Internet or heard about on the radio, poof! immediate surfacing.

If the conversation is less than a minute or two, and if I don’t have to think to answer any complex questions, I can dive back in and get through my ‘focus’ levels pretty quickly.

Alas, this is rarely the case.

Another condition favors my rapid return to the depths: the certainty that I will NOT be disturbed again in the next few minutes!

So, after 5 or 10 minutes that ate my concentration. And, when the interruption ends, I have to dive back in and redo my stops. And, often, barely submerged, of course, it’s already supper time…

Confession of an unfocused writer

I created this article from a recent writing mishap.

Here I was, happily tapping on a wonderful science fiction story set in Antarctica, pom-pom-pom… when all of a sudden, a flawed scientific detail jumps out at me. Have I correctly calculated the position of the sun below the horizon during the southern polar night? Have I checked the right calendar for the current polar night?

Rising to the surface, opening the Internet, checking the info, then letting yourself drift on the Wikipedia sites, drift farther on the Scott-Amundsen station site, watching the web cam (it’s cold here, but not as cold as in the South Pole)… And, I came to my senses with the crucial realization of having wasted my time. It internally annoys me.

On the heels of that realization came another torment: should I change an explanatory paragraph to place it closer to the opening of the short-story? My words are so tightly knit together that moving one paragraph or one word requires rewriting several others, before and after. And so, I paddled on the surface to juggle these paragraphs.

Finally, after trying to dive back, I decided to go for a walk outside to clear my mind, and come back at another time. I told myself that it’s still warmer here (in Canada, Ontario) than at the South Pole…

TL;DR: Writing is like diving, but with the “concentration” stops going down instead of up.


Michèle Laframboise is a Canadian SF writer, with more than 60 stories published. Her most recent story, October’s Feast, is available in the Asimov’s SF Magazine. She is a fair low-level athlete runner, a lousy gardener, and avid birder. More on her official website here.

“Have Ship, Will Travel” Launches today!

It’s not a play on the other quip Have gun, will travel, but this 400+ pages Have Ship, Will Travel anthology zooms into the space opera adventure stories your inner child covets.

The Space Opera Digest 2022, “Have Ship, Will Travel”, directed by Tracy Cooper-Posey, is published by Stories Rule Press. Stories Rule Press, in Alberta, Canada.

And with veteran writers like Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Douglas Smith heading the table of contents, you can be confident that you will pass a jolly good time on the routes of space! Of course, I do have a story featured in the Space Opera Digest 2022, that I hope you will enjoy as much as I did writing it.

So without much ado, here is the cover, and the link to get your electronic hands on the loot!

Are you craving a paper book, like this appetizing pic suggests? This anthology has a generous paper edition, and I know I will cherish my own copy!

https://books2read.com/HaveShipWillTravel

More info? Editor Tracy Cooper-Posey writes across several fiction genres, including space opera under two different pen names, and grew up reading classic science fiction.

Adventures among the stars need a ship to get you there.

Stories Rule Press presents Space Opera Digest 2022: Have Ship, Will Travel

Space Opera heroes and heroines explore the stars and discover cool new places in ships which range from beat-up rust-buckets to sleek technologically advanced craft that are the envy of the galaxy. Space ships are quintessential for the adventures and challenges our favourite characters face.

Come and explore over 400 pages of worlds of wonder and the ships our heroes fly with Stories Rule Press’ 2022 edition of Space Opera Digest.

Space Opera Digest 2022: Have Ship, Will Travel is the second volume in a quarterly collection of genre fiction anthologies presented by Stories Rule Press.

“Sole Survivor” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Captain” by Stephen Sottong
“Big Top” by Sonia Orin Lyris
“Cycle Three” by Stephanie Mylchreest
“Star Cruise” by Ron Collins
“Watch of the Starsleepers” by Christopher D. Schmitz
“Tome Raiders” by Eric Del Carlo
“The Passenger” by Eve Morton
“An Ordinary World” by J. L. Royce
“Insanity is Infectious” by Cameron Cooper
“Achenar” by Jasmine Luck
“Moby Dick’s Doors” by Michèle Laframboise
“Learning Curve” by Neil Williams
“Exotic Matters” by Phil Giunta
“An icub on Mars” by Barbara G. Tarn
“Of Hedgehogs and Humans” by Rob Nisbet
“Smugglers Blues” by Blaze Ward
“Altered Skin” by Sara C. Walker
“An Unexpected Taste of Home” by Terry Mixon
“Symphony” by Douglas Smith

Space Opera Science Fiction Anthology
__

So, heed the call of adventure, and embark today !

