Author Archives: Philip Athans

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.

FANTASY AND/OR SCIENCE FICTION AND/OR HORROR

I’ve written before on the difference between fantasy and science fiction, and even how we can combine genres like science fiction-horror or science-fantasy, but in reading Science Fiction Handbook, Revised (1975) by L. Sprague de Camp & Catherine de Camp, their take on the subject … Continue reading

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BOOKS FOR FANTASY AUTHORS XXVII: SCIENCE FICTION HANDBOOK, REVISED

From time to time I’ll recommend—not review, mind you, but recommend, and yes, there is a difference—books I think science fiction and fantasy authors should have on their shelves. Some may be new and still in print, some (like this … Continue reading

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HOW TO ENJOY WRITING

I have been guilty of perpetuating the… myth? feeling? cliché?… that writing is not just difficult but effectively impossible, no one should be encouraged to try it, only mentally ill people are attracted to it in the first place, and … Continue reading

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ISOLATION 14

They keep calling me Mr. Hartford. “My name is Donovan,” I say, but can’t be sure I’ve been heard. I’m cold, and I want to tell them that, too, but I can’t, or I don’t try. Someone is holding my … Continue reading

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WHOSE POV SHOULD IT BE?

Building a bit on my post from three weeks ago, “Write What Your Characters Know,” which was really all about point of view (POV), let’s look at one fundamental question every fiction author needs to ask at the beginning of … Continue reading

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WE ARE MAKING THIS UP AS WE GO ALONG

Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.  —Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird As someone whose full time job is to teach people how to write, and predominantly how to write fiction, I have always had … Continue reading

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ONLINE RESOURCES FOR FANTASY, SF, AND HORROR AUTHORS

This week I’d like to share a small handful of web sites I’ve found extremely useful over the years. If you haven’t already, “favorite” or “bookmark” these sites—you won’t be sorry. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) Can’t remember the name … Continue reading

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WRITE WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS KNOW

By now I think we’ve generally disposed of the old saw: Write what you know. This is, in any case, especially bad advice if what you’re writing can in any way be described as fantasy, science fiction, or horror. If … Continue reading

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PANTSING MY WAY THROUGH AN OUTLINE

In an effort to dispel the ongoing nonsense “battle” between pantsers—authors who get an idea and start writing “by the seat of their pants”—and plotters—authors who write detailed outlines to which they slavishly adhere throughout the writing process—I’d like to show you … Continue reading

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TIMES NEW ROMAN 12, THE ONLY FONT YOU’LL EVER NEED

Times New Roman was created by Stanley Morrison, a type designer, and Victor Lardent, a draftsman, in 1932 for the prestigious Times of London, which had the font “tested by the highest ophthalmic authority” after following the recommendations of the British … Continue reading

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