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.

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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]

Can we talk about the new Pottermore info regarding the wizarding schools?

There are only 11 schools in the wizarding world.  Apparently, these 11 schools are the largest and most prestigious, as well as registered with the International Confederation of Wizardss.  There are smaller ones that may be unregistered or not as well-regulated by their respective ministries.  But not every country has a school.  Some wizarding communities homeschool or take correspondence courses.

Three of them are located in Europe:

  • Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - serves only Great Britain & Ireland
  • Beauxbatons Academy of Magic - serves France (located in) Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands
  • Durmstrang Institute - located somewhere in Scandinavia (probably Norway or Sweden), but also serves Bulgaria (country of origin for the school’s founder Nerida Vulchanova and Victor Krum) as well as other countries (Lucius wanted to send Draco there)

We only know of three five other schools:

  • Salem Witches’ Institute - presumably located in Salem, MA, USA
  • unnamed Ilvermorny - American school, located either in Canada or New England
  • unnamed Castelobruxo - Brazilian school where Bill Weasley’s penpal attended, located in the rainforest; focus in Herbology & Magizoology, popular exchange program with European students; serves all of South America
  • Mahoutokoro School of Magic - located in Japan (mentioned in Pottermore and Wonderbook: Book of Potions); located in topmost point of Minami Iwo Jima; palace made of mutton-fat jade; students can attend at 7 as day students and board at 11; enchanted robes; smallest of the 11 schools
  • Koldovstoretz - located in Russia (mentioned in Wonderbook: Book of Potions); students play Quidditch on uprooted trees (2014 UK edition books)
  • Uagadou School of Magic - located in Africa and is the only school to select students by Dream Messenger (mentioned in Wonderbook: Book of Potions and the 2014 Bloomsbury edition of Goblet of Fire); largest and oldest school in Africa; built into a mountainside and shrouded in mist; focus on Astronomy, Alchemy and Self-Transfiguration

EDIT: New info has come to light from a few sources.  Apparently, the Salem Witches’ Institute is not the American school, but a reference to the Women’s Institute in the UK.  JKR implied that we would learn more in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie.  It has been stated that it is not located in New York and that Native American magic is important to the school’s founding.

EDIT: New info via Pottermore and a map of some wizarding schools.  I’ve also added questions.

We still have so many unanswered questions (and these are the only ones that I can think of):

  • Where are the other schools?
  • What are the names of these schools (and the Brazilian school)?
  • Which countries does each school serve?
  • How are the schools (and wizarding populations) proportional to continental populations? (according to Wikipedia, Africa, Asia, and the Americas have the largest populations as of 2013)
  • How do the schools deal with language barriers?
  • How are they organized? (Hogwarts has the four House system)
  • How do students get to the schools, especially if they come from a different country?
  • Why are schools missing from the map (Koldovstoretz for Russia and the three more)?
  • Which schools have tuition fees?
  • How do cultural and regional differences, as well as muggle conflicts, affect wizarding schools?  Is this why smaller schools pop up?

anonymous asked:

Hi, is the concept of the patronus being so hard because one's happiest memories are always tied to sorrow and pain canon? I can't remember it being mentioned anywhere (though it's been really long since I read them)

i can’t remember it being mentioned, either; as far as i know, it’s just something i made up. the patronus is a very hard charm to cast, and a lot of people can’t ever get a corporeal one (i think that’s from either pottermore or wonderbook of spells). and because i’m pretentious af, i decided to devote a whole lot of time to digressing philosophically on a possible reason why (▰∀◕)ノ

‘Book of Spells’ transcript

Wonderbook: Book of Spells, or simply Book of Spells, is a video game/augmented reality book for PlayStation 3 created by Sony and J. K. Rowling, released on 13 November 2012 as part of the Pottermore partnership. A follow-up, Book of Potions, was released on 12 November 2013.

In a similar vein to Quidditch through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Book of Spells is written from an in-universe perspective: a guide to spellwork by Miranda Goshawk. It contained new content from J.K. Rowling, notably backstory on several spells. For example:

  • The gruesome result when a dark wizard, skilful but unworthy, tried to perform the Patronus Charm.
  • The story of the thief that was the first user of ‘Alohomora’ in Britain.
  • You may think you’re absent-minded, but you’ll never be as bad as famous arithmancer Bridget Wenlock.
  • Conjuring living creatures out of thin air is immensely difficult as the Principle of Artificianimate Quasi-Dominance will attest, but for reasons still investigated by the Department of Mysteries, two types are easier than any other: snakes and birds.

This post contains a transcript of the information from the game:

Miranda Goshawk’s Book of Spells


I was born into a poor family, the last of nine sisters. When I was a youngster, there was no basic spellbook to give a beginner witch like myself the clear and simple instructions that would have made magic a much less mysterious process. I struggled to understand the complicated instructions in the old-fashioned text books I was given at school. Back at home I was at the mercy of my older sisters’ mischievous attempts to give me the wrong incantation for every spell I attempted. Hand-me-down robes are merely embarrassing - hand-me-down spells can be dangerous.

When I grew up, I quickly realised that the help I had craved simply did not exist - and so I created the book you are holding now: the ‘Book of Spells’.
I could not be prouder that this simple school text book is now being used in schools for magic all over the world, and has been translated into seventy-two languages, including Gobbledegook and Mermish. I also had a few special editions printed for my dear sisters, which unfortunately contained a few misprints that led to quite a few comical mishaps! But Romilda’s tail has vanished now, and we are all friends again.

The 'Book of Spells’ will enable you to perform a range of basic and not-so-basic spells that will enhance, protect and enliven your life. At the end of each chapter, you will find a CONUNDRUM: a little poem with a hidden message concerning those characteristics and habits that make witches and wizards truly great. Each conundrum tells the story of a witch or wizard who did not possess the necessary traits, and paid the price (names have been changed to protect the inadequate). The solution to all the conundrums can be found when you have mastered every spell in this book (but by that time, you may not need the solution at all).
Good luck - stay safe - and make good magic!

Chapter 1

In this chapter we’ll learn four spells ideal for developing your wand skills. Each new spell is sure to be useful throughout your wizarding career, whether you’re making objects fly, or lighting your way in dark places. Practise hard and you’ll soon be ready to take on this chapter’s final test, and will be on your way to becoming an accomplished witch or wizard.

[continued under the cut]

Keep reading

Сегодня забрал из Enter'а заказанную в киберпондельник “вандербуку”. (со скидкой обошлось в ~1240р) ^_^

Уже успел немножко протестировать: всё действительно очень хорошо, лагов особых нету, всё работает так как и должно. Дополненная реальность в действии. Я всегда был фанатом этой фишки, ещё со времён первой такой игры - The Eye of Judgment

Действительно забавно даже для взрослого. Волшебная палочка из Хогвардса, Книга заклинаний, парочка выученных трюков - и будущий Гарри Поттер готов.

Ну а главный тест будет в выходные, если/когда друзья и подруги с детьми придут. )