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Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction 

by Jeff VanderMeer, illustrated by Jeremy Zerfoss (Harry N. Abrams)

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Wonderbook is the creative writing textbook you wished you'd had as a teenager. Rather than dictating rigid rules, it encourages play and creativity: instead of charts and diagrams it uses pictures of gangly monsters and abstract paintings to illustrate its points. This fits, as Wonderbook is aimed at sci-fi and fantasy writers, and also because VanderMeer champions images as an inspiration for the written word. VanderMeer's advice is warm and sensible, good for novice writers but also for more advanced scribblers looking for a new perspective. Aside from VanderMeer's insight, the book also contains over a dozen essays from writers such as Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, and George R.R. Martin. Wonderbook manages to be weird but approachable, like the creatures that decorate its pages. It would make a great gift for any deviantArt-trawling teen writer, or for anyone that wants to shake their imagination awake.

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