Book Review: Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer










Wonderbook by writer Jeff VanderMeer is an illustrated guide to creating speculative fiction. Aimed towards right-sided brain thinkers, the craft of writing is explained and illustrated using whimsical, colorful drawings. VanderMeer doesn’t suggest a single writing style, but describes the pros and cons of various strategies. The book doesn’t have to be read chronologically. VanderMeer’s freestyle approach to writing and creativity encourages the reader to flip through the book and read the book out of order. There are writing tips from VanderMeer and other spec fiction authors, such as Ursula LeGuin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin and more. Although Wonderbook is geared towards beginner spec fiction writers, experienced writers from all genres will be inspired by this  book.

The Secret To Reaching A Creative State Of Mind

It’s not a surprise that to reach a creative state of mind, we need private space without interruptions, and a set time limit.

In the John Cleese video above, he discusses two elements needed to get into a creative mood: boundaries of space and time. Cleese suggests setting a time limit, but as for me, if I have a burst of creativity, I’ll keep going as long as I can. As a visual learner, when I need to solve a problem, I visualize a cloud of thoughts hovering above and slightly in front of my head. As I work out the idea, the cloud disappears. The same process happens when I’m in creative mode.

Do you need to set aside a quiet place and time? Or are you able to become creative anywhere at anytime? Are you a visual or auditory learner, or a combination of both? I’d love to hear your thoughts.