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Brewing Fine Fiction
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
The authors at Book View Café (such as Ursula K. LeGuin and Gerald M. Weinberg) have written essays to advise newer writers. These essays have been compiled in this book. The advice is directed to writers of fantasy and science fiction, although any writer could find good counsel here.
The book covers every part of the writing craft...from finding the time to write, writing clearly, research, editing, writer's workshops, agent or no agent, going to conventions, dealing with rejection, etc.
I appreciated the blunt truths presented about being a bestselling author. Many writers dream of becoming rich and famous through their craft, but are they willing to pay the heavy price? Is it realistic to expect to support a family by writing?
I would recommend this book to any writer of fantasy or science fiction.

I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. I requested this book because, while I do not write fantasy and science fiction, I enjoy writing and I enjoy books about the writing process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
A fantastic compilation of writing advice. Really useful and fun to read, even if you're not going to write. Gives interesting insights into how writing works and what it's like to be a writer, too. And not just fantasy and science fiction--all types.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
"Brewing Fine Fiction" is a collective effort by some of the creators of Book View Café, a writers' cooperative website whose main purpose is to reach a wider audience directly. They cover many kinds of literary genres, such as horror, mystery, romance and humor. The creators of "Brewing Fine Fiction" are science fiction and fantasy writers.

Editors Maya Kaathryn Bahnhoff and Pati Nagle have divided the book in five main parts: "The Basics", "Craft", "Research", "Marketing Your Work", and "The Writer's Life". In "The Basics", guest writers make a case for science fiction and fantasy as legitimate literature and impart some hard gained wisdom in how to develop a story, overcome writer's block, create enticing titles, and avoid unnecessary expository writing, among other things.

In "Craft", renowned fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin explains the inner workings of her genre and how a fantasy writer can make a reader believe in worlds that only exist in the imagination. In this section other writers handle voice, landscape as a character, the importance (or not) of following grammar rules, how to write love and sex scenes, and being passionate about what you write.

The section dedicated to "Research", which includes four articles, seems to wander between explaining how to conduct research versus showing the results of specific research, in this case, horses and a subgenre of science fiction called "steampunk". The article on horses discusses basic information writers should know about horses before using them in their stories. The article about "steampunk" (which involves technological developments during the early industrial age through the Victorian era) gives a brief history of the subgenre and a few websites for further research.

"Marketing Your Work", presents very basic advice on how to get published, including, surprisingly, information about good manners along the lines of never insulting an editor who rejects your work, for example. They also give information about how to write query letters, craft synopsis, even how to make an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC). The most interesting article in this section is the one by Pati Nagle "The Quest to Find Agent Charming", in which she concludes that "Agent Charming" does not exist. "Market Your Heart", by Patricia Rice, is a poignant article about selling out your soul to "Big Publishing" in order to achieve the kind of success most writers can only dream about.

The section "The Writer's Life" I found the most useful. Two articles jumped above the others: "How I Write When There Is No Time", by Deborah J. Ross, and "How Do You DO That?", by Sarah Zettel. Ross leaves no doubt to any aspiring writer for whom lack of time is an issue that works of substantial length can be achieved using even the smallest frame of time available: a writer can start with five minutes. The key, says Ross, is consistency. After a few days, weeks, months, the words accumulate and the writer has something to work on. Zettel, on the other hand, draws inspiration from her rather large collection of rejection slips, acquired over the first ten years of her writing career when it collapsed after 25 years as a professional writer and she had to start from scratch.

While I am not a reader of these genres, this book certainly piqued my curiosity about them, especially science fiction. I may read some book on one of these genres very soon indeed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a compilation of pieces by denizens of a website who have been published: the tag line for the book is "Advice for writers from the authors at Book View Café". It is an extremely mixed bag, in content and quality. The overall theme I came away with, funnily enough, is "no one can tell you how to write" ... That, and "Get published? Don't hold your breath."

The e-book is nicely arranged along the chronology of producing a finished, possibly published work, beginning with "The Basics" and "The Craft" and moving on to "Research", "Marketing Your Work", and then to the catch-all chapter for everything that didn't fit elsewhere "The Writer's Life". My understanding is that all of the articles were culled from the website, but some of the articles were not only clearly written for another venue entirely but were grafted into this project without any editing to smooth the join.

Some of the articles are funny, some sharp and erudite, many helpful in one way or another. Others are of the sort of writing that give me hope: if this person's writing can be published, surely mine can. It's a gamut of very different voices and messages, with no real binding theme apart from "stuff about writing and getting published" - and, as I said, the latter is spoken of in the same sort of terms as might be used for winning the lottery. I don't know if the intent is to discourage, but if it was it worked. I know that the economy has made it all more difficult. I know the interwebs have changed the game substantially. But this ... I suppose it's better to go into something with no illusions, with a realistic outlook and full understanding that it won't be all beer and skittles. It is, though, a sad thing to have every shred of optimism and hope snuffed out.
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