Sign the Guestbook


Thanks for visiting! Please leave a comment below and tell us where you’re from, but also give us one piece of writing advice that has worked for you, if you have the time….

194 thoughts on “Sign the Guestbook

  1. I happened to get my copy before the day of release… I won’t say where or how… Reading through it from beginning to end and doing the exercises as they come, well the one I have gotten to so far. Plan on posting my stories on my writing blog ….

  2. I finished the book yesterday, so this site helps me continue getting my fix.
    All I can say is slush pile readers everywhere will be happier.
    Excellent book. I can’t wait to see what the site has in store.

  3. I pre-ordered from & got the book a couple of weeks ago and devoured it cover to cover. The website going live gives me an excuse to go back and ponder bits more slowly & catch up with the bits I skipped over first time round. I am a relatively new writer (of fiction anyways) and this book has landed at just the right time for me as I’m struggling with my first attempt at a first draft of a first book. I love what Jeff has created and look forward to exploring it more as my writing progresses

    • A memory on Facebook from February 2013 – which is when I started writing – popped up and I’ve just picked up the revised edition of Wonderbook and plan on taking it with me to a Writing retreat I’m going on at the end of the month, so that I can do the exercises within – and read in conjunction with the website this time round.
      Since reading the book I’ve had numerous short stories published (including one that Ellen Datlow chose for her Year’s Best Horror), won a couple of competitions (one of which was judged by Jeff himself), and published two novels and a short story collection that was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award. I won’t say that’s all down to Wonderbook of course, but it was an early and influential writing book for me!

      • Congratulations you’ve done so well. That’s very encouraging for someone who has just started the book, I hope to learn a lot. As you say, your achievements aren’t all down to Wonderbook, all credit for your own hard work and creativity.

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  4. I love your book. As a tutor to at-risk high school students, I am constantly in search of new and innovative ways to inspire and instruct my kids. Just showing the students the plot lizard ( for example) and emphasizing the ability to be creative with every aspect of writing is helping re-energize both mine and my students efforts.

    Thank you.

  5. I’m from California.

    Not sure what piece of writing advice has worked for me…since my writing hasn’t improved much since I’ve started writing seriously!

    But…let’s see…how about this: avoid passive sentences. Lame, I know, but avoiding passive sentences must have improved my stories, right?

    Anyway, great book. I look forward to reading it. By the way, will this illustrated book be available digitally in ebook form (other than this website)? (I hope that’s not too sacrilegious, no offense meant.)

  6. I’m about two-third finished with a first draft of my first novel, plus am working with my husband to edit his first, now complete.

    My brain’s a little tired. I’ve given it Wonderbook as a gift for renewal. Made a big pot of soup yesterday, so today I can hang out in my upstairs aerie (a kind of indoor treehouse) all day and half the night and enjoy. Only on page 16 and am feeling so much better and lighter already. Thanks, Jeff. This is the medicine.

    p.s. We live in a hundred-acre Longleaf pine forest just north of Pensacola; a very cool place with a natural spring flowing through it, lots of owls, deer, coyote, turkeys, and gopher tortoises. Haven’t seen any iguanas yet, but there’s one looming large in my memory from a visit to New Haven, CT several years ago. Yikes.

  7. I had sworn off buying writing books. Their unanimous advice ringing in my ears: “if you want to be a writer – then write!” But there we were in Barnes and Nobel, and my husband suddenly appeared in the cookbook aisle, bearing a magical looking book … About writing! But this one was different…
    I am only 3/4 of the way through chapter one, but I can tell, this writing book is different from the rest! See ya on the other side!

  8. Hi from Frankfurt, Germany! I’ve lived here since 1999 and have written stories that I’ve performed with a friend who plays the Celtic harp. We’ve performed in local small theaters, castles, etc… We are called ‘Two Tongue a Tales’ since we do the tales in German And English. Started the book this afternoon and spent a few hours with it, now I have to set it down so I can sleep! Wonderful, thanks!

    I have found that everything has a story…most recently one about a leaf that refused to fall from the tree!

    All the best!

  9. I just moved into a bigger house and now have an actual writing room and space to consolidate my books (which were formerly hidden around the house like a drunk’s bottles). When I finished filling two shelves with books on writing, I decided it might be time to stop buying them. How many different ways can people tell me to show don’t tell, anyhow? But then today I found your amazing book and had to get it. I’ve only read the introduction, and ogled all the awesome graphics (love the history of science fiction drawing), but can already tell I’m going to keep this one within reach while I write. ..after I finish reading it cover to cover as you recommend. Thanks for putting together such a beautiful, fun and engaging book.

  10. Rebecca: Thanks! Although I realize I should’ve written in the intro there’s also something to be said for browsing through the illustrations and ancillary text first!

    Thanks for the kind comments, all. I hope the book continues to be useful!

  11. Love the illustrations and enjoying the text so far. Just got my copy today and looking forward to working through the book. Thanks for the great work!

  12. An Absolutely beautiful and amazing work of art, philosophy, guide to life, and handbook of creativity and inspiration! Wonderbook is a stimulating pleasure to read, as well as a visual feast for the eyes and imagination. Thank you for this wonderful piece of creative amalgam which stimulates the mind and the imagination in so many ways, luring me down this alleyway and that byway.

    I just discovered your book while browsing the Kindle Amazon store three or four days ago, and it arrived yesterday. I have been devouring its pages ever since! Might we anticipate an e-book version in the future?

    I retired in 2011 after 36 years in a career where I did much factual report writing and investigations. I have been writing personal experiences since I was a teenager, but now have much more time, and have been devoting time to personal writing and documenting stories from my career since then. I look forward to writing more fictional and fantastical stories in the years to come. Thank you again, Greg

  13. I’m an Icelander living in Sweden, often writing in English. So I’m a bit of a talking penguin. Love the book – it’s a visual marvel with very sound advices! Personally I like King’s idea when it comes to writing – write 2000 words a day even on Christmas Eve (paraphrased obviously:)).

    Thank you for this book!

  14. I’m only on the first chapter, but I love, love, LOVE this book. I stopped purchasing writing books a long time ago because they all seemed to say the same things and never really spoke to my personal set of circumstances. I stumbled upon this book at B&N and after a half hour of internal debate (do I really need another writing book telling me the same tired advice?) I decided to buy it only because the illustrations appealed to the artist in me.

    Once I got it home and started reading it, I was floored. Intelligently written (I hate the cutesy-wootsy tone that a lot of writing book authors use) beautifully illustrated, and thought provoking, this book is so special and a true treasure.

    One of the best pieces of advice I have come across so far (as I mentioned above, I have only read the first chapter) was the letting go of fetish objects. This is a huge issue for me, as I always have to have the right pen, the right kind of notebook with the right kind of cover that has never been written in before, etc. I guess I needed that “permission” to let go of all of that and just write.

    Anyway, thank you for a wonderful book!!!

  15. Looking through the creative writing section in a popular bookshop the other day I happened to notice Wonderbook . All I can say is wow! What a breath of fresh air for new and aspiring writers. I am a very new writer and am always on the look out for anything that might give me the imaginative boost to kick start my dreams of writing my own fantasy novel. I new as soon as I picked it up and gave it my flick through test that it was perfect for me. I loved the images and could see quite quickly how the book is structured to force some imagination from the reader to get some words onto paper. Can’t wait to get started, thanks.

  16. One of my students turned me on to this wonderful Wonderbook, just bought my copy. First writing assignment was a blast, can go so many ways, the hollow saint looks in the mirror..thank you I know this will help me with my trilogy, “The Legends of the Shallow Temple,” Book 1, Water Below is complete, Book 2, Water Above almost ready for first edit, Book 3 “Water Within,” is ready to come out. I can feel many positive changes coming into my story thanks to the release of the flood gates this book is causing

  17. I found out about your book while I was doing the November writing challenge thing. I’ve made it to page twenty. It’s a thought-provoking book. I’m taking it slow but I like the little bit that I’ve seen so far.

