Writing Craft: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror and Everything In Between

Posted on November 20, 2018

by April S

The lives of authors are incredibly fascinating – they are often very insightful, reflective and knowledgeable about their craft. Join me in learning more about writers and the craft of writing during National Novel Writing Month and beyond. Aspiring and experienced writers will definitely enjoy the variety of resources in this blog post.

Books on Writing

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal and Comics

Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror edited by Laurie Lamson
Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror : Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers edited by Laurie Lamson

This fifth installment in the Now Write! writing-guide series presents speculative fiction-writing exercises from Harlan Ellison, Piers Anthony, Ramsey Campbell and others to help aspiring writers craft a horror, fantasy or science fiction novel that is anything but ordinary.

Wonderbook : The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer
Wonderbook : The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer

Presents a visual guide to writing creative fiction which includes illustrations from fantasy artists, writing challenges, and essays from such writers as George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Also available in eBook.

Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction : How to Create Out-Of-This-World Novels and Short Stories by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, Jay Lake and the editors of Writer’s Digest
Writing fantasy & science fiction : how to create out-of-this-world novels and short stories / Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, Jay Lake and the editors of Writer's Digest

If you have ever wanted to write the next great fantasy or science fiction story, this all-in-one comprehensive book will show you how. This book is full of advice from master authors offering definitive instructions on world building, character creation, and storytelling in the many styles and possibilities available to writers of speculative fiction.

Writing Monsters : How to Craft Believably Terrifying Creatures to Enhance your Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction by Philip Athans ; foreword by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society
Writing monsters : how to craft believably terrifying creatures to enhance your horror, fantasy, and science fiction / Philip Athans ; foreword by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Monsters are lurking in the woods, beneath the waves, and within our favorite books, films, and games–and there are good reasons why they appear so often. Monsters are manifestations of our fears and symbols of our society–not to mention they’re a lot of fun–but each should serve a purpose and enhance the themes and tension in your fiction. Also available in eBook.

Putting the Science in Fiction: Expert Advice for Writing with Authenticity in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Other Genres by Various Authors
Putting the Science in Fiction: Expert Advice for Writing with Authenticity in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Other Genres by Various Authors

Science and technology have starring roles in a wide range of genres–science fiction, fantasy, thriller, mystery, and more. Unfortunately, many depictions of technical subjects in literature, film, and television are pure fiction. A basic understanding of biology, physics, engineering, and medicine will help you create more realistic stories that satisfy discerning readers. Scientists, engineers, medical professionals, and others share their insights in order to debunk the myths, correct the misconceptions, and offer advice on getting the details right.

On Writing Horror : A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association
On Writing Horror : Handbook by the Horror Writers Association

The masters of horror have united to teach you the secrets of success in the scariest genre of all!

In “On Writing Horror,” Second Edition, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Harlan Ellison, David Morrell, Jack Ketchum, and many others tell you everything you need to know to successfully write and publish horror novels and short stories. Edited by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting dark literature, “On Writing Horror” includes exclusive information and guidance from 58 of the biggest names in horror writing to give you the inspiration you need to start scaring and exciting readers and editors. You’ll discover comprehensive instruction from notable authors like Jack Ketchum, Robert Weinbert, Ramsey Campbell and Mort Castle. With “On Writing Horror,” you can unlock the mystery surrounding classic horror traditions, revel in the art and craft of writing horror, and find out exactly where the genre is going next. Learn from the best, and you could be the next best-selling author keeping readers up all night long.

Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story by Steven Harper
Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story by Steven Harper

Vampires, werewolves, and zombies, oh my! Writing a paranormal novel takes more than casting an alluring vampire or arming your hero with a magic wand. It takes an original idea, believable characters, a compelling plot, and surprising twists, not to mention great writing. This helpful guide gives you everything you need to successfully introduce supernatural elements into any story without shattering the believability of your fictional world or falling victim to common cliches. “Writing the Paranormal Novel” gives you everything you need to craft a novel where even the most unusual twist is not only possible-it’s believable.

Comics Experience Guide To Writing Comics: Scripting Your Story Ideas from Start to Finish by Andy Schmidt
Comics Experience Guide To Writing Comics: Scripting Your Story Ideas from Start to Finish by Andy Schmidt

Unlock the secrets to comic-writing success! This is the book on writing you’ve been waiting for, a nuts-and-bolts guide to writing fiction for comics. While it is true that there is no set way to write a comic book script, no set format, no industry standard, it is equally true that someone learning to write comics needs structure. That’s where “Comics Experience© Guide to Writing Comics” can help. Comic’s veteran Andy Schmidt offers sage advice and practical instruction for everything from writing realistic dialogue to communicating your ideas to other comics professionals.

