When I tell my friends that my writing professor (Deborah Chester) wrote the book on writing genre fiction, I’m being quite literal. Okay, so maybe she didn’t write the book on writing genre fiction, but she wrote a book on the subject, and a darned good one too. It’s called The Fantasy Fiction Formula, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. In 264 pages, Chester walks you step-by-step through the process of writing a fiction novel.
If you have stared at a blank computer screen wondering where to start, or started writing a novel only to hit a dead end and wonder what to do next, this is the book you are looking for. This book walks you through the entire process of writing a fictional novel from beginning to end, from creating characters and plots to writing dramatic openings and grand climaxes. This book won’t tell you what to write about, but if you have an idea and don’t know how to begin (or end), this book will help you, guaranteed. As someone who has both read the book and attended Ms. Chester’s novel writing class, I can tell you that this book and her class are very similar. I would never trade the opportunity of having a published author read my work and offer me feedback and advice in person, but if taking a graduate level course on writing in Norman, Oklahoma isn’t in the cards for you, this book is the next best thing.
As I stated in my review of the book on Amazon.com, my only minor quibble is with the book’s name. From my Amazon review:
My only (very minor) complaint with the book is with its title — specifically, the word “fantasy.” While most of Deborah Chester’s books are works of fantasy and science-fiction, the techniques included here apply to every genre of fiction writing. If you’re not specifically writing fantasy, don’t let the title scare you away. No matter what type of genre fiction you are writing, the formulas presented here will work for you!
Deborah Chester recently did a six-part podcast interview with the Manchester University Press, who (for some unknown reason) has buried the links to the podcast deep within the bowels of their website. Here are the links:
Each episode is about ten minutes long and touches on one of the subjects covered in the book. They’re not a substitute for reading the book, but they’ll give you an idea as to whether or not the book is right for you.
Congratulations to my professor on her book and the podcast interviews! I know that in a few years after I have forgotten everything I learned in class, I will still have this book for reference material!