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4.6 out of 5 stars
29
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£10.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on 27 March 2014
Wonderbook is a book I'd wanted to pick up for ages. Jeff Vandermeer was taunting his readers for quite a while on Facebook, so it seemed this was a long time coming. But it was certainly worth the wait.

As a professional writer, I read a lot of writing manuals, and probably will continue to do so. But most of them deal with literary fiction and discuss technique rather than creativity. There are manuals out there on creativity and inspiration, but they usually read a little like self-help titles.

Wonderbook, then, is great precisely because it combines the two and focuses on more fabulous and fantastical modes of writing. As well as essays and guides to the mechanics of writing, there are inspirational pictures, exercises, tips and a whole lot of focus on creativity as a way of thinking. This, I think, is absolutely important. I think writing can be taught, but many people don't. I think the reason many people think writing can't be taught is because many teachers of creative writing don't quite know how to establish creativity as a mode of being. Jeff absolutely excels at this. Reading Wonderbook is like discovering the Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory of writing practice. There's loads you'll love here, whether you write 'literary' or genre fiction, or even if you just want to be inspired.
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When I ordered this book, I had expected something with some nice illustrations and some basic writing tips - what I actually got was a stunning book that is absolutely crammed with stunning artwork and packed with a huge amount of in-depth, detailed chapters on fantasy writing from various respected authors. There is plenty of theory and analysis in the book as well as suggestions for writing exercises etc that are tailored to speculative and fantasy fiction.

I honestly think this book is unique among fiction writing guides; I've never seen anything quite like it before. It probably isn't entirely suited to a complete beginner but if you've already done a bit of writing and are looking to expand your skills and seek some inspiration specific to the fantasy genre, this would be a great book for you - and frankly, it's almost worth buying for the illustrations alone.
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on 12 August 2015
The book is creative, interesting, gets the writing juices flowing and all of that but, it's just too clever for its own good when it comes to design. Parts of it are next to impossible to read and while I'm sure it looked great on the Mac when they were laying it out, once ink hits paper there is always the tiniest amount of bleed and that's all it takes with this. Which is a real pity, because much of what the other authors have written are a bit more interesting than VanderMeer who has a habit of wandering all over the page in need of a edit.
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I brought this book on a whim, to be honest I wasn't quite sure what it was about - other than storytelling - but it looked intriguing. Clicking through the on-line sample on the product page convinced me that for the smallish amount of money it might be worth a punt.

What arrived was overwhelming. Stunning imagery, imaginative use of graphics to explore ideas and set out frameworks. The whole book densely packed with information. Opening it is like opening a huge box of chocolates or fireworks. You want to try everything all at once and then soon realise you are overloading. It's one of those books you will be tempted to dip into, but then be afraid you have missed a good bit somewhere. Or perhaps you will disobey the suggestion to go through in sequence and your serendipity will be strong and you will find new bits to enchant and make you want to start creating your own stories.

It's brilliant. Certainly unique and perhaps a masterpiece. I would buy this for anyone interested in writing fantasy fiction, teenagers (I already have recommended that we use this on the college course I teach) and people who just like books.
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on 5 March 2014
Its just not like any other book on writing. If you want to write out of the box, this is the book. It advises the reader to use the book chapter by chapter, but i found that was not possible. Too much to process, too many ideas come to you. I have used the book as and when. dipping in more or less where i left off to get my own ideas flowing again and avoiding traps. But, if i had started with no real idea of what to write, i would have used the book as advised. Great book! As an artist and writer, this book is unique.
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on 21 December 2013
I bought this as a gift for someone. For the small price I was expecting a thin book but its actually pretty hefty and looks amazing. The illustrations make the book really interesting even to someone who isnt necessarily buying it for themselves. I also didnt realise it has some really well established contributors. Im sure the recipient will love it.
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on 5 June 2015
I have several books on writing and whilst they are all great I particularly love this book.
Fantastic advice mixed with great illustrations. The link to the website for even more advice is great too.
This will be referred to regularly.
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on 29 October 2013
It is a treasure for an amateur writer like me. I drag it everywhere with me in the house.
Just browsing through is already an inspiration. It is beautiful, the content and the presentation.
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on 14 November 2015
Beautiful book. Full of amazing illustrations. But very difficult to read. Heavy texts and not necessarily linked to the next one. Many times the texts have inserts of other new texts, that make you jump pages and go back again. Let me say it's a marvellous book but sometimes too confusing. As others mentioned before, it's a book to read in pieces, not in a continuous way. I'm really undecided between 3 or 4 stars. The information is good, the illustrations are great but the structure is too messy.... In doubt I'll say a 3,5 stars. Since there is no such thing, and I don't want to be unfair, I'll give 4. But expect an hard book to read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 April 2015
Overall I recommend this. It offers many interesting points from different perspectives. It contains contributions from different people which adds to its range but also means it is a unfocused (or, to be less charitable, it's a bit of a mishmash). That makes it ideal for dipping into and not so good for systematic study.
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