Writers on Writing

More Books on the Craft of Writing … and About Famous Writers

We have so many writing books you’re going to love! From books on the craft of writing to storytelling to books about famous writers and the origins of a story – there’s something for everyone.

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Zen in the art of writing by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury presents “Zen in the Art of Writing,” a collection from one of the most legendary voices in science fiction and fantasy on how his unbridled passion for creating worlds of infinite impossibilities made him a master of the craft.

Part memoir, part philosophical guide, the essays in this book teach the joy of writing. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of putting words on paper, Bradbury’s zen is found in the celebration of storytelling that drove him to write every day. Imparting lessons he has learned over the course of his exuberant career, Bradbury inspires with his infectious enthusiasm. Bringing together eleven essays and a series of poems written with his own unique style and fervor, “Zen in the Art of Writing” is a must read for all prospective writers and Bradbury fans.

Storyteller : Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop by Kate Wilhelm
Storyteller : Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers' Workshop by Kate Wilhelm

Part memoir, part writing manual, “Storyteller” is an affectionate account of how the Clarion Writers’ Workshop began, what Kate Wilhelm learned, and how she passed a love of the written word on to generations of writers.

Includes writing exercises and advice. A Hugo and Locus award winner.

Writing Magic : Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine
Writing Magic : Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine

Fairy-tale master Gail Carson, the bestselling author of “Ella Enchanted,” guides writers of all ages on how to develop their craft, with practical advice and heartfelt encouragement.

In “Writing Magic,” Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her tricks of the trade. She shows how you can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more.

She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she offers writing exercises that will set your imagination on fire.

With humor, honesty, and wisdom, Gail Carson Levine shows you that you, too, can make magic with your writing.

Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J. Skal
Something in the blood : the untold story of Bram Stoker, the man who wrote Dracula / David J. Skal

First published in 1897, “Dracula” has had a long and multifaceted afterlife – one rivaling even its immortal creation; yet Bram Stoker has remained a hovering specter in this pervasive mythology. In “Something in the Blood,” David J. Skal exhumes the inner world and strange genius of the writer who birthed an undying cultural icon, painting an astonishing portrait of the age in which Stoker was born – a time when death was no metaphor but a constant threat easily imagined as a character existing in flesh and blood.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
On writing : a memoir of the craft / by Stephen King

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, Stephen King’s critically lauded, classic bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s “On Writing.”

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman
Daemon voices : on stories and storytelling / Philip Pullman ; edited by Simon Mason

The internationally best-selling author of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy shares insights into the art of writing while exploring how education, religion and science, as well as his favorite classics, helped shaped his literary life.

Welcome to the Writer’s Life: How to Design Your Writing Craft, Writing Business, Writing Practice, and Reading Practice by Paulette Perhach
Welcome to the writer's life : how to design your writing craft, writing business, writing practice, and reading practice / Paulette Perhach

Always wanted to be a writer? Stop wasting time and start your writing life today!

With warmth and humor, the author welcomes you into the writer’s life as someone who has been there on the other side looking in. Like a freshman orientation for writers, this book includes an in-depth exploration of all the elements of a writer’s life, from your writing practice to your reading practice, to your writing craft and the all-important and often-overlooked business of writing. Harness the powers of crowdsourcing and social media to grow your writing career, and use the most current research on success, gamification, and lifestyle design to take your writing life to the next level. Complete with writing exercises, tools, checklists, infographics, and behind-the-scenes tips from working writers of all types, this book offers everything you need to jump-start a successful writing life.

Origins of a Story: 202 True Inspirations Behind the World’s Greatest Literature by Jake Grogan
Origins of a story : 202 true inspirations behind the world's greatest literature / Jake Grogan

For readers and writers alike, “Origins of a Story” is the inspiring collection of 202 amazing true stories behind the inspiration for the world’s greatest literature!

Articles on Writing

How to Write a Science Fiction Novel Series: 6 Tips

11 Ways to Write More Scientific Fiction: Lessons from Michael Crichton

So You Want to Write Sci-Fi? Tips from the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

10 Chilling Writing Tips from Horror Authors

How to Scare Your Reader: 11 Tips from Horror Writers

How to Write a Horror Story: 6 Terrific Tips

Writing Paranormal and Supernatural Phenomena Realistically and Authentically

Toledo Library Blog Posts on Writing and Publishing

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