A Story at the End of the Universe

True to the laws of thermodynamics, the expanding universe keeps cooling down. Now, the last transformed humans linger near the black hole at the center of our Galaxy.

The UnAttached, who count their age in billions of years, feed on the powerful X-ray emissions and rail against Entropy, that selfish cousin who sucks leftover energy. The Attached, recently forced to leave their ruined worlds, live too fast.

As the stars around them wink off one by one like in a dying city, what can they hope for ?

A short and crunchy hard-SF story set far, far in the future, told by multi-award winning author Michèle Laframboise, translated from the French by N. R. M. Roshak.

Accolades

The short-story published in Future SF had received several accolades:

“Cousin Entropy”… has a wonderfully Stapledonian scope. –Locus Magazine

The hardcore physics fans out there will certainly enjoy this.” –Kat Day, for Tangent Online

“…a far-flung space opera reminiscent of Liu Cixin’s book.” –Alex Shvartsman, Future SF

“...a wonderful piece of Science Fiction, full of physics and feeling.” –Eamonn Murphy, SF Crow’s Nest (link underneath)

My inspiration for this story

My father Jacques- E. Laframboise had a fine telescope, and I recall many summer nights where he would adjust the position with patience, to point at this or that star, or planet. I still have the 1970’s astronomy books he had bought and, with another telescope, I search the skies, when said skies are not obscured by clouds or the luminous pollution of cities.

I always pondered the fate of our (pear-shaped) universe. The heat death of the universe linked to the ever-growing Entropy, does rarely make for an upbeat story, but add the transformed, long-lived remnants of humanity, and a pinch of spicy black energy, a tiny bit of humor, and voila!

I wrote the story in a short form, so it makes for a thin paperback, be warned. However, I allow my readers to share the paperback and give it to someone close, so you commpose your own chain of friendly atoms.

The translation had been done and edited by N. R. M. Roshak, to whom I owe a lot of gratitude. French is my first language, but a growing part of my public understands and read in English.*

Get your own End-of-the-Universe Story!

Fresh from my indie house Echofictions, Cousin Entropy has come out on several platforms. You can even order a paperback on Amazon.ca.

About the the nice cover image: it is a NASA/ESA pic taken by the Hubble Telescope, showing two colliding galaxies nicknamed The Mice, located 300 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.

* The French version, La cousine Entropie, is also available.

A Promise Kept – my First Story in Asimov’s!

After 16 years of besieging the English-language sci-fi magazines, a breach has been opened in Asimov’s wall. My sarcastic new “Shooting at Warner’s Bay” is out this month.

(Don’t look for my name on the cover, about 20 and 25 authors participate in each double issue!)

A promise kept

It is a special moment for me, because it was a promise I made to my father on his hospital bed, in November 2014. I had already started my cycles of submissions, but I had a lot less stories written at this time. Now with 120+ written texts, including 80 in the current submission cycle, I’m not short of ammo!

My dad Jacques E. Laframboise had a large library of science fiction and fantasy books (the Black Marabout collection). I read a lot of classic horror authors (Jean Ray, Claude Seignolle …), but science fiction was really more my thing. I had loved the Fin d’Ylla, a very, very old thing re-edited by Marabout. The Robots, by Isaac Asimov. A collection of translated short stories from Harlan Ellison.

Science fiction nourished my imagination, even if it had not made me popular with my French teachers, for whom there was one Literature with a capital L (generally written by long-dead, white Europeans guys) and the ‘paraliteratures’ like the detective, SF, fantastic novels that I read voraciously.

Of course, I would have preferred to get at this happy point earlier, so that my dad, and my grandma Edmée Laframboise (who loved to read detective stories) could rejoice with me. But, that’s life. And, at least, those stories will live on and find new readers.

Laying siege with perseverance

Table of submissions in October 2020 – almost 60 texts in the race at that time. Subs in French are now on a separate spreadsheet. Red: refjections. Yellow: active submissions. Green, acceptances. Blue: scheduled submissions.

Looking at that table, you can guess some mags answered faster than others.

The American pro SF mags pay very well, and they sit at the top of my mailing list for submitting a manuscript. Then, if the text is refused, I go to less prestigious magazines, then to semi-pro (which pay, but a little less) and finally to the “token” markets. To understand all these categories, I recommand the page of Ralan, who has devoted himself for 25 years to disentangling the “markets” (as named from the point of view of the author who is paid by the magazine).

SF pro magazines like Asimov’s receive several thousand texts per year. The acceptance ratio of pro mags being very low, that publication means more pressurized air inflating my pride balloon !

