From Writers Digest -- Need an idea to help you get started writing? You’ll find hundreds of fun writing prompts here – perfect for beginning a new novel or short story, or simply giving your writing muscle a workout.
If you want to become a better writer, the best thing you can do is practice writing every single day. But we know sometimes it can be hard to think of what to write about! So we put together this list of 365 creative writing prompts to give you something to write about daily. Whether you write short stories, poems, or like to keep a journal – these will stretch your imagination and give you some ideas on what to write about!
Musopen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials. We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free. Use the music to prompt your writing; what is the story they are telling?
The point of fiction is to cast a spell, a momentary illusion that you are living in the world of the story. But as a writer, how do you suck your readers into your stories in this way? Nalo Hopkinson shares some tips for how to use language to make your fiction really come alive.
A collection of essays from today's most acclaimed authors--from Cheryl Strayed to Roxane Gay to Jennifer Weiner, Alexander Chee, Nick Hornby, and Jonathan Franzen--on the realities of making a living in the writing world. In the literary world, the debate around writing and commerce often begs us to take sides: either writers should be paid for everything they do or writers should just pay their dues and count themselves lucky to be published. You should never quit your day job, but your ultimate goal should be to quit your day job. It's an endless, confusing, and often controversial conversation that, despite our bare-it-all culture, still remains taboo. In Scratch, Manjula Martin has gathered interviews and essays from established and rising authors to confront the age-old question: how do creative people make money? As contributors including Jonathan Franzen, Cheryl Strayed, Roxane Gay, Nick Hornby, Susan Orlean, Alexander Chee, Daniel Jose Older, Jennifer Weiner, and Yiyun Li candidly and emotionally discuss money, MFA programs, teaching fellowships, finally getting published, and what success really means to them, Scratch honestly addresses the tensions between writing and money, work and life, literature and commerce. The result is an entertaining and inspiring book that helps readers and writers understand what it's really like to make art in a world that runs on money--and why it matters. Essential reading for aspiring and experienced writers, and for anyone interested in the future of literature, Scratch is the perfect bookshelf companion to On Writing, Never Can Say Goodbye, and MFA vs. NYC.
"Writing well does not result from following rules and instructions, but from a blend of spontaneity, judgment, and a wise attitude toward the work-neither despairing nor defensive, but clear-eyed, courageous, and discerning. Writers must learn to tolerate the early stages, the dreamlike and irrational states of mind, and then to move from jottings and ideas to a messy first draft, and onward into the work of revision. Understanding these stages is key. The Kite and the Stringurges writers to let playfulness and spontaneity breathe life into the work-letting the kite move with the winds of feeling-while still holding on to the string that will keep it from flying away. Alice Mattison attends also to the difficulties of protecting writing time, preserving solitude, finding trusted readers, and setting the right goals for publication. The only writing guide that takes up both the stages of creative work and developing effective attitudes while progressing through them, plus strategies for learning more about the craft, The Kite and the Stringresponds to a pressing need for writing guidance at all levels."
Sharp and moving reflections and ruminations on the artistry and craft of writing from one of our most iconoclastic, pivoting, and celebrated masters. Charles Bukowski's stories, poems, and novels have left an enduring mark on our culture. In this collection of previously unpublished material—letters to publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers—Bukowski shares his insights on the art of creation. On Writing reveals an artist brutally frank about the drudgery of work and canny and uncompromising about the absurdities of life—and of art. It illuminates the hard-edged, complex humanity of a true American legend and countercultural icon—the "laureate of American lowlife" (Time)—who stoically recorded society's downtrodden and depraved. It exposes an artist grounded in the visceral, whose work reverberates with his central ideal: "Don't try." Piercing, poignant, and often hilarious, On Writing is filled not only with memorable lines but also with Bukowski's trademark toughness, leavened with moments of grace, pathos, and intimacy.
