How to Write a Great Science Fiction Novel in 7 Easy Steps

That title misleads in so many ways:

  • As if any “how to” can guide you to write anything that’s “great.” You either have it in you, or you don’t.
  • As if following seven easy steps can lead you to writing a novel, regardless of whether it’s great, or science fiction, or both (or neither).
  • That any steps that might guide you to write a novel would really be “easy.”
  • That following said steps, if they indeed helped you write a science fiction novel, would make your novel great.
  • That you really have to follow seven steps to write a novel. (You only need three: “1. Write. 2. Keep writing until you’re done. 3. Stop writing.”)

Having said all that, these 7 easy steps from Max Barry are awesome, because they strip away the fear, the insecurity, the sheer crushing weight that the prospect of writing a novel inspires. Steps 1, 2 and 3 are all about the basic tools you’ll need, the all-important step 4 is about JUST DOING IT—with the excellent sub-steps 4(a) and 4(b) helping you to get through it. Skip the remaining steps until you need them.

You’re still here? Go read the steps, and then go write!

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