Climbing quality raises the acceptance bar

The overall quality of submitted texts always rises… and that’s good news for the readers!
Photo de Monstera sur Pexels.com

And as editor Scot Noel of DreamForge magazine pointed out, the average quality of the submitted stories is climbing, which makes it more difficult for the first readers to sort through the slush pile. The same phenomenon occurs for all other magazines as the level of writing increases. It is rather good news for the readers, but a challenge for a would-be writer. It is no longer enough for a story to be good, it has to shine, to stand out.

And, for me, I had to stop telling myself “I must write like X or Y” and to dive into my favorite flavor without feeling guilty for not writing in the genres in demand, especially with lots of deaths like horror or thrillers.

And I have to write with my heart, too, otherwise it would sound like a niah-niah-look-at-me exercise. That story in Asimov’s sprouted from my sympathy for ignored Hollywood actresses, and was fun to write. It flowed smoothly and didn’t require too many revisions or line edits.

By the way, why do I specify “my first story”? Because I am currently revising another short story, which will be released in 2022 in this same magazine. And I don’t miss any “ammunition” for other SF magazines!

Asimov’s, September-October 2021, double issue. For electronic subscription. Otherwise, run and buy it at the newsstand!

Building a House of Cards

My plotting process

Fragile as a house of cards

Any strong, researched plot I build looks as fragile as a house of cards in my mind. This is how I feel when writing a novel, a short-story, anything, in any genre including romance and science fiction.

And this happens to me even when I plan my stories in advance. The carefully-laid plan goes by the window after a certain point in the writing. And for my very first writing endeavour, I had bought into the “not writing a line before the plan is perfect” and followed by “show your work-in-progress to everyone (and get their advice)” to “rewrite ad nauseam until its polished and smooth.”

I found out that I am closer to a pulp writer than a once-every-ten-years literary author. So I write mostly by the seat of my skirt those days, going back if a nifty details grabs my attention.

My scientific self vs my story-telling self

And it doesn’t help that I am a SF writer who likes baking hard and crunchy SF stories. Sometimes I even overcooked them, making them so hard nobody could access its softer heart!

My scientific upbringing and formation in geography and engineering (even if I didn’t make a career in those fields) had left me with a reflex to check my premises and promise to my readers. I’m a nit-picker. I like flying off on the wings of pure fancy, but at a point my basic knowledge of sciences trips me.

Of course, I could stay in the fancy realm and ignore the science and call my story science-fantasy, where the ships engine screech like mad demons in the vaccuum of space.

Moreover, at any point in time, even the most concrete-hard SF story will be caught up by real science advances (e.g. lab-grown meat or gravity waves). The most I can do about a nagging detail is making a check in my paper books and on the web. If I have to research for more than one hour, without finding anything regarding this devilish detail, I leave it in the story.

Ta. Catch me if you can!

Melting chocolate fudge or rock-hard cocoa?

For me, some details are almost impossible to ignore. Like when you read a contemporary police procedural novel and your detective picks up various things around a body, with his bare hands! Unless it is set in a past era, everyone knows about prints, and now DNA! The same goes for your cat burglar who handles art items without gloves.

Some basics in science fiction are difficult to ignore, like the sound of ships in vacuum. I believe in making as much research as necessary for the story to hold together and not crumble, but if you are not a NASA rocket specialist, or a military strategist, it’s no biggie. Keep the very basic and improvise (ahem, build up) from there. I did read some hard-candied fiction by authors who have a professionnal background, but I do not expect to imitate them!

As one writer told me, you make your science as palatable as you like, whether soft, chocolate fudge that melts in the mouth, or hard 80% cocoa chocolate bar that defies the teeth! Telling stories should feel fun, not like dragging a chain and 100-kg ball behind oneself.

And you have all kind of readers from wide-eyed children to glazed adults, and the whole spectrum between. Some might prefer the melting in the mouth parts. The characters of the story will bear the weight of the plot, and the emotional/personal impact of the situation at hand (or at tentacle) will nab your reader.

Writing is not a straight line

Do I go back and change things? You bet!

And generally, many of those details are about the characters interacting with their environment. I tend to follow the rule of three mentions, adding at least two instances of the details, so it sticks in the reader’s mind. For instance, in my novel Paloma’s Secret, one of the teenagers had a favorite and fun catchphrase, that I only found out about in the last chapters. So I went back and change the dialogue to add the catchphrase in the first chapters.

Do I write in order from word one and not stopping to the end? Nope. I have novels that begun with one impressive scene, plus the prequel and consequences woven out of the strong scene. Or a novel is a tiny seed that grows and grows.

Yes, my first efforts looked like a very convoluted garden hose.

As for my recent efforts at story-telling, you might get to see one very soon in the next issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.