Whenever anyone asks for non-fiction books, or tips about writing in the fantasy genre I always find that there’s a few key texts/tips that people come up with but inevitably there’s new ones that are useful that someone has stumbled upon. So I thought I would try and bring together a nice list of loads of books/resources that are for writing in general but also for us speculative fiction writers more specifically.
I can’t verify how good all of these resources are, and of course advice is based on opinion and what works for that author and that varies wildly from wordsmith to wordsmith. But, I hope that you find some of these useful!
General Writing Books
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
- Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
- How NOT To Write a Novel by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
Fantasy Specific Writing Books
- How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
- Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Isaac Asimov, John Barnes, Norman Spinrad, Sheila Williams, Ian Randal Strock, Stanley Schmidt, James Patrick Kelly, Gardner R. Dozois, Robert A. Heinlein, Jane Yolen, Connie Willis, Poul Anderson, Hal Clement
- The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Phillip Athans, with an introduction by R.A. Salvatore
- Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or Mutinous Crew by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Writing Fantasy Heroes by Jason M. Waltz (Editor), Alex Bledsoe, Jennifer Brozek, Orson Scott Card, Glen Cook, Ian C. Esslemont, Steven Erikson (Foreword), Cecelia Holland , Howard Andrew Jones, Paul Kearney, Ari Marmell, Janet E. Morris, Chris Morris, Cat Rambo, Brandon Sanderson, and C.L. Werner
- Wonderbook by Jeremy Vandermeer and Jeremy Zerfoss, plus extra content on the website to accompany the book!
Online Fantasy Resources
- Some Assumptions About Fantasy – Presented at the Children’s Literature Breakfast BookExpo America
- A Few Words to A Young Writer
- A Rejection Letter
- Some Guidelines for Manuscript Preparation & Submission
- A Sketchy Introduction to Copyrights and Contracts
- What Makes A Story
- A Message About Messages
- Plausibility In Fantasy
- Plausibility Revised
- Being an Editor
- What Writers Get Paid and How
- On Rules of Writing, or, Riffing on Rechy
Table of Contents:
PART ONE – GETTING STARTED
- One – Age.
- Two – Education.
- Three – Ideas.
- Four – Risky Business.
- Five – Writing Habits.
- Six – Daily Page Count.
- Seven – Family And Friends.
- Eight – Seeking Feedback.
- Nine – Defining Success.
PART TWO – THE NUTS AND BOLTS
- Ten – Beginnings.
- Eleven – Plotting.
- Twelve – First Drafts.
- Thirteen – Seeing It Through.
- Fourteen – Editing.
- Fifteen – Editors.
- Sixteen – Hard Work.
- Seventeen – Unpublished Work.
- Eighteen – Writer’s Block.
- Nineteen – Rejection.
PART THREE – BITS AND PIECES
- Twenty – Attention To Detail.
- Twenty One – Surrendering Control.
- Twenty Two – Style.
- Twenty Three – Limiting The Shocks.
- Twenty Four – Audience Expectations.
- Twenty Five – Series Stuff.
- Twenty Six – Titles.
- Twenty Seven – Public Events.
- Twenty Eight – Other Business.
- Twenty Nine – Hollywood.
- Thirty – Think Big!
Brandon Sanderson’s 2014 Lectures with extra bonus links for older lectures!
Limyaael’s Rants – “a wealth of advice, warnings, and witty commentary on just about every aspect of constructing a story – from character design, to worldbuilding, to avoiding cliches.”
- Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips  (approximately 15 minutes runtime)
- Narrative Breakdown (approximately 45 minutes runtime)
- First Draft with Sarah Enni (approximately an hour runtime)
Fantasy and Sci Fi Writing Podcasts
- Writing Excuses with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor, and Mary Robinette Kowal (average of 15-20 minutes runtime)
- The Dead Robots Society (approximately an hour runtime, give or take 10-15 minutes)
And for full disclosure this is pretty much exactly the same post that I made on /r/fantasywriters! If you’ve got anything that you think should be added, let me know!