How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy First Paperback Edition
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I expect the wisdom in this book will have a profound effect on making my own writing much stronger.
I have really enjoyed his other books, Ender's Game, Speaker of the Dead and others, so I was disappointed with this effort and really expected a lot more.
The title sells that it is going to teach the beginning writer "How to write SF & F." I don't see how this claim can be made. Of course, in the introduction, there is a disclaimer that the book will not cover writing in general but only details specific to SF & F.
There is some relevant information, but it is brief and covers things such as long distance space travel, time travel, magic, back story, languages, and the MICE quotient, which all stories have a bit of - milieu, idea, character, event. All of this is presented in lists of short paragraphs. Not all that helpful.
For example, Mr. Card writes that you should know why things are the way they are in your world. (Well duh, right?) Of course you should know why things work the way they do in your world, whether it's how spaceships manage to travel faster than light, or what the price of magic is. But the important thing is to know how all this stuff works before you really start, as opposed to making it up as you go. If you know what the rules are, then you can make your world believable. (Also, you don't have to keep going back and forth trying to find what you wrote before so that you don't contradict yourself.) What your characters do within those rules can happen spur of the moment, but the world they live in must be pretty well defined in your own mind before they start living there.
The last section (The Life and Business of Writing) was the least intuitive of all, but so necessary. Getting published doens't mean quitting your day job (OK, that part was intuitive). Some of what he says is almost disheartening, but my feeling is, being prepared is better than being surprised. Knowing about the pitfalls can help you avoid them.
I could go on and on about how helpful this book is, but I have a future bestseller calling to me, demanding that I plug a few holes and flesh out some of those pesky middle parts. So get this book if you like to write sci-fi or fantasy and your intuition is being a bit non-specific. It's good, plain and simple.
This is the man who created Ender's Game talking--anybody who ever wants to succeed in Science Fiction would do well to listen.
Card loves to see how things work. He doddles working towns and worlds as a way to pass time. These town may never see the light of day, or he may find them be fleshed out and built into literary worlds.
"How to Write Science Fiction" differs from books such as Doctrow and Schroeder's "Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction" in that Card spends more time on impractical matters--the matters of writing.
Card leaves himself wide open to the reader, exposing how he things and proceeds. He exposes pitfalls and discusses many of the accepted mechanics of writing Science Fiction.
If you are serious about writing Science Fiction, GET THIS BOOK! It is a shortcut to experience. Reading this book will not guarantee your publication, but it will help you avoid many of the unneccessary pitfalls to trap so many new writers.
Top international reviews
His writing is witty and down to earth and he illustrates his advice with examples from notable sci-fi and fantasy authors which lets you see the real world application of his advice. Although I agree with some reviewers that the book leans slightly more towards sci-fi than fantasy as Orson Scott Card states in the book Sci-fi and Fantasy are really members of the same 'family' of books and as such all the advice he gives in the book can be applied to would be writers of either genre and even from time to time for writers of any genre.
For those of you wondering about whether this book will actually have any effect on how you write the answer is most definitely yes, I can honestly say that reading the book has enabled me to see some glaringly obvious problems with my own work which I am now correcting. Without having reading this book I would never have seen those errors and my work would have suffered for it.
I've given the book four stars as opposed to five however because all that it is an excellent little book it does feel a little too short and leaves you wanting more at the end; it's definitely not the be all and end all of 'how to write fantasy/sci-fi' guides but it IS a must buy and probably the best place to start from before moving on to more substantial guides.
The book itself is fine, a little short and matter of factly, and I would not consider this the end-all-be-all book about writing scifi and fantasy, but a good introduction.
I'm reviewing it to warn about his recommendation of Engh's Arslan, which I'd say is a how not to write a book. It isn't even SF. Implausible, ridiculous plot, poor characterisation.
Certainly puts a big question mark on Card's judgement.
Really, Really advise that if your unsure what to do or what your doing, buy this.
Anche se la maggior parte dei consigli di pubblicazione si riferisce al mercato americano, tutta la prima parte del testo, relativa al "come scrivere" è molto efficace e ben scritta.