Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers” as Want to Read:
Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

(Now Write!)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Featuring speculative fiction-writing exercises from Harlan Ellison (R), Piers Anthony, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, screenwriters of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and many more.
The fifth volume in the acclaimed Now Write! writing-guide series offers a full toolbox of advice and exercises for speculative fiction writers hoping to craft an engagin
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 20th 2014 by TarcherPerigee
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  253 ratings  ·  50 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers
John  Hill
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
I used to have this big complex about buying books on writing. My father had always told me that good writers write and if I spend all my time reading about writing I'm never actually going to write anything. And he was right, to a degree.

A teacher friend, who also writes quite a bit, pointed out to me the other day, that just because I am a teacher, doesn't mean I stop reading books on teaching. I use those books to further my craft and to discover ways of doing things that I had never thought
A standout among the many books on writing I've picked up over the years - both down-to-earth and inspiring, with a lot of useful concrete information. I'd recommend this for any aspiring fiction writer, especially in the genres listed in the title. ...more
Rachel Bea
Very helpful book. I will be purchasing a copy.
Alicia  Gordon
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Great inspiration for whenever I'm in a writing slump. Really helped me a lot :) ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
With advice from writers from all areas, screenwriting, novel writing, short stories writing, (even a comic writer), this book explored areas pertinent to the speculative genre and gave exercises to grow your work. While not every article will be everyone's cup of tea, the articles are well thought out and great advice with interesting and sometimes unique suggestions on things to do to work on your project. This is not a book that has to be read in order or needs every piece read to understand ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Brief essays introduce over 80 exercises by writers of sci-fi, fantasy and horror. 15 of the essays/exercises go above humdrum advice, to truly inspire. "Catching Up with the Future" by Douglas McGowan and "Story Endings: Where Monsters Lurk" by Lois Gresh are two of those.

The rest, meh.

My biggest nitpick is how many of the contributors were from TV/movies. I would've preferred that all contributors have a background in literature, teaching or writing. (It's already tough enough to find spec fic
Laura Trent
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am a reader who dabbles in writing. What most impressed me about this book was the incredible variety of exercises and ideas. I think the editor may have had in mind to hit as many bases as possible, to cover a variety of needs. The editor succeeded. I loved the chapters by the very famous authors whose names are on the cover. I also got quite a lot from the chapters called "The Setting in Horror" by Lisa Morton and "Break the Compass" by Lance Mazmanian. This book certainly put me on another ...more
T.R. Sutherland
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is full of inspiration and great exercises. I will definitely check out the other books in this series.
Blair Hodgkinson
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some very interesting insight and exercises are offered in this writing-help guide. I intend to follow through on quite a few of them.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Borrowed this from the library just to see if it could help my writing and ended up buying it because it has tons of helpful excercises in it, as well as advice from authors.
Steven Atwood
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has some great tips

The tips contained within this book from the experts make it a must read for any aspiring author. I recommend this to anyone interested in writing.
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
These exercise books are most useful after you've completed a first draft and need to consider revision strategies. I picked up some good ideas here. ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not the biggest fan of this series, since entries are frustratingly brief. But some of these, such as entries on worldbuilding, were very useful. I never do the exercises, and perhaps that's part of the problem. It may be you should complete the exercises to get the most out of this book. ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers of sf/horror/fantasy
This is an excellent collection of essays and exercises for genre writers at any skill level. It covers a wide variety of topics from characterization to setting to plot to technique. The essays/exercises cover a variety of genres (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc.) and media (poetry, TV, film, novels, etc.) I think there’s a little something in here for everyone interested in writing genre fiction.

Overall, I found the exercises interesting, though I haven’t tried many yet. I also think the essays
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
I will admit, I bought both the physical and electronic versions of this book. Now, I didn't do any of the exercises (okay, that's a lie, I did three of them), but I do intend to go back through the book and do more than a few of them. I also have used examples from this book in my panels at conventions, as well as suggesting them to my writer friends when they have been stuck.

Lamson has put together a collection of very short (often 1-2 pages) blurbs by authors/writers about their craft, follow
Rick M. Cook
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great resource for all writers of the speculative genre! Many true life examples given by today's (and yesteryear's) great writers. Containing short but detailed lessons (typically 3-4 pages each) that get right to the point in specific areas for improvement, this book not only presents examples but, in some cases, counter-examples (things NOT to do). I learn best with quick short lessons, backed with one or more exercises. That's exactly the format this book delivers.

Much better and more dire
Jul 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
The question I have after reading this book is, what audience is this meant for? For beginning writers who are looking to get more serious about it (me), this book has almost nothing on process. On the contrary, several of the established authors seem to be trolling beginners by stating that most people are not going to have the talent to write well. If you read a moderate amount, you know this is plainly not true. Shit writers are writing and publishing and selling every day.