  18. Just the most fun I’ve had reading a writing book. What really helps me is that each topic is approached with a mix of how-to text, amazing illustrations, and stories from the experts, each offering more complete understanding. I was shocked by the references to many amazing writers that I hadn’t heard of. I’ve got a great reading list to look forward to.

  19. I used to write 2-3 hours every day for several years until 2005. One day I woke up and thought, “I can’t do it anymore.” And I stopped completely. Until 2010, I didn’t even try. Since then I’ve tried and had a couple of successes, but mostly my mind won’t engage in creating any more. Then I picked up “Wonderbook”. I never read more than a couple of pages before I have to put it down and go write. The imagery, the stories behind stories, the experiences are all igniting me. I can’t shut my mind down now. So I have a notebook nearly half full of people and places and ideas, and continue working on the story I started, no longer seeing it as a chore.
    It is a wonder book. Thank you for it.

  20. Thanks for the kind comments, and the useful advice. Regarding another editorial roundtable–I think it’s a good idea, but the time involved means probably not for a while. We will add some new content to the site in 2014, including some material of use to anyone teaching Wonderbook. The main purpose of the site is to support the book with supplementary material, rather than to be an active website, so we don’t want to over-commit. But we will announce new content on our facebook page in early 2014. Thanks!

  21. Treasure this book. This is the only book in years I’d never considered purchasing as an ebook. Buy the actual book and experience a truly authentic experience, delving deep into the writing craft. If more books were written like this, Kindle would be no more.

  22. I had to browse through all the great artwork before starting at the beginning. Thank you for a book I want to spend some time with over coffee.

  23. Love the mix of art and writing. Am giving the book as a present to my writing group, there are four of us. I hope to use it as a skeleton to encourage our writing over the next year.

  24. I’m only halfway through this book, but even at chapter one, I already knew it was what I’ve dreamed a writing book should be like, with added stuff that I didn’t even know I wanted. Every time I read a few pages, I have to put it down and apply what I’ve learned to a few old stories that need revision or completion.

    Thanks for this! I’ll be reviewing it on my blog. The trick is to try and finish the book before the impulse to review overtakes me.

  25. My boyfriend purchased “Wonderbook” as my Christmas gift. I haven’t finished reading it yet (I just received it from him yesterday), but I absolutely love it so far!
    One piece of writing advice that has always worked for me is to “write what interests you.” There’s a whole section on that in Wonderbook, too. 🙂
    I would love to be published someday… that’s always been a dream of mine. I’m betting this book will really start me on my way!
    -Taralei, an aspiring author in Nashville, TN

  26. Discovered this book at my local university bookstore, and am absolutely loving it. It’s the most engaging imaginative fiction book I’ve ever encountered, and it’s certainly the most useful! The best early Christmas gift to myself that I’ve ever had 🙂

  27. I’m really enjoying the book so far…and the website.

    I TA for a Literature of Science-Fiction and Fantasy at UTDallas. One of my duties is to run the peer-review workshops for our “creative semester project”…guess what book will be helping to shape our workshops and discussions this coming semester!

  28. My author daughter gifted Wonderbook to me, her painter mother, because “Wonderbook” is Universal in its application. I’m on page 15 and would not be messaging here except that I didn’t want to miss the “WEB” tips on discipline (something I’m working on – 2014 goal to complete one painting a week, painting every day, because the thought of one painting a day overwhelms me). Loving the visuals, starting a list of quotes, and looking forward to engaging with the rest. Definitely a treasured gift.

  29. I read and wrote nothing but nonfiction for many years before returning to fiction, and I think that the aspect of Wonderbook that has been so wonderful to me is the invitation to play and discover. I’m writing more of whatever comes to mind without regard for anything “true.” I’m still processing the book as a whole. I think I’ve made some gains in differentiating between what I need to know and write to do the work, and what I need to show the reader in order to make the piece compelling.

  30. My best friend gave me this beautiful book as a Christmas gift. While I’m recovering from major surgery, nothing will please me more than spending time with this book without feeling a bit guilty about the size of the dust bunnies in my house. I’ve been writing since I was a wee thing, but I struggle with a lack of discipline. I hope this book will help me with that, but even if I’m still a flibberty-gibbet by the time I reach its last page, I’ll enjoy the journey.

  31. Wonderbook arrived today. I tore open the shipping package instantly. With great anticipation, I put my hand into the package, but my hand slipped between the pages of Wonderbook inside. It grabbed me, no it sank its teeth into me. Wonderbook pulled itself out, clamped furiously to my hand.

    I noticed that my fingers were in the early part of the book. If I faced my captured palm toward my face, I could see the cover, a parasitic city riding a sea beast. I only got a glance, though. Wonderbook pulled me with a terrible, ripping force towards my computer keyboard. Eventually, I was able to lay my chest on the book and pin it to my desk. By this time it had eaten half of the fingers on my right hand.

    I lifted myself just enough to open the book’s front cover. I wanted to turn the pages until I reached my half-devoured hand. Then I could escape this book! As I turned the pages I read and read. I couldn’t help myself. t am halfway through the book. Most of my arm is gone. The more I read, the more it takes. If I keep reading, Wonderbook will take all of me, away.

    I wanted to devour this book. I wanted to write. Now writing wants me. Wonderbook wants me. Can someone help?

  32. What a lovely book. The art is luscious and thought-provoking, and the material is much meatier than I had expected. What a joy of a book.

    And so nice to have the fantastical perspective… it’s about time we weirdos were represented.

    • Shoulda read the directions: From the Pacific Northwest, USA. Writing advice? Put your butt in a chair, a pen in your hand, and a gag in your internal editor’s mouth.

  33. I love to write but I never feel as if my writing is good enough for others. I am seriously considering being an author as a part time job when I get older and can hold my own. Science-Fiction and Fantasy are were I excel, and the book was so inspirational. Especially the pictures they gave me great ideas for event that’ll happen in the story I am currently writing. But whenever I try to start writing for some reason I just stop dead in my tracks. For no reason at all. If I want to do this as a career I need to stop that, I am just learning how to write novels and is there a way to stop that?
    I really do enjoy your book though however. The illustrations are extremely helpful whether it is inspiration or just keeping me on task and relating them to the story. Honestly, and I know this’ll make me sound childish, without them I would probably lose track of what I was doing and get lost. They make you feel much more involved with the book. They keep you entertained and teach you. I love that you think that imagination makes everything better, I couldn’t agree more. Imagination can show personality of how the person sees things and how they express them.
    Well got to get back to reading your book. Thinks for writing it, you have no idea how helpful this is.

  34. Thanks, all. I have to say, all of these comments tell me the book’s doing what it’s supposed to. Thanks so much for the feedback.

  35. I was given the book for Christmas (I asked for it based on Chuck Wendig’s recommendation) and have been glued to it ever since. I can tell it’s going to be one of those books that gives up something new with every re-reading. It’s beautiful and thought-provoking and so very, very useful.

    My piece of writing advice is: it doesn’t matter whether dialogue sounds realistic in the first draft. Dialogue isn’t my strongest area and I got so bogged down in it before I twigged that I could just worry about it later. Plus, by the end of the book or story you’ll have a much better idea of how your characters speak, so you’ll probably end up having to overhaul it anyway.

    Best wishes from England.

  36. Enjoying Wonderbook. Decided to reread Finch at the same time. Works well together. The part about Beginnings is very precise and helpful; more so, I think, than the couple of dozen other fiction writing books I’ve read. Thanks. Can’t wait until the new trilogy is out.

