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How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy Paperback – Sep 15 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; New edition edition (Sept. 15 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158297103X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582971032
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Orson Scott Card is one of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy. He won both the Hugo and Nebula science fiction awards for best novel for two consecutive years--something no other writer has ever done. In addition, he was the first writer to ever win a Nebula and a Hugo for both a book and its sequel, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. His current best-seller is Shadow of Hegemon. He lives in North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I believe this book is a must for any writer, not just for science fiction and fantasy writers. In particular, the chapter on story construction, I believe, is for every writer, but let me start at the start.
Chapter One, The Infinite Boundary
This chapter just explains the differences between science fiction and fantasy. A nice introduction, however all it does is make you understand a bit more about the genre you plan to write in. Being Australian, it had references to magazines and anthologies that I perhaps have a very slim chance of reading, and if I ever do get a chance to, I'd probably have to morgage the house to afford them.
Hence, I guess this chapter wasn't much use.
Chapter 2, World Creation.
This, and the next chapter, are what makes the book worth it. It empasises the fact that your world within your story has to make sense. It has to have rules.
Chapter 3, Story Construction
After, no during, this section, I just got out my pen and started jotting down all these ideas I had for my story. Maybe that is why I am raving so much about this book - because it helped me, and it helped me immediatly. I think my stories will be so much more from having read this.
Chapter 4, Writing Well
Also another good chapter. This chapter made me think about how I had handled some aspects of my story, and gave me a few ideas on how to improve. However, over all this chapter is mostly common sense.
Chapter 5, The Life and Business of Writing
This chapter was not much use to me. it mainly concerns with the opertunities within the American market, something which I hope to crack through one day, but after being an established writer in Australia ;) However, don't put the book down!
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Format: Paperback
I've never taken any writing classes aside from the standard high school and college requirements. I read a lot, and I'm starting to write a lot too. If I'm extremely lucky and bust my hump for the next few decades, maybe I'll even enjoy the merest hint of the success Orson Scott Card has found as an amazingly talented writer. Unfortunately, this book isn't going to help me get there. There's nothing in here that I didn't already know, and like I said I haven't got any special experience.
How to Write... isn't so much a how-to book as a shopping list of the most obvious information a fiction writer needs to know. In fact, that information is so obvious that most ordinary people know it intuitively, even if they've never written a page of fiction in their lives. For example, the advice you are given to help you create logical, consistent worlds is something not much more complex then "Create logical, consistent worlds".
The section on story structure will only give you blatantly obvious advice as well, stuff like it's bad to reveal the solution too early on in a mystery and that you should think about a character's motivation for moving forward through the events of your tale. Do you really need to read an entire book to tell you these things? Probably not.
There's nothing in here that will make you say "Of course! This is what my stories have been lacking!" If anything, it will make you feel vastly better about being a writer, because if this is all there is to it (and I suspect that's not the case), writing must be a piece of cake.
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Format: Paperback
I am a beginning writer of speculative fiction who has always felt unhappy with his stories. Reading this book has given me insight into certain aspects of planning and development that have really been lacking. Among the most useful advice in the book, for me, is the emphasis Card placed on world and character creation before writing; both will change and be refined during the writing of the story, but without spending the time to create them and ask questions of them prior to the story's writing, both end up thin and less believable. Too often I have found myself trying to write a story arond a great Idea or Event with little to no preparation beyond the initial inspiration, only to find the finished work thin and lacking.
This book does not teach you to become a great writing of speculative fiction; what it does is illuminate where your stories might be lacking, where you should spend more time in development, and it lists what kinds of groups and organizations can help you improve both your writing and your stories. For under 140 pages, it is absolutely the best book of its kind. Even if you don't intend to write much SF&F, reading this book will make you a more critical reader of the genre.
One last note: this book will help you improve your Sci Fi and Fantasy stories, it is *not* designed to improve your general writing of fiction. There are other great books out there that specifically address such things as Character creation and development, plot, setting, grammar and style, ect., so such topics are ommitted in this book except where some advice can be given that is specific to SF&F.
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