Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy

by Orson Scott Card

Grade: 4 stars

Thoughts: Even better than Characters & Viewpoint. While Characters & Viewpoints made me feel like less of a writer--like getting my ideas and characters in words might be more of a challenge than I was up to, this seemed like something I could do. Perhaps it's because I "belong" in SFF. In fact, there's a description on page 33, that sounds much more like my style of writing than many other descriptions I've read. I'm not going to quote it because it's longish, but the basic idea is that for Orson Scott Card (and me!) the initial story thoughts begin years before hand, slowly mature and change, as little bits and pieces are added or completely re-imagined, and by the time it's done, it bears almost no resemblance to the original. Makes me feel a bit better, because I was starting to feel a bit worried about the fact that my stories keep changing so drastically.

The first bunch of the book was actually more defining what science fiction and fantasy, or "speculative fiction", actually is. This would be a fantastic resource to be able to argue against those people who snobbily look down on speculative fiction as somehow lower than literary fiction. It also included TONS of references to excellent SFF authors, most of whom sound awesome. It'll take years and years before I'll get as far into that list as I'd like to be.

Then it went on into more actual writing suggestions and tips (with specific emphasis on world creation), which was also really interesting, but I'm not going to go into much detail about it. Read it yourself if you want to know more.

The last bit (which he admitted in the preface might be outdated by the time you read it) is more about getting published: various magazines to try out, tips about handling agents and finances, all sorts of stuff. I actually found this part really fascinating, even if it is outdated. There were all sorts of things about getting published I had no clue about.

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