"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write."In 1999, Stephen King began to write about his craft -- and his life. By midyear, a widely reported accident jeopardized the survival of both. And in his months of recovery, the link between writing and living became more crucial than ever.Rarely has a book on writing been so clear, so useful, and so revealing. On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King's childhood and his uncannily early focus on writing to tell a story. A series of vivid memories from adolescence, college, and the struggling years that led up to his first novel, Carrie, will afford readers a fresh and often very funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade -- how to sharpen and multiply them through use, and how the writer must always have them close at hand. He takes the reader through crucial aspects of the writer's art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and rejection. Serialized in the New Yorker to vivid acclaim, On Writing culminates with a profoundly moving account of how King's overwhelming need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life.Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower -- and entertain -- everyone who reads it.
A revised and updated guide to the essentials of a writer's craft, presented by a brilliant practitioner of the art Completely revised and rewritten to address the challenges and opportunities of the modern era, this handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing. Le Guin lays out ten chapters that address the most fundamental components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view. Each chapter combines illustrative examples from the global canon with Le Guin's own witty commentary and an exercise that the writer can do solo or in a group. She also offers a comprehensive guide to working in writing groups, both actual and online. Masterly and concise,Steering the Craft deserves a place on every writer's shelf.
How many people would kill to be a bestselling novelist? Especially one like Janet Evanovich.Writers want to know how a bestselling author thinks, writes, plans, and dreams her books. And they are primed for a book from Janet Evanovich that tells, in a witty Q&A format: - How she comes up with such remarkable characters - How she nails the perfect name every time - How she finds out insider details - Just how she sets up those masterful plots - What the life of a full-time writer is really like - What she'd tell an aspiring author about the publishing industry - And much, much more! This book details the elements of writing and publishing a novel, and addresses all categories of fiction-from mystery/thriller/action titles to romance; from stand-alone narratives to series. It offers practical and inspiring advice on such subjects as structuring a plot and handling rejection. And it combines one of today's most successful fiction writers with Ina Yalof, a published non-fiction writer who teaches creative fiction. HOW I WRITE is the perfect reference for anyone looking to improve their writing, and for those fans who are hungry to find out more about just how Janet Evanovich ticks.
Sweep Readers Off Their Feet With a Romance They'll Never Forget In On Writing Romance, award-winning romance novelist Leigh Michaels talks you through each stage of the writing and publishing process. From the origins and evolution of the romance novel to establishing a vital story framework to writing that last line to seeking out appropriate publishers, everything you ever wanted to know about writing a romance novel is here. In addition to a comprehensive breakdown of more than thirty romance subgenres, including such categories as historical, inspirational, Regency, and sweet traditional, you'll discover how to: Steer clear of cliches and stereotypes by studying the genre Craft engaging and realistic heroes and heroines readers will adore Convincingly develop the central couple's blossoming relationship Add conflict by utilizing essential secondary characters like the "other woman" Use tension and timing to make your love scenes sizzle with sensuality Get your characters to happily-ever-after with an ending readers will always remember lus, read a sample query letter, cover letter, and synopsis, and learn how to properly prepare you romance novel for submission to agents and editors. On Writing Romance has everything you need to leave readers swooning!
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Optimist's Daughter shares her thoughts on the art of fiction writing in seven concise chapters that discuss such key elements of the narrative craft as language, memory, place, and voice, as well the techniques and tools every writer needs to know.
"The most important thing to realize is that everyone is capable of telling a story." -Maeve Binchy nbsp; If you scribble story ideas on the backs of receipts... If you file away bits of overheard conversation from the coffee shop... If you've already chosen the perfect pen name... Well, then the journey has begun! nbsp; In this warm and inspiring guide, beloved author Maeve Binchy shares her unique insight to how a best selling author writes: from finding a subject and creating good writing habits to sustaining progress and seeking a publisher. nbsp; Whether you want to write stories or plays, humor or mysteries, Binchy prescribes advice for every step with her signature humor and generous spirit. She has called upon other writers, editors, and publishers to add their voices to this treasury of assistance for budding writers and a refreshing dose of encouragement for longtime scribes. And once you are ready, an appendix offers of writing awards and competitions and a selection of websites and literary journals.
Bestselling author Elizabeth George has spent years teaching writing, and in Write Away she shares her knowledge of the creative process. George combines clear, intelligent, and functional advice on fiction writing with anecdotes from her own life, the story of her journey to publication, and inside information on how she meticulously researches and writes her novels. George's solid understanding of craft is conveyed in the enticing manner of a true storyteller, making Write Away not only a marvelous, interesting, and informative book but also a glimpse inside the world of a beloved writer.
