WonderBook: The Illustrated Guide To Creating Imaginative Fiction
By Jeff Vandermeer

(Click pictures to enlarge)

This book was recommended to me by @rageofthenerd, and it’s one of those purchases I’ve never regretted. Books offering writing advice often earn my grudging respect at best. I find a lot of them a bit too high-handed. A bit “You must” “You should” “You will”, which can restrict a writer’s creativity, rather than indulging it.

Wonderbook is something completely different. There’s no denying that it’s a powerful guide for all stages of the creative process, from inception to revision, but this book explores so much more than that. It’s  a surreal and vivid insight into writing as a culture, with its own historical roots and powerful possibilities. It doesn’t so much tell you how to write as lay out the options in front of you and invite you to try them all, and above all else, enjoy the process.

But the best thing about this book, for me, is how it shifted my perspective on creativity. 

In the modern world, despite “creative thinkers” being an employment buzzword, creators of all types are often looked down upon as immature daydreamers. Creativity is not something we are encouraged to pursue for creativity’s sake. If it’s not going to make you a profit, why bother?

Except Wonderbook does away with that.The author discusses nurturing your creativity as you might nurture your soul. It interleaves advice on different forms of writing, readers, style and substance with essays on the importance of creativity to humanity as a whole, and to the individual.

I’ve owned this book for a while, and I’ve still not read it all the way through. It’s something I dip into and enjoy in small doses, but I am always left with food for thought, as well as a greater respect for both myself and my fellow creators. 

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0442-0

(The above images are copyrighted material duplicated only for the purpose of this post, which is in no way officially related to the book beyond that I bought it and enjoyed it so much I wanted to tell other people about it.)

27 Pieces of Advice for Writers From Famous Authors

Neil Gaiman -  Award-winning author of American Gods, Coraline, Stardust and many more.

Nnedi Okorafor -  Award-winning author of Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker.

Garth Nix -  Award-winning author of the “Old Kingdom,” “Seventh Tower” and “Keys to the Kingdom” series.

Karen Lord -  Author of Redemption in Indigo and The Best of All Possible Worlds.

Patrick Rothfuss -  Author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear.

Gene Wolfe -  Award-winning author of The Book of the New Sun and many other short stories and novels. He is considered to be one of the best living science fiction authors.

Jeremy Zerfoss -  Noted science fiction and fantasy illustrator. Co-author of the upcoming Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction.

Jody Lynn Nye -  Award-winning author of more than forty novels and one hundred short stories.

C.S.E. Cooney -  Noted author of science fiction short stories and poetry.

David Drake - Award-winning military science fiction author.

Keep reading

currentlyspacingout  asked:

Could you describe the eggs of the 13 canon dragons? I know you've done a short description on some of them and if You don't wanna do those then it's fine :)

Of course I can do these! If you’d asked for all of the dragons this a) would have taken ages b) never got done because I would have looked at it and gone oh no or c) made my brain go ablooglewoogleWHAT and then spend a whole day in google image search. But this is a perfectly acceptable number I can do - not too many it’s daunting, not so few it seems pointless. Just perfect. 

Also, thirteen is my lucky number, so. Here you go!

Antipodean Opaleye - To quote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:Opaleye eggs are pale grey and may be mistaken for fossils by unwary Muggles.” I would cite Jim Kay’s drawing here, I think it works:


Catalonian Fireball - The eggs of Catalonian Fireballs are green and amber in colour, specifically a yellowish through to gold amber, rather like some specimens of Moss Agate. Amber sections become progressively more translucent as the egg nears hatching, allowing one to see the dragonet within.


Chinese Fireball - To quote Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: “Eggs are a vivid crimson speckled with gold”. Nonetheless, I do not wholly agree with Jim Kay’s drawing, in this case, but I shall include both reference images for completeness. I imagine the eggs as being smoother, almost round, and speckled in a - if one looks carefully - repeating pattern.

[jimkay / image / alt]

Common Welsh Green - To quote Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: “The Welsh Green’s eggs are an earthy brown, flecked with green”. I’ll be honest, I quite like Jim Kay’s rendering but I imagine the eggs as being more rounded, less pointed, rather as Wonderbook: Book of Spells shows them as.

