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Writing Genre Fiction: Creating Imaginary Worlds: The 12 Rules

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“What a brilliant book! Rule 13: Read this book. It can only help you write better genre stories. What's to lose?” Vanessa Gebbie, award-wining author and editor of “Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story" Writing Genre Fiction: Creating Imaginary Worlds - The 12 Rules is a guide for writers and readers of sci fi and fantasy that explains the 12 unwritten ru “What a brilliant book! Rule 13: Read this book. It can only help you write better genre stories. What's to lose?” Vanessa Gebbie, award-wining author and editor of “Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story" Writing Genre Fiction: Creating Imaginary Worlds - The 12 Rules is a guide for writers and readers of sci fi and fantasy that explains the 12 unwritten rules for creating believable imaginary worlds. Flout these rules and a good story idea can be destroyed losing the reader along the way. The conventions, tricks and the trips are explained and lots of examples given so authors, whether writing flash fiction or a full length novel, don’t strain their reader’s patience, sympathy and credibility. Written also to entertain readers of genre fiction - sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, horror - the book is useful for beginning writers, established authors, writing groups and creative writing courses in schools and universities as a quick and fun 101 on creating imaginary worlds in books and film. About the Author Charles Christian is a barrister and Reuters correspondent turned award-winning technology journalist, newsletter editor, blogger, publisher and science fiction author. His dystopian sci-fi and urban fantasy stories are Gothic tales for the 21st century – with a sense of humour and a topical twist. His collection of science fiction and urban fantasy short stories, This is the Quickest Way Down, was listed for three national and international book awards. Set mostly in the present day, the eleven stories give everyday existence a gentle nudge into the realms of the weird, the supernatural, the horrific and the surreal. He has also recently published Secret Cargo, a sci fi/steampunk story, Tomorrow's Ghosts and Rip and Burn. Charles lives in Norfolk with his wife, Jane, three dogs and two horses.


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“What a brilliant book! Rule 13: Read this book. It can only help you write better genre stories. What's to lose?” Vanessa Gebbie, award-wining author and editor of “Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story" Writing Genre Fiction: Creating Imaginary Worlds - The 12 Rules is a guide for writers and readers of sci fi and fantasy that explains the 12 unwritten ru “What a brilliant book! Rule 13: Read this book. It can only help you write better genre stories. What's to lose?” Vanessa Gebbie, award-wining author and editor of “Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story" Writing Genre Fiction: Creating Imaginary Worlds - The 12 Rules is a guide for writers and readers of sci fi and fantasy that explains the 12 unwritten rules for creating believable imaginary worlds. Flout these rules and a good story idea can be destroyed losing the reader along the way. The conventions, tricks and the trips are explained and lots of examples given so authors, whether writing flash fiction or a full length novel, don’t strain their reader’s patience, sympathy and credibility. Written also to entertain readers of genre fiction - sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, horror - the book is useful for beginning writers, established authors, writing groups and creative writing courses in schools and universities as a quick and fun 101 on creating imaginary worlds in books and film. About the Author Charles Christian is a barrister and Reuters correspondent turned award-winning technology journalist, newsletter editor, blogger, publisher and science fiction author. His dystopian sci-fi and urban fantasy stories are Gothic tales for the 21st century – with a sense of humour and a topical twist. His collection of science fiction and urban fantasy short stories, This is the Quickest Way Down, was listed for three national and international book awards. Set mostly in the present day, the eleven stories give everyday existence a gentle nudge into the realms of the weird, the supernatural, the horrific and the surreal. He has also recently published Secret Cargo, a sci fi/steampunk story, Tomorrow's Ghosts and Rip and Burn. Charles lives in Norfolk with his wife, Jane, three dogs and two horses.

