HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY, FANTASY AUTHOR’S HANDBOOK
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
1M ago
A special Sunday post just to take a moment to celebrate the fact that this blog has been running now, every Tuesday, since June 15, 2009, when I introduced myself in the post “Who is Philip Athans?” Since then 268,135 visitors have viewed 782 posts 578,065 times. That’s a total of 889,938 words across 781 posts on the art and craft of writing fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general. And we’re still going strong, even in the last year or so adding new venues to the Fantasy Author’s Handbook family. Every post now ends with this list of links: Fantasy Author’s Handbook is now o ..read more
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THIS IS NOT MY WRITING MANIFESTO
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
3M ago
Honestly, I don’t write manifestos. I’m not sure I’ve actually ever even read a manifesto. In fact, I can’t help feeling that when someone sits down and writes a manifesto, that’s when we need to call in the men in white coats. Authors of a manifestos are calling out for help, and we should be making sure they get the help they need before the cult is gathered at the End of Times. What makes this not a manifesto is that this is for and about me, and me alone. These are not instructions for how you must live your life or conduct your writing career, but how I plan to conduct my own writing care ..read more
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AREN’T WE WONDERBRINGERS?
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
3M ago
I happened upon this Big Think video this morning and it got me thinking. It’s only six minutes long, so watch it now, please. Isn’t that the primary role of the fantasy and science fiction author? To create and convey a sense of wonder? One of the earliest science fiction magazines was called… The guy they named the Hugo Award after was onto that idea at least as early as 1930. So then the question bears asking… How much wonder are you conjuring in your work in progress?   —Philip Athans Fantasy Author’s Handbook is now on YouTube! Did this post make you want to Buy Me A Coff ..read more
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DESCRIBE CHARACTERS AS YOU GO ALONG
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
6M ago
In previous posts, I’ve railed against too-specific physical descriptions of characters, asking valid questions like, “Who cares what color her eyes are?” I’ve also given examples of short paragraphs of character description tightly tied to the in-the-moment emotional response of the POV character. Next, a great example I just ran across in the novella “Bodies for the Wax Factory” by Arthur Leo Zagat in the November-December 1938 issue of Strange Detective Mysteries. Take a look at this and notice the author is doing exactly what I recommended in terms of keeping descripti ..read more
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SMELLS LIKE VIVID DESCRIPTION
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
6M ago
Caro Verbeek identifies herself as “a smell historian.” Take a look at her TED video to get a fast but robust context on how smell works, what it can mean, etc. I was surprised to hear in this video that, “Smell is apparently the strongest inducer of memories—of early memories. And the beauty is, even people suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia, never lose their olfactory memory.” If you look back to last week’s post about How to Tell, it’s all about triggering memories. So a particular smell can help introduce some further detail about either or both of the world and the charac ..read more
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ON JUNG’S “PSYCHOLOGY AND LITERATURE,” PART 1
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
7M ago
In what started as a personal exploration into the life and work of Carl Jung in June, I’m still working my way through his 1933 book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. I’m finding it maddening in some ways—admittedly contradictory in spots, outright nonsensical in others, and still containing some interesting concepts, if not conclusions. I found Chapter 8, “Psychology and Literature,” which like most if not all of the rest of the book was originally presented as a lecture, of obvious particular interest. My gripe with Jung, which I feel I should get out of the way right off, is his open disdai ..read more
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WRITING MONSTERS IN JAPAN
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
7M ago
I’m delighted to finally announce that a translation of my book Writing Monsters is to be published by Film Art in Japan. I’ve also gotten the okay to share the cover, so here it is! I love the graphic approach they took, with just the sense of a tentacled thing penning its own life story! Writing Monsters was originally published in 2014 by Writers Digest Books here in the states and is still in print lo these… wow… has it really been… nine years later? It has. And though there will be some examples that might show a bit of age by now, I stand by every word of the te ..read more
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MORE ON THE SCIENCE:FICTION RATIO AND SF SUB-GENRES
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
7M ago
As with my previous video on fantasy sub-genres, I’d like to add some additional thoughts and context to the more recent video “The Science:Fiction Ratio for Authors,” which you can watch now, if you haven’t already: Are there SF sub-genres at all? If you take the bigger view of genres referring to themselves, so sub-genres do the same thing, maybe. But then so do trends, no? In the previous post following up on my take on fantasy sub-genres I dive into the distinction between sub-genres and trends and/or marketing tags. The same could be said of many of the SF “sub-genres” we’ll fi ..read more
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HORROR AUTHOR’S HANDBOOK—THE HALLOWEEN EDITION
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
7M ago
You know I don’t just write about writing fantasy here at Fantasy Author’s Handbook, right? I’ve talked horror quite often here, and in honor of Halloween falling on a Tuesday, how about a look back and some scary stuff from Fantasy Horror Author’s Handbook’s past? First of all, anything from 2009-2013 can now be found in The Best of Fantasy Author’s Handbook, Volume I, including… “Cross & Mix Genres” …fantasy and horror, for instance. “Legion: A Study in Inconsistency & Implausibility” …a horror movie shows us what not to do. And still readable in their e ..read more
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ENDING PROMPTS
Fantasy Author's Handbook » Pulp Fiction
by Philip Athans
7M ago
I’ve written short stories using writing prompts before and found it a useful exercise just to get started writing something. Prompts tend to be all about how a story starts, it’s a brief setup to push you into a story. I’ve written about writing prompts in more detail in “Random Plots & Writing Prompts,” which I followed up a couple weeks later with the short story “Lala in the Basement” based on the random online writing prompt: At midnight, a strange woman, a biologist, and a young witch explore an asylum haunted by the spirit of a serial killer while searching for a disturbing teddy b ..read more
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