I’m not usually a big fan of writing guides as most seem to be geared toward novice writers, but I had read some interesting things about Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook and decided to give it a try. It did not disappoint.
The first chapters are appropriate for beginning writers but VenderMeer moves quickly into more complex issues, such as intercutting scenes, interruption and contamination, the transfer of energy and emotion and the use of objects. Although some of the sections, most notably the one on world building, deal with fantasy and science fiction writing, everything in the book can work on a more general level as well.
VanderMeer includes short essays from a variety of writers, including George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, Karen Lord and Ursula K. Le Guinn, among others. All are interesting and appropriate to the sections they are included in.
The book is vividly illustrated throughout to help further explain concepts and spark imagination. It includes plenty of exercises as well as online supplements.