This is a storytelling guide used to help tell your stories effectively.
Story scale[edit | edit source]
We highly recommend new users to start on the low scale. It will become easiest to create tandem stories that way. By low scale, you should start out creating nothing larger than a Type 2 Civilization, or empire capable of interstellar travel. Such stories are often day-in-the-life scenarios. Large scale stories involve multiple galaxies and famous events in universal history.
One of the reasons why we request new users (and new writers thereof) to start out small is that it is easiest to write about. It is much easier to portray the details without making the creation seem thinned out or trite. That's not to say that it's impossible to write about large-scale plot devices. It is much easier to assimilate into the Omni 01 continuity should you start out small so that you could better assess the details.
Exposition[edit | edit source]
Generally, when writing your stories, it is best to make it so that new readers are able to understand it fairly easily without having read your informational articles. Since your stories take place in a universe different from the real world, some exposition is often required.
Exposition is explaining the backstory. Most of the history of your characters should generally be documented only in informational articles, yet it is still a good idea to include some explanation in your stories as to not confuse new readers. Ask yourself this: Is the story understandable without knowing anything that occurred outside of the story's events? To answer the question, try adding some background information to help establish the setting.
However, a common mistake in writing is the infodump. That is entire sections of stories are dedicated to explaining the backstory. The problem with infodumps is that they drag the pace of the story. Do not forget that readers can simply take a look at the informational articles if they want to know more on a particular subject. Generally, it is good practice add links to relevant articles in your stories that lead to such pages.
How do you incorporate exposition? A common mistake is the use of the phrase. "As you know already..." Most of the time, it would not even make sense within the context of the situation. A character hearing an "as you know" speech would become confused as to why they are hearing something they already know.
Instead, try having one character unaware of what is going on, and another one explaining it to them. Even subtle details such as newspaper headlines can achieve it well.
Willing suspension of disbelief[edit | edit source]
Willing suspension of disbelief is the audience's willingness to ignore inaccuracies or errors in a story. The exact threshold is considered difficult without the use of numerous examples. While maintaining accuracy is vital to the hard science genre, bending reality is often necessary to make the narrative interesting. Ironically, being 100% accurate can make a story dull.
However, breaking reality must be supplemented with internal consistency. All of the reality breaks and different conventions should be well-established from the start.
Lastly, remember that the audience can believe the impossible, but not the improbable as Alfred Hitchcock put it. Using highly improbable coincidences can lead to a Deus ex Machina, the bane of writing. To combat this, take advantage of Chekhov's Gun.
Technologies[edit | edit source]
Not every writer is a science buff. They themselves have trouble explaining some strange unusual concepts or technology. Some writers resort to technobabble, or fancy technical jargon to help suspend disbelief. Such technobabble may or may not have any coherence, but is primarily just there to sound nice. However, we would much rather prefer the technology has some reasonable basis behind it. Of course, this will require research, and other users are willing to help.
When you are using new technologies, think about the full extent of what it can do before you begin writing. For example, a ship that is moving faster than light could potentially be used as a weapon. Not acknowledging the alternate uses of these other technologies could potentially leave plot holes in the story.
Retconning[edit | edit source]
Sometimes, you may not be satisfied with how your story or article turned out. Although there is only one single main canon on the wiki, it is by no means set in stone. You may change and alter your creation as you see fit, but if it involves other users' creations, you must alert them of such changes.