A range of resources for writers based off my own shelves at home. Whether you need courage or craft, we've got it covered. And if you can't, send a recommendation or request via my Contact page. There's even a section for featured new speculative fiction releases with author interviews!

NOTE: The "Buy" and "Try" links will send you to external sites. Purchasing via these links may give me a small boost while in no way increasing the cost to you or cutting into author profits. The tiny amount I make then goes towards new craft books.

THE BOOKSHELF

 

the Craft of Speculative Fiction

The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

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Science fiction and fantasy is one of the most challenging--and rewarding!--genres in the bookstore. But with New York Times bestselling author Philip Athans and fantasy giant R. A. Salvatore at your side, you’ll create worlds that draw your readers in--and keep them reading! 


Just as important, you’ll learn how to prepare your work for today’s market. Drawing on his years of experience as one of the most acclaimed professionals in publishing, Wizards of the Coast editor Athans explains how to set your novel apart--and break into this lucrative field. From devising clever plots and building complex characters to inventing original technologies and crafting alien civilizations, Athans gives you the techniques you need to write strong, saleable narratives.

These books are mainly recommended for writers new to speculative fiction because they tend to give a broad look at what makes these genres distinct. Broad topic books don't have room do dive deeply into any one area but provide a great starting point for making sure you're meeting genre expectations.

the Craft of Writing Fiction

These books take narrow topics and cover them in-depth. This section is especially useful for writers looking to improve specific a specific area of their craft. Over time, I'll add posts that apply lessons learned from these books.

Bastards, Bullies, & Bitches

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From mischief-makers to villains to arch nemeses, Bullies, Bastards & Bitches shows you how to create nuanced bad guys who are indispensable to the stories in which they appear. Through detailed instruction and examples from contemporary bestsellers and classic page-turners, author Jessica Page Morrell also shows you how to:

  • Understand the subtle but key differences between unlikeable protagonists, anti-heroes, dark heroes, and bad boys

  • Supply even your darkest sociopath with a sympathetic attribute that will engage readers

  • Set the stage for an unforgettable standoff between your hero and your villain

  • Choose the right type of female villain—femme fatale, mommy dearest, avenger, etc.—for your story

Bullies, Bastards & Bitches is your all-encompassing bad-guy compendium to tapping into any character's dark side.

 
 

the Crafting of Reader Emotions

These books how well-known craft tools can be used to craft well-known books. Books that make readers feel. This section will be especially useful for writers who are familiar with common terms and techniques. I'll be adding links to Creative Creations posts that break down and apply specific lessons learned from each book.

The Emotional Craft of Fiction

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If you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader's experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters' struggles, discoveries, and triumphs are for you. That's where The Emotional Craft of Fiction comes in. Veteran literary agent and expert fiction instructor Donald Maass shows you how to use story to provoke a visceral and emotional experience in readers. Topics covered include:

  • emotional modes of writing

  • beyond showing versus telling

  • your story's emotional world

  • moral stakes

  • connecting the inner and outer journeys

  • plot as emotional opportunities

  • invoking higher emotions, symbols, and emotional language

  • cascading change

  • story as emotional mirror

  • positive spirit and magnanimous writing

  • the hidden current that makes stories move

Writing With Emotion, Tension, & Conflict

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Today's highly competitive fiction market requires writers to imbue their novels with that special something - an element that captures readers' hearts and minds. In Writing With Emotion, Tension & Conflict, writers will learn vital techniques for writing emotion into their characters, plots and dialogue in order to instill that special something into every page.

Structure Help from Scene to to Story

Structure is a must for planners and for revisions. These books provide starting points for writers learning the basics, tweaks for writers who already have a process, and alternatives for writers looking for more variety. I'll be adding links from Creative Connections that show these techniques in action.

Make a Scene

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In Make a Scene, author Jordan E. Rosenfeld takes you through the fundamentals of strong scene construction and explains how other essential fiction-writing techniques, such as character, plot, and dramatic tension, must function within the framework of individual scenes in order to provide substance and structure to the overall story. You'll learn how to:

  • Craft an opening scene that hooks readers and foreshadows supporting scenes

  • Develop various scene types - from the suspenseful to the dramatic to the contemplative - that are distinct and layered

  • Tailor character and plot around specific scene types to better convey the nuances of your storyline

  • Create resonating climactic and final scenes that stay with readers long after they've finished your work

 

Technology Aids

Story boards and spreadsheets and databases, oh my! Pen and paper may work better than a computer in some cases. But other times... Here's a little list of love. Whether it is a word processor, organizing database, or productivity app, we've got suggestions that we (or a guest blogger) stand behind.

Scrivener

 

Tailor-made for long writing projects, Scrivener provides everything need to craft your first draft. Used by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, lawyers, students, journalists and more, Scrivener brings together tools familiar to writers everywhere in new and exciting ways.


“As a writer’s application, Scrivener is damn near perfect…” —Neil Cross, bestselling novelist and screenwriter (Luther, Mama)


“I genuinely think this is the biggest advance for writers since the word processor.” —Michael Marshall Smith, NYT bestselling novelist

 

Writer Life

From finding the courage to write authentically to discovering daily routines that work for you, it's all part of living the writer life. Some of these titles do not address writers specifically but dive into difficulties that many writers face.

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists
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This title focuses on the behaviors necessary to succeed in the dog-eat-dog world of fiction writing by asking successful authors how they practice their craft. Readers will learn how to adopt those habits on their quest to become novelists. The book will inspire, nourish, and provide the needed kick in the pants to turn the wannabes into doers! The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists is full of "aha" experiences as the reader uncovers the collected wisdom from the cream of today’s fiction writers.

Daring Greatly
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Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatlyis a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.

 
 

New Books in Speculative Fiction

Looking for a new read? Check out our list of featured new releases in fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal. Includes links to author interviews at Creative Connections.

COMING SOON

-BLOGGER OF SPECULATIVE FICTION-

LJ BERGQUIST