Billings, Richie. A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook. Published May 18, 2019, 303 pages.


They say write the book you want to read. When I first started writing fiction, with nothing but ideas and enthusiasm and an ignorance of the elements of storytelling, this is the book I would have wanted as my guide.

Every writer wants to do one thing… write. That doesn’t always mean we are capable of greatness without studying the craft and a lot of guidance. With his newly released handbook, Richie Billing has poured an abundance of self-help elements for new-to-the-trade fantasy wordsmiths.

Part One will help build a solid framework for your story by not only selecting the right tools but learning how to use them – character building, plot thickening, dialogue, sensory writing and the dreaded passive voice (I might consider loaning my custom, passive voice ensemble… a cilice with metal tines… it always helps me remember that passive voice is painful to others). You will revel and be inspired by the author’s World Building segment and the chapter on Maintaining Focus…superb (where was this book twenty years ago?). Part Two delves deep into all things Fantasy – from the many sub-genres, to naming your characters, and building your world all while staying steady and creatively focused. Part Three is a guide to formatting, cover letters, publishing, and marketing your work. I have read several handbooks on publishing over the years and Billings experience and teaching style are engaging. *Plus – this title was just released, so it is current by today’s standards and the list of publishers are up-to-date. A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook does not read like a dry, crusty manual but rather a one-on-one, relaxed lesson with a peer.

For aspiring authors, Billing’s practical guide will become a survival manual that will streamline your thoughts, edit your chaos, be your light in the dark, and most importantly, help you write and get published! I hope you will also choose to visit Billing’s website at where you will find further tools and resources.

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