6. Make up some things out of the blue — much of the future will come as a complete surprise.
Reality gives us some nasty jolts, and in a century of future Boston, some really big things had to occur. We picked ones that we wanted to have happen (alien arrival, Red Sox winning the World Series), and then reverse-engineered the reasons why it did. We wanted to have a several dramatic game-changing events that reverberated throughout the society. One of those was the arrival of aliens, splashing down into Boston Harbor. Another was a revolution. Because the past Boston was built out of water, David wanted to sink the future Boston, so we agreed on the city's sinking without knowing why. Later, he found a 1923 geology text outlining that Boston in fact sits in the caldera of a long-vanished volcano — bingo, a reason!
7. The more youdon'tput into the stories, but have as background, the richer the world will be.
The bible for Future Boston is many times longer than the actual book. We've got an alien census, a century of economics, a detailed chronology of the Boston Secession (2061), clothing styles in various decades that Alex and Sarah worked out, detailed maps of what drowns when, and a database-managed concordance. One of our members (okay, David) carries the management of detail to professional levels. Make sure you have someone like him. Unless you want to do it.
8. Disagree animatedly about everything—the future will belong to everyone living in it, andthey will certainly not agree—and have a means of definitively resolving disputes.
You have to fight for your ideas, but you also need rules of engagement to reconcile competing visions. So settle resolution procedures up front. For instance, several of us disliked aliens landing in Boston harbor—it seemed too "science fictional"—but then, who could have predicted Lady Gaga? In the end, sudden alien immigration seemed no less likely than the Pilgrims' landing must have seemed to the local native Americans.
9. Let conviction prevail. Once we had decided on an alien arrival—August 22, 2014, 5:05 pm in Boston Harbor, put it on your Outlook now!—Jon burst out with fiery questions about who they were, how many, where, and why. So we all turned to him and said, Okay Jon, you write the story, and whatever you write will be reality. The result was "The Elephant-Ass Thing," where Jon took his revenge—it's a fantastic tale in which none of these questions were ever answered.
10. Come up with creations so shiny and fun that people can't resist trying them out—can-you-top-this competition always makes things better.
As Alex said, in his story "Focal Plane", "an efficient technology is like the flu: like it or not, sooner or later everybody gets it." Most technology ends up getting used 'off label' anyway, so it made sense to use, distort, and come up with nefarious unanticipated uses for each other's most cherished creations. Sarah's weirdly perceptive alien Phneri got used as detectives, as art critics, and as victims of discrimination.