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Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-Of-This-World Novels and Short Stories
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Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-Of-This-World Novels and Short Stories

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  441 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Do you envision celestial cities in distant, fantastic worlds? Do you dream of mythical beasts and gallant quests in exotic kingdoms? If you have ever wanted to write the next great fantasy or science fiction story, this all-in-one comprehensive book will show you how. Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction is full of advice from master authors offering definitive instructi ...more
Paperback, 2nd edition, 406 pages
Published September 30th 2013 by Writer's Digest Books (first published February 26th 2010)
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3.95  · 
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 ·  441 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Not bad, but I have one serious problem with this book - over 100 pages of it, Orson Scott Card's section starting the book, is reprinted word-for-word from Card's earlier (1990) book titled How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. There is nothing in the online listings or on the cover indicating that this content, over a quarter of the book, is not original - no way to see it without buying the new book. I don't know whether this was Card's decision or that of the editors or publisher, and I ...more
Matthew Cirilli
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
In addition to the 100 pages or so by Card, there are also two essays by other authors. I think that the many glossaries of various fantasy related terms is really one of the most valuable parts.
Joel Flank
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is essentially three separate books merged together to create a useful reference on writing fantasy and science fiction. The first part, written by Orson Scott Card, is the only part explicitly about writing, and is also by far the best part of the book. He talks about the market, what makes a story science fiction or fantasy or not, and creating a different world. Lots of great advice here, as well as specific examples, from both his career and from other authors. This section is 5-star.

Kathleen Flynn
I found parts of this guide very interesting, like the sections about structure and the different types of stories. The steampunk and magic chapters were also fascinating. Since I am not planning to set a fantasy novel in medieval Europe, among the Incas, or involving elves, etc., I skimmed many sections, but others may find them useful. This book was marred for me by some strange lapses and clearly could have used more careful editing, for example when Orson Scott Card makes a Jane Austen refer ...more
Aurora Morales
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the initial section by Orson Scott Card excellent, but the reference section was offensively Eurocentric. According to the World Cultures chapter, Africa consists of Egypt, the Americas are the Aztects, Incas and Olmecs, and Asia is China. Instead of endless escapades based on English,Celtic and Norse royalty and mythology, I would really love to see a flood of fantasy and SF novels and short stories set in worlds based on the rich and deep cultures of indigenous America, Asia, Oceania a ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book leaned much more towards fantasy than sci-fi, so buyer beware if sci-fi is your writing genre of choice. For those interested in writing fantasy, this has a good glossary of terms related to medieval castles, clothing, weapons, and a surprisingly deep exploration of the beliefs and functions of magic throughout history. The beginning also gives a nice reference list of magazines and publishers you may want to subscribe to in order to know what's currently on the market. (Most a ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
If a little dry in places, this makes an excellent reference work for anyone thinking to write a fantasy or sci-fi novel. Most of the resources and lists seem geared toward fantasy, offering terminology and ideas that way, while the sci-fi section is more to get you to think creatively about your new world. It's something to have on the shelf for when you're not sure about what a cuisse is and if your character needs one.
Fernanda Brady
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Took me a while to finish as I re-read sections and took notes. Great resource. Highly recommended to those interested in writing or understanding this genre!
Douglas Owen
Mar 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Really? Are you sure you have the title correct?

The reason I say this is because this book started by explaining the different genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Not bad for the layman who is just exploring it, but for the avid reader and budding writer it is not needed. Heck, I know what Steam Punk is, so why did you find it necessary to try and explain it for 10 pages?

From there it went down hill.

The next section started to explain the hierarchy of society, the basic types of tribes of man
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I didn't actually finish the book.

Let me explain. The first section is a copy of Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. The remainder is a series of essays/chapters discussing different aspects of speculative fiction, from characters archetypes to creatures to races.

Naturally, I'm using the last sections of the book as reference/occasional reading as it becomes necessary, but the structure of the chapters (often categories and lists of definitions) don't l
Dan Guajars
Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Es un libro interesante, en el que aprendí la estrategia del M.I.C.E. que utilizo frecuentemente para destrabar mis arcos argumentales. Tiene buenos ejemplos y da buenos consejos.
El único problema es que el autor es uno de esos homofóbicos furiosos que buscan pasar leyes discriminatorias. Así que si no te molesta que el tipo sea un pelmazo y un boludo, entonces este manual te va a servir un montón para enfocar tu estritura de fantasía y ciencia ficción.
Travis Cottreau
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This was ok, but felt like almost an afterthought.

I enjoy lots of Orson Scott Card's books, but felt this should have been better.

There are a few ideas to take from it, but I didn't think an entire book was necessary to convey it.
Joel Adamson
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
If you insist on having an "updated" version of Orson Scott Card's classic How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, then this is a fine book, but its value primarily depends on having that entire book as the first section. If this is the only copy you can get or you're interested in the perspectives of the co-authors, then again, this is an okay book. The added material does have a convenient glossary of arms and costume pieces, as well as other glossaries of medieval stuff.