For devotees of Bird by Bird and The Artist's Way, a memoir-driven guide to healing through the craft of writing Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the award-winning Weetzie Bat series. Her writing has been called "transcendent" by The New York Times, and her books have been included in "best of" lists compiled by Time magazine and NPR. In this long-anticipated guide to the craft of writing, Block offers an intimate glimpse of an artist at work and a detailed guide to help readers channel their own experiences and creative energy. Sharing visceral insights and powerful exercises, she gently guides us down the write-to-heal path, revealing at each turn the intrinsic value of channeling our experiences onto the page. Named for the painting by Frida Kahlo, who famously transformed her own personal suffering into art, The Thorn Necklace offers lessons on life, love, and the creative process.
Renowned, bestselling novelist Chuck Palahniuk takes us behind the scenes of the writing life, with postcards from decades on the road and incredible examination of the power of fiction and the art of storytelling. In this spellbinding blend of memoir and insight, bestselling author Chuck Palahniuk shares stories and generous advice on what makes writing powerful and what makes for powerful writing. With advice grounded in years of careful study and a keenly observed life, Palahniuk combines practical advice and concrete examples from beloved classics, his own books, and a"kitchen-table MFA" culled from an evolving circle of beloved authors and artists, with anecdotes, postcards from the road, and much more. Clear-eyed, sensitive, illuminating, and knowledgeable, Consider This is Palahniuk's love letter to stories and storytellers, booksellers and books themselves. Consider it a classic in the making.
Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader - not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. -- E. L. Doctorow
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Refuse to Be Done is an encouraging and intensely practical guide, focusing on specific rewriting tasks, techniques, and activities to guide you through the first page of the first draft of your novel through to the finished book. You won't find bromides here about the 'the writing Muse.' Instead, in an approachable guide interwoven with examples and strategies from some of our greatest living writers, Bell breaks down the writing process in three sections. In this book, you will find an abundance of strategies here to help motivate you and shake up your revision process.
A smart and funny guide to writing fiction, with engaging infographics that bring storytelling techniques to life. Whether you are daunted by a blinking cursor or frustrated trying to get the people in your head onto the page, writing stories can be intimidating. It takes passion, tenacity, patience, and a knowledge of?and faith in?the often-digressive writing process. A do-it-yourself manual for the apprentice fiction writer, Storyville! demystifies that process; its bold graphics take you inside the writer's comfortingly chaotic mind and show you how stories are made. In Storyville!, seasoned guide John Dufresne?whose approach "will anchor the newbie and entertain the veteran" (San Francisco Chronicle)?provides practical insight into the building blocks of fiction, including how to make the reader see your characters, create a suspenseful plot, and revise, revise, revise. Storyville! is a combination handbook and notebook, with original prompts and exercises crafted with Dufresne's singular dry wit and Evan Wondolowski's playful and illuminating graphics on every page.
This book demystifies the writing process, empowering you to write your own novel or short story. The author explains expert technique in a clear and jargon-free way, with examples from the fifty greatest writers of our time. For aspiring writers of all ages and abilities,Read This If You Want to Be a Great Writer will motivate and strengthen your writing talent.
Following on the heels of Lisa Cron's breakout first book, Wired for Story, this writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story. It's every novelist's greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page one rewrite. The prevailing wisdom in the writing community is that there are just two ways around this problem: pantsing (winging it) and plotting (focusing on the external plot). Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering why these methods don't work and coming up with a powerful alternative, based on the science behind what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it's not what you think). In Story Genius Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint--including fully realized scenes--that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.
Gavin Aung Than, creator of the innovative Zen Pencils, shares his passion for creativity and reveals how you, too, can live a creative life. Zen Pencils: Creative Struggle is a call to wake up the creative spirit inside you. Through Zen Pencils cartoon quotes on creativity from inspirational artists, musicians, writers, and scientists, you'll discover what inspired each of the subjects to reach the full potential of their creativity. In each comic, the speaker of the quote is the character in the story. Imagine cartoon versions of Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, and Vincent van Gogh revealing the spark that ignited them to achieve their dreams!
