Every story should have a point even if it’s something as simple as “Good triumphs over evil.” Whatever that point of this tory might be, that’s the central theme everything needs to revolve around.d
If you’re writing a science fiction story, keep in mind the costs of big budget special effects. Often times science fiction movies are made partly because they can be done on a low budget. One of the latest low-budget science fiction films is “Lapsis,” which is about an alternative world where corporations pay people to lay cable across the land.
The point of this low-budget film is to highlight the gig economy of Uber drivers, DoorDash delivery people, and Amazon warehouse workers who work long hours for low pay, only to enrich corporations and shareholders. When you’re creating a science fiction story, you’re essentially exaggerating one aspect of life.
“Alien” is about fighting a monster, but in the science fiction world, it’s about a monster with acid for blood that can’t be stopped by a crew that has minimal weapons.
“The Matrix” is about people living a life without being fully awake and in control of their lives. “Terminator 2” is about the horrors of nuclear war and how we create the weapons of our own destruction. “Brazil” is about the dysfunctional, dystopian world of bureaucracy that oppresses individuals.
If you’re writing a science fiction story, clearly identify the point you want to make about life, and then greatly exaggerate it. Then focus the entire story around the point you want to make.
In the low-budget “Lapsis,” the main point is that workers are getting screwed by a corporation to do long, boring work for minimal pay. The story is about a man struggling to pay bills and working in a gig economy because he has no other options.
The best science fiction is a story that helps us see our own world a little clearer. By focusing on a single element, exaggerating it, and telling us a story about this exaggerated effect on people, you can turn a simple science fiction story into an interesting commentary about our world of today.
In fact, strip away the science fiction and the formula applies to any story you want to tell. Identify a single point you want to make, emphasize and exaggerate it, and that will tell a unique story in any setting or time period. Science fiction, like all stories, is nothing more than identifying a point and making it memorable through drama and setting.