  37. I am an eighth grade English teacher, and every year I invite all my students to join me in NaNoWriMo. I get a small handful, which is perfect, because I know these are the students that are serious about writing. We always continue our group beyond November, and I’m always so amazed and excited by the works of these young authors. A couple of weeks ago, one of my writers brought an article about your book from The Star Tribune, a local paper. After reading though the article, I knew I had to have your book. I received it last week, and I love it. I can’t wait to share ideas with my writing group and even all my students. Using your ideas backwards will strengthen my students ‘ understanding of what they read…why authors write what they write. Thank you. I can’t wait to delve a bit deeper.

    Someone asked about posters, I would love some as well. The drawings are amazing and detailed. They would enhance discussions about writing and reading.

  38. Thanks so much! I am going to look into posters. You’re thinking the cover or images inside? I was also wondering if the publisher released some of the diagrams in oversized calendar form, if that would be of interest. Also, I am co-director of Shared Worlds–a teen SF/Fantasy writing camp (can easily google it). We usually take 9th to 12th graders, but have had some 12-year-olds.

  39. I am so glad to come here and see the common joy that Wonderbook is giving all of us as inspiration. I am enjoying my writing more than I have in a long time, thanks to the analogies and thoughtful prose. I work at a community college, and I will be sharing this book with my colleagues who teach creative writing for their perusal. This book seems to inspire and interest by its very appearance.

    I keep gushing about this book. It’s a joy to do so.

  40. I went searching for a unique book on writing and quickly picked “Wonderbook” out. I am very glad I found it. It’s extremely inspiring and it’s helping me out of my writer’s block. The illustrations are amazing and add a very nice touch. It’s my favorite “how to write fiction” book now. Thank you!

  41. I too have sworn off buying how-to-write books, but I was beguiled by the pictures in the Wonderbook. Also I loved the created world in Shriek: An Afterword and Finch.

    My created world is just a hotchpotch college campus with ghosts, but it’s alive for me and it makes me laugh. Unfortunately, I suffer from “writer’s fear,” so the story moves in fits and starts. Maybe Wonderbook can give me a jump start.

  42. I’ve just ordered Wonderbook through a brick-and-mortar local independent bookstore. I’m hoping the book arrives before this weekend’s drive from Indiana to Philadelphia. I know what I’d like to be doing while my husband is driving!
    As for writing advice , I’ve found this to be inspiring: “…[Novelist Ann] Patchett talks about the gap between the beautiful story in her imagination and the one she actually gets down on the page. She suggests that you forgive yourself for the discrepancy, as she forgives herself: ‘I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing.’”. –Sarah C. Lange in The Writer, January 2012

  43. Hello Jeff,

    Received your book as a motivating gift. Reading it has given me the courage to move out of the safe zone of the essay and into the SF novel I’ve been taking notes about for the past eight years.

    Thank you.

  44. City of Saints and Madmen changed my perception of how storytelling could be executed. I just got Wonderbook in the mail yesterday and I’m smitten with anticipation. Almost done reading The Weird as well. If only more writers could write and edit like you, Jeff. Thanks for being alive at the same point in history as me.

  45. I stumbled across your book at Barnes & Noble when I had a 20% off coupon in my hand. it was the most intriguing writing book on the shelf. That was this morning, and I’ve read the first 40 pages and thumbed through the rest, and it’s one of those books that I’ll be able to return to time after time.

    I live in Northern California. My writing advice is to discard your fears – just think of all the time (and experience) you waste, in your life as a whole, not only in writing world, by being afraid! And read the section in Wonderbook about writer’s block, by Matthew Cheney. I especially relate to #11 and #15.

    Two of my favorite quotes are (1) from Chuck Close: All the best ideas come out of the process. They come out of the work itself. and (2) from Stephen Hunter by way of his character Bob Lee Swagger: I have principles for a hard job. One, start now. Two, work every day. Three, finish. Oh, and one more, from Groucho Marx: Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. Oops, one more, from Jackson Brown (I love good quotes): Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.

    Thanks for your book!

    • Not sure if you are still reading these, but I got a kick out of seeing that you lived in Fiji. My wife is from Fiji, of Indian heritage, and she grew up in Suva, in one of the small neighborhoods kookoo village. I think? At any rate, she’s brought me there twice to visit, and I love the country. Another coincidence, I am Jewish, and like you and your wife, my honey and I are both in the same profession. We are both Nurses. She has her PhD, and I am a Nurse Practitioner in Mental Health.
      But writing is my passion. I really love your book. Eessa (spelling?). And I love how playful yet intense it is in its guidance. Thank you so much for creating this, and your website. It’s a real m’chaiya. (Ask your wife 😊).

  46. Hello, currently I reside in a corner of Texas, of which I am sure hell once had domain over but then promptly forgot about, luckily this changes soon. Although I tip for writing has been asked of me I unfortunately don’t have one… After reading this amazing book I realized I am still on the student side of the classroom. Thank you so much for this awesome tool, soon my writers utility belt will be complete. <3

  47. I’m only on page 64, but I’ve found some sage advice already. I’ve never published any of my fiction, so I don’t feel that I could give any advice. I’ve been fighting the clock for years to find time to write, but time has not been on my side. Brenlea Palmer

  48. Greetings from Austria, Europe! Sorry if my expressions are a bit odd, English is not my native language. My girlfriend who is studying English has found this book on the Internet and purchased it for me. I was struggling with my writing for some time now and needed this motivational push. It’s a sad fact that it is hard to find a book about writing in German language, which has a similar approach on creativity. There are still a lot of people who think of good writing style as a god given talent, making it harder for young writers to find the often needed guidance. Thank you for the help!
    My Tip: Just write it! Even if you think you have nothing to write about and feel stuck. Write about that. It might be unsatisfying at first, but not writing won’t change anything, while writing about anything might change a lot.

  49. I am in the Western U.S. in Montana. The best advice that I have received is just write and do it consistently. I have a quota, an average of 1000 words per day. If I don’t get my quota done I get cranky. I loved the unique art work in the book and have ordered myself a print of Myrtle Von Damitz III’s “All Our Fictional Worlds.” It is going above my desk.

  50. I ordered this book through the Barnes & Noble I work at and I received it last week! I am hooked and thankful for a book that encourages “imaginative play” and is full of writing challenges as well as spectacular art. Now it is time to check out the website!

  51. I made an impulse purchase of your book at B&N prior to a critique session of one of my book chapters. I’m now promoting Wonderbook to all my Fantasy / Sci-Fi writer friends, especially those in the critique group. I especially liked the section on exposition. now I feel better. Having a beautiful picture book for fantasy / Sci-fi writers is genius! Thank you.

  52. Ordered WONDERBOOK today from Amazon and am looking forward to it. Being an author and artist, I love how you incorporated the two into a book like yours. The website is great, too–I especially love the author interviews. There’s always something new to learn even though I’ve been writing since I was a small child–over 48 years now! LOL. After seeing the sample pages in your book, I’m going to make some strange collages to help me “build” alien characters–that should be fun! Happy trails! bobbi chukran, author of The Curse of the Big Sleep, The Journal of Mina Harker, etc. etc.

  53. I am a home school mom with a love of written and mixed media art/expressions. LOVE the Wonderbook so much, but find that my son is always taking it to enjoy for himself. It’s an awesome collection of magic!

  54. I am a narrative painter, just embarking on a new series of paintings. I cannot tell you how valuable Wonderbook has already been in terms of helping me think through the structure of this series and inspiring new ways to approach it. In addition, the book is pure joy to read! I’ve even suggested it to my bookclub to enhance our discussions of the fiction we read. Thank you!

  55. I just received my copy of Wonderbook this morning and dived in once I got home from work. I love it so far! The artwork is gorgeous and the text inspirational.

  56. I’ve just discovered “Wonderbook” while reading your Q&A thread on Goodreads. I’m ordering a copy through my local independent bookstore, The Peregrine Book Company. I’ve already shared the link to this website on Facebook.
    The best writing advice I have is one I hold dear: don’t talk about it, do it. Sit your buttinski down and write. I know it’s not the most profound but I don’t know of any writer who has figured out how to work around this simple adage and still call themselves a writer.
    Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your gifts.