30 review for Writing Genre Fiction: Creating Imaginary Worlds: The 12 Rules

  1. 4 out of 5

    Skye Hegyes

    The Good This book had some decent points. It had some relative information toward writing, however... The Bad ... all of the information was for basic writing in general. I was expecting more about world-building and actually creating fictional worlds. The Review Overall, if you're a beginner writer, looking for some general writing tips, this isn't a bad book. If, on thw other hand, you're looking to build upon what you already know, this isn't the title for you. The Good This book had some decent points. It had some relative information toward writing, however... The Bad ... all of the information was for basic writing in general. I was expecting more about world-building and actually creating fictional worlds. The Review Overall, if you're a beginner writer, looking for some general writing tips, this isn't a bad book. If, on thw other hand, you're looking to build upon what you already know, this isn't the title for you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Pretty basic overall, and very short. I think, given the title, I was expecting more on world-building, but it is essentially basic writing advice. Most of it is good advice. I don't agree with parts of it, but it is a good starting point for writers. It's a very short book and goes over a lot of material very quickly. Pretty basic overall, and very short. I think, given the title, I was expecting more on world-building, but it is essentially basic writing advice. Most of it is good advice. I don't agree with parts of it, but it is a good starting point for writers. It's a very short book and goes over a lot of material very quickly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Covers a lot of territory for a pocket-sized book. Generally, this is advice for how not to make your literary world appear ridiculous as well as imaginary. Can I apply it to my life, too?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Coles

    Ok Ok as a starting point but didn't really rate this title. Also frustrating to find this is little more than an advert for other titles. Ok Ok as a starting point but didn't really rate this title. Also frustrating to find this is little more than an advert for other titles.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan Swank

    Friendly advice as opposed to an educational text. As a fan fiction writer I am always trying to offer my readers a more polished and professional finished piece but every single book on the subject of writing is the same. There are numerous chapters telling you what you must of must not do before the final chapter says there are no rules. This is no different but if you learn better with a less formal approach, this is a good piece that focuses on honing your creative processes instead of getting Friendly advice as opposed to an educational text. As a fan fiction writer I am always trying to offer my readers a more polished and professional finished piece but every single book on the subject of writing is the same. There are numerous chapters telling you what you must of must not do before the final chapter says there are no rules. This is no different but if you learn better with a less formal approach, this is a good piece that focuses on honing your creative processes instead of getting into the rigid mechanics of writing itself. I found it helpful in numerous respects but felt it needed more positive and negative examples to fully express each rule that is discussed, particularly if they were short samples written by the author. Another rule for any author should be that that readers only understand references if they are familiar with the source material. The author discussed several books, utilizing them as examples but since I wasn't familiar with several of the titles, I didn't have any real frame of reference beyond the source outlined offered.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Wilson

    Great book; slightly misleading title With a title like "creating imaginary worlds" one would expect the book to cover information about planetary or at least worldview creation. There was nothing of that sort to be found. Instead this is a great set of does and don'ts for writing genre fiction. I did find it helpful in knowing what some of the problems that have been hinted at over the last few years have been. The points made are necessary, and well-thought out. I thoroughly enjoyed this book a Great book; slightly misleading title With a title like "creating imaginary worlds" one would expect the book to cover information about planetary or at least worldview creation. There was nothing of that sort to be found. Instead this is a great set of does and don'ts for writing genre fiction. I did find it helpful in knowing what some of the problems that have been hinted at over the last few years have been. The points made are necessary, and well-thought out. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any writer. That said, I do wish they'd change the title to focus more on what the book is about. All in all one of the good books for those who want 59 improve their craft.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick Yagodich

    If you've never studied anything about writing, this booklet (each of thr 12 chapters reads in 2-4 minutes) might hold some useful information. But if you've any experience of writing, from any source, you're unlikely to find anything new within these pages. The material covered is so basic, in fact, that it is unlikely to even count as a refresher. Also, while the book covers some aspects that are commonly seen as a differentiation between genre fiction and literary fiction, it does not, at any If you've never studied anything about writing, this booklet (each of thr 12 chapters reads in 2-4 minutes) might hold some useful information. But if you've any experience of writing, from any source, you're unlikely to find anything new within these pages. The material covered is so basic, in fact, that it is unlikely to even count as a refresher. Also, while the book covers some aspects that are commonly seen as a differentiation between genre fiction and literary fiction, it does not, at any time, delve into any details relevant to creating imaginary worlds.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly Percival

    Misleading title, but a good read regardless. A good,concise, no nonsense book offering tried and tested rules of fiction writing.  The title was slightly misleading as I assumed this to be a book about only setting, but in actual fact it goes into depth on plot, characterisation,staying authentic to your story and much more. I would definitely recommend this book to the novice and enduring creative writer alike.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katia M. Davis

