1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    How to write books?! Orson Scott Card SCIFI Fantasy

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by live2write, Sep 24, 2013.

    I was recommended to purchase and read the book "How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy" by Orson Scott Card. I have read his book "Ender's Game" in high school and it has been one of my favorite books.

    I am waiting to have it shipped to me and my expectations are to use it as a guideline rather than the bible to fix all problems with writing.

    I have purchased other writing books that work more on learning grammar and writing exercises. Of course to get somebody to teach me right I would either have to go back to school or email my older sister (She was a literary major and my go to person when it comes to fixing these things).

    Has anybody read this book before? What are your feelings?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I have, and you may not like my review. First, all his 'how to write' books are very popular. And I've found there is quite the variation in what kinds of advice benefits each of us. I found his advice to "d'uh" for my taste. There just wasn't anything I felt was useful. He's very thorough. It wasn't condescending or oversimplified or anything like that. But for me, it was stuff I already knew.
     
  3. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    That is somewhat of a relief because I ended up buying it used for $1.79 on amazon.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Oh, it's worth $2. There's bound to be something in there you find useful. And just because I didn't doesn't at all mean you won't.
     
  5. CharlesPenn
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    CharlesPenn Member

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    I haven't read the book but I did take a quick look because frankly 'Ender's Game' was a fantastic bit of literature with a nice twist at the end, truly worthy in the pantheon of classic Science Fiction.

    However I'm not really taken by "How to" books, especially when it comes to writing your own literature, I think that your own books some come from an accumulation of your own knowledge and experience and no one can really teach your how to write with theirs. If you do read the book it'll probably just tips and tricks from the author and how he does it, but that's all with practice.

    Just my opinion here, but I don't think there's any shortcut when it comes to fiction, just keep on writing and there will be a natural progression.
     
  6. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    So far I have read the Introduction and the First section of the book. Although the first chapter was about "what classifies as science fiction and the literary market", it did carry some useful knowledge about how writers get started and some magazine publishing resources to where I can submit short stories to get started.

    I am looking forward to finishing the book this week. So far I would recommend this book for people interested in writing science fiction. Of course this is only a reference book and not a how to for talent. I feel like I have a better understanding now of authors and classification of what science fiction (specular fiction) and fantasy is.

    I will post again when I read further. $1.79 for this book. Worth it so far.
     
  7. Archias
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    Archias Banned

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    Wow, for only 1.79 just a few tips would make it worth it!
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've read his Character's and Viewpoint? I think it is - from the Writer's Digest series. I got a few of these for my birthday when I was younger. Good books to keep the basics in mind and very easy to read and understand.
     
  9. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I finished reading the book. I must say that 90% of the book I thought I had an understanding when actually my assumptions were wrong. It is a great reference guide to writing science fiction and the process to get from creation to draft and to the final story. It also allowed me to think about the previous books I have read and movies I have seen and break them down to:
    1. Structure of Beginning
    2. Why this beginning and why the story starts here?
    3. Who is the real main character and POV?
    4. How this world compares to our reality?
    5. Actions and causes leading to climax and resolution.
    6. Connection between characters
    7. Possibilities leading to the final outcome.

    I had a story that I thought was planned out from beginning to end. After reading this I realized that I have not successfully accomplished questions that would explain to the reader (why is this happening in the first place). So far I have built a story board that has turned into a giant map on the floor of my house.

    Great book to buy or borrow. Overall if I were to explain this to somebody in one sentence it would be...

    Read this book with an open mind and use it to help you refresh your memory of how to write a story.
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I's an excellent book. It won't give you a step by step guide for dummies, but it shows you the mindset that can be really helpful to a writer. I found it very useful because it helped me develop a strategy and attitude, and it's quite short, doesn't go on about stuff like many other 'how to' books where the author spends half the time giving crappy examples that he/she wrote and some such. IMO this book is well worth a read :)
     
  11. jannert
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    My favourite quote from the book:

    "So, as you look at your bogged-down first draft, look to see how much of your effort is spent on withholding information, and then examine whether your reader has any reason to care about what's going on as long as that information is withheld. Most novice writers imagine that this is how suspense is created—by holding back key information from the reader. But that is not so. Suspense comes from having almost ALL the information—enough information that the audience is emotionally involved and cares very much about that tiny bit of information left unrevealed.

    "Usually the only information that you withhold is this: what is going to happen next. The climax of a story isn't created by suddenly discovering what's going on. The climax of the story is created by suddenly resolving issues that have been causing the audience a great deal of tension throughout the story. There's no tension without information."
    ..................

    Although I don't write Sci-Fi or Fantasy, I do read it. Consequently I was interested in this book. I was amazed and pleased at how much general insight into writing a novel of any stripe is contained within it.

    The quoted bit above was especially relevant to me, and caused me to go off and write a Prologue (the last chapter I wrote in my novel) which told the audience what one of the characters had experienced, earlier in his life. This made the reader watch HOW he dealt with his problem, not sit and wonder what his problem actually was. Completely turned my story around for me.

    I know it's not PC to like OS Card just now—and I am shocked by some of his views—but I do appreciate his talent for writing, and teaching as well.
     
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  12. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Just from the quote from the book. It made me realize I tell too much information at once in the story
     
  13. TWErvin2
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    I read this book and have a copy of it still on my shelf somewhere (someone gave it to me as a gift). It's okay as it provides basics for someone just getting into writing.

    What you might learn from Orson Scott Card, if you enjoy his writing, is to study his novels, see how he accomplished what you might be struggling with...be it pacing, dialogue, characterization, etc. Study and take notes, and maybe compare it to other authors you enjoy reading. Then apply what you learned to your own project and writing style.
     
  14. Gilborn
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    Info dumping is why I had to trash my first three novels. I'm on my 4th, 5th and 6th, two of which are out waiting to be published. However, I've never read a how-to on writing. I read once that Tolkien wrote his novels until he got stuck read them to his friends over beer, burnt the only manuscript and then started the process over again. This is what I strive for. However, I still keep saved files (Don't tell anyone) :).
     

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