How to Make The Future Look Like Right Now by Catharine Bramkamp

How to Make The Future Look Like Right Now by Catharine BramkampLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us about “How to Make The Future Look Like Right Now.” Enjoy!


Science Fiction and/or Time Travel is fun.

We get to imagine the future, create bizarre creatures, re-imagine everything we may not like in this world, and fix it in the next. But newbie authors sometimes get so caught up in this bright shinning city on the hill, they forget the basics of story telling and the hazards of world creation.

It’s not just about future world.

At all cost, avoid making future technology the bulk of the story. Technology can certainly be part of many crisis points. Technology can cause plot twists, it can even be the joke or second plot line. Just avoid making future technology the whole  story. Even I Robot had something else to do.

It’s All About Right Now

Future Girls by Catharine BramkampYou know you are writing about the future. Your reader knows you are writing about the future. Your characters do not. What you may see as a fantastic break through, your character experiences as another every day frustration. Instead of the new wow, create an old frustration. In Future Girls, the men work exclusively through the Reality Cloud, they can command anything, anyone, any situation and play in virtual reality all day. Cool. Except what happens when a character can’t access? It would be like one bar on a cell phone. Never mind we carry tiny computers in our pockets, you wanted to download that You Tube video right now. See how that works?

 What if Technology is the problem, not the answer?

What is the trade off for all this great technology? We quote 2001: A Space Odyssey all the time — the idea of a computer taking over our whole life, and yet, we still stand in line for a phone that takes voice instructions. There are countless examples of technology gone awry. It’s a great plot device — Man versus the Machine — and it is popular because it taps into our own ambivalence about technology. As an author you can ask the question what are we sacrificing for  convenience, for immediacy? Are hundreds of entertainment channel necessary, a joy,  or is it  just more work to wade through all of them in the search to find “something to watch”?

Like Margaret Atwood pointed out in Handmaid’s Tale, what if all our electronic credit and bank cards were revoked? Can we escape the all encompassing systems and identity relinquishment just so we can check out 20 seconds faster?

Create a real plot in an un-real setting

Find your hero or heroine, give them a purpose – a goal and a background. Once the essential plot is established, often Man versus the Machine, forge ahead with the real story:  the journey; love; discovery. Create the real plot, make sure your characters are full and flawed, then drop them into a world   that looks common place to them, but is crazy interesting to the reader.



Catharine BramkampCatharine Bramkamp is the author of Future Girls and Future Gold (out July 1 2015 – Eternal Press), time travel YA novels for adventurous readers.




Future Girls by Catharine Bramkamp

Future Girls

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