A few years ago, when I started getting serious about writing, I wanted to read more about writing. Many writers have a recommended reading list for new and aspiring writers. Stephen King’s On Writing is on all of those lists. Most of them have Ann Lamott’s Bird By Bird. And let’s not forget Elements Of Style by William Strunk Jr.
Less popular appearances are The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, Zen In The Art Of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and The Writing Life by Annie Dillard.
Then there are books that more niche and don’t appear on general lists, like Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. The subtitle already betrays why it’s a niche book, ‘The Illustrated Guide To Creating Imaginative Fiction’. As a fantasy writer, this book caught my eye and it’s been on my wish list for a long time. It wasn’t available here in the Netherlands back then, so I had to wait.
Last year I saw a copy in the Strand Book Store in New York and had to buy it. Now I have it in front of me and I look forward to reading it, learning from it and doing all the exercises. The book itself is gorgeous and filled with wonderful creatures, inspiring scenes and schematics to illustrate the text.
Wonderbook will be my first book on narrative elements for a writer. The literature classes I followed always focused on the reader, which is also good to know, but it won’t improve my writing as much. I believe that studying this book, like how I did at university, will make me a better writer. Will you go on an adventure with me?
Follow Narratess on Twitter or Instagram to see my assignments. I’ll post photos of my handwritten exercises, because I learn best from using pen and paper. And it looks better, doesn’t it? Dive into the Wonderbook world on wonderbooknow.com and do the exercises yourself. I’ll meet you there.