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Writing Fantasy Heroes: Powerful Advice from…
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Writing Fantasy Heroes: Powerful Advice from the Pros

by Glen Cook

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I bought this book mainly for Brandon Sanderson's section, as he's one of my favorite authors. His section was great. A couple others were stand-out. The first two sections were absolutely terrible. All the rest either had information I already knew, or just weren't interesting or enlightening. ( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
It's hard to rate a collection of essays that vary in quality from really poor to outstanding, so I gave it a middling rating... however, some of the essays have some real gems of inspiration and this makes the book good for aspiring authors (such as myself). The first three essays were particularly poor, and read like vanity pieces showcasing how much the author likes their own work. Those essays had more excepts from their novels than substance. A quote should be used to illustrate hard to understand concepts... otherwise, the quote is unnecessary. Most of the quotes in those essays could be safely skipped - they illustrated concepts that were not difficult to understand in the first place. Cat Rambo's section (the fifth essay) was probably the worst at this.

The essays by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Andrew Jones, and Alex Bledsoe, were good essays with clear points and easy to use tips. Also they referenced other stories beside their own, making it seem like less of a vanity piece. I understand the editor wanted them to reference their own work, which is fine, but they used other works to prove that their way was supported by greater and more famous works. The last three essays were particularly good. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
Envision "Writing Fantasy Heroes" as a transcript of 14 enthusiastic panelists at a Convention as they tackle the topic "Fantasy Heroes." Would it be worth the price of a book (~$10) to get the transcript of this panel of authors (Orson Scott Card, Brian Sanderson, Steve Erikson, Glen Cook, Janet & Chris Morris, Ian Esslemont, Paul Kearney, Howard Andrew Jones...etc.) ? Heck, yes!

This is Rogue Blade Entertainment's first nonfiction, extending its well-respected, thematic library of heroic fantasy (Rage of the Behemoth, Return of the Sword, Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology). Fantasy genre readers will want to read this to learn how their favorite authors approach writing; aspiring authors will want to read this to better their craft.

All key elements are tackled within, from the origins of heroes, their motivations, reader expectations, presentation strategies for fight scenes, handling armies, crafting monsters, and amplifying the "epic-ness" via side characters; there is even a chapter on how to balance tropes/clichés, and an entertaining reminder to keep the pressure on the heroes by drowning them in a sea of scat/stool/egestion. Only one contribution of the 14 was disappointing, it reading more of an advertisement rather than providing advice (>75% of that chapter's words was an excerpt). The majority were excellent, concise reads that deliver on what it promises: advice from the pro's.

As the authors dissect their own writing in their case studies, you will find it easier to dissect your own writing. Is your hero too powerful to ever struggle? Are your fight scenes too abstract to engage the reader? Would your hero appear more like a legend if you described him/her via "distant" perspectives (from third party villagers)?

Read this. Get inspired. Craft a better hero. ( )
  SELindberg | Apr 18, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0982053681, Paperback)

Fantasy heroes endure. They are embedded in our cultural fabric, dwarfing other literary figures and the mere men and women of history. Achilles and Odysseus, Gilgamesh and Beowulf. King Arthur and Robin Hood, Macbeth and Sherlock Holmes, Conan and Luke Skywalker. They dominate our legends, and tower over popular culture. The stories we tell each other begin and end with fantasy heroes, and the 21st Century is as thoroughly captivated with them as ever. From Batman to Gandalf, Harry Potter to Tyrion Lannister, the heroes of fantasy speak to-and for-whole generations. But what makes a fantasy hero? How do the best writers create them, and bring them to life on the page? In WRITING FANTASY HEROES some of the most successful fantasy writers of our time-including Steven Erikson, Brandon Sanderson, Janet Morris, Cecelia Holland, Orson Scott Card, and Glen Cook-pull back the curtain to reveal the secrets of creating heroes that live and breathe, and steal readers' hearts. Whether you're an aspiring writer or simply a reader who loves great fantasy and strong characters, this book is for you.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:57 -0400)

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