Image shows a man in space surrounded by white floating masks. Illustrates the idea that writers can improve their sci-fi or fantasy novels in one step.

You’ve built an amazing world that would make George R.R. Martin jealous. Your characters are memorable, and the story keeps readers on the edge of their seat. But there’s always room for improvement. Here’s how to improve your sci-fi or fantasy novel in one step.

How to Improve Your Sci-Fi or Fantasy Novel

If you want your story to be better, use less dialogue. It’s that simple.

Already use the right amount of talking? Then this tip doesn’t apply for you. However, if you’ve written a sci-fi or fantasy novel, you may fall in the trap of too much dialogue.

How can you tell when your book has too much chatter?

  1. Open your book manuscript.
  2. Scroll to a random page.
  3. Scan the page and look for quotation marks.
  4. Note how much of the page is in quotation marks.

If you have page after page of back-and-forth dialogue, it’s too much. Or if most of your pages are characters talking, trim it back.

What Do You Do With All That Info?

So, what do you do with all that talking? Cut it out. Delete it. Get it out of your story.

I know what you’re thinking. That dialogue I’m saying needs to go is vital to the story. If that’s true (and only you know if it’s true), then don’t delete it. Keep it in the story. But find another way to include it.

A few ways to keep the info from dialogue without having your characters actively talk include:

  1. State that a character said something without putting it in quotation marks. Bad example: Mark went on to discuss his deep love of dialogue. He said that he, too, wanted everything in quotation marks, but a blog about how to improve a sci-fi or fantasy novel convinced him to cut down the chatter.
  2. Let them say it later. Sometimes, a character says things that ruins tension. It gives away half of the plot and leaves no room for surprises. Get your characters to shut their traps until a more opportune time.
  3. Show what the characters are saying. Instead of having a character say, “Here comes Bobby,” just say that Bobby sprinted down the street toward them.
  4. Pay attention to surroundings. In any conversation, things happen around the talkers. Birds chirp, lawnmowers start and stop, and bombs explode. Use these external happenings to break up your lengthy sections of dialogue.

Let Someone Else Improve Your Sci-Fi or Fantasy Novel

When you write a book, you know the story and characters better than anyone. Unfortunately, this makes it hard to cut anything out. To improve your sci-fi or fantasy novel, find someone willing to make those cuts. Writing and editing since 2002, I’ve been that person for many authors. Check out my editing services and drop me a line to find out if I could be the editor your book needs.