Book Reviews

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

Did you know today is National Science Fiction Day? Happy Birthday, Isaac Asimov!

Today, I’m making two recommendations for sci-fi [and fantasy] writers.

  1. The Worldshapers is a podcast by award-winning author, Edward Willett. Each episode is an interview with a sci-fi/fantasy author. Really great stuff, so give it a listen.


2. About eight years ago, I got my first novel idea. A middle grade fantasy. Yes, the one I’m still working on. I know. I know. But it was my first novel. My learning-how-to-write-a-novel novel, never mind that it was a fantasy and I also had to learn how to world-build.

At least back then I knew enough to get some guidance. One of the first books I purchased AND READ was How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by none other than Orson Scott Card himself. (Of Ender’s Game fame.)

[Sidenote: Card is interviewed in a two-part episode 8 of the Worldshapers podcast as noted above.]

Chapter two was most helpful: World Creation. Which covers:

  1. Where Ideas Come From
  2. Make Rules for Your World
  3. Invent the Past
  4. Language
  5. Scenery

As much as I say my novel is a mess, it’s not all to waste. What I did during that first outline and draft, with the help of this book, was develop my world.

I spent so much of my time in world development that my characters were flat and they had weak story arcs. Characterization is not where I focus first when I write in general, it’s usually plotting, so really, when I really think about it, maybe the story isn’t such a mess. But it’s a hefty work in progress as I currently work through characterization. If I were to write another fantasy today, it would spend A LOT more time in outline development before diving into the first draft. I’ve learned a lot.

robot-2256814_1280However, it was Card’s book that got me through that first draft so long ago. And if you write sci-fi or fantasy, this needs to be a book on your desk, well worn and studied. Spine cracked. Notations made.

Happy National Science Fiction Day!



1 thought on “How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out to The Worldshapers podcast! I’m having a great time doing it so I’m glad to know it’s been helpful and enjoyable to others.

    Liked by 1 person

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