  57. I bought Wonderbra as a summer project to do with my teenage daughter – now we’re visiting new worlds together. Thank you.

  58. I picked up ANNIHILATION at the library during a summer hiatus. I could not put it down and devoured AUTHORITY right behind it. I am also on a career hiatus and contemplating writing fiction for my next career. This is why I found it so humorous when I received the WONDERBOOK on loan from the neighboring library yesterday and saw that they had classified it as “young adult” fiction. Say it isn’t so? Perhaps they meant “young at heart?”

  59. Just picked up Wonderbook in my library and it is fabulous! I love the illustrations in it. Some genius thinking, smart cookie!

  60. Dear Jeff,
    Thank you for this most magnificent book. One of my writing buddies told me about it and I recently got it from the library. It is a life changer and I have read many many writing books. I love the art and I love all of the writing exercises and the different ways you find to talk about the components of writing. And, thank you for diving deep in the examples that you provide across genres. And, as a woman of color, I particularly appreciate the attention that you bring to a diversity of experiences across multiple domains.
    Chapter 3 and Chapter 7 were especially helpful. And, how comforting it was to read how well known authors have grappled with multiple revisions! Your book truly excites the imagination. I am recommending it to everyone I know and will buy my own copy.
    The best writing tip that I’ve encountered recently is less of a tip and more of a motivational tool called ‘the magic spreadsheet’ designed by Tony Pisculi and discussed by Muir Lafferty. 250 words a day, everyday…no matter what!
    Thank you,

  61. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I read the intro and chapter 1 last night and I’m addicted. I’m trolling around the website while I should be hand-selling books to my beloved readers (customers). Instead, I’ve ordered in more Wonderbook which will bear my staff picks sticker and overwhelm our writing section.

  62. I just bought the book last night and have just started it. What a great concept. I’m a visual learner and this definately works for me.
    One bit of writing advice I like to use myself and like to pass on as well is this: When you get to a point in your story where you don’t know exactly what happens next, but you do know what’s supposed to happen a little later, write STUFF HAPPENS in the middle of the page and jump to the next point that you do know. Certainly by the time you complete your story you will know what Stuff was supposed to happen. Then fill it in on the next draft.
    I hope this helps anyone who might need this.

  63. Greetings from Finland and thank you for an inspiring book! I got the book right after it came out and read it cover to cover. I came back to it this summer and I’m enjoying the exercises very much. This book really helped me get going, because it was gave me permission to do my own thing. Previous books that are all rules just left me crippled with the fear that I’m doing it wrong. Trying to follow the rules just took all the life out of my writing. This summer I finished seven short stories, and I’m attending a writing class this fall. So thank you!

    Writing advice: Jim Butcher said something along the lines of: The only person who can take away your dream of becoming a writer is you.

  64. I have already forgotten where I bought Wonderbook. Not too long ago, but I don´t remember when. I started reading it at a good pace and then I stopped. I know I will finish reading it, and then I will read it again, and again. I stopped at that first exercise about depicting a creature. I want to do that before I retake the book. I need to describe those creatures anyway, they roam the novel that one day I must finish, and I am getting to the point in which the main character pays attention to them for the first time. I know that they are somewhere between a frog and a cuttlefish without tentacles, they are definitely mostly head and have a huge mouth. But I really need to know them better. Then I will continue reading Wonderbook. I know it will continue being a pleasure. Thanks.

  65. Great practical guidance. I love the way you focus on the imagination and creative process rather than the formalized steps that so many “writing manuals” espouse.

    Bought the book for my Professional Writing and Computer Game Design major daughter, but started it myself and couldn’t put it down.

    Yes, you’ve started that itch–I am getting a journal.

  66. I’m so glad I went to your panel at Comic-Con. What a great find and entertaining and informative discussion. The illustrations really go straight to my writer’s heart and I find myself nodding and saying, “Yes! That’s it–exactly,” over and over as I read.

  67. I have had this idea of a story for years but I have finally gotten the nerve or passion to start writing it. This book has helped me find ways to flesh out the parts that have kept me from writing and I am not even through the first section of your book yet. Thanks to you and all the contributors for your advice and exercises.

  68. I am from Israel.
    Although my mother tongue is Hebrew I find this site wonderful. I just started reading the book but it looks different.
    Thank you.

  69. I found Wonderbook in the fantastic Harvard Book Store and although I am not a writer of fiction yet, it has definitely sparked inspiration. Last night the book accompanied me to a sculpture class, where it became the object of much admiration. The class instructor began flipping through the pages and after a while said “I can’t put it down. It has all of my favorite things!” Even if I never author a single short story, I feel that Wonderbook is a great guide to developing creativity and better story-telling, plus it has already pointed me to many fantastic new books to read. Thanks!

  70. Got Wonderbook for Christmas, and a store of wonders it is. I have been developing myself as a writer for none months and used a number of books as well as doing an Open University Course and exercises at a local writers group to flex my writing muscles but Wonderbook is the best by far.

  71. I live in regional Australia though with a good bookshop on hand. I bought my Wonderbook one day when I burst in out of the rain, walking walking walking, at my wits end writing an ending to my first novel. No other how-to books were at all helpful. The rest of the Wonderbook is pretty good too. I’m on my second read through and am still finding new things to take on board. The website looks supportive to say the least. (I’ve been here, but not yet in the thick of it)

  72. As soon as I received the Wonderbook in the 2014 Hugo voter’s packet, I knew instantly that I had to have a copy of my own. So Merry Christmas to me! The pages are so smooth and soft, and the illustrations are a joy to look at. It’s kicking my creative side into high gear, and that’s before I started reading Chapter One. Thanks for making this book. I look forward to everything it will teach me and what I plan discover.

    Oh, and writing advice? Be desperate to write, even if it means scribbling on your own arm for lack of paper.

  73. Wonder book is exactly the type of creative writing book I have been looking for, that is to say it is not the least bit boring and textbook like. It also fits nicely with the steampunk genre of writing that I am using for my current book. As for writing advice? Release your inner child and let your imagination soar.

  74. Great book. About to check into the website section on the Leonardo exercise, which I just finished. Great fun.

  75. Love the book and the information on the website! Although I’ve been writing for years, this book is a great springboard for creativity and inspiration. I enjoy its approach to examining the craft of writing and fantasy. It will be a well-worn, read and re-read book.

  76. I love the Wonderbook. I am reading it to gain confidence in my novel drafts and to try to make a complete, interesting book. I write poetry usually, so the best writing advice I can give is to read poetry, to listen, and to find pleasure in your writing. I have a friend who wrote a novel who has told me to have fun with my characters and to think of writing the first draft novel as walking down an unworn path. I love his advice. It takes away the fear of any failure. Again, thank you for the Wonderbook. Right now, it’s my bedtime reading. I live in Massachusetts, USA.

  77. Dear mister Vandermeer,

    I don’t know whether this guestbook is still being checked regularly or not, but I’ll just give it a try.
    I’m currently reading your Wonderbook, and I am very impressed with the detail and imagination that went into it. This is, I might say, the creative writing book I’ve been looking for. I write fantasy novels myself (my debut comes out in the spring of 2016). Anyway, I work in a bookstore in Hoofddorp (near Amsterdam), and in October we are organizing our very own fantasy weeks, in which I would like a fantasy-themed event at least every week.
    The reason I’m writing you, is that I’m planning on using your book to create the one and only fantasy-world for our bookstore, together with our customers. The idea is that I’m going to invite our most dedicated fantasy readers, and together we are going to visualize and create a fantasy-world that is linked and unique to “our” bookstore. A colleague of mine (who is an artist) will be working the ideas we come up with into a map of said world. In the future, we can then use this world as a setting for anything fantasy- and store related.
    (I’m also in touch with publishing house Luitingh, who are really raising the bar for publishing fantasy in the Netherlands at the moment. We’re talking about taking this nation wide, and I already recommended your novel to them).
    What I would like to ask, is whether you would like to be concluded in the process? For example, giving (short) feedback on the finalized world, which I can then share with my customers. Or perhaps even a short introduction via skype (or any other cool ideas…)
    If this is a succes in my own store, I would love to take this idea nation-wide and travel to other bookstores to help them create their own fantasyworlds with their customers. As I already mentioned, we’ve been missing a creative writing book like yours in our country so I would really like to travel the country and bring other people in touch with this great way to begin their own expeditions in the world of fantasy.


