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Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy (Writing Series)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Whether you are new to the genre or looking for inspiration, this book provides the tools you need to succeed.

Develop believable fantasy worlds

Challenge your readers’ imaginations

Practical techniques you can apply today

Written by a successful author of SF and fantasy novels

Master the craft of magical worlds

Are you struggling to get started on your science fiction or fantas
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Self-Counsel Press (first published December 3rd 2005)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  153 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
This really focused more on general writing skills than issues specific to the genres.
Joyce Hertzoff
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good text for the course I took. The lessons in the book tended to be basic ones needed by anyone who writes science fiction and fantasy, as I do. They led to good discussions in the online classroom. They also gave me some ideas of how to improve at least one of the stories I'm working on. This is a book that should be updated/revised every few years because the trends in writing, publishing and marketing are changing at a rapid rate. I had the second edition, and some of the material was alrea ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Full of useful information and weblinks. Some of the info may be a bit dated.
Tee Jay
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I mentioned this briefly in one of my notes during my reading of this book, and I’ll mention it again: Kudos to the author for mentioning Northrop Frye, not only in the introduction, but also repeatedly throughout the text. I am a big Northrop Frye fan, a fan of his ideas and his contribution to literary theory and criticism. When Crawford Killian mentions Frye’s theory that posits there is an underlying mythology in all literature and then puts this theory in the context of writing science fict ...more
Catherine Fitzsimmons
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a very fast read; I wouldn't be surprised if it was 40,000 words or less. Not a lot of time to explain, and not necessarily a lot explained, either. The book didn't even seem to address all the topics mentioned on the cover of the book, particularly, "Learn how to get the science and the magic right," which was addressed without offering any solutions or even hints for accomplishing it. There were also sections that didn't quite fit the topic - especially given how little information th ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a decent how-to book for writing Science Fiction and Fantasy books, but I feel like it was just a bit too basic. I guess at this point, being that I have grown up as a fan of genre books, I need something a bit more in-depth, particularly in regards to world building and such. This book is divided into three parts: Knowing Your Genre, The Craft of Writing SF&F, and Getting Published. A lot of what is said in each of the parts is stuff I have read from the how-to books, blogs, etc. of ot ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: New writers
Having just come off reading another “how to” on “Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy” this is the better of the two. While this covered many of the similar topics as the other, Crawford Kilian covered the subject better taking the ideas a step or two farther out into deeper waters.

When they next come up on my stack of “to-read” books, I’ll be nicely primed to start the two I have on “Plot & Structure” and “Beginnings, Middles and Ends” to add to my understanding.

I’m finding that as I read my cur
Decent but not a standout; it's about two thirds basic writing (both the mechanics and the process of dealing with publishers and agents) and a third about SF&F specifically. If you've already gone through other books on writing in these fields, you've probably seen the same points made more than once. With that said, this book is clear and well structured, flows nicely, and is a quick, encouraging read. ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
there's a lot of useful stuff here, so much that it makes the thought of writing intimidating. I read that Robert B. Parker wrote 10 pages a day and never knew where the story was going until he was finished. this book is the total opposite, it wants you to put all your scenes on cue cards and order them by importance to the story. My head is very full.
D. Rae
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. It is a concise and helpful guide to writing spec fiction without a lot of filler and nonsense thrown in to pad it.

I would really like to see an updated edition that would include a chapter on self-publishing.

I highly recommend this book for anyone beginning, or even considering, a spec fiction writing career.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has some strengths and would be useful as a starting point. I disagree with some parts, especially regarding some of the discussion of genre. There are some useful sections, but there are better choices for books that convey the same material. As far as more advanced techniques, I would seek that information elsewhere.
Kevin Greenlee
I didn't find this book very enlightening. It wasn't bad, but everything it was doing, Orson Scott Card's book does better. I'm not going to rate this book, however, because I didn't finish it. ...more
May 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got several good things from this, ideas to help make writing a less painful process. A realistic view of creating believable science fiction, full of 'how to's', w/out stifling the creativity. ...more
Mar 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for someone who hasn't read hundreds of novels and followed many authors on Twitter, Facebook, etc. ...more
B.B. Morgan
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Alright, but very surface level at the writing part. It's among those writing book that advertise that if a writer does these magic steps, instant bestseller! I've read better. ...more
Rachael Kvapil
It took me a while to read because the basics I knew from years of writing, but it's worth finishing as there is a lot of helpful material for the intermediate to advance writer. ...more
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
A good overview of both generas w/o being redundant with other books on writing.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Feel like I learned a lot. I'd always struggled with what turns a bunch of characters and a situation into a story. I feel like I have a much better handle on it now. ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
I was just curious and it was a short read. Brought up all of the same stuff I've read before, elsewhere, but it is still nice to recap. ...more
Giuseppe Saggese
rated it it was amazing
Dec 09, 2018
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
This is a rather basic and very high-level treatment that goes into almost no depth on any topic it touches. It's a good read and covers many good ideas, but it could have gone into much more detail about writing sci-fi and left off the chapters on grammar. ...more
Yong Wang
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Aug 31, 2018
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Graeme Ellis
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Erin Jensen
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Hugh Long
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Nov 24, 2014
rated it it was ok
Jan 28, 2013
Gisele Thomson
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Jan 06, 2013
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Crawford Kilian was born in New York in 1941. Raised in Los Angeles and Mexico City, he is a naturalized Canadian citizen living in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife, Alice, and daughters, Anna and Margaret. Formerly a technical writer-editor at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, he has taught English at Capilano College in North Vancouver since 1968.

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