I think you can do a little basic research and then make it up, that’s what writer are here for: inventing and creating
At least 80%? of a writer’s life is research. The key to research is to either have an expert already in play you can ask at a drop of a hat, or find a subject you especially like and want to learn about.
I was writing a book on architects, so, my cousin is an architect. I asked her to complain about designing the worst thing that architects hate (and she and another architect said the same thing: apartment buildings.) So I asked her to openly complain about some of the things that she’s faced.
In this case it wasn’t emotional labor for her because generally people love bitching about problems they’ve faced, so it’s more like talk therapy with an eager listener.
I used her complaints in the book. I found it entertaining and a way to connect to her.
I’ve also done this with specific cultures, but asking someone to teach them about their culture, even when they’ve basically asked you to write a book, can be exhausting, so I’m open about writing the book, the situation and then ask them pointed questions. This is kind of fun as long as you don’t go prying. People also get a thrill out of it, if you do it right. I asked a friend for her favorite actors and movies, and pretty much wholesale used it in the book, because it was entertainingly funny, but I didn’t mock her preferences either, just left it there.
The other way is just to be a geek about it in the first place. Geekery can be things like food, history of a certain era, etc.
I personally love just liking to be a general nerd. I crash coursed through cooking shows, documentaries. (I’ve seen most of them from English-speaking countries), educational youtube channels. And I love the youtube channels that give individual backgrounds of people for character reference pick ups (Soul Pankcake, for example, does runs of people meeting for the first time which gives a loose character run down).
With passion, you will want to research. School usually makes research not fun. But it can be fun if self-directed.
Otherwise, find a way to do handwavium.
The origins of genetic manipulation can be found with the Eugenicist movement. Researching who they were and what they believed may help.
Well I’m biased because I love biology and hard sci-fi but I would say that you should research it if you plan to have it in your story. Although it depends how much the characters know about it and how big a role it plays. Personally I would get annoyed and stop reading if a book with sci-fi elements just made up the science facts or attributed them to magic.
Genetic manipulation isn’t THAT complicated though, at least compared to other sci-fi topics like space travel, so I think you’ll be fine.
You all are really helpful, thank you. The story is about a Marvel-type universe(might even be a fanfic, not sure yet). The MC has powers, but the villain is a scientist that is infected with a very intelligent parasite. Here, I’ll post a blurb- type thingy.
This next stuff will spoil the beginning of the story. Connor and Winter, twins, were the only children of two successful scientists that worked for a government company that was trying to cure a secret parasite. But the children’s parents began to realize something was off about the company, something corrupt,(can’t tell ya, it would be a major spoiler) and it was all because of the head scientist, Wayne Zandin. Something scared them off so bad that they decided to change identities and move away ASAP. Wayne Zandin found out, and kidnapped their kids(who had been about 4 at the time). He threatened to kill them if they didn’t stay quiet about what was really going on. They refused, and tried to rescue the kids themselves. They were killed, and Zandin was left with two orphans.
For reasons that I can’t tell you at this time(because of spoilers), he decides to use them for his genetic testing. This went on for years, their whole childhood. He alters their genes(this is where I’m uneducated) and causes them to grow wings on their backs. But by altering their genes, he had caused some unforeseen occurrences. Connor and Winter also had powers. Connor had energy manipulation(I’ll explain in the book, unless y’all want to know now.), while Winter had… I forgot. Something along the same lines. Anyway, Connor tried to escape using his powers, but since he didn’t know how to use them properly, he was captured. Zandin realized what he had done, and ordered for him to be executed.
Another scientist who was loyal to Zandin happily followed orders. But he was a little… sick in the head, so he decided to kill Connor by throwing him off of a nearby cliff.
If you haven’t figured it out already, he wasn’t very smart either.
Connor was able to fly away using his new wings, and left his sister behind.
Wayne Zandin was livid once he heard what had happened. He killed the scientist.
Winter, meanwhile, had heard what had happened to Connor. But she had only heard Zandin giving the orders for Connor to be killed. She didn’t know that he was still alive. She waited, learning to use her powers in rare moments when she was alone. Then the day came. She escaped, killing every scientist in her path. Zandin was even more furious, and sent out a search party, but the two children were never recovered. He was smart, and knew it was a matter of time before the children talked to police. He shut down the company, telling the government that the parasite had been cured. Then he went in to hiding.
Connor became Green Falcon, a superhero who lived secretly in his parents old home. He went to school, and made up lies about a life he didn’t have.
Winter did who-knows-what(sorry, spoilers ). But she did name herself Sparrowhawk(May change that).
GF made a friend named Nightfire, a super who could put someone in a coma just by touching them.
That’s all I will say, any other stuff will kinda be spoilers for the future. What do you think? Any specific thoughts, please blur them out for other people who didn’t read this post because they didn’t want the beginning spoiled. Thank you.
Sounds like a fun story!
If you wanted to add in some science, I can give you some specific suggestions (I’ll put it in a spoiler though)!
Here’s a possibility for how Zandin modifies the boys: First, he collects stem cells from them. Stem cells can turn into any cell type in the body: bone, cartilage, blood, muscle, etc. Stem cells are found in a couple places in the body. He could just draw blood, but it might be more fun to make it more difficult, like needing a bone marrow biopsy (giant needle into your pelvic bone). He can then go into his lab and modify the stem cells, putting in new DNA sequences to make them different. There is actually a ton of technology for changing DNA in cells in the lab, but one very promising one in the news right now is called CRISPR-Cas9. Basically, it’s an enzyme that can go into DNA and cut out bits and even add in new DNA sequences!
Zandin could then inject the modified stem cells back into the boys. The cells would then multiply and differentiate into different tissues, forming the wings, and perhaps somehow giving the boys powers.
You can create your world from thin air and then see how it’s possible to explain it in terms that make sense.
I’d recommend: Don’t fit your feast to the fork. Go nuts, follow your heart and resist the urge to stop and research as you go - something inside you wants to go there, that’s a passionate part, the weird artist in the attic between your ears.
Barf everything out, for better or worse and then look at the mess you’ve made. When you’ve exhausted your ability to furnish, fake or finesse anything that already exists in your head - that’s the perfect time to print up a draft, read through it and start making choices.
If you decided to write about a cotton-candy machine that runs on ionized dreams, write that s**t first; then you can check in with the real world’s data and see if it’s possible. If you can’t make that kind of machine work, then the flow / structure of your story is likely still intact, and you can substitute something that is factual / plausible. But I would not want to see you kill your flow by questioning as you go: Does this fly?
Connor is a boy, Winter is a girl lol. They’re twins tho. But that’s a really good idea, I thought about stem cells before, but I didn’t know how to explain their powers.
Yeah, you can keep that part vague! It sounds like Zandin’s not exactly sure how it happened either. Could be from the stem cells themselves, since they can turn into pretty much anything in the body, perhaps they turned into something new that caused their powers.
What if, while they were being held captive in the lab, they got the parasite? And when Zandin manipulated their genetics, it reacted with the parasite to form powers.