Putting the Fact in Fantasy
Expert Advice to Bring Authenticity to Your Fantasy Writing
by Edited by Dan Koboldt, Foreword by Scott Lynch
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Pub Date 03 May 2022 | Archive Date Not set
Penguin Random House, Writer's Digest Books
Whether it's correctly naming the parts of a horse, knowing how lords and ladies address one another, or building a realistic fantasy army, getting the details right takes fantasy writing to the next level. Featuring some of the most popular articles from Dan Koboldt’s Fact in Fantasy blog as well as several never-before-seen essays, this book gives aspiring and established fantasy writers alike an essential foundation to the fascinating history and cultures of our own world, which serve as a jumping-off point for more inspired and convincing fantasy.
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Average rating from 26 members
I enjoyed this book. Most of these snappy essays were excellent; well-written and with lots of humor. The authors’ enthusiasm comes through in all the essays. The book is divided into six parts. The best parts for me were Parts 1 (about history), 2 (about language and culture), 3 (about world-building), and 6 (about adventures). Part 4 (about weapons and warfare) did not have the same tone as the rest of the book and the subject matter did not appeal to me. I didn’t finish most of the essays here. Part 5 (about horses) was quite good. Overall, two essays stood out from all the others: “Archaeology in Science Fiction and Fantasy” by Graeme K. Talboys with just the right amount of information, humor and sarcasm; and “Writing Realistic Forests” by Terry Newman. I also enjoyed thinking about the reality of our world and how the essays still apply, especially the ones that involve science. Editor Dan Koboldt deserves credit for putting together such a great anthology. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House, Writer's Digest Books for the advance reader copy.
“Putting the Fact in Fantasy” presents a collection of inspiring essays from various experts to help writers bring authenticity to their stories. The topics featured covered everything from getting your British hierarchy correct, to properly describing types of wood, to the importance of thinking through your world’s legal system, to selecting the right food and drinks for the time period. As an example, in Part 5 (You Don’t Know Horses, but We Do), I learned that almost everything I thought I knew about horses was wrong! I can now properly describe a horse’s height, coloring, and gaits without sounding like an amateur.
As a former fan fiction editor and proofreader, I was immediately drawn to this book, because I couldn’t emphasize enough to writers how important it was to make their stories believable. Fantasy or otherwise, if the reader doesn’t buy into your story, they’re not going to stick with your book. I have stopped reading books on occasion, because I found incorrect information too glaring to read any further.
I would highly recommend this book to all fiction writers as an essential guide to help them enhance their writing and world-building. While not all the topics featured will appeal to every writer, I found the variety to be compelling enough for any fiction writer to take some useful insight away from this book.
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