Free Turkey City Lexicon for Science Fiction Writers

By Jason Boog 

Science fiction writer Charles Stross held an Ask Me Anything interview on Reddit, sharing tips for aspiring writers.

Stross (pictured, via) shared a link to the free Turkey City Lexicon, a handy collection of overused cliches, terms and techniques in science fiction writing (compiled by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner). However, many of the problems mentioned in the free collection can help all kinds of writers.

Here’s more about the handbook: “This manual is intended to focus on the special needs of the science fiction workshop. Having an accurate and descriptive critical term for a common SF problem makes it easier to recognize and discuss … The terms here were generally developed over a period of many years in many workshops. Those identified with a particular writer are acknowledged in parentheses at the end of the entry.”

In addition to the free writing resource, Stross also revealed how he finds ideas–useful thoughts for all science fiction writers.

Check it out: “coming up with truly new ideas is hard. But I’ve got a method: I look for a couple of obvious ideas that have been done before (try: folks who can travel at will to parallel universes; in their home world they’re the aristocracy, because: magic powers) and then look for the second-order side effects: stuff that other authors didn’t dig into (for example: [with respect to] the previous idea, what are the consequences of these folks’ ability for the ongoing economic and political development of their world? Can it have negative consequences? If so, what are they?)”