    Nifty This is a quick reference to the dos and don'ts of genre fiction. There are some good tips here and I wish some of the authors I have read recently had seen this little book. Readers are not stupid. This list of rules will remind writers not to cheat or take the easy way out. Nifty This is a quick reference to the dos and don'ts of genre fiction. There are some good tips here and I wish some of the authors I have read recently had seen this little book. Readers are not stupid. This list of rules will remind writers not to cheat or take the easy way out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Schumann

    The 12 Rules is a must for ANY Writer! If you’re just starting out or you’re a season writer, the 12 Rules is a must for any writer that is out there. I highly recommend this book it was a quick read with choice gems. Great bits worth highlighting and things. I’ll be keeping these 12 Rules hand as I write.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris C.

    Rules are meant to be broken Thank you for concisely mentioning the rules of fiction. Good stuff to know. There was much reference on magic and dark arts. Not a fan. 4 stars for the excessive reference to Harry and LOTR.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    A pleasantly written but very short pamphlet about taking worldbuilding and internal consistency seriously. All a bit obvious, but it’s clear some genre writers do need reminding, as many books irritate me by being internally implausible and jumping many sharks.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Synova Cantrell

    Good Information This book is filled with good information, and is arranged for easy reading. It is a good reference for begining writers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    Great read This is a really insightful text of elements of writing often overlooked or done sub-par. I will definitely refer back to this text to help keep my own writing fresh.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Comberiati

    Good overview Gives a good overview. He points out things that can be easy to overlook. I just wish there was more to this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Niko Reed

    Solid Advice This is all pretty solid advice and it's written in a quick and easy to cover way. A good handbook to think about when you sit at your writing table. Solid Advice This is all pretty solid advice and it's written in a quick and easy to cover way. A good handbook to think about when you sit at your writing table.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maximus Petronius

    Imagine that.... A very interesting and potentially useful book to anyone with a hankering to be the next Tolkien...Easy to read and re-read when required.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dannan Tavona

    Quick but useful rules Focus why the reader should care about your story and your world. Keep it consistent. Helpful treatise on fantasy and SF fiction writing. Fast read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darnell Reid

    It a great story and I enjoy reading it. You can write a lot of stories from what yo yt?y tu learn from this book. I would love to recommended it to some people. Thanks for writing the book. I hope other people like it like I did. There is never too much books on this subject.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Easton Livingston

    I read this book with the goal of just brushing up on some things that I already knew and maybe discover some things that I didn't know. The latter didn't come about but the former was there in spades. However, it was good to get a reminder of those things and Charles Christian's style was winsome. Creating Imaginary Worlds is for all genre fiction but is geared slightly towards science-fiction and fantasy authors. Not so much that it becomes glaringly apparent but its clear that's the author's b I read this book with the goal of just brushing up on some things that I already knew and maybe discover some things that I didn't know. The latter didn't come about but the former was there in spades. However, it was good to get a reminder of those things and Charles Christian's style was winsome. Creating Imaginary Worlds is for all genre fiction but is geared slightly towards science-fiction and fantasy authors. Not so much that it becomes glaringly apparent but its clear that's the author's background. The book is a great summary on some of the basics of what not to do in genre fiction. It's fast paced and short and you can read it in one sitting. I'd say any fiction for the most part. Of all the rules, Rule#10, Write About What You Know, and rule #11, Be Consistent, are the two rules that should never be broken. Ever. It will simply show in the writing. A couple of the rules I could understand but was not too sure there were some other rules that could have been a bit more helpful. One of the them was Rule #8, Mind Your Language. Don't get me wrong. He has a point here but that rule is very narrow. Most novelists will not have to deal with that whatsoever in any kind of depth or will make it as such. It would have been better to talk more about dialogue and include that in the exposition. Another was Rule #7, Stay Within the Boundaries of your Genre. This could easily been included in Rule #10, Write About What You Know, and I'm not sure so much space should have been given to it given the plethora of genres that have emerged which are are a a slate of cross genres. Overall, it wasn't a bad read and had me laughing in some sections more than a couple times. It's worth the read for a quick overview of some of the basics of genre fiction.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul Franco

