Wonderbook (Revised and Expanded): The Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Wonderbook has become the definitive guide to writing science fiction and fantasy by offering an accessible, example-rich approach that emphasizes the importance of playfulness as well as pragmatism. The book features sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names working in the field today, including George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, and Karen Joy Fowler.
For the fifth anniversary of the original publication, Jeff VanderMeer has added writing exercises, creating the ultimate volume of inspiring advice.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 5 minutes|
|Narrator||Ryan Burke, Tanya Eby, Adam Verner|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 28, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #51,386 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#115 in Writing & Publishing
#117 in Literary Essays
#226 in Words, Language & Grammar (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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The entire book is basically structured like this: "One thing that is very important is [beats/emotion/exposition/dialogue/pacing/etc.]. You can do this well by using method A or using method B, which is the exact opposite of A. Hugo-award-winning author X excelled at using the former approach brilliantly in Book 1, and author Y's book, Book 2, has many examples of effectively using method B." Repeat, repeat, repeat. I appreciate VanderMeer highlighting certain issues that a writer needs to be aware of, (i.e. beats/emotion/exposition/dialogue/pacing) and that there is no single way to approach them--and in fact directly opposing approaches may be effective depending on what the author is trying to accomplish. BUT he almost never provides actual examples of authors effectively executing the approaches he mentions. He just names the book and the author. I have not read the majority of the books that he references, and even the books that I remembered reading, I did not recall the very specific thing that he was citing the book as an example of, so it provided no insight for me whatsoever.
This was particularly a let-down as I had just read the Emotional Craft of Fiction, and that author was very good at presenting excerpts of the books that he referred to in order to illustrate the technique or process he was trying to explain. I did not always agree that the author of the cited books effectively evoked the specific emotion or response that the Emotion Craft author cited them for, but that was useful too, because every reader will not respond the same to the written word, and it was useful to see how others can respond to the same set of passages. This book, unfortunately did not do any of that, so it was almost totally without value to me because vague allusions to different techniques without any exemplars is not very useful.
The only valuable things in this book--to me--were the few times he very explicitly used examples from his own writing process to illustrate how different passages and approaches accomplish different goals. It is these type of concrete examples that I find actually useful. Some of the excerpts from other authors were also very useful--particularly those that relied on specifics from their own works or minds, and didn't speak generally about the process of writing (be creative! don't be discouraged!). I also really appreciated the time and energy and creativity put into the graphics, although they too were not very useful. That is the only source of the two stars, and I really don't understand how others got so much value out of this book.
Now - let me give a review worthy of both - and if you find an old copy but don't have the new one - worth getting it.
This is a book for writers and creative people. Lots of "How to write..." out there but...
Let's take a step back.
Way, Waaaayyyy back there was this wonderful essay by Poul Anderson - "On Thud and Blunder" complaining about a lot of hack work being irresponsibly published during a brief but legendary "Sword and Sorcery" boom. Now, the article is side-splittingly funny and oh, so true. I loved it, though I obviously read it much later than originally published - quick google search you'll find it online.
But - I should hate it. Coz I was interested in writing stories since day one. And I did look up educational material on it. Now, you want to do electronics you can find books on how to solder, use meters, how to read resistor codes, etc. Writing - well it was like EVERY single book on it was just Mr. Anderson's essay ballooned to a book to take your $ with maybe stuff added how to suck up to the Editor, etc.
Mr. Anderson did have a good point - even in a fantastic otherworld things need to 'work' - that's the essence. Certainly mediocre writing will doom even faster to obscurity uncreative bland hack-work.
BUT - writing is about "The Story".
In the hands of a good writer ol Gnorts the Barbarian can fight off 500 of the King's pike-men with a 50lb Wet NOODLE and there will be comics, movies, video games made of him in later decades. It's good to keep the magic, cities, names, technology, events consistant - yes - but they are paints, pencils...
What ARE you drawing? What are you painting? What do you say with your painting? How does it strike or lure the reader? Are there layers of meaning...?
For instance - art - you can paint a pretty picture, but what does it say. Anyone can spatter paint, but there's a big difference between Van Gogh and paint spattered on the canvas. And then look at stuff like "Isle of the Dead"... A lot more than just the image painted implied.
Well - this is the book for people who want to write stories, but know the basics but want to transcend them. It's hard to put this book into a small essay here - but its about the only book I've found that wasn't the "Mind your Elves and Orcs" stuff. I don't necessarily think it'll get you published - not in the current market of tons of mediocre, PC junk and everyone wanting to be the next King, Rowling, Tolkien, Martin - and hacking out stuff imitative of them... But if you want to write YOUR stories - and it'd be nice if you made money doing it - but you are putting out your stories and want to tell them in all sorts of good ways, to discover angles you didn't think of - but after all the work and experimentation improve yourself - well I don't think there's a better book out there. Nothing is certain in life but if any book helps you unleash the talent in you so your stories are remembered after all the "i wanna be the..." are forgotten and the Martins and Rowlings fade to "Penny Dreadful" status, G-d willing.
I've now bought this book THRICE.
Once - got stolen...won't go into it.
Again - loved it - my precious - risked getting in trouble at work to read it.
And - this new one - "Shut up and take my money!" - pre-ordered it - am glad I did!
Top reviews from other countries
Includes refreshing, uncluttered looks at standard stuff like the Hero's Journey.
And, while the paperback version is beautiful in its illustrations, the Kindle version is portable and can be read in the coffee shop. On a Kindle Fire, the pics are rendered in colour, useable, but the paperback is essential IMHO to do them justice.
For those writers that enjoy reading about writing, this book is a great addition to your collection. I also think the books unusual approach will be inspiring to many people.
I just want to say that I have never read such a wonderfully illustrated book!
You have to have strong wrists to hold it up while reading its that heavy with quality paper... It's a must have for any aspiring writer.