Find Your Motivation for Writing Speculative Fiction

by Disha Walia
published in Writing

What do you think you haven’t been told about the sometimes called “What-if” stories? Assuming you’ve read the last four segments of Worldly Wise (Welcome Back, BTW!), you already know the basics… or perhaps you already know more. However, if you’re here for the first time, hello there! Welcome to Worldly Wise, where we work together to see your story to the finish line.

Now, we’ve already debunked the myths associated with Speculative Fiction, slain the 7 deadly sins, appreciated the storytelling elements with some awesome books, and worked on world building. What’s next? Motivation.

Here are 4 things about speculative fiction that could inspire the motivation to get those words on the pages. And it goes beyond your dreams of seeing your name on the cover—your writing can help your future readers.

Motivation 1: Speculative fiction can build mental resilience.

First things first, I am a psychology graduate. It is probably my fifth language, only because the first four spots are already occupied. And I’m here to share something I learned during my personal research to satiate my psychology craving.

You can help people (especially young audiences) to cope with anxiety and stress by putting your speculative story out there. It is not a discovery that literature is the mirror of society. But when you add the “What if” element to your stories, you are encouraging your readers to think outside of the box.

Your story must have a conflict. Perhaps it is something grounded in reality with a touch of speculative elements. Or it is completely based on fantasy. When your characters survive and learn to cope with uncertainties and learn life lessons, you’re giving your readers the hope they can do it too.

In the most uncertain times, what’s a better message than to tell the readers that they can shape their lives too?

Motivation 2: You can send a wave of change.

Raise your hands if you’ve read the Hunger Games trilogy! 

Well, what was your first reaction to the games itself? My guess is, they turned you off. A minor spoiler alert: Hunger Games is nothing if not a direct reflection on the horrors of war.

I remember reading the trilogy for the first time as a teenager and thinking about the many social issues Suzanne Collins packed in her Hunger Games trilogy. How horrible it all was and developed my own thoughts on all that I read and beyond that.

Now, of course, Panem was a world unlike mine, that helped me leave my biases at the door when I began. But by the end, I had not only looked at everything from an unbiased perspective but developed a viewpoint that could also resonate with my reality. Often, such perspectives can spark a debate that lights the fire of change.

Pretty cool how you, too, can do it by getting your story out there, right?

Motivation 3: You can help develop empathy.

Don’t just take my word for it. But several researches show your speculative fiction story can help develop ethical thinking, emotional intelligence, and empathy! Perspective-taking is your keyword here. We all must have one book in our library where the narrator wasn’t someone we could really like, but we go on this incredible journey to experience the world through their eyes.

Our need for closure, or cognitive closure, decreases. This is our desire to get a direct and firm answer instead of an ambiguous one. Resisting this means you are more comfortable accepting other perspectives, more empathetic, more emotionally intelligent, more thoughtful, and, of course, more creative.

Your story doesn’t need an unlikeable narrator. The “what if” element is good enough to resist cognitive closure.

Motivation 4: You can help someone make sense of the world.

Speculative Fiction is beyond “what if.” It stabilizes your readers in the “now.” You take the approach of a “what if” question and ask it in the “now.” 

What if a Metroid hit the earth? What if you could time travel to the future? What if aliens invaded Earth? 

It could be anything for that matter, but in your story, it is happening in the now for your characters.

The characters making sense of the world helps readers look at their own world and make sense of it. Much like how I did as a teenager after reading the Hunger Games trilogy. 

Sometimes it can hit closer home. What’s the temperature where you’re living? It’s 40 degrees Celsius here already when we’re supposed to be enjoying spring. Global warming took spring from us here and no one is happy about it! 

I recently came across a fantasy story about a time in the near future when water has become a luxury. That hit closer to home than an alien invasion, for sure. 

But here’s the thing: speculative fiction poses questions in readers’ minds and helps them make sense of the world in a new light.

Share Your Wisdom!

Come on now, give your readers the wisdom of sight that only your story can provide. If that doesn’t give you the motivation to write, I don’t know what will.

And the next time we meet, let us talk about some emerging trends in speculative fiction and how we can use (and avoid) them to help our writing journey. Until then!

Tell us in the comments: What is your motivation for writing speculative fiction?

Disha Walia is a lifelong storyteller and an enthusiastic writer and editor in love with the idea of exploring the creative world of words. While making her space in the world of non-fiction and fiction alike, Disha loves to spend even her free time daydreaming about what next to write. Connect with her on You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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