Writing Books/Confused...


Hello Vincent, I'm 22 and it's been my dream ever since a very young age to write a book. I've started on my quest earlier this year, and have since written around 10 thousand words. I'm very excited about the piece and continue to write in my spare time. I've been reading through the answers you've given and they have got my mind churning and I'm now wondering whether my future YA is indeed a Sci Fi, or if it's fantasy. The main character has physic abilities, and it takes place on a futuristic Earth and many of the characters have gen mods, but I'm beginning to wonder if the story seems farfetched and if I'm crossing the thin line between sci fi and fantasy. What separates the two? Also, the book has a prologue which I plan to explain some of closer to the end of the novel, and I'm wondering if that is acceptable (trilogy hopes fingers crossed).


Certainly, no issues with prologues.  Many books contain them.  Just make sure you're using one for the right reasons.

The line between science fiction and fantasy is often blurred, but the distinction remains this: a science fiction story is one in which the science is absolutely essential to the story, while in fantasy, the story involves something more akin to magic than science.  This is why Star Wars is really a fantasy, not SF.  For all of the technology used... from lightsabers to X-Wing spacecraft, the core of the story is based on something that can only be called magic: The Force.  The technology is just window dressing.

Now, from your description, I'd be inclined to call yours fantasy.  Psychic abilities have no basis in science.  On the other hand, genetic modifications are solid devices of science fiction, as we are definitely on that road.  So you're definitely in that fuzzy area.  

To see which side of the line your story falls into, you really need to decide how critical the science is.  Are the psychic abilities ONLY available through genetic modification?  If so, and if you can give a fair stab at HOW such a modification would work, then you'd be writing SF.  But if, like the Force, it's just sort of there with no real basis behind it other than stating it's a genetic modification, you're probably dealing with fantasy.

That's it in a nutshell, anyway.  Hope that's helpful.

Oh, I should mention also that it would be your publisher who'll decide to which genre the story belongs.  For better or worse.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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