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Release Date March 28, 2023.

Locus Recommended Reading List 2023

BSFA for Best Non-Fiction, Shortlist 2024


Spec Fic For Newbies: A Beginner's Guide to Writing Subgenres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.


Tiffani Angus (Ph.D.) and Val Nolan (Ph.D.) met at the 2009 Clarion Writers’ Workshop in California and since then have collaborated many times as fans and scholars on panels for SFF conventions and writing retreats.

Working together on this book and combining their experience as SFF writers and as university lecturers in Creative Writing and Literature made perfect sense!

Every year they see new students who want to write SFF/Horror but have never tried the genres, have tried but found themselves floundering, or, worse, have been discouraged by those who tell them Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror are somehow not “real” literature.

This book is for all those future Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror writers. 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!

Spec Fic For Newbies

SKU: 978-1-915556-12-7
  • "I’ve been dipping in and out of it for a couple of weeks and I think it’s fab. 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." Pete Sutton 


    "There are other studies of genre fiction on the market, and other writing guides, but there is no book combining the two in quite this way, or breaking down genres and tropes in similarly concise but granular detail." Interzone Digital


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