If you’re like me and you read ridiculous amounts of literature, surely at some point you have wondered if you could possibly pen your own novel and leave your nine to five job to be a professional writer. I mean, other people have done it and now they get to travel the world and write about whatever makes them happy…right? Wrong.
Being an author is more than just hauling a laptop around and writing whenever the mood strikes you. It’s about dedication, perseverance, and tenacity. But not to worry, some of today’s greatest writers and teachers have come together to lend you a hand (or a book, at least). Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, And Horror is the latest in a series of helpful books that are geared towards the budding author in all of us.
This book is loaded with superstars of the literary world. From award-winning author Harlan Ellison, we are given sage advice about the titling of our work and how people really do judge a book by its cover. Piers Anthony, author of the spectacular Xanth series and many others, speaks to giving characters a sense of uniqueness and how bending the common rules works wonders for the fantasy genre. L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (with whom I once had dinner…yeah, I’m bragging) takes a more technical angle by examining not just how some authors fail to create workable systems for magic or science in their novels but also how it can be avoided with a little planning. Jody Lynn Nye focuses on phrasing and how it affects the reader, specifically the overuse of the word “was.” All in all, there are eighty-seven contributors within these pages, each one giving us a bit more knowledge and influencing us to work a little smarter, not just harder.
The tagline on the front of the book states that this book contains “Speculative Genre Exercises” from the contributors. And to be fair, it does. But what it brings to the table is far more than that, because what I took away from the book is more inspirational than developmental. These authors and instructors pour their souls into their work. It’s not a job for them, it’s a fundamental part of their lives. You can follow instructions all day long but if you aren’t truly dedicated to your craft, you will never achieve greatness. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Joe R. Lansdale, who I admire greatly, wrote the final piece about writing for the sake of writing and not for the sole purpose of completing writing exercises.
Everyone has a different method of achieving their goal and it is my opinion that there is something here for everyone. If you are looking for someone to tell you how to become successful then here is the book for you. Every one of these methods is tried and true, at least for the person presenting it. Will it work for you? That depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which is your dedication the craft.
There is no better book, that I have read, that gives so much advice from so many people. I truly hope you seek this book out, it will give you guidance at the very least. Or perhaps it will do more, inspiring you to greatness! Editor Laurie Lamson did a spectacular job gathering together this group, they all bring something unique to the table. So having said all of that, write on, my friends. Write on.