On Saturday I watched all of season three of Game of Thrones. Poor Jon. But I reflected upon this, and yesterday I was reading “Writer’s Digest,” and I thought, I know nothing. I’m Jon Snow. Where is my Ygritte? I can do pretty amazing stuff with my tongue, too, he’s not the only one. But I digress.
I was reading an article from the book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Orson Scott Card was one of the contributors, so how can you go wrong? I immediately went to B&N, picked that up, got the 2014 Writer’s Market book (it was sitting right there, so why not?), and picked up a limited edition Green Eggs and Ham, which has a shiny cover. If my nephew is anything like his uncle, he’ll be drawn to this book. Because it’s shiny. I’m all about trickery to get children to read.
Now the reason I bought the how to write book was due to me writing about how I world build. I want to sound as educated as possible, and these writers who helped conjure this book are to be some fairly intellectual beings, so I bet I could learn a lot from it.
This is not my full review. I’m not saying the information is bad. For someone who loves reading speculative fiction and hasn’t quite grasped the creative journey, or for young writers who need a little firmer foundation for their direction, this is an incredible read.
The greatest advice I’ve gleaned is that everyone creates a world in their own way, and every world is created differently, even if it’s the same author. But after that? Aside from the history of genres and how fantasy and science fiction were finally split (that’s right, they’re different genres!), along with a few suggestions on great magazines for beginning authors of science fiction, I knew.
I’m a third of the way through, and I’ve had my convictions confirmed. Great worlds take months to years to create. Many times they’re stream of conscience creations where you keep asking questions of what you already have, while also taking in what you see in the world. Doodles are a great way to come up with random ideas, as well as randomly jotting down notes on what you thought last night. Often times you will create information for your world that your reader will never see. They might only get a sentence about it. Still create it. Your world will be flat without the knowledge, and even though the reader doesn’t know what is missing, they will know something is missing.
I did learn a great deal about where the markets are for fantasy and science fiction, which will definitely help me a great deal in marketing when going forward. I learned both markets are super saturated, but the science fiction has a larger reader base. I didn’t feel this was true, but the book is relatively new and I’m guessing Card did his research. I’m simply surrounded by friends who prefer magic and swords to lasers and star cruisers.
The later chapters are on magic, paganism, religion, and other details of the world. I was told to always come away with something, so I will work to find those gems, but I am partially hoping this will be an affirmation of what I’m already doing. First, it means my processes are the same as some of the most amazing writers out there. Second, it means I can skim.
I’ll be reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves next because I know it will not affirm my grammar abilities. It will scold me and bring me low, while giving me the tools to lift myself back up. I know I don’t have the craft perfected, and that vocabulary and grammar are my major issues, but it’s good to know I have a good grasp on the creative aspect.
What do you find you do great for writing? Where are your strengths? Where are your weaknesses?
Fantasy Writer and Cartographer
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I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.