  78. Just read about your book when I went to Adam Cohen’s website about the fiction contest. Can’t wait to get my hand on Wonderbook. It sounds fun and informative and I need it!

  79. I bought the book a tad ago but have only now signed in, guest-wise. It’s NaNoWriMo, and I’m periscoping for inspiration. I very much heart what I’ve read so far, and heartily vow completion with the web as my witness.
    Writing advice? Writing explores. So explore.

  80. I am a new reader and starting my own writing blog because of this book! I am just in love and as sad tip day my writing exercises don’t compare to the examples given o.k. the site. I hope to learn a lot though! I was hoping to quote the book on my new blog and maybe use photos from it…. I can contact the publishing company but does anyone know if this is allowed? I won’t post anything but well quoted information until told otherwise.
    Thank you for this book…it really appealed to me…knowing I could use my creativity to write instead of just create craft projects.

  81. Last year I finished my BA in Visual Arts, I majored in painting and minors in creative writing.
    For the last 8 months or so I have wandered around, scratching my arse and bumping into things because I have absolutely no clue where to go from here.
    Do I choose to be a painter or a writer?
    Then one day, ( while scratching said arse), I came across a friends post about Wonderbook on her Instagram account.
    I bought it then and there from The Book Depository.
    I am on page 25 and I have already had an epiphany.
    I can be both, because both is art.
    I just need to re- discover my passion.
    According to Wonderbook- this is called practice.
    Who knew?
    Thanks Wonderbook… Now on to page 26.
    Deb Gxxoo

  82. Jeff, I was browsing in Powell’s Books on Hawthorne and I found Wonderbook. It spoke to me – the art, the text, everything. I have read your Southern Reach trilogy and knew your name from those amazing books. I am 69 years old, living in Portland. I have had a novel in the works for a couple of years – picked it up and dropped it many, many times, but it still calls to me and insists on being written. I’ve just started Wonderbook and it already inspired me to pick the novel up again and given me hope that maybe I can finish it. The idea of the scar/splinter resonated with me – my years in a rather terrifying religious cult have inspired me to write 3 non-fiction books about my experience but I yearn to fictionalize the experience as a sort of dystopian fantasy. Thank you for all you do.

  83. Bought this book about four years ago – still keep re-reading it and finding new bits I didn’t see the same way the previous times. Most useful writing advice I’ve had? ‘Don’t be afraid to write badly. Even a pile of manure can be shaped into something beautiful, but you can’t do a thing with thin air, so you might as well burn through the fear and dare to create manure.’ Probably applies to many other things in life too. 😉

  84. My name is Bruce Freeman and I come from Wisconsin but I don’t work in a lumbar yard there. But people, when they see me, do come up to great me, and thi is what I say: Hi.
    I just started to read Wonderbook, and I love it. Your comment about allowing play has reinvigorated me, and I feel so good about it. So washed in the rain.
    My favorite piece of writing advice aside from what I am reading in your book now, came from Joss Whedon. To paraphrase, there should never be expendable character in your stories, because no sentient being is expendable. I really love that thought. And while, there are characters, I think, that aren’t the focus, they have lives and back stories of their own that brought them to my story. And I think that is awesome.

  85. Last night I came upon your book by accident at Barnes and Noble here in Long Beach, CA. As a watercolor artist with a formal education in literature across multiple languages, I felt a fatal attraction, passion and curiosity. In my teen I would create manuscript journals of illustrated free verse which over time I have lost, your book is opening up these memories and I feel emboldened to move forward with my own imagination. Thank you!

  86. Hi, I’m from Pennsylvania. I’m working on Draft 1 of a Sci-Fi novel, and Wonderbook has been an encouraging resource. The best part for me were the two simple questions, “What does this character need?” and “What does this character want?” The answers are a simple way to develop a character and make him different from those around him in a variety of ways. Thanks for the book.

  87. Found the book in a small co-op bookstore. Just in time to finally realize I needed to change the beginning of my novel. Novel is off to publishers now (in Finland, in Finnish) but the book remains. I checked it out from the library first, but both my husband and son loved the illustrations, so went back to the cute bookstore and bought a copy. I notice that they got a new copy now….

    Haven’t done many of the excersizes yet, but my little circle wrote beginnings to “the Krakens attack at dawn” – it sounds hilarious in Finnish.

    Imaginative fiction, my love.

  88. A wonderfully entertaining and colorful guide to pushing one’s self-perceived boundaries of imagination. Saying that Wonderbook helps you to think outside of the box sounds cliché. That doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    I haven’t quite finished the book yet and I do confess to having not done every one of the writing exercises, but I’ve found myself looking at once mundane things in a new imaginative light. I may get to the ones that I’ve missed or I might find something new while exploring the site. I’m looking forward to the adventure.

  89. I’m reading the book and stopping at every webinator for the extra readings. They really do flesh out what the author is conveying in the book, so I’m happy to go back and forth. I’m excited about all of the data my mind is collecting from this process. The whole experience is different from what I’ve found in other books about the craft, so hopefully my writing will become a bit less… mechanical.

  90. Hi there, I have to express how much I loved this book. I’m a visual learner, and the illustrative examples helped me. For years I have been reading creative writing books and the struggling with some of the concepts in them, but the visuals in this book, and the way that Jeff explains them, really shone a light on them. I’m feeling more confident than I ever have before about finishing a novel that I can feel proud of.

  91. Finished Wonderbook about 2 weeks ago, just started re-reading it. I feel inspired overtime I pick it up. Thank you Vandermeer and friends for creating this beautiful book (the word book doesn’t do it justice really)

  92. I love Wonderbook. I’m currently reading it through for the second time. This time through, I’m taking notes and doing additional research as well. It’s amazing how much there is to learn in this book, even though I’ve already read it once. Thank you for writing it and getting all the other creative people to contribute. The total package is a work of art.

    I think the best writing advice I can share is ‘Never give up, no matter how difficult it seems. Just keep writing and having fun.’ That is working for me, even on the days that the learning curve seems so steep it is hard to see the top.

  93. The book was a Christmas present and I constantly go to it when I’m really stuck for inspiration, like opening up to a random page and either using the picture or the writing itself to get the creative gears turning, but this is the first time being on the website and I’m excited to look around.

    The best piece of writing advice I received (which is more advice on how to remain sane rather than how to write well but sometimes that’s just as important) is “Don’t compare your writing to that of your favorite authors. They too took years to become the successful writers they are. It’s not fair to yourself to compare your own first draft to the published work of another which has been edited possibly hundreds of times.” This seems like common sense but it really struck me when I heard it and helped me get over self doubt.

  94. I love this book. I bought it when I began my MA in creative writing and assignments deadlines meant that I couldn’t give it the attention it deserves and that I need. Now I’ve come to the end of my first year and have the summer for writing and frolicking I can immerse myself in Wonderbook again. I love reading fantasy, I’m a Neil Gaiman groupie, but I’ve never had the confidence to try writing fantasy. Perhaps now is my time.

