One of the first things we talk about in my Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction classes are two short lists:

What You Need


What You Should Have

These lists are meant for students who show up to a classroom every week for eight weeks, but looking at these lists again as I began teaching the class for this new term, it struck me that this is pretty good advice for any would-be author.

This is what I believe is absolutely required and what you really need to think about having if you want to do any sort of creative writing, not just science fiction or fantasy. Let’s start with the basic requirements:

What You Need



Paper and pencil (or pen)



What’s interesting about this list is how little this will actually cost you in real dollars. The only thing on this list that’s actually a tangible commodity is paper and pencil/pen, and you may well be able to gather that stuff up for free…

Read the rest in…

Editor and author Philip Athans offers hands on advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general in this collection of 58 revised and expanded essays from the first five years of his long-running weekly blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook.


—Philip Athans


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Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.


About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. Love every word you write! Brilliant blog… The only one i follow! Never stop writing Mr Athans.

  2. Gryphonboy says:

    Good solid advice.
    I think is the desire one is the only one you truly “need”, Obviously pen and paper is essential(if you don’t have a pc) but without the desire I can’t see how any of the other stuff matters.

  3. Pingback: THE JOY OF WRITING BY HAND | Fantasy Author's Handbook

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