    Essentially a list of twelve rules for writers who want to delve into science fiction, fantasy, and other genres. Some of these fit all fiction writing, while others are more specific. I enjoyed some of the tidbits, for example finding out that the phrase “suspension of disbelief” was coined by one of my favorite poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The most important point in this book is one I’ve been saying all my reviewing career: it’s fine to have surprise endings, but the author has to subtly s Essentially a list of twelve rules for writers who want to delve into science fiction, fantasy, and other genres. Some of these fit all fiction writing, while others are more specific. I enjoyed some of the tidbits, for example finding out that the phrase “suspension of disbelief” was coined by one of my favorite poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The most important point in this book is one I’ve been saying all my reviewing career: it’s fine to have surprise endings, but the author has to subtly signal it in advance—“in effect hidden them in plain sight within the text”—so the readers can think, “I should have seen that coming!” It’s amazing how often this is overlooked in both print fiction and in TV and movies; far too often we finish a work and wonder why we feel cheated. Good little piece on things that should be obvious to writers but are sadly not.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Neely

    This is a descent book for beginners. I picked it up because I liked the description in Amazon. I would suggest the author return for a decoded edition; there are a handful of typos. I can'y say I agree with everything he has to offer (specifically regarding the threat of being sued for using the names of real people--I don't think this is that big of an issue, but that could be just me). If you want a cursory reference in your possession to which you can turn at a moment's. notice, feel fee to This is a descent book for beginners. I picked it up because I liked the description in Amazon. I would suggest the author return for a decoded edition; there are a handful of typos. I can'y say I agree with everything he has to offer (specifically regarding the threat of being sued for using the names of real people--I don't think this is that big of an issue, but that could be just me). If you want a cursory reference in your possession to which you can turn at a moment's. notice, feel fee to buy this book. Otherwise, everything here can be readily found for free online.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Ezell

    Good writers guide Level of detail is good. Not too wordy. Well organized. Serves new and experienced writers with check-back reference reminders during drafts and editing activities. Today's writers often combine genres, so hard boundaries are difficult to define. Useful addition to my reference collection. Good writers guide Level of detail is good. Not too wordy. Well organized. Serves new and experienced writers with check-back reference reminders during drafts and editing activities. Today's writers often combine genres, so hard boundaries are difficult to define. Useful addition to my reference collection.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anita Burns

    really helpful I really liked this little book. It gets straight to the point with good tips and rules that make sense--even the one about breaking the rules. I have been writing a mashup sci fi for too many decades. If I had read this book first, maybe I would not be on my fifth rewrite.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Kilgallon

    Excellent and Inspirational! Christian's short, yet pointed,12 rules for genre fiction relit my creative fire. Rules are expressed in detail with specific takeaways at the end of each. Quick read and extremely helpful. Excellent and Inspirational! Christian's short, yet pointed,12 rules for genre fiction relit my creative fire. Rules are expressed in detail with specific takeaways at the end of each. Quick read and extremely helpful.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Harris

    Reassuring my thoughts I'm a new author with a novel idea and this book hit home with some of the ideas I had on what to avoid and what to include. The examples were helpful to understand the concepts within each rule. Reassuring my thoughts I'm a new author with a novel idea and this book hit home with some of the ideas I had on what to avoid and what to include. The examples were helpful to understand the concepts within each rule.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carmela F. Alfonso

    Many good points Many good points, however, the typos were annoying, as was the author's show off of his knowledge. Felt like some references were added just to show his knowledge. Otherwise, this had very good information, even though my fiction is not SF&F. Many good points Many good points, however, the typos were annoying, as was the author's show off of his knowledge. Felt like some references were added just to show his knowledge. Otherwise, this had very good information, even though my fiction is not SF&F.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Simple advice explained. This takes a very broad approach to how writers need to think in the art of their craft. While not ground breaking, it does lay things out in simple explanations.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Quick, useful read Quick and accessible tips for writing genre fiction. I'd have liked it to go a bit more in depth, but I came away wanting to write and with some good ideas about how to do it, and that's what counts. Quick, useful read Quick and accessible tips for writing genre fiction. I'd have liked it to go a bit more in depth, but I came away wanting to write and with some good ideas about how to do it, and that's what counts.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jane Wilson-Howarth

    A very useful, and readable, guide to writing that will be of interest to a good range of aspiring authors, and not only creators of fantastic worlds.

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