  95. Your book inspired me to follow my dreams.
    My mother told me 15 years ago that Art would never take me anywhere, and that I should focus on what matters. I spent the next fifteen years trying to understand what actually matters.

    and late last year, my second child was born – Bruce Lee – and I received Wonderbook as a birthday gift.
    and within 2 months – bday in Nov – I started school. I enrolled online at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh – as I am an artist as well as a writer – and it is now my dream to complete my own graphic novel.

    you’ve changed my life by putting me back to the right course.

    thank you

  96. Hi! I’m reading Wonderbook after experiencing an amazing writer’s seminar during my MFA Creative Writer Residency at Antioch Los Angeles. Kate Maruyama led the seminar and introduced Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook
    which was the best new learning takeaway from the editing seminar. Maruyama’s use of
    VanderMeer’s Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction kept the
    presentation on editing lively and I remained engaged throughout the lengthy
    lecture. I immediately put Wonderbook on a list of writing craft books to add to my
    library. As Maruyama’s lecture indicated, VanderMeer’s illustrated guide represents
    a practical approach to improving as a writer in a very rudimentary nuts-and-bolts
    way. Wonderbook delves into the ecosystem of story structure with visual diagrams
    and renderings that address dialogue, plot and structure, and character development.

  97. I bought this back when it came out & am dipping into it again as I’m responding to my editor’s comments on my first/second novel (first written & sold, second published) – it’s a great resource and this time round I’ve got access to the website (well ok I had ‘access’ to the website last time too – I just didn’t use it).

    I hear that there will be a revised second edition and normally that’d annoy me, but for this I think I’ll stump up cash to buy the new edtion – it’s that good!

  98. I’ve dipped into Wonderbook for several years now. Suddenly knew that I needed to read its section about world building. Which led me to this website – finally. Love the essay about setting as metaphor, Valente’s essay about setting and folklore, and Sedia’s lecture about diversity creating much more interesting stories. Now, all the illustrations are making sense to me. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Thank you for producing such a profound and timeless teacher.

  99. Hello! I have this book borrowed from the library, I’m going to work through it to sharpen my rusty skills! My writing is quite surreal and so I have struggled with other conventional guides. I have only just started it, but I’m already completely in love with it – it’s challenging and beautiful.

    Best piece of advice I have received (7 years ago, when I could write 🙄) was writing is a craft – trainee carpenters don’t construct grand staircases and try to sell them when they’ve learnt the basics, then whine when their work is rubbish and no one will buy it. Practice, enjoy, experiment with genre and write at least two whole novels before even thinking about getting published. Craft of carpentry is not mastered through audiences, it is mastered in sweat and blisters – audiences come later.

  100. From the wonderful land of Colorado, living in the awesome city of Austin, TX. I’m so happy to finally be reading this book!
    I’ve been trying (for about 5 minutes) to write a piece of advice. Turns out I don’t have any (or I’m too conscious about the people who will possibly read this and think, “That piece of advice sucks”).
    Anyways, the book is amazing and it’s really motivating and inspiring me as I attempt to write a story about a magical forrest land, the evil god-prince who wants to destroy it, and the young human prince who will save it.
    So… I’m going to read Wonderbook now and enjoy the glorious sound of my two-year old playing drums with forks on my couch 🙂

  101. I’ve just started this book yesterday, but I was entranced from the moment I picked it up. I’ve been hitting a lot of walls in my writing classes and work, but Wonderbook has reinvigorated me. I was reading next to my SO and suddenly jumped up and ran to get a pen and paper, madly scribbling down an idea I’d had when faced with a writing prompt in the text. I’ve carried it around all day today, showing it off to friends, classmates, and teachers. Everyone is interested and excited, and I can’t wait to keep reading it. Thank you for reminding me why I’m trying to make my way down this path.

  102. Wow. Just….this is awesome. I’m a little bit in love, honestly. So I’ve been taking this one slow, poring over the pictures.

    One of my favorite parts so far is your anecdote about the Blue Lady, and how your imagination was able to turn her into a character years after you passed on buying her CD. No explicit advice connected with that one, but it really got me thinking about how people can nurture imagination in an era when you can access any bit of information you wish, or where demons are only one search term away.

    I also really liked the article on writer’s block by Matthew Cheney. Not only is he funny, he gave me permission to explore different genres and not have to pick one. (I recently took a short writing course where the instructor pronounced that it was rare for a writer to work in non fiction and fiction as well — I really doubt it’s true.)

    Thanks so much. It’s obvious you put a lot of love and thought into this.

  103. I’m late to the party, but I’m here! I’m super pleased to see that this website is still up, and alive and well.
    Wonderbook inspires me in ways that the usual writing encouragement/prompts do not. Thanks for putting together such a great resource!

  104. I am a middle school ELA teacher, and I recently purchased this book to assist me with teaching a fantasy fiction writing unit for 6th graders. If you have specific chapters or places on the website which you believe I should focus, please advise. Thank you for such a beautifully illustrated writing book!

  105. I’m not a writer, or even an aspiring one in the commercial sense, but I have a story that has seeded itself in my head and working it out is something I do for fun. I’m looking to Wonderbook for help in learning how to tie the bits and pieces of it together and flesh out those flashes of scenes and shadows of characters that have starting to appear on paper. Wonderbook is so practical, but also such a joy. I’ve really enjoyed reading through it and trying out some of the exercises, thank you. My best writing advice? Read more. Oh, and I live in Northern California on the edge of a vineyard not too far from some dark and witchy woods.

  106. My wife/cowriter and I just stumbled on this book at Borderlands Bookstore in San Francisco. It’s the most imaginative, challenging and inspirational writing guide we’ve ever seen-highly recommended!

    Ours says printing 7 (10 9 8 7) so hopefully it is selling well for you.

    • And my writing advice is, “No matter how much fun you have reading books about writing (like Wonderbook), you’ll never get anywhere unless you WRITE!”

  107. I read Wonderbook after it first came out. It’s a great book. However, exercises and all other inspiration aside, I haven’t written anything creative since I read it, or for a couple of years before that. I have lots of single and double page starts that languish. Can you write a book about getting past losing “it”…

  108. i just started reading Wonderbook last night. I have ideas for speculative fiction stories, but I struggle to bring them out. I can think of intriguing writing prompts, but I struggle to write stories from writing prompts. It is as if there are stories trapped inside me, or they hide from me and only let me see parts. I am reading your book with the hope that it can help me break through that block.

  109. I liked the book. Some chapters were really helpful for me. The pictures and writing prompts are really great! I went to a creative writing course last year and after that I started reading books on writing, such as On Writing, Wonderbook, Story Engineering, Creating Character Arcs and I must say. These books have given me much more that the course. I also found NaNoWriMo which helped me a lot. I can recommend writing communities to anyone wanting to write!

  110. Thanks for all the great comments and kind words! I’m looking forward to next week when the new version of Wonderbook is released. Thanks again for your support.

  111. I just got my revised copy of Wonderbook yesterday. So far I love it, but I knew I would. I’ve checked the original Wonderbook out from my library numerous times. I think the best part of this book is how it combines anecdotes, unique visuals, and exercises to create a complete experience. This is actually making me feel excited to write again. (Not to mention it pushed me off the fence about whether or not to buy the audiobooks for Borne and The Southern Reach Trilogy.)

  112. Hello from Missouri. Jeff thank you for your books. I love how so many big name authors are encouraging the public to write, and how much you all share with us. So far the most helpful piece of advice I think came from Daniel Jose-Older; journal in order to transform your relationship with the blank page from adversarial to that of a confidante. The language craft and skills are easy and sometimes fun to work on, relative to the anxiety that keeps me from writing in the first place. Looking forward to getting to work on Wonderbook

  113. Sometimes, if I don’t know where my story is going, I keep at it and eventually it will let me know where it wants to go.

  114. Hey Jeff!

    I JUST bought your book yesterday. I usually don’t really like to read, even though I do enjoy writing creative fiction. This book is one of those very rare exceptions of a book that I’m literally LAPPING up. The writing examples you give are SO GOOD and I’ve learned so much already (I’m only on Ch 3!!!!) I liked your advice on starting your novel as LATE as you can, seeing how late you CAN start it and that a lot of writers never do this and find in the end that they have no story and no audience and that it’s better to find this out earlier rather than later.
    I bought the book first because I love all the WEIRD paintings in it, then I read it and I loved it, then I realized who you were… that you wrote the novel of the film Annihilation (which I fucking LOVE). So, you’ve got a new fan.
    Thanks for the inspiration and for creating this spectacular book.