The best writers say their work seems to come from a source beyond the thinking mind. But how do we access that source? "We must first look inside ourselves and be willing to touch that raw emotional core at the heart of a deeper creativity," writes Albert Flynn DeSilver. In Writing as a Path to Awakening, this renowned poet, writer, and teacher shows you how to use meditation to cultivate true depth in your own writing--so your words reveal layers of profound insight that inspire and move your readers. Constructed as a year-long exploration with a new focus for each month and season, Writing as a Path to Awakening includes: * How to approach writing and reading with a greater level of presence and immersion * Engaging curiosity, playfulness, and spontaneity to keep your regular practice fresh * Meditating with poetry to deeply embody the power of language * How you can spark your imagination by connecting to the groundless source of creation * The meditative approach to storytelling--how not being trapped in your story liberates your capacity to create * Editing, rewriting, and the path of spiritual transformation "Writing and meditation practice are a powerful pair, a dynamic duo," Albert Flynn DeSilver teaches. "Together they nourish and push, trigger and define, inform and inspire, enable, and energize. To engage in both practices fully is to activate a more complete, creative, and spiritual self." With a mixture of engaging storytelling and practical exercises, Writing as a Path to Awakening invites you on a yearlong journey of growth and discovery--to enhance your writing through the practice of meditation while using the creative process to accelerate your spiritual evolution.
All too many people start a writing project with grand ambitions but reach a crisis of completion. Finishing School helps writers reignite the passion that started them on the project in the first place and work steadily to get it done. Untold millions of writing projects--begun with hope and a little bit of hubris--lie abandoned in desk drawers, in dated files on computer desktops, and in the far reaches of the mind. Too often, writers get tangled in self-abuse--their self-doubt, shame, yearning for perfection, and even arrogance get in the way. In Finishing School, Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton help writers overcome these emotional blocks and break down daunting projects into manageable pieces. Tennis first convened a Finishing School so that writers could help one another stay on track and complete their work. Since they weren't actually critiquing one another's writing, there was no jockeying for the title of best writer or the usual writing group politics; there was only a shared commitment to progress. Without guilt, blame, and outside critique, students were more productive than they imagined possible. Through this program, they were able to complete novels that they'd been struggling with for almost two decades, finish screenplays drafts, and revive interest in long-neglected PhD theses. In this book, the authors share this proven and easily replicable technique, as well as their own writing success stories.
This parody self-help book for writers is filled with hilariously misguided tips, factual-looking charts, and other advice that knowingly pokes fun at writerly foibles while still cheering would-be authors on. With this book, struggling writers can find suggestions for effective paragraph shapes, tips on where to find inspiration (in your reflection, in the shapes of gum stuck to the ground, in a consultation with your doctor), thoughtful poses for author photos, pull-out procrastination excuses, and much more.How to Success! is filled with enough almost-helpful advice to keep aspiring writers amused, unblocked, and on their way to literary fame.
People want to write the novel or memoir they know is inside of them, but they run into stumbling blocks that trouble everyone from beginners to seasoned writers. Drawing on his years of teaching at both the university level and at writing workshops across the country, Professor Dinty W. Moore dons his book-doctor hat to present an authoritative guide to curing the issues that truly plague writers at all levels. His hard-hitting handbook provides inspiring solutions for diagnoses such as character anemia, flat plot, and silent voice, and is peppered with flashes of Moore's signature wit and unique take on the writing life.
