Book Reviews

The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference

The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference, by the editors of Writer’s Digest Books is just one of the many resourceful books writers can purchase to help them plan and write the fantasy aspects of their novels.

Out of the books I have read for writers, this is so far the most complete reference for fantasy writers, covering the topics of: traditional fantasy cultures, world cultures, magic, witchcraft and pagan paths, commerce, trade and law in contemporary fantasy, fantasy races, creatures of myth and legend, dress and costume, arms, armor and armies, as well as the anatomy of a castle. Here is a more in-depth look at what the book covers:

In Chapter 1 – Traditional Fantasy Cultures, Michael J. Varhola, talks about feudalism, manorialism, Christianity, the social order, ecclesiastic titles, knighthood, political entities, peripheral cultures and terms.

In Chapter 2 – World Cultures, Michael ventures to the worlds of Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, Other Mesoamerican cultures, North America, Oceania as well as South America. There are many intriguing pictures from these different cultures throughout this section.
In Chapter 3 – Magic, Allen Maurer and Renne Wright touch on the history of magic, principles of magic, what magic does, ritual and ceremonial magic, secret societies, divination, and building your own magical worlds.

In Chapter 4 – Witchcraft and Pagan Paths, Allen and Renne cover the topics of how to recognize a witch, classical witchcraft, gothic witchcraft, family or traditional witchcraft, new-pagan witchcraft, new age neo-pagans, language of witchcraft, dictionary of terms from witchcraft and magic.

In Chapter 5 – Commerce, Trade and Law in Contemporary Fantasy, Sherrilyn Kenyon delves into commerce, punishments and trade and barter systems.

In Chapter 6 – Fantasy Races, Andrew P. Miller and Daniel Clark bring to us the races of dwarves, elves, fairies, giants, goblins, orcs, half-lings, hybrids, merfolk, trolls, minor races, non-western races, created races as well was individualization and characterization.

In Chapter 7 – Creatures of Myth and Legend, Miller and Clark give us an alphabetical listing of such creatures such as banshee, hydra, golem, gorgons, Cyclopes, dragons and so on.
Sherrilyn Kenyon returns with Chapter 8 – Dress and Costume. Here she discusses clothing materials, colors, women’s clothing, men’s clothing, shoes, children’s clothing, clergy and chastity belts.

Michael J. Varhola returns with chapters nine and ten. In Chapter 9 – Arms, Armor and Armies, he talks about arms, armor, armies and beasts of war. In Chapter 10 – Anatomy of a Castle, he talks about castles and other fortifications, castle life and the siege.

In this book, there is everything a fantasy writer needs to know to create rich detail in their stories and characters. This book will make a great addition to any writers book shelf and will prove invaluable in the years to come.

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