Like most authors I have read many "how to" write books. They often have very good information in them. I was gifted with a copy of "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein many years ago. I came by, again as a gift, Strunk and White's "Elements of Style". I have bought used books on writing and absconded with my fair share of loaners. Some of which still sit on my shelves and I keep telling myself that I will eventually return them to their rightful owners.
But I've only paid cover price for two books. One is Ken Rand's "The 10% Solution" and the other is "Wonderbook" by Jeff Vandermeer.
Wonderbook is a heavily illustrated guide to writing and engaged me as an artist and an author. But the thing I love most about the book, is that for every single bit of advice Jeff Vandermeer says, if this doesn't work for you ignore it.
Too many books on writing deliver absolutes and rules. Formula and even spreadsheets on work flow. I can't write by spreadsheet. I don't even use the same process for every book. I want options, and that's what Wonderbook offers. Along with wonderful advice form published authors, anecdotes, and ideas, it offers options for everything from prose style to length. It looks at and dismantles the three act structure, offering alternatives even to the most fundamental and unquestioned dogmas of fiction.
And every single page is illustrated. There are cartoons, maps, visual representations of outlines and processes. There are excises and prompts. It takes the author, aspiring or professional, through the entire journey of writing beginning with what makes us write int he first place and ending with tips on editing.
Very few books have examined in depth the near subconscious deeps of were we get ideas and WHY we get them, and why they are unique to us. Wonderbook spends an entire chapter on just that. And it's a worthy self-examination for any author at any stage in their career.
Wonderbook, despite the illustrations is densely packed with information. More so than any advice book on writing I have ever read. the in-depth examination of writing plunges into near scholarly territory without ever becoming dry or dull. But there is a lot to unpack int he book. A lot to understand and examine. It benefits from re-reading in ways that most advice books don't making it an invaluable resource for authors and aspiring authors alike.