Jeff VanderMeer

Literary Birthday – 7 July – Jeff VanderMeer

Happy Birthday, Jeff VanderMeer, born 7 July 1968.


  1. Some questions will ruin you if you are denied the answer long enough.
  2. Imbuing fiction with a life that extends beyond the last word is in some ways the goal: the ending that goes beyond the ending in the reader’s mind, so invested are they in the story.
  3. Literary influences are harder for me to point to, because mostly it’s a mulch of all of my past reading.
  4. A dream inspiring a story is different than placing a description of a dream in a story. When you describe a character’s dream, it has to be sharper than reality in some way, and more meaningful. It has to somehow speak to plot, character, and all the rest. If you’re writing something fantastical, it can be a really deadly choice because your story already has elements that can seem dreamlike.
  5. The music I listen to while writing is really scene-specific. It’s just a great motivator, a way to put myself in the mood.
  6. Trust your imagination. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write. Revise. Revise. Revise.
  7. It is the nature of the writer to question the validity of his world and yet rely on his senses to describe it. From what other tension can great literature be born?
  8. I believe the best creative writing lessons live in the specifics.
  9. Dreams, though, are just one kind of inspiration – no more or less special than something in a newspaper article or from the world around you sparking inspiration.

Jeff VanderMeer is an American author, editor, and literary critic. Initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, VanderMeer crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. He also wrote the world’s first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. Follow him on Twitter: @jeffvandermeer

Source for image: SouthernNights, CC BY-SA 4.0 < BY-SA 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 7th July 2018