  115. I’m in the Atlanta, GA, area. Having just finished the Southern Reach Trilogy, I was very intrigued by VanderMeer’s approach to writing, and was hooked by the graphical approach. I spent a bunch of time on the history of SF. All I can say is Yes!
    Thanking the whole team in advance, I’m looking forward to many hours of ‘travel.’

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  117. Only on page 15 but already getting a deeper understanding what it means to be not just a good but a great writer. Working on my first fantasy novel. Hoping your further suggestions on discipline can help to keep me on track since a bit stuck on the next section of my story.

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  119. The artwork alone is inspiring! I’m on chapter 3 and I’m in LOVE! I’ve gone through this website and the writing exercises in the book and it’s so helpful!

  120. This book is so much more then a writers manual. It titillates the imagination and just makes me happy. I am not a writer. Saw this book reviewed by Dede Willingham, Artist on You Tube

  121. I just got my copy from Borderlands Books in San Francisco. I am enjoying it very much. I never have enough time to write, so I try and grab a power hour when I can, turn off the world, grab a pen or the laptop and just write. It works for me.

  122. Hello there!
    I’ve literally stumbled upon the book cover on a shelve of the Harvard Bookstore I was visiting during a conference break… the cover was screaming to be opened and, after doing it, the book was already mine and ready to get back with me in Italy. Not finished yet but I’m not sure it will be possible to really do it since this book it’s a visual and conceptual adventure, so I will travel around it for years and years to come! So let me say a BIG thank you! to the author and to all the team that provided this little treasure to us all (xcuse my English…)

  123. Thanks for all the great comments! Much appreciated! (And that’s a bulky book to take back to Italy, so I appreciate that, Alessandro!)

  124. I have been a ‘writer’ most of my life and have written 2 books and am currently on my third. With that said, I have never found the nerve to send any of my manuscripts to any kind of publishing agency. I know I don’t want to self publish but find the ‘how to’s’ and ‘instruction’ of traditional publishing confusing and aggravating, which tend to run me straight into a wall screaming! Do I need an agent? Do I need an editor? Can I find someone that is reputable and how do I get their attention? Should I edit my manuscript and how do I keep from massacring my story? Should I copy-write? Its questions like these that have a million answers along with a gazillion more questions, and before long I am hitting that wall and then I completely quit writing because I am so flustered that I see no reason to continue! Then one day, a friend handed me this book. I read the first sentence and my skin erupted in goosebumps! I could relate and I could feel a kind of kinship to this book! As I continued to read, I knew that this was going to nudge me back to my pen and paper, back to my laptop and hopefully into the world of being a published writer! Mr. VanderMeer, your book has inspired me to knock down that wall and write. So even when I do find the bravery to submit, and I get turned down, I know that I can’t quit. Writing is in my blood and soul and I will never give up again! And whether I am published or not… I am still a storyteller. I just want to say thank you for Wonderbook. It truly is an inspiration chocked full of aspirations!

  125. This is an amazing book for any writer. I am an immense fan of New Weird and Magical Realism, and this book approaches writing from that vantage point. Thank you, Mr. Vandermeer for writing this. It has done wonders to reinvigorate my writing and my desire to write. Many thanks.

  126. WOW. Utterly unique ‘reading’ experience. I want to show and share this book to everyone. Then, I want to keep it close like a secret treasure. I am drawn to it like a guide, a mentor, an actual person rich with colour and personality. The graphics are amazing visual keys that correspond to the text and simultaneously unlock perspectives and ways of thinking. Not mere inspiration, Wonderbook garners in me confidence, excitement and a joy for the writing journey.
    In the words of Donaldson/Scheffler: Thanks, thanks a million, thanks without end!

  127. I first discovered the Wonderbook a couple years ago, but didn’t have the money to buy it at the time, so filed it quietly away on my Amazon wishlist. I just rediscovered it by accident on Google Play Books and purchased it about twenty minutes ago. I’m so excited I may as well have gotten it for Christmas. The illustrations are beautiful.
    Even if the book sucked, it would probably still be my favorite writing book just for the art. Can’t wait to read the whole thing.
    Best piece of writing advice? Cut the adverbs.
    I know. Writers hate that “rule.” But for real. Cut as many as you can. Find a way to say what you’re trying to say without them. Nine times out of ten, the result will be far superior to its predecessor, I promise.
    With that said, no writing rules are absolute. So, really, cut the adverbs, but also learn when not to.
    Happy New Year from Oregon! I hope your 2019 is full of lovely people and lovely words. <3

  128. Got this book for Xmas. Been on my wish list for a while. Hooked me right off. I have an MFA and have been writing and instructing since the 80s. I could design a class just around this book. Little of the content is new to me. But, the way it is presented, both in word and illustration, is so engaging, just bloody brilliant. I will be recommending and giving many copies of this book, and not just to writers.

  129. Hi there — I’m a 65-year-old who went to Odyssey in 2017, former journalist covering intersection of faith and ethics (when they did actually intersect). So you’d think I’d know what I’m doing right? Nu-uh. Very glad to be here and to read the latest edition of the book. Huge admirer of both Jeff and Ann and their anthology The Weird. Also generous commitment to teaching. Also following on Twitter — so glad you ended up with a backyard just like the one on page x (10) of the Introduction. I recently moved to the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec to return to the forests where I spent my childhood making up stories ….

  130. Love the book! New author here, CPA who has kept this dream on the shelf for many years… until now.
    Solid story idea, beginning is mostly completed. Continuing with the outline process. Characters are mostly planned and have names and identities.
    Challenge being faced:

    Is there a best-practice way to introduce characters?

    Kramer from Seinfeld

    Pops in all the time…. funny…but this is TV. In a book, would this type of supporting character just pop in out of nowhere?

    Friends, acquaintences, etc. Is there a BAD way to introduce characters?

    The main characters are easy to introduce, but the rest of the characters are not so simple, for whatever reason. Is it just me?

  131. Reading is writing is reading. While I am still ramping up my writing, I couldn’t think of every approaching the creation of a story without constantly reading stories. As I do write, it is easy to draw from the ideas and concepts I have learned from decades of reading the work of others.
    While I have read many books on the craft of writing, I can honestly say the Wonderbook has been a unique experience. The imagery breaks up and supports the advice and commentary on writing in a way the keeps you engaged. Referencing “Finch” really helps bring the content of the book into a different and more educational perspective, showing how Jeff actually used what he writes in Wonderbook to help him write his own books, “real time” examples using published works really brings it home for me.

  132. I got wonderbook a while ago and I have enjoyed it so far. One thing that made me uncomfortable on the exercise room page of the site for the six mini-exercises is the one that makes reference to pit bulls being dangerous. It’s rather stereotypically as pit bulls are not dangerous with the right training and ownership. Instead of pit bull something like a wild animal; crocodile, bear, or komodo dragon would have been a better choice that wouldn’t feed into that hype about pit bulls.

  133. After years of thinking about writing, I’m ready to take the plunge. I have the idea and I have the skeletons of characters. I’m starting your book with the hope of fleshing them all out and bringing them to life.

  134. I’m running a Wonderbook Workshop in my writing group, the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers. It’s a way for a group of people to hold each other accountable and put in the work to improve our craft. That would be my tip — accountability helps where artificial deadlines and resolutions often fail. We all need community!

  135. Hi! My husband I and ran across this beautiful book at Tattered Cover here in Denver, Colorado. I’m the head of a theatre and dance department at a community college here, and I enjoy writing as a fun, slightly different artistic hobby. I’ve just started reading and can’t wait to savor all of the ideas and pictures and see where they take me. Thank you!

