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What are some of the best resources for fantasy writers out there?

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Lord Hoffenburg of Hoffen, May 26, 2016.

  1. As the title says, what's the best writing resources for fantasy writers, what books, sites etc?
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    One of the best books IMHO is How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card.

    For writing in general my favorite books are as follows
    Save the Cat screen writing book
    The Elements of Fiction Series of writing books
    My Story Can Beat Up Your Story book

    Videos on writing structure
    Dan Well's 7 Point Plot Structure - You can find it on youtube

    Writing Excuses
    I Should Be Writing
    The Roundtable

    These are some of the resources I found to be helpful, but what works for me may not work for you. Some of the things IMHO that one has to learn about being a writer is, one, figure out what approach works best for you, and, two, how to filter out the noise from the signal. There's lots of stuff out there, some of it good, some of it bad, most of it in between.

    Another resource you might try is this site and it's article archive. Personal bias here because I wrote some of those articles, but there's lots of info to be had there, too.
    Heliotrope likes this.
  3. brian dunn

    brian dunn Scribe

    I have a new series of books that I am buying at the moment by the fantasy writer Rayne Hall, there very good and I have learned a lot already from them. 1 Writing Vivid Settings. 2 Writing Vivid Dialogue. 3 Writing About Magic. and am waiting for the others. I can recomend more when I have read them.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    The best thing you can do is to do your own research. Even a simple Google "best fantasy resources for writers" will get you tons of hits.

    I say this not because you shouldn't have asked here, but because what is best will vary by individual. Not only that, even for yourself, what is best today will be a different list from what is best a year from now. There's just no good way around it--you'll have to slog through a bunch of material that is either irrelevant or too obscure or too simple or just not for you, in order to find those few nuggets that will speak to just exactly who you are, exactly where you are. In the meantime, the work won't be wasted. Bookmark everything; some of those articles that seem irrelevant now will be "just right" a year or two from now.
  5. brian dunn

    brian dunn Scribe

    received a few more books today 1 Showing and Telling in fiction by Marcy Kennedy. 2 Structuring your Novel by K.M. Weiland. 3 The Emotion Theesaurus: by Angela ackerman and Becca Puglisi 4 writing about magic by Rayne Hall. they open a load more question for me to think about and what I have read so far they show great promise and I have learn a great deal already.
  6. brian dunn

    brian dunn Scribe

    I also have Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card in my collection.

    I found it heavy toward science fiction rather than both, I feel they should have kept them separate.

    my favorite: Is The guide to writing Fantasy and science fiction by Philip Athans. which is indefends of the first book is heavy toward Fantasy, but it's like a can of drink, if it says lemon and soda it is more lemon than soda and vise-versa.
  7. brian dunn

    brian dunn Scribe

    I am looking at writing as tho building a model airoplane it has many parts, and you have to study each part carefully so it fits together first, then the structure is the part numbers and need to be done in the right order with a little playing around because who as not clue the pilot in is seat before you get to that part lol. And the paint job as the polishing of your prose.
    The transfers as the finishing touches, before you put it on the shelf as the publisher.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
    Russ likes this.
  8. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Great analogy. For me the most important part is the box cover, that image of what it is supposed to look like when it is done that guides all of my other choices.

    The first part of the OSC book is very good, that is the part written by OSC. It takes a bit of a nose dive about half way through where his co-writers take over.

    I also recommend that you read well outside just the fantasy genre and books on how to write fantasy, as good fiction is good fiction.

    I would steer anyone to "Story Trumps Structure" by James. I may be biased but I have read at least 100 books on writing and I think his is the best.

