1) As far as stories, do NOT look at current issues for inspiration (like the LA riots for DS9 or street gangs for Voyagers Kazon). Look at great works of literature that has stood the test of time like Shakespeare for inspiration.
2) Avoid technobabble at all costs.
You can just say
"The engines are off line Captain!".
You don't have to say
"The transphasic inducers for the dilithium matrix pulse compression chamber have degraded by 86% Captain!"