I remember Veniss Underground only vaguely for some reason yet I remember it as one of the best books I’ve ever read. (I’ve read most of what he has written so far – and it’s GOOD, read it! And I will go back to Veniss Underground) Jeff Vandermeer sure knows how to really tell an imaginative and ravishing story and his way of telling a story is like nothing I had encountered before and I’ve read quite a bit.
So when I heard Jeff Vandermeer was tabbing into different things, making the Cyberpunk bible and then the Wonderbook (He is productive so he’s writing other things too) I must admit that I thought “isn’t his talent better used while writing real stories instead of telling others how to”.
And then I bought the Wonderbook. It arrived in my mailbox last Friday. First I thought it was ruined. It was late in the day and I was lighting the candle in the pumpkin I had made (alla helgon dagen was yesterday in my neck of the woods) when I saw it sticking out from the mailbox as the rift is small and so it had rained on it. Quite a bit too. (I’m afraid my mailman might have had the hiccups at that moment.)
So it was soaking. I went inside, photographed the package and then opened it. I was very relieved to see that it had completely survived the crass treatment. And I was even more delighted to see that it was absolutely stunning. (If the Amazon packaging team had hiccups that moment it certainly wasn’t because of me!)
I’ve only read the first pages but I already know a few things. A) I’m going to read this book cover to cover. B) I’m going to learn a lot. C) It is going to change my writing life to the better and D) I already love it!
Since I got a little more time to write again I have been delving into different territories than before. I’ve been making lists and writing summaries. I’ve been planning and scheduling. I’ve been making character descriptions and charts and I’ve been writing in a very planned way – or at least I’ve been trying to do that.
And while doing this I’ve kind of forgotten about some interesting ways of the past.
I write to tell myself a story. I sit down at the computer and I start writing. Sometimes that becomes something interesting, sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s alright. I can always start over with something new. In the past I’ve been the opposite of organised when it comes to writing.
Except when you’re writing a novel that doesn’t really work. It does however bring you into dimensions you can’t plan for. It tabs into an imaginative space in your head that you don’t really get access to if you’re being too focused on your planing and your structure.
Some people may have found a way to combine the two but I haven’t yet.
So what I’ve done is take stories I’ve written in the past and like but that have been poor in structure and planning and I’ve made an effort to give them structure and done some organising. I’ve planned – and in that I’ve tried to make them into something new, something better. And that’s done amazing things if only for my way of thinking…
It’s all in the making so far though. And I have a way to go.
I’ve read “How to write” books before. I like Stephen King’s On Writing the most. He had some concrete advices that I found worked for me and he had some interesting things to say so the book was interesting to read in itself.
Now I think I have a new gem on the throne – and I haven’t even read it yet. But I can’t imagine a better way to make a book like this than to make it a visual marvel and Jeff Vandermeer has done just that.
I’m so looking forward to reading this book. It makes me giddy.