This week’s fantasy and speculative fiction craft book is Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. If there was an encyclopedia about how to write fiction, this is it – and it’s illustrated.
Wonderbook is probably not a book you’ll read from beginning to end but one you’ll refer to time and again for advice on a specific aspect of the craft, like an encyclopedia.
The first section is a look at Inspiration and the Creative Life followed by the Ecosystem of the Story, Beginnings and Endings, Narrative Design, Characterization, Worldbuilding, and Revision. But this isn’t just Jeff Vandermeer telling you how to write. He supports the lessons with advice, essays, and spotlights from the best authors in the genre, people like Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Lord, Kim Stanley Robinson, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Beukes, and many others. There are also exercises and prompts.
The nature of this book and its illustrated layout is best presented in print. It’s a large format paperback and deserves a spot on your writing desk.