Writing is a craft
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this as I was preparing my Reading & Writing Science Fiction class, in hopes of finding some inspiration for in-class writing experiments. The book did fulfill that hope, but the contributions to this anthology are very uneven in terms of quality. Harlan Ellison's essay on titles, for instance, was brilliant--humorous and insightful. Jeremy Wagner's "The Art of Being Horrifically Prolific," on the other hand, seems like terrible advice for any writer, but especially for beginning writers ...more
Sigourney Penna
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As the cover states "Today's Best Writers and Teachers" which adds up to an absolutely wonderful book. I think authors at any publication level can find useful things here. I certainly did. Many of the contributors are well known and some are emerging but all seem fully in command of their craft. The level of advice and tips offered in each person's exercise range from very basic to extremely advanced and I for one appreciated this broad approach to the lessons. The cover art reminds me of my da ...more
Kelly Massey
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's a good refresher for inspiration and technical advice that as a writer I've received from attending SFF conferences. It's a keeper for easy to turn to advice. The sections are short and specific, and the titles easily explain what short piece of advice that writer is offering, so you can sample what you need when you need it without reading the entire book cover to cover. ...more
Bridget LaMonica
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fantastic set of exercises to help kickstart your genre-based creativity. Some of the exercises are exactly what you expect, you know the classic write every day stuff. But a good number of them are unique and very valuable. I definitely bookmarked several to return to time and time again whenever I'm stuck ...more
Keith Cochran
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great advice from authors in speculative fiction including Harlan Ellison, Jack Ketchum and Ramsey Campbell. The exercises are a little corny, but the advice is good. It's made up of essays from different authors on various topics. ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Now I realize my status update made it sound like the book had too much to read and that isn't the case, rather that I have too much to read at the moment. I'd go back and reread this book anyday! Fun exercises. ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Occasionally, I stalked through a short chapter and left wanting. However, the easily seen majority were inspiring. Several of those chapters churned over old stale ideas exposing fresh dirt I'm certain I can successfully seed and see a yield in the year to come. ...more
Rachel Lynn
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I loved this book. I read it straight through and did several exercises as I read through. Now I have a treasure chest of tricks to dive into when I need inspiration. The variety of contributors from screenwriters to teachers was perfect.
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Impressive gathering of advice by many well-known writers. The exercises are many and varied.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for those who are looking to write fiction. The book has great exercises and insights to get past writer's block and into writing a great story! ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great go-to book for writing exercises focused on SF/F. It really gets into the core of the field. I put it on my Kindle so I can write anywhere!
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Useful tools for writers

A great many writing exercises from various people. Each one gives s different view point on proceeds. Choices helpful no matter your writing style.
Nathan Albright
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2020
In reading a book like this one is going to have areas where one agrees and disagrees with the perspective of a given writer, where material will be stronger and where it will be weaker.  Especially when it comes to speculative fiction, there are going to be elements where one finds greater resonance with the material and genre aspects one wants to do better and practice more and where one has less interest.  Speaking personally, for example, I have an interest in fantasy that is relatively stro ...more
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book coming in February 1 4 Dec 29, 2013 12:47PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Planet of Exile (Hainish Cycle, #2)
  • Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different
  • City of Illusions (Hainish Cycle, #3)
  • Rocannon's World (Hainish Cycle, #1)
  • Dearly
  • Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
  • The Duke and I: The 2nd Epilogue (Bridgertons, #1.5)
  • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Negotiating with the Dead
  • Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball's Home Run Revolution
  • The Witch's Heart
  • The Old Guard, Vol. 1: Opening Fire
  • Other Half (PsyCop #12)
  • The Beautiful Ones
  • The Best of Richard Matheson
  • Lovecraft Country
  • Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower
  • The Last to See Me (The Last Ghost, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
I'm a writer, book editor and filmmaker who loves helping tell great stories. Edited Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror; co-edited Now Write! Screenwriting and Now Write! Mysteries with my Aunt Sherry Ellis.

Write short stories, feature screenplays and educational videos. Three of my own scripts are in development with producers.

I was honored to serve as teleconference host for Intl.

Other books in the series

Now Write! (5 books)
  • Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers
  • Now Write! Nonfiction: Memoir, Journalism and Creative Nonfiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers
  • Now Write! Screenwriting: Exercises by Today's Best Writers and Teachers
  • Now Write! Mysteries: Suspense, Crime, Thriller, and Other Mystery Fiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

News & Interviews

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
84 likes · 15 comments
“There are as many ways to discover your story as there are to trip over a dog in the kitchen--and some of them feel about as planned.” 1 likes
More quotes…