The article is an absolute gem of advice, and should be memorized by all beginning writers.
A lot of the rules are great general short story writing advice:
2. The novel’s timeline is folded into the reader’s real time. The short story is itself a real-time event. That gives the form a certain “Hey, you!” authority, like a fire or an arrest. Use that authority.
18. One POV is enough. Two is more than enough. Three is too many.
28. Know who is telling the story, and why. This can be the hard part.
30. Polish. Short stories are like poems in that they may be read more than once. A really good short story will be read several times. Beware.
43. Symmetry is more important than plot. A short story must make a pleasing shape, and close with a click.
But many of the aphorisms on the list shed light on what makes a science fiction story in particular work:
3. The SF reader is a gamer who brings a problem-solving intelligence to the story. This is the SF writer’s one great advantage. Use it.
8. One world only. Dreams are out of place in a short story.
9. Fantasies are out of place in Fantasy.
10. The stranger the idea, the realer the world must seem to be.
11. A few objects make a world, the fewer the better. William Gibson’s good at this. It’s called art direction.
16. Genre is a matrix of expectations. They are yours to grant, deny or delay, but you must know what they are. Don’t be writing SF if you haven’t read it.
17. One idea is enough for a story. Two is more than enough. Three is too many.
39. Misdirection is interesting. SF readers like puzzles.
But isn’t a list of rules antithetical to the iconoclastic, genre-busting, experimental world that is contemporary science fiction?
59. Ignore these rules at your peril.
60. Peril is the SF short story writer’s accomplice, adversary, and friend.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.