Wonderbook: An Illustrated Guide to Fiction Writing

The Incompetent Writer

It’s rare to read an essay on craft that takes your breath away: Jeremy Zerfoss’s illustrations, however, for Jeff Vandermeer’s essays on fiction technique are pretty stunning.

(I include the one above on the understanding that copyright remains with Jeremy Zerfoss, and that I include it only to encourage you to buy a copy of Wonderbook, from where these images are drawn.)

Vandermeer’s essay, published by Electric Literature, is great fun and full of interesting craft observations. Plus the illustrations are killer.

The first thing I wanted to show you is this image, which is about how you decide what the story is in the first place. Basically, I thought it would be useful to take some very dramatic job that a character has — in this case, a dragon slayer– and demonstrate how it is that the average day of a dragon slayer is no different than the average…

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