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2.3 Writing Genre Fiction (SF/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Western) (misc.writing Recommended Reading List)




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This article is from the misc.writing Recommended Reading List FAQ, by Terry L Jeffress jeffress@xmission.com with numerous contributions by others.

2.3 Writing Genre Fiction (SF/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Western) (misc.writing Recommended Reading List)

Card, Orson Scott. "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy."
Writer's digest Books, 1990. ISBN 0-89879-416-1, hardcover,
140 pp., $14.99.

The nuts and bolts part of the book is well handled, with
solid examples d, with solid examples (from other writers'
works) of handling exposition, world-building and the like.
What makes the book worth the price to writers who don't
workshop, or don't live in an area with other writers in easy
reach, is the section on creating the "wise reader." Card
explains how his wife, Kristine, became a vital part of his
writing process, even though initially she knew nothing
whatsoever about what "worked" in a novel.

Carr, Clarice M. "The Door to Doom And Other Detections." New
York: Harold Ober Associates, 1991. ISBN 1-55882-102-3. Out of
print.

A recently reprinted collection, "The Door to Doom and Other
Detections", includes John Dickson Carr's "The Grandest Game
in the World". It is an essay on the art of mystery fiction,
with references to authors, their styles, techniques, and
contributions to the genre. It's highly prejudiced towards the
"fair-play" mystery, but anyone who wants a foothold in
understanding the mystery as an art form could do far worse
than to take it to heart and study the many authors and works
Carr uses as illustrations.

Grafton, Sue, ed. "Writing Mysteries : A Handbook by the Mystery
Writers of America." Writers Digest Books. ISBN 0-89879-502-8,
hardcover, 208 pp., $18.99.

Very thorough. Not always easy reading, but very informative.

Longyear, Barry B. "Science Fiction Writer's Workshop 1: An
Introduction to Fiction Mechanics." Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania: Owlswick Press, 1980. ISBN 0-9138961-8-7,
softcover, $9.50.

Longyear not only sits you down and lectures you on how to
write SF that works, he shows you various examples -- from his
own writing -- of what works and what doesn't by showing a
first draft and then covering the processes that took the
draft to the final, improved version. There is no, and never
will be a, SFWW-II.

Nolan, William F. "How to Write Horror Fiction." Writers Digest
Books, 1991. ISBN 0-89879-442-0, hardcover. Out of print.

An excellent source book, and damn fine reading! I couldn't
put it down! Well worth it!

Rusch, Kristine Kathryn, and Dean Wesley Smith, eds. "Science
Fiction Writers of America Handbook: The Professional Writer's
Guide to Writing Professionally." 2nd ed. Eugene, Oregon:
Pulphouse, 1990. ISBN 1-56146-406-6, trade paperback, 248 pp.,
$10.00. Out of print.

A collection of essays by SF writers on various aspects of the
trade. A mixed bag, but the good stuff is very good. Mostly
nuts-and-bolts, but some "how I write my masterpieces" essays.
Also a very good section on contracts and copyright.
-- Terry L Jeffress <jeffress@xmission.com>

Note: SFWA has released a 3rd edition.

Williamson, J. N., ed. "How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and
Science Fiction." Writers Digest Books, 1991. ISBN 0-89879-
483-8, trade paperback, $14.99.

This is quite a varied book, each chapter individually written
by a such authors as Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan., James
Kisner, Dean R. Koontz, Marian Zimmer Bradley, and Robert
Bloch Interesting reading, and a good reference book.

 

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