The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction: 6 Steps to Writing and Publishing Your Bestseller By Philip Athans helps writers learn how to craft their own breakout fantasy or sci-fi novel.
This guide also helps in: developing the best plot structure; creating believable, exciting characters; writing compelling combat scenes; presenting technology that sounds as if it ought to work; and, also writing a strong proposal and finding the right publisher.
Like Orson Scott Card who is an expert on writing fantasy and science fiction, Philip Athans is managing editor of novels at Wizards of the Coast, the largest producer of fantasy hobby games in the world. He's worked with R.A. Salvatore, as well as Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, creators of the bestselling Dragonlance series.
Philip has also published his own fantasy novels, including the New York Times bestseller Annihilation, the Watercourse Trilogy, and In Fluid Silence, as well as A Reader's Guide to R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt.
So with all that knowledge, he punches his weight in teaching new authors how to write fantasy and science fiction.
What Is Fantasy And Science Fiction
Philip starts the book by explaining what is fantasy and what is science fiction and how to know your audience.
Once you have that sorted, you motor onto other interesting subjects such as storytelling where you’ll learn how to get started with an idea, developing your plot, knowing when to stop and how to write fantasy and science fiction well.
Writing Fictional Fantasy Characters
Next up is finding out how to create fictional characters for your fantasy or science fiction novel. Here Philip tells all aspiring authors of this genre to ask and answer questions with lists of questions you should ask yourself about your fantasy people that will populate your self-published novel.
He’ll guide you into writing good villians and how to nurture your heroes. Then you’ll learn how to gather supporting characters and give them all their own voice.
It is not an easy ride, let me tell you! You’ll need to learn how to build your new fantasy world (find a link to some world building questions here), then you have to add fictional people and concoct your magic spells.
You also need to invent fantastical names ( I had fun with this by Googling for fantasy name finders) and then you have to establish a fantasy or science fiction culture and make it authentic with a history of how, when, who, why and what.
Building Your Fantasy World
Step three in Philip’s six steps to writing and publishing your bestseller, is creating your world. This section covers deciding on your setting, building your world and its geography and filling this new world with monsters and people and their leaders.
Step four goes deeper into the details of your fantasy or science fiction novel, such as defining a system of weights and measures. Who would have thought you’d need to do that! What language will your build use? And will there be magic and technology?
Now Philip starts getting to the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of your world in step five’s chapters on romance, action and humour. In the final step (six) Philip advises new authors to this genre to keep it fresh but also to follow their own rules.
More Fantasy Fiction Advice
You may want to browse through other books we have on the subject from Writers’ Digest Books. Having a few books on the subject will guide you into this exciting genre so browse through our Writing Fantasy Fiction section.
Buy your copy of The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction