Environmental Hazards: Five Challenges of Writing Climate Fiction (Part 7)

This post concludes a seven-part series discussing my experience writing climate fiction in my novel, Blue Karma.


Over the past week, I’ve shared the five greatest challenges I encountered writing the cli-fi genre: turning a vision into a narrative, defining the scope and thematic focus of the story, drawing inspiration from current events, and avoiding rhetoric. Each of these aspects presents its own traps and tricks. However, I found one overarching consideration helped me overcome most of these environmental hazards. The secret? It’s really not a secret at all, but a basic principle of fiction. Write a solid story.

Good writing craft transcends genre. In any novel, readers expect a logical plot, dynamic characters, and a satisfying story arc. Climate fiction is a form of realism, so why approach it as a totally alien concept? Yes, the speculative elements make it a bit more complicated and require careful handling. But a cli-fi writer’s ultimate goal mirrors that of any other author: telling an engaging, believable story. To borrow from Hamlet, “the play’s the thing”. If you focus on crafting a high-quality narrative, many of cli-fi’s specific issues will fall in line.

For my own part, I appreciated how cli-fi forced me to pay more attention to writing technique. My skills definitely improved as a result from the experience. Plus, it was a lot of fun! The genre’s balance of reality and imagination provides a unique storytelling palette. Blue Karma represents my first plunge into cli-fi, but I doubt it will be my last.

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