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The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, Vol. 1: Alchemy with Words (The Compete Guide Series) Paperback – January 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1896944098 ISBN-10: 1896944094 Edition: 1st

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The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, Vol. 1: Alchemy with Words (The Compete Guide Series) + The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, Vol. 2: The Opus Magus + The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, Volume 3: The Author's Grimoire
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Product Details

  • Series: The Compete Guide Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dragon Moon Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896944094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896944098
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Comprehensive, with much advice on historical settings, weapons, combat, world building and such, and fantasy writers can profit by it."

- Piers Anthony, Author of the Xanth Series -


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Customer Reviews

This book is a great resource for fantasy writers.
Heather
The only bad thing is that most of the links they provide for resources are dead by now, but there's plenty more out there so get this book!
Lauren M. Willier
Since each chapter is written by a different writer, the quality and helpfulness of the individual chapters are too varied for my taste.
Megan Mann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Moira Allen on October 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've picked up many "genre" writing books that have proved a huge disappointment -- maybe a chapter or two of genre info followed by the usual "how to type a manuscript" stuff. This book is a refreshing change! For anyone seeking to build a "realistic" fantasy world, it's a compendium of expert advice -- covering food, clothing, weapons, warfare, religion, even a fantastic (no pun intended) section on diseases. There have been criticisms of this book based on the fact that many of the contributors aren't "established" fantasy authors. What they ARE is experts in the fields upon which they are contributing, whether that field is medicine, weaponry, or what-have-you. In short, if you were going to look up "experts" to talk to about some aspect of the world you're building, these are the people you'd ask. This book will stay on my shelf! --...
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Heather on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great resource for fantasy writers. It draws attention to details that could easily be overlooked by a writer in this genre; details that would make a story richer for their inclusion. It stimulates the imagination as one considers how information from each chapter might work in the world/story he or she has created.

However, it has been poorly edited and is full of typos, spelling mistakes and poor grammar. One occasionally stumbles upon a sentence so poorly constructed that it requires a struggle to understand the author's meaning, and one chapter is so disjointed and full of errors that it is very difficult to follow. This inattention to detail would make me leery of accepting the information on medieval customs as fact, and I would be careful to check any of the information from this novel against another source before using it (though some would say that's a good idea with any research).

Aside from that caveat, I still highly recommend this book to beginning fantasy writers, as it may open your eyes to avenues of world and character creation you never considered before.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Sheri L. McGathy on October 5, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy is a great reference guide for the aspiring fantasy author who is bubbling over with all the "How do I" questions. It is also a wonderful resource for those who have been writing in the genre for some time, but maybe need to understand one aspect of the genre more than another.
I personally found the sections on medieval food, medieval clothing and the sections on armor and combat very helpful.
You can't go wrong with this on your bookshelf.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Speculative Fiction on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good reference guides for fantasy writers are few and far between. I know, because I've pawed through most of the options. I took a shot in the dark in purchasing Alchemy With Words, volume one of The Complete GuideTM to Writing Fantasy. Published by a small press and written by a collection of fantasy authors who haven't much collective experience or acclaim among them, the book has much to recommend it--and much not to.

On the plus side, this is one of the most varied and complete offerings I've seen on the subject (and this is just volume one). Subjects include Roots of Fantasy, Characterization, Race Creation, World Building, Clichés, Plot, Medieval Clothing and Food, Health and Medicine, Magic, Mythology, Religion, and Arms and Armor. Although a few chapters skim by with only basic info, many of them include insightful and detailed explanations of aspects of the genre that every author would be wise to heed. Of course, with only a chapter devoted to each subject, the book can't be considered definitive. But it offers an excellent jumping-off point into further research.

Based on the quality of information alone, I consider the book worth reading. However, the production values offer some serious drawbacks. Aside from general poor editing and typesetting, the lack of professionalism displayed by the various authors--some to the point of out-and-out self-indulgence, in which the authors ramble about their own unpublished fantasy manuscripts or state their subjective pet peeves as if they were rules of the genre--is annoying at best and downright frustrating at worst. If you can get past the writing to access the information, you may find this book a useful primer on the world of writing fantasy.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Scanning this book, I found it to be a collection of useful and well-researched information. As a librarian, I value the quality of research more than whether I have heard of the author, and the depth of coverage speaks for itself in this volume. Don't be put off if you might not have heard of some of the authors, for the sections are insightful, knowledgable and prompted some very interesting story ideas.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Murphy on September 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you're a fantasy fan like me, you probably have a novel or story idea you want to write. This book will help.
The book is written by several fantasy authors, and they devote chapters to different aspects of fantasy: plot, characters, medieval medicine, medieval food, humor, marketing, etc.
I found the chapter on Magic to be worth the price of the whole book, as it sent my idea in a whole new direction. Great book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Chester on August 30, 2008
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Volume 1 seems to suffer from a split personality: is this book designed for fan readers or for writers wanting to break into the fantasy genre? The combination of various authors and collaborators creates an uneven quality to the articles. Some are pretty thin. Some -- such as those on worldbuilding and combat -- are worth reading. This book is best used as a basic overview. If you want more in-depth information, you'll need to research other sources.
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