Today I decided I'd really like to write a nice, simple MG contemporary novel. You know, one that doesn't require hours and hours of world building and only has to be about 50,000 words long. Alas, my interests lie elsewhere. This week, apparently, in sci fi. Only trouble is, I know nothing about quantum mechanics. Hell, I don't even know if time travel has anything to DO with quantum mechanics. That's how screwed I am.
I've actually had the idea for this novel for a while, but then I started thinking about the Russian book and got caught up in that. And then this morning the sci fi book started talking to me, and I just had to write it all down (well, as much as I could in the twenty minutes between breakfast and Jack's doctor's appointment). With my last book, Sarah forced me to do all my world-building ahead of time, so I wouldn't run into hang-ups later on. I'm not sure if I want to do that again, but I know I do need a general framework. I think I can explain most of the science through DNA manipulation, but time travel? That one's a bit tricky.
I figure there are two routes I can go down, since time travel might not ever be possible and therefore no amount of detailed scientific explanation is going to be convincing, unless I ACTUALLY discovered time travel, in which case, I'd have bigger fish to fry, no? So, there's the half-assed, psuedo-scientific approach, where I come up with something about the space-time continuum and worm holes and a bunch of other stuff I know nothing about, and then touch on a few important points just to convince my reader that I've done my homework, while casually glossing over the nitty gritty.
Or I skip over the "how" behind everything altogether and stick to the story.
My (theoretical) readers aren't physicists (theoretically), but they're also not idiots. I know there has to be a middle ground I can work from. So I'm asking all my writing friends out there who've ever written science fiction, dystopian, steam punk, etc, or any reader friends who've spent a lot of time with the genre: what's the best way to describe something that doesn't actually exist, without making myself crazy trying to understand a discipline only about 1% of the population actually understands?