|This cake's done, but my story isn't ready to come out of the oven yet.|
One of the things I forgot to list in my gratitude post was how writing stories forces me to think deeply about the story, about the world, about myself, about everything really. What I love about writing science fiction and fantasy is that it forces me to imagine what it means to be human in a universe populated with other - other what? With the Other. There's nothing like creating a world that is alien (either alien of our own making or otherworldly) and thinking how we would behave around those Others.
This is the part I think of as cooking the story, and it's what I mean when I say the story isn't "done" yet.
"You're finished," my mom used to chide, "cakes are done."
|It's why a lot of writing looks like this --|
|-- though most of it still looks like this.|
In fantasy you must establish the rules of the world of the story. If there's magic, how does it work and more importantly what are the limits? Because there's the rub as Shakespeare would say. And it's the rub, the obstacles that the characters must overcome that give your story its teeth. In science fiction the rules and limits align with what we know of the natural world, sociology, physics.
Just remember the reader doesn't really care about the rules, not the way you do Don't waste pages laying them all out, turning your story into an instruction manual. The rules matter to your characters. Decide them then internalize them so that the world of the story can become compelling to your reader through your characters' thoughts and actions as they moves through their world.