    I am also fond of Many Genres, One Craft, but I am really biased about that one. :)
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
    Kasper Hviid and Demesnedenoir like this.
  9. brian dunn

    brian dunn Scribe

    Ill have to look them up and add it to my collection, if it looks like the picture on the box lid. lol
  10. sandtrout

    sandtrout Dreamer

    Look at the books you like and figure out what you like about them, apart from the characters and the plot.
    Look up books you dont like and search for the reasons, especial if you dislike the writing but would otherwise enjoy the characters or the plot.
  11. Russ

    Russ Istar

    I gotta differ from an opinion above. I picked up some of those books from Rayne Hall and thought they were really weak.
    oenanthe and Demesnedenoir like this.
  12. Steel Dragon

    Steel Dragon Dreamer

    I like D&D monsterous manuals for resources on mythical creatures, not just dragons, either. I personally think the AD&D second edition Monsterous Manual is a particularly good find, it presents pictures, descriptions, weapons and ecology for each monster and covers a great many. I have five copies, just in case. I grab them up at yard sales and the like whenever I find one.
  13. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    I just finished reading Donald Maass' "Writing the Breakout Novel" and I would really recommend it. It's not geared toward fantasy writing, but is focused on how to take risks and push your understanding of your own story. It doesn't tell you a single thing about "how to write" but instead instructs how to make your story stand out amongst thousands of others. How to make a plot stronger. How to make a character deeper. How to get an emotional impact, or create symbolism. It's pretty advanced in most of its concepts, because again, it doesn't tell you HOW to actually accomplish those things on the practical level, but rather it expects you to know a fair bit about writing, and then to use your already developed tools, to make a story that'll blow a reader's socks off.
  14. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    I scanned this one today while taking a break from writing, hit this notion which is essentially what I do:

    "As you learn to feel out the direction of your of your story by constantly asking yourself what would naturally happen..."

    I might word it differently, but that's essentially what I do. It's good to see a book going about things a bit differently than the structure route.

    The more I scan this, the more I see my writing here. The 3 questions: What would the character do, how do I make it worse, how do I end inevitable but unexpected. Ayup! Not my exact terminology when thinking, but boils down to that.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
    Russ likes this.
  15. JaniceKersh

    JaniceKersh Acolyte

    I've recently read two great books that were really helpful for me as a fantasy writer. The first one is How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy
    By Orson Scott Card and the second one - Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer.

    But I agree that first of all you should Google and see what you can take out from free online resources.
  16. I have Wonderbook on my shelf. It has lots of quirky artwork and stuff that could inspire your imagination.
  17. mulierrex

    mulierrex Scribe

    I agree with both of these. Familiarizing yourself with the genre is a great idea, since you can figure out what you like and don't like, what you thought might be a good idea but turned out bad, etc. Also, I really like D&D manuals.

    As for what I think -- and this is going to sound very suburban mom-like -- Pinterest. I use Pinterest a lot, and have two accounts; one for my characters and for story ideas in general, and one for my world, which has numerous boards for places, people, gods, etc. I just pin stuff that reminds or inspires me for each thing and it really helps with imagery, visualization, and coming up with new things. It may sound tacky, but I love looking at haute couture and other runway fashion to design clothing for my world, and that's just one example. You just have to know where to look.
  18. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Writing Deep Scenes by Martha Alderson. It's been very helpful in helping me determine what types of scenes would best fit where in my story. The prewriting exercises have also been a boon in warming up my writerly brain muscles before working. I'm so glad to have come across this book.
  19. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Agreed. They're more like booklets than intructional manuals.
  20. artsyChica

    artsyChica Dreamer

    Hi, newbie poster here!

    I've found tons of resources on both youtube and Pinterest:
    Brandon Sanderson Lectures - YouTube which is a series of Brandon Sanderson lectures

    Movie Breakdowns for screenwriters - YouTube even though D4Darious' focus is on screenwriting, I really enjoy his Story Structure Analysis for popular movies

    Vivien Reis - YouTube Vivien Reis has a nice collection of writing videos too.

    On Pinterest, I have several writing boards, including Crafting Characters, Plotting & Outlines, Fantasy Worldbuilding and more: artsy Chica on Pinterest

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