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.
(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.)
The fact that the adventure is often lonely doesn’t mean it is narcissistic - a common (and lethal!) misunderstanding. The beautiful paradox of art is that what is a private journey is released to the world where it enters into the fabric of other lives.
I found this encouraging nugget inside the “World’s First Fully Illustrated Creative Writing Book” - Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. If you’re a creative writer of any sort or just like cool pictures, it’s for you.
I think our species is wired to tell stories, just as we are wired to be curious, loving, playful. We tumble into the world with this extraordinary thing: a creative imagination. And it is erotic–inspired by the breath of life. In other words, the impulse to crate is like the impulse to breathe.
The reader doesn’t want to hear how stupidly real people talk. No, the reader wants people to talk in poetry, like on the television show Deadwood. What the reader wants also is just the meat of the conversation, and sometimes for that meat to be pressed until it bleeds. The job of the writer is just to dip into that blood, keep on writing.
I have been included in an amazing writing guide that uses hundreds of images by artists and illustrators as inspiration for creative writing.
I have 4 artworks used as illustration on seven pages, an interview and even a full page picture of my studio shelves.
Jeff VanderMeer, award-winning author of The Steampunk Bible, has taken a completely new and wholly original approach to the writing guide, and created a manual that not only utilizes invaluable written information, but also teaches via scores of helpful and stimulating illustrations. Through an accessible, example-rich approach that emphasizes the importance of playfulness as well as pragmatism, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts advice about how to improve as a writer. The book is filled with more than 200 images and pictorial exercises that will expand the reader’s creativity. These imaginative and influential illustrations are sure to inspire the next generation of aspiring fantasy writers.
VanderMeer’s instructions touch upon many aspects of creative writing that will improve the reader’s skills, such as plotting, structure, worldbuilding, creating scenes, and narrative design. Wonderbook features an impressive array of helpful tactics and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy and sci-fi today, including:
• George R. R. Martin • Lev Grossman • Neil Gaiman • Junot Díaz • Karen Joy Fowler • Charles Yu
About the Author Jeff VanderMeer is the author of more than twenty books and a two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award. His books have made the year’s-best lists of Publishers Weekly, LA Weekly, the Washington Post, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. He is the cofounder and codirector of Shared Worlds, a unique writing camp for teenagers, and has taught at Clarion, the world’s premiere fantasy/sci-fi workshop for adults. VanderMeer is based in Tallahassee, Florida.
So I haven’t seen many people on tumblr talking about this Book of Spells thing? It seems really cool and of course I want to get my hands on anything that says ‘new writing from JK Rowling’.
Unfortunately I will never get to check it out because I can’t justify buying a PS3 for one game, especially when I won’t use it for anything else, I mean my fam already has a blu ray player and a Wii, and I know they won’t release it for another platform because of Pottermore’s partnership with Sony.