In the Writing Strategies Book, Jen Serravallo collects 300 of the most effective strategies to share with writers, and groups them beneath 10 crucial goals. "You can think of the goals as the what," writes Jen, "and the strategies as the how." From composing with pictures all the way to conventions and beyond, you'll have just-right teaching, just in time. With Jen's help you'll: develop individual goals for every writer give students step-by-step strategies for writing with skill and craft coach writers using prompts aligned to a strategy present mentor texts that support a genre and strategy adjust instruction to meet individual needs with Jen's Teaching Tips demonstrate and explain a writing move with her Lesson Language learn more with Hat Tips to the work of influential teacher-authors. She even offers suggestions for stocking your writing center, planning units of study, celebrating student writing, and keeping records. Whether you use Writing Workshop, 6+1 Traits, Daily 5's "Work on Writing," a scripted writing program, the writing exercises in your basal, or any other approach, you'll discover a treasure chest of ways to work with whole classes, small groups, or individual writers. "I am convinced that helping kids to articulate clear goals for their work," writes Jen Serravallo, "and supporting them with strategies and feedback to accomplish those goals, makes a huge difference." With The Writing Strategies Book you can make that kind of difference with your writers every day.
"Non-formulaic, eye-opening, deeply-researched -- and really worth your time."-- GQ Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers' The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel is a big idea book that explains their text-mining research through a groundbreaking look at the New York Times bestseller list. It explores the relationship between creativity and analytics, picking bestsellers via algorithm with a high degree of accuracy. We know that technology has transformed the worlds of finance, medicine, and sports; now it's making its mark on books. Ask most people about massive success in the world of fiction, and you'll typically hear that it's a game of hazy crystal balls. The sales figures of E. L. James or Dan Brown seem to be freakish--random occurrences in an unknowable market. But what if there were an algorithm that could reveal a secret DNA of bestsellers, regardless of their genre? What if it knew, just from analyzing the words alone, not just why genre writers like John Grisham and Danielle Steel belong on the lists, but also that authors such as Junot Diaz, Jodi Picoult, and Donna Tartt had telltale signs of success all over their pages? The algorithm exists; the code has been cracked; and the results bring fresh new insights into how fiction works and why we read. The Bestseller Code offers a new theory for why Fifty Shades of Grey sold so well. It sheds light on the current craze for dark heroines. It reveals which themes tend to sell best. And all with fascinating supporting data taken from a five-year study of twenty thousand novels. Then there is the hunt for "the one"--the paradigmatic example of bestselling writing according to a computer's analysis of thousands of points of data. The result is surprising, a bit ironic, and delightfully unorthodox. At heart, The Bestseller Code is a celebration of books for readers and writers--a compelling investigation into how successful writing works, and a fresh take on our intellectual and emotional response to stories.
The essential handbook for writers of whodunits, techno- thrillers, cozies, and everything in between-featuring never-before- published personal writing exercises from some of today's bestselling and award-winning mystery writers. Now Write! Mysteries, the fourth volume in the acclaimed Now Write! writing guide series, brings together numerous bestselling authors-including winners of and nominees for the Edgar, Hugo, and Shamus awards,-for the definitive guide to writing mysteries, thrillers, and suspense stories. Now Write! Mysteries teaches you everything you've ever wanted to know about crafting a page-turning mystery-from creating a believable detective hero (or terrifying villain), to using real-life cutting-edge investigative techniques to bring your story to life-with practical exercises taken directly from the pros: Discover the best techniques for seamlessly integrating action into your story with John Lutz, New York Times-bestselling author of Urge to Kill, Night Kills, and Serial. Learn how to fine-tune your sense of place and setting with Louise Penny, New York Times-bestselling author of the Armand Gamache mysteries. Take advice from Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers and writer/producer for Law & Order, on how to compose a scene that lives up to your character's backstory. Let Marcia Talley, Agatha- and Anthony-winning author of the Hannah Ives mysteries, show you how to build a memorable, engaging detective. (Hint: It's not about making him flawless.) Others included are: Simon Brett, Hallie Ephron, Meg Gardiner, Peter James, Christopher G. Moore, Michael Sears, and many others. No other mystery-writing guide offers the road tested wisdom of so many award-winners and bestselling authors in one place.
