Sunday, May 10, 2015

Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (Laurie Lamson, editor)

Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror
(The Now Write! series)
Laurie Lamson, editor
Tarcher Penguin
Nonfiction, Writing
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Maybe you're a beginning writer who doesn't know where to start. Maybe you have a project that's fighting you tooth and nail. Maybe a string of harsh critiques or rejections has you wondering if something's wrong with your storytelling skills. Or maybe you just want to improve. This collection of essays from a variety of genre authors offers insight into the writing process and exercises to hone skills.

REVIEW: Rating this one's a bit difficult. The subject matters of the essays, though generally focusing on speculative fiction and horror, range all over the map, from basic storytelling to tips on crafting a salable screenplay to dealing with conflicting copyright issues before they botch potential sales. Some of the authors also seem a little dated in their approaches, stuck in the "white male saves the universe and gets the girl" mindset, while others are so convinced their way is the Best and Only way that they dismiss the notion that others can succeed with alternate methods (a mindset that seems particularly prominent among rabid outliners.) The exercises vary from specific step-by-step processes to generalized "just write something, then keep writing it" advice, so vague that one wonders why they bothered writing an essay for this particular series (which touts writing exercises as one of its selling gimmicks) at all. Will these exercises help writers improve, or at least overcome blocks? Possibly. Did I, personally, get much out of them? Again, possibly, some essays more than others. Would I recommend it to others? I might, with the caveat that no one writer or book has all the answers.

You Might Also Enjoy:
No Plot? No Problem! (Chris Baty) - My Review
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Orson Scott Card) - My Review
Write Good or Die (Scott Nicholson, editor) - My Review

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