I hesitate to rat
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A thorough discussion on writing fantasy, sci-fi and related genres. A good book will make you think and this one did. There are some common sense words of advice that perhaps some people do need to hear and that those who know it already need to be reminded of. It did come out in 2013 so the discussion about authors publishing their own works in the realm of e-books is likely a little outdated by now but I don't see that it has changed very much. The discussions around naming genres and how in ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mostly enjoyable and useful.
Orson Scott Card's advice for important works of fantasy and sci-fi has made my reading list so much bigger and I think several books will be his.

The biggest problems with the book on the whole were that several of the contributing writers would make sweeping statements about history that need sourcing (I had always been under the impression that writers should be careful with their accuracy for fear of their readers loosing trust in them) there were several occasions
Daniel B-G
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
Disappointing. There were a number of useful reference tables in here, much of which was stuff I was quite comfortable with, but this is very light on practical advice, which isn't really acceptable for a book that claims to tell you how to write great SF&F. It's worth addressing it section by section.
1) Orson Scott Card - This section was written in the 90s and it shows. There were a few interesting insights, but this was a direct reprint of another book.
2) Phillip Athans - This industry up
Meaghan Gray
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A decent reference book for brainstorming and inspiration. It provides lots of jumping off points for research or discovery of new ideas, but it doesn't provide much insight into the actual writing of fantasy and science fiction. Granted, there are multiple instances throughout where the authors inform the reader that there are tons of reference books that exist to help you learn about the elements of storytelling, which is true. Still, a lot of those books don't approach those elements from the ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While I read plenty of fantasy books, I still found what was said in this book to be very helpful. As I'm reading it, some of the advise is like a duh moment on my part. Seriously I should have thought to do this without having to read it. But sometimes the obvious is what you miss the most. Still an excellent book that covers several aspects of both genres. It doesn't necessarily give writing advice since everyone does things different, which is acknowledge by the authors. What they focus on ar ...more
Austen Rodgers
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, like others have said, I'm of the opinion that this is a good reference book for fantasy, and not much else. The first 150 pages has easily forgettable parts titled "The World of Steampunk" and "The State of the Genre: F&SF in the 21st Century". The "how to write" section is only about 100 pages, and most of the advice is run of the mill.

Which means that the last 250 pages is the fantasy reference. And let me tell you: it's the best I've ever seen. There are so many terms for social c
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, non-fiction
Definitely a good reference book for the aspiring Fantasy writer but not so much for Sci-Fi. I was a bit disappointed to read so many disparaging reviews based on O. S. Scott's actions and beliefs rather than the actual material contained on the pages. Putting that part aside, there are definitely a number of things to be gleaned from this book. It certainly makes a great shelf reference that contains ideas to inspire new writers and push stuck ones over the hump. My only wish is that is contain ...more
Holly Davis
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive guide to fantasy (and some sci-fi), involving magic systems, world building, political systems, parts of a castle, mythological creatures, etc. I found parts that are very useful to me and that I will refer to in the future and even some terms and rules of space that I can use in my current manuscript! Woo hoo! Overall, it is a helpful guide to have, but I know I won't need to refer to it for every fantasy book I write.
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Think of this book as an encyclopedia for Fantasy / Science Fiction authors. It begins with a few essays on Card that shoudl be read in their totality, and then the majority of the book references things like parts of a castle, and creating fantasy cultures. Helpful, although with the internet, perhaps less necessary.
Steven Powell
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be a good reference book for anyone writing sci fi and fantasy. However, it also focused a lot more on fantasy. It dealt with many of the different elements in fantasy and science fiction books. It is a very good review book for aspiring fantasy and science fiction writers.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
For writers of fantasy this book has lots of detailed definitions to fill your stories. The science fiction section is lighter. But I will keep this book as I start the writing of a piece of historical fiction as the word lists for medieval warfare, castles etc will be invaluable.
Justin Banham
It is... okay. There is some inspiration and good information for the first ~50%, but then it gives way to outdated information and knowledge that is better drummed up on a good google search. Worth the $6 I suppose, but not nearly as illuminating as I was hoping for.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
The early part of this book is a good overview of how to create fantasy worlds. The later part is a lot of reference material about what terms to use, etc. I enjoyed the beginning more as I was looking for an overview, not an in depth dictionary.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ah! This book was so helpful...I've gotten so many ideas from reading it just to flesh out my stories.

10/10 would recommend if you're writing science fiction or fantasy. Just to get some world building ideas....
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a person working on a fantasy novel, I found this book to be very strong. The lengthy entry from Orson Scott Card was very helpful, as was the chapter on magic.
H.J. Stack
It focuses more on fantasy than sci-fi but still a good reference book.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
This book contains Orson Scott Card's 'How to write Fantasy and Science Fiction' as well as an essay from Athens that make this worth this cost.
Definitely worth the price.
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th