Top positive review
41 people found this helpful
A bit vague, but great tips on world building
on July 27, 2010
Pros: A good section on world building, some nice tips on the business side of writing, wisdom from different authors, a great short story by R.A. Salvatore.
Cons: Not in-depth enough in the sections on characters and plot, a little too much promotion.
I was pretty disappointed in the first couple of sections of this book. While the advice given was solid and it was presented in an authoritative, yet humble way, it wasn't nearly specific enough to actually tell me anything. If a topic is worth bringing up at all in a book, it is worth devoting more than a paragraph to it. And yet, many of the tips this book has to give on story and character are given barely a paragraph of very general information -- and that's after the author has quoted another writer and plugged R.A. Salvatore yet again (was it really necessary to promote this man's books on every other page?).
The book's tips on world building are much more specific and much more useful and since world building is the main way in which writing a fantasy/science fiction novel is different from writing any other type of novel, this is a good thing. The book gives excellent tips on all the different little things you'll have to think of when writing in the genre, some of which aren't immediately obvious, such as systems of weights and measures. The rest of the book was also strong, with some good information on the nuts and bolts of writing such as how to avoid anachronisms and some good information on the appropriate way to approach agents and editors.
As a side note, the short story at the end of this book, "Hugo Mann's Perfect Soul" by R.A. Salvatore is excellent -- one of the best pieces I've read by that author.
I should probably also mention that this book is geared slightly more toward the fantasy writer than the science fiction writer.
Even though it's a little short on information in places, this book still has some invaluable tips for fantasy writers, particularly concerning setting and world building. 4 stars.