Writing About Writing About Writing: A Review

I was very lucky to get an ARC of Spec Fic for Newbies which you can pre-order here for £16.99 from Luna Press Publishing (an award winning small press).

I’ve been dipping in and out of it for a couple of weeks and I think it’s fab. The book is aimed at “future spec fic authors” –

From the blurb: “

Tiffani and Val are approaching these three exciting fields by breaking them down into bite-sized subgenres with a fun, open, and contemporary approach.Each chapter contains 10 subgenres or tropes, with a quick and nerdy history of each derived from classroom teaching practices, along with a list of potential pitfalls, a description of why it’s fun to write in these subgenres, as well as activities for new writers to try out and to get them started!"

I feel that maybe there is space for a sequel or there could indeed have been three books - as SF, Fantasy & Horror are quite different. However that said this is an absolute treasure trove - I wouldn't count myself a newbie (maybe I'm kidding myself) and I'm fairly widely read but the breakdown introductions in a few chapters gave me new information or recast a genre in a light I'd not considered before.

I think the format of history then activities is fresh and there's a sense of fun and exploration that you don't always get from dusty 'let's teach you how to write' books.

For example - Aliens (just the titles in the sub-section):
A Short History of Aliens
A Spotter's Guide: Who's Who
Things that are cool about Aliens
Close Encounters - I like the sub-titles in this category, e.g. "Variety is the spice of alien life (No Dune pun intended!)" or "Early Humans weren't idiots" (thankyou so much Tiffani & Val as I hate, hate, hate the Ancient Astronauts built the pyramids trope!)

That's a small taste of the chapter breakdowns. The chapter following Aliens is called "Big Dumb Objects" 🙂

There's a subtitle in Paranormal Romance called "Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow" -I'll stop there in the hope these are tasters rather than spoilers.

Being a writer of stories that tend towards darkness I was most interested in the last section on horror which includes sections on Zombies, Vampires, Cosmic Horror, Body Horror etc. Even here I was finding out stuff. 

On the whole I was left wanting more - which isn't a bad thing. I hope the book is successful and Val & Tiffani explore some of the more, niche, of the genres - I'm hoping for something on Slipstream since I don't really understand what that is and people tell me that a lot of my stuff fits there...

Anyway - go and pre-order and make the book a success so I get to read a sequel! 

Published by suttope

Pete W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

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