6 Signs You're A Science Fiction Writer

6 Signs You're A Science Fiction Writer

#1. You're a giant nerd.

Science fiction has a pretty good grip on current entertainment culture. Not so much on the book culture as of late (even according to my favorite scifi author, Orson Scott Card), but that certainly hasn't dampened my love for writing it. If you're a scifi writer, this list is composed of things that you've probably done, or almost more likely, things other people have seen you do.

Here are 6 signs you are definitely a science fiction writer.

1. You're a giant nerd.

This is kind of the baseline given. If you're like me, you are pretty obsessed with a lot of the sci-fi fandoms, e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel films, Firefly, etc. You probably also love RPG-based games, complex board games, sci-fi video games (Portal!) and geeky podcasts.

Double points if you actually enjoy science. Which leads to the next point...

2. Science has become of great importance to you.

Before I started writing scifi, I was not into science. It was too closely related to math with its strict and confusing rules, it can cause huge divisions between people groups and it portrays scientists in a boring/irresponsible way, even in scifi media.

But then I started writing the stuff, and I realized just how cool science really is.

My first real science foray started with my Astronomy class in freshman year of college. Studying the stars was by no means easy (cough parallax equations cough) but I found myself really enjoying it as the semester went on. I got to stand outside at night and chart constellations, our class took a trip to the local observatory and I saw Saturn's rings and Jupiter's storm spot for the first time - not to mention I learned all about the Moon cycles, which is perfect for today's SOLAR ECLIPSE!

But please, don't mistake my enthusiasm for expertise.

3. But you are NOT a scientist.

I'll be honest. In high school, I skipped chemistry and physics. Instead I took biology, Earth science and marine biology because I was much more interested in ecosystems and the functions of life than the nitty-gritty bits we can't even see. There was also way less math, and as a high-schooler applying to colleges for Communications, it was perfect.

It wasn't until I started writing scifi that I started doing tons of science research. My latest novel drove me to research electricity and brain functions, especially newer versions of electroshock therapy. I've looked into the real logistics of cryo-freezing, cloning and mind control. There's some pretty crazy stuff out there, and realer than you'd think.

Most of the time I dive into a scientific article, consume all the new knowledge I possibly can... and then maybe mention something vaguely related to that one or two times in my books.

4. Your Google history is worrisome.

"Stages of vacuum asphyxiation"

"Do bodies decay in space"

"Do astronauts get cabin fever"

"What happens to a human body at the speed of light"


5. You stress over finding ways to be unique.

Hearkening back to Orson Scott Card's article, science fiction has become much more difficult to navigate in recent years because most of it feels regurgitated. As a scifi author, this is a BURDEN. Sometimes it can feel like every idea for a new story has already been done, and worse, it's probably been done better. Science isn't as innovative as it once was, and publishers certainly know it.

But Card also stresses the existence of stories that are done well, even when dealing with concepts that have already been explored. If we all stopped writing sciifi because it's already been done, the entire genre would die out. So even if I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to offer, I write anyway. I love science fiction too much not to.

6. Book questions are really hard to answer.


Person: Oh, what's your book about?

Me: *mind racing through every subplot and technological concept in my book*

Me: It's complicated.

Example 2:

Person: Okay then... what about THIS book?

Me: Actually they're connected, so....

If any of these sound familiar, you are probably a science fiction writer. Love science? Love writing? Googled some gruesome questions about the absence of gravity?

Congrats, you're a scifi writer.

Cover Image Credit: Linda Xu

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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.

They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.


Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.


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