- Paperback: 140 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; New edition edition (September 15, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158297103X
- ISBN-13: 978-1582971032
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy New edition Edition
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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 done. In addition, he was the first writer to ever win a Nebula and a Hugo for both a book and its sequel.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chapter 3, Story Construction, has already opened up new worlds for me (no pun intended). Almost every story, no matter what your genre, falls into one of four categories: milieu (the time or place of the story is the most important element), idea, character, and event. Knowing which your story is will help you write it better. Very helpful examples are given.
Chapter 4, Writing Well, shows how to unfold your story. True, this chapter is geared to the specifics of SF&F, but contains extremely valuable information. How much information should you share with the reader early on? How much is too much? Have you dropped enough clues or interesting pieces of information early on to keep the pages turning? This chapter answers those questions and more.
Chapter 5, The Life and Business of Writing, is probably the most honest look at the writer's life that I've ever read. Not only does Card offer advice on how to get your stories published, he also covers the pros and cons of conventions, classes, workshops, conferences, contests, handling your finances, and a subject that doesn't get addressed enough: balancing your writing life with your home life.
How to Write SF&F is a book written by an author that cares about the genre and cares about writers. He doesn't pull any punches, but you come away with the sense that Card wants (and expects) you to succeed as a writer. I was extremely impressed with the way he uses examples from other writers' work and not his own. I've read so many books and articles in which the author cites, "In my book 'Pluto Goes to Town with Gorfzork,' I deal with the problem of faster-than-light travel in a new and fascinating way." Not Card. He praises others instead of himself.
Again, this is a book for ALL writers. The book has already made me re-examine several of my own stories. Now I can look at them and say, "I knew something was wrong with it...NOW I know what it is."
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.
Card, like most writers, is well aware of that fact and does not take the pretention that his book is a how-to that will have you churning out sci-fi and fantasy like a pro. However, for those enthusiasts who aren't sure where to begin or what mistakes to avoid, Card's guide is a good, if ill-titled, one; it describes the different types of stories (idea, character, event, etc.), plus offers tips on building a world with consistent and believable rules, what constitutes sci-fi/fantasy, etc.
More advanced writers or even rather astute readers may find some of the book's guidance obvious or a matter of common sense, and the book is not the only one an aspiring writer might wish to own (Writer's Market, various plotting, characterization, marketing, etc. books also being invaluable), but it is a good starting point for the average sci-fi enthusiast.