1. UndergoingMitosis

    UndergoingMitosis New Member

    Oct 5, 2011
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    Science in Fiction (Not Science Fiction)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by UndergoingMitosis, Oct 5, 2011.

    I'm a college student who writes fiction--and is double majoring in Biology and Computer Science.

    This is my background, and it inevitably leeks into my writing. Sometimes my gut reaction in a story is to use a biological concept as a point of comparison for some event or another in one of my character's life. The danger, I feel, is getting too technical and losing a gigantic chunk of people who might otherwise like to read a book I write. I also don't want to dumb down the science too much, both because it's something that's near and dear to my heart, and because it's really easy dumb down concepts to the point of falsehood (and the last thing I want to do is lie to anyone I convince to read my work).

    My question really is, how much science is too much? Is it okay to talk about ribozymes or the structure of ATP Synthase in a YA novel for which this discussion is extraneous to the actual plot (but may give one or more of the involved characters valuable insight)? Does anyone know of some books/stories that do this well, or a couple that try and fail? Maybe this is something that people do all the time and I just live under a rock and have been missing it, but I can't really recall reading a book that uses science without slipping into the sci-fi category. Not that I don't love science fiction (because I do), but that's not really what I'm looking to write at this particular moment.

    *Note: I'm brand new here, so if this is the wrong place for this question, let me know! I'm still trying to figure out where everything goes here.
  2. Mallory

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Jun 27, 2010
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    Tampa Bay
    The main thing to keep in mind is don't infodump. Slipping scientific detail in every now and then in passing is fine, but describing four long paragraphs about it isn't. This is the case whether we're talking about biology or just describing a character's house. :)

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