Skip to main content

Writer's Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy

Everything needed to learn invaluable and timeless techniques for writing science fiction and fantasy, as well as tips for building an entirely new and believable world.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:


The Writer's Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy
by Orson Scott Card and the Editors of Writer's Digest
Writer's Digest Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58297-609-9
$24.99, hardcover, 432 pages

Image placeholder title

Buy the Book

Read an excerpt
Need a race of fantastic characters or creatures for your science fiction or fantasy story? This excerpt from The Writer's Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy examines some things you need to consider when creating a race of beings for a work of speculative fiction.

About the book

Craft an otherworldly experience for your readers!

Do you dream of writing tales that pull readers into extraordinary realms? The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction & Fantasy gives you everything you need to build a fantastic world, inhabit it with original and believable characters, and create an authentic and enthralling story.

Two complete books in one, this comprehensive guide includes invaluable and timeless advice for writing and selling speculative fiction from best-selling author Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, as well as world-building information and instruction from the indispensable classic The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference.

You’ll discover:

• how to wield story elements that “define” the science fiction and fantasy genres
• ways build, populate and dramatize fantastic new worlds
• how to construct compelling stories by developing ideas, characters, and events that keep readers turning pages
• historically accurate information about world cultures, legends, folklore and mysticism
• how to authentically portray the rituals of magic and witchcraft
• in-depth descriptions of mythological creatures, fantasy races, clothing, weapons, armor, and more

The boundaries of your imagination are infinite, but to truly hook your reader you must ground your fiction with credible details. Let this book be your guide as you venture into the fantastic and you’ll create vibrant, captivating new worlds that spring off the page.

About the Authors
Authors include Hugo Award-winner Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead), Terry Brooks (The Sword of Shannara, The Gypsy Morph), Sherrilyn Keyon (the Dark Hunter Series) and many others.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Author Sharon Maas discusses the 20-year process of writing and publishing her new historical fiction novel, The Girl from Jonestown.

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

While the writing process may be an independent venture, the literary community at large is full of writers who need and want your support as much as you need and want theirs. Here, author Aileen Weintraub shares 6 steps in becoming a good literary citizen.

Daniel Paisner: On the Pursuit of a Creative Life

Daniel Paisner: On the Pursuit of a Creative Life

Journalist and author Daniel Paisner discusses the process of writing his new literary fiction novel, Balloon Dog.