How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Writer's Digest Books, Sep 15, 2001 - Reference - 140 pages
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Learn to write science fiction and fantasy from a master

You've always dreamed of writing science fiction and fantasy tales that pull readers into extraordinary new worlds and fantastic conflicts. Best-selling author Orson Scott Card shows you how it's done, distilling years of writing experience and publishing success into concise, no-nonsense advice. You'll learn how to: utilize story elements that define the science fiction and fantasy genres build, populate, and dramatize a credible, inviting world your readers will want to explore develop the "rules" of time, space and magic that affect your world and its inhabitants construct a compelling story by developing ideas, characters, and events that keep readers turning pages find the markets for speculative fiction, reach them, and get published submit queries, write cover letters, find an agent, and live the life of a writer The boundaries of your imagination are infinite. Explore them with Orson Scott Card and create fiction that casts a spell over agents, publishers, and readers from every world.


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Very helpful indeed.

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There are five chapters defining the genre, story, background world, and writing tips. The final part about sales is ancient history due to the web. What is epic today may become mythic tomorrow, e.g. Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad. Scifi and fantasy take place in unknown or nonexistent worlds. If the rules are the same as the real world’s, then it is scifi. Card is famous for Ender’s Game, which he imagined as a teen when his older brother was in the army, wrote as a story in 1977 and then as a novel in 1985 which won the Hugo and Nebula awards. The elements of that story are used as examples for the topics in the book. The author categorizes major scifi authors in terms of their approaches. Storytellers prepare enough to make it seem true. That lens is also used to look at the real world in more detail. The quality of writing depends upon exposition (naming, abeyance, implication, and literalism), and language (e.g. diction, profanity, or vulgarity). Make rules, e.g. about travelling in space or time, or how to do magic. Know the past, history and biographies, and why. Invent languages and translate for the reader. Describe the scenery. The main character may suffer the most, but also has the ability to act to change things, so the reader will hope that they succeed. Sometimes the viewpoint is a different character who experiences more drama since they are present at the main events, actively involved, and have a stake in the outcome. A text is part of a larger myth. The beginning is selected so that the audience will ask questions answered by the ending. The structure is determined by milieu, idea, character and event (MICE), one of which will dominate according to the author’s taste.  


The Infinite Boundary
World Creation
Story Construction
Writing Well
The Life and Business of Writing

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About the author (2001)

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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