    Oh, the best writing advice I’ve received lately is stop editing. Get all the weird, wild stuff down on the page and then figure out what to do with it.

  136. I love this book. I read it a few times a year, especially when I feel stagnant. The best advice I can offer is write, even when you think there is nothing left to say and if seriously stuff, return to the beginning: childhood. Stories always abound in that mythic realm.

  137. Just found the book in our local library (Sechelt, BC, Canada). I’ve been struggling to finish a fantasy occult thriller, got stalled after about 80 pages. This could be exactly what I need to get the juices flowing. Feeling optimistic.

  138. Just finished my first book at age 67. Am hoping I still have plenty of time to imagine/learn/write.
    Wonderbook looks wonderful.

  139. Hello, hailing from the UK.
    I bought this book initially for my husband who is an aspiring writer, but have found myself drawn into the black hole of discovery. I am autistic and struggle with imagination, but this book has inspired me – I WILL ignite my mind and write down the adventures it finds itself thrust into. So thank you.
    Unfortunately I have no writing advice to offer, though I can encourage you to try something you never thought you could do.
    Happy venturing all.

  140. Hello, hailing from the UK.
    I bought this book initially for my husband who is an aspiring writer, but have found myself drawn into the black hole of discovery. I am autistic and struggle with imagination, but this book has inspired me – I WILL ignite my mind and write down the adventures it finds itself thrust into. So thank you.
    Unfortunately I have no writing advice to offer, though I can encourage you to try something you never thought you could do.
    Happy venturing all.

  141. Hello,
    I was introduced to a small portion of this book during my MFA program and I immediately rushed out to add this to my growing library of craft books. This is an amazing book for fantasy and urban fantasy authors and I cannot recommend it enough. I wish I had discovered it before I started writing my first book series, but I’m glad I found it now.

  142. Hello from UK
    I bought the book when it came out and have just begun to read it – plenty of time during lockdown has meant a good start to my writing project. I love the illustrations and am using a Gaudi bookmark from Barcelona as the unique designs seem to suit the book.

  143. My copy arrived today – it is gorgeous. I am on Ch. 1 and looking up the first “WEB” tip. Best piece of writing advice I s to take another breath and let go.

  144. Listen to your characters. I know that sounds perfectly insane, but your characters–which are all some part of yourself–will tell you how they talk, what they will and will not do, where they want to go, how they want to interact, and what they want and need (these may be two separate things). They will even tell you their names if you simply take a moment to listen. This is the best advice I can give. It has gotten me quite far in my fiction writing thus far, and that makes me feel that it is good advice.

    —Author from Billings, Montana

  145. Every writing session is a beginning. Hope that’s not too cryptic.

    Thank you for offering such a rich discussion about the shape of story – with illustrations! This book is an electrifying lesson in the possibilities of book design and a welcome departure from the usual overemphasis on the “real”.

  146. Hi,

    I’ve just finished reading Wonderbook; it was amazing. I post on Facebook about the books that I read and my friends in there asked me to review Wonderbook for them.

    This is my review:

    “Okay, review:
    The book is basically an anthology with Vandermeer as contributing editor; he is using his enormous network of writer-friends as contributors.

    It is specifically about fantastic litteratur, which is awesome for me personally – I’m a huge fan of this litteratur (sci-fi/fantasy/horror), but the danish media generally ignores these things, so having a whole book about it by an expert (guiding experts) is just amazing.

    It is clear that each of the writers have been given fairly specific briefs – not: “write about writing fantastic fiction” – but “write about how you did the charactization of the sentient fungus that works as a police detective”.

    So with Vandermeer as lead surgeon and all the other writers as assistant surgeons, they dissect the writing of fantastic litteratur down to it’s absolute fundamental fundamentals. Like examples of great opening sentences (p84).

    Or a chapter-by-chapter breakdown analysis of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah” (p312), which reveals the structure of the whole book.

    The level of analysis is staggering; if this was a book for a university course, I wouldn’t even use the whole book – just cherry-picking individual chapters and using them as course material would be enough. It is a daunting book to read and nobody could do it in one setting; there is just too much high quality content.
    There is a lot of interviews & portraits with writers throughout the book and none of them are superficial PR-interviews for mainstream media – this is to-the-bone interviews about the hard specifics of being a writer.

    On top of this, the whole book is full of writing exercises; as with the rest of the book, they are very specific. The instructions are neverr vague, but always very specific about what you have to do.

    To add, there is five guide in the book – Myster Odd, Little Aliens, The Devil’s Advocate, All-Seeing Pen-Eye & Webinator – who each deals with a specific perspective on fantastic litteratur (except for the Webinator, who raises awareness of related content on The guides throws you a lot of curveballs; right when you think you know how things are supposed to be, they ask questions that makes you reflect about what issues again.
    The whole book is illustrated in Monthy Python-ish surrealist style and all the illustrations are purposeful; they aren’t there just to look good, they inform and guide the reader. Just as the guides pop up in the margins to raise issues or offer guidance. The art itself is very trippy and fits the genre perfectly.

    It is a hefty book (300+ pages) and in a textbook format (18×25 cm) and with very little spacing in the text, so there is a lot of material in here. Once read, each chapter can be re-read as the need arises: “Need input to your characters? Read chapter 5 again!!!”.

    I’m not sure that I would recomment this book to beginners; it is very subtantial and can make writing seem very daunting – do I really have to remember all of this when I write? Can’t I just …write?
    And it focuses a lot on structure and doesn’t really deal with motivation – as in “why do you write? why do you think it is important to write this story?”.

    So can I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. Just keep in mind: this is not a book that you can have a casual relationship with. It is a very substantial book and it would take a substantial portion of effort to get the full
    benefits of it.

    But if you want to write and are willing to commit that effort, it is the perfect book for you.
    (And it reveals why George R.R. Martin is so good at creating cliffhangers and why he is taking forever to finish is books – p288 😉 )”.

    Thanks for a great book 🙂

  147. I’ve only just started reading Wonderbook, and so far, I’ve found it to be absolutely engrossing. The process of writing and the various elements of which a story is comprised of have always fascinated me, so I’m very happy to have found such an in-depth exploration of this subject. Highly recommended!

  148. In fantasy store in our city, I was looking around for some Christmas presents. My head is usually in ten places at the same time so I believe it is hard for the head to stay connected to my body. AS a result, sometimes I just forgot I have pinkies on my legs or how wide my shoulders are – so I turned to the side in that shop and bumped into the pile of books. Wonder Book was on the top and fell into my arms – and since then I wasn’t able to put it down so many times!
    Visually it is probably the most amazing book I own and it is the only one I have ever read about writing. I am not a big fan of such books but this-is-stunning. It boosts creativity and helps me realize I don’t write cliches, padding, I cannot reveal too much but should work with more baits instead, and the most important – that I want to have fun while writing. Lot of fun.
    Thanks for that Jeff. You’ve done an amazing job.

  149. I just received the book in the post today, and I can tell from a cursory glance-through that I’m going to love it. I live in a fairly obscure town in Australia and have been trying to write my fantasy epic (on and off) since I was 11. With the whole Covid nightmare going on I thought what better time to finally get serious about my novel? I now have no excuse not too, and several added decades of life experience to chuck into the mix. I look forward to being inspired by this wondrous tome, which seems to have been tailor-made for folks like me!

    See you on the flipside…

  150. I am looking for an experience in writing that I hope to get through Wonder Book. I am a hard-core nerd so I will be reading the book from front to back as suggested in the book. Unlike my friends I actually complete my goals (I don’t set unattainable goals)! I cannot believe how much content is in this book and then bonus the website. I hope to have an entire writing adventure! This is the first writing book I have ever read and I think it will take me quite a long time (like a year or more) to go through this book. I started with the Kindle book but then purchased the hard copy because of the illustrations.

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