Well, I've gotten myself into trouble. Because I want to tell you about this GREAT BOOK for your writing life--a book I'm super excited about, a book that puts a huge grin on my face when I think about it--
Only I have no idea how to describe it.
Here, just come over here and meet it:
(If you totally adore the cover, like I do, then JUST WAIT. The inside gets way the heck crazier. And you will just LOVE. IT.)
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, by Jeff VanderMeer, is the jolt that your (and my!) writing life needs right now.
Only I have no way to put it into words. No way to talk about it. Um...
Okay. I'm gonna try.
Jeff VanderMeer puts together fantastic chapters on all those best basics, like beginnings and endings, plot and structure, characterization, world building, and revision. Only he has a new way of seeing them, a new way to talk about them. Great wisdom and great advice.
(I've read a bajillion writing books. And I was underlining paragraphs like a newbie. So. There you go.)
His own excellent work is studded with brilliant essays by other writers--Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin and Lev Grossman (whose essay on revision is just COMPLETELY RIGHT, like the rightest thing you have ever read).
... And then there are about four thousand totally bizarre illustrations and exercises and charts and--and--and stuff I don't even know how to categorize.
(I'm getting a little worked up over here. It's cool.)
I love this book because it got me through a crazy-hard month last year. When I didn't know how to get back to writing again. When my imagination felt dry as dust and twice as clichéd. When I was just tired all the time.
I came across this book and felt like something lit up inside. Not to get all mushy on you, but I love it.
This book is for you if you write fiction.
(And it's at the tip-top of your To Read list if you write fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, or anything even remotely quirky or speculative.)
This book is for you if books on craft or creativity are all starting to kinda sound the same.
This book is for you if you're bored.
This book is for you if you'd like a huge book that you can dip in and out of, read from back to front, marvel at all the illustrations, or hop through and read all the essays first. If you like marking up books and dog-earing them and generally making your own interactive experience out of them--then this book is totally your style.
This book is for you. Period. Because you and I--we need something completely unexpected now and then. A curveball in book form.
That's this book.
Grab a copy and go give your writing life a nice big zap.