[jimkay / image]

Hebridean Black - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offers no description of what the eggs of these dragons look like. I personally imagine them as roughly edged dark things, perhaps with some grey or purple tints to the shell. I shall include Jim Kay’s image for reference as well.

[jimkay / image]

Hungarian Horntail -  To quote Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: “eggs are cement-coloured and particularly hard-shelled”. Again, this is a case where I pretty much agree with canon and with Jim Kay’s depiction.


Norwegian Ridgeback - To quote Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: “Ridgeback eggs are black”. Yeah, pretty much, Glossy black, discoloured black, plain black. I think they start plain black and grow glossier and begin to discolour as they harden and then, when heated up to hatching, discolour hugely. I like the film image, the Pottermore image, and the Jim Kay image so:

[jimkay / image / alt]

Peruvian Vipertooth - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offers no description of the eggs of these dragons; I imagine them as being rounded and coppery like the dragons are, with some eggs being more or less discoloured depending on how much they move and damage the coppery overlay of the egg. Jim Kay, however, depicts them as being blue?? As ever, I’ll include both images.

[jimkay / image]

Portuguese Long-Snout - You ever seen a Cassowary egg? They can be bright bright green, it’s kind of amazing. That is what the eggs of these babies looks like.


Romanian Longhorn - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offers no description of the eggs of these dragons; I imagine them as being big and darkly forest green with hints of gold to them, sometimes in fascinating patterns - like with Chinese Fireball eggs, more often than not these patterns are, if you look close, repeating.

[jimkay / image]

Snallygaster Dragon - While Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them asserts that Snallygasters are, while dragonish, actually a cousin to the Occamy, we here at The Monster Blog of Monsters know Occamys and Dragons to be related (most notably by way of the Occamy Dragon). Thus, they are included here. Snallygaster Dragons’ eggs are odd, tarry things, dark and somewhat lumpy, hardening into multi-hued rough ovals the day before hatching.

[image / alt]   

Swedish Short-Snout -  Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offers no description of the eggs of these dragons; I imagine them as being blue and silver, speckled and kind of shimmery in the right light, as though rimed with ice.

[jimkay / image]

Ukrainian Ironbelly - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them offers no description of the eggs of these dragons; I imagine them as being pearlescent with a slightly grey tint, or with streaks of blue or grey.

[jimkay / image / alt / alt2]

Welcome students, young and old! This year we have the greatest honour of taking part in the esteemed Triwizard Tournament! While being victorious will bring the winner eternal glory, tread lightly as the students must survive three extremely dangerous tasks.

Our school’s many skills and talents, as well as our students’ ambition and cleverness will definitely put us at an advantage against all the other schools. I don’t doubt that you all have the potential in you to succeed and achieve as a champion, but be aware that only a select few will be considered strong enough to continue to the competition.

At Koldovstoretz, we specialise in ancient and arcane arts unknown to any other part of the world. We cover a variety of practical magicks and sorcery — from the art of crafting nauzy (наузы; knotted amulets) and portals to the obscure practices of crow-cawing and wind-casting. We also differ from other schools in that Divination — Astrology in particular — is emphasised, and Spirit Summoning — calling upon supernatural beings such as the domovoy (домовой; house spirit) — is a mandatory course for all students. Koldovstoretz students are also exceptional at potions; we’ve been mentions in books such as Wonderbook: Book of Potions and have won the Wizarding Schools Potions Championships numerous times.

The name ‘Koldovstoretz’ can mean two things, ‘creator of magic’ and ‘palace of witchcraft’, both of which we strive to realise. At Koldovstoretz, we aim to celebrate and honour magic, and we prize innovation and creativity above all. Our deep knowledge of ancient magic and our innovative attitude will no doubt make us a worthy opponent in the Tournament.

Joining the competition will provide you a chance to get to know our overseas friends, to improve relations, and to take part in the Yule Ball. So, if you think you have what it takes to represent our wonderful school in the Triwizard Tournament, you may enter your name into the Goblet of Fire here!