A spirited and useful guide for writers with tips and tricks from Jane Austen, whose novels stand the test of time, by her great great great great grand niece. Pretty much anything anyone needs to know about writing can be learned from Jane Austen. While creative writing manuals tend to use examples from twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers, The Jane Austen Writers' Club is the first to look at the methods and devices used by the world's most beloved novelist. Austen was a creator of immortal characters and a pioneer in her use of language and point of view; her advice continues to be relevant two centuries after her death. Here Rebecca Smith examines the major aspects of writing fiction--plotting, characterization, openings and endings, dialogue, settings, and writing methods--sharing the advice Austen gave in letters to her aspiring novelist nieces and nephew, and providing many and varied exercises for writers to try, using examples from Austen's work. Exercises include: *Show your character doing the thing he or she most loves doing. In the opening scene of Persuasion, Sir Walter Elliot looks himself up in the Baronetage, which is the Regency equivalent of Googling oneself. That single scene gives us a clear understanding of the kind of man he is and sets up the plot. * Use Jane Austen's first attempts at stories to get yourself started. Write a very short story inspired by "The Beautifull Cassandra," a work of eighteenth-century flash fiction. The Jane Austen Writers' Club is a fresh primer on writing that features utterly timeless advice.
America's most influential writing teacher offers an engaging and practical guide to effective short-form writing. In HOW TO WRITE SHORT, Roy Peter Clark turns his attention to the art of painting a thousand pictures with just a few words. Short forms of writing have always existed-from ship logs and telegrams to prayers and haikus. But in this ever-changing Internet age, short-form writing has become an essential skill. Clark covers how to write effective and powerful titles, headlines, essays, sales pitches, Tweets, letters, and even self-descriptions for online dating services. With examples from the long tradition of short-form writing in Western culture, HOW TO WRITE SHORT guides writers to crafting brilliant prose, even in 140 characters.
This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few. Praise for Wonderbook: "Jammed with storytelling wisdom." --Fast Company's Co.Create blog "This is the kind of book you leave sitting out for all to see . . . and the kind of book you will find yourself picking up again and again." --Kirkus Reviews online "If you're looking for a handy guide to not just crafting imaginative fiction like sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, but to writing in general, be sure to pick up a copy of Steampunk Bible author Jeff Vandermeer's lovingly compiled Wonderbook."nbsp; --Flavorwire "Jeff Vandermeer and Jeremy Zerfoss have created a kaleidoscopically rich and beautiful book about fiction writing."nbsp; --Star Tribune "Because it is so layered and filled with text, tips, and links to online extras, this book can be read again and again by both those who want to learn the craft of writing and those interested in the process of others." --Library Journal
Whether you are a writer of fiction or essays, or want to explore poetry or memoir, Tiberghien’s twelve fundamental lessons will help you discover and develop your own distinct voice. Tiberghien’s inventive exercises focus on the processes unique to each genre, while also offering skills applicable to any kind of writing, from authentic dialogue to masterful short-shorts. With vivid examples from literary masters such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Eduardo Galeano, May Sarton, Terry Tempest Williams, and Orhan Pamuk,One Year to a Writing Life is an essential guidebook of exercises, practical advice, and wisdom for anyone looking to embrace, explore, and implement creativity in everyday life.
A beloved writing teacher compiles fifteen years of her expertise, exercises, and examples in a new primer for creative writers. The Making of a Story is a fresh and inspiring guide to the basics of creative writing--both fiction and creative nonfiction. Its hands-on, completely accessible approach walks writers through each stage of the creative process, from the initial triggering idea to the revision of the final manuscript. It is unique in combing the three main aspects of creative writing instruction: process (finding inspiration, getting ideas on the page), craft (specific techniques like characterization), and anthology (learning by reading masters of the form). Succinct, clear definitions of basic terms of fiction are accompanied by examples, including excerpts from masterpieces of short fiction and essays as well as contemporary novels. A special highlight is Alice LaPlante's systematic debunking of many of the so-called rules of creative writing. This book is perfect for writers working alone as well as for creative writing classes, both introductory and advanced.
E-BOOK ONLY. Turn your inspiration into a story with clear, expert guidance Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies is a step-by-step creative writing course designed to hone your craft, regardless of ability. Written by the founder of the Complete Creative Writing Course at London's Groucho Club, this activity-based guide walks you through the process of developing and writing in a wide range of genres including novels, short stories and creative nonfiction. The book includes writing prompts, exercises, mind maps, flow charts and diagrams designed to get your ideas flowing. You'll get expert guidance into character development, plot structure and prose, plus extensive insight into self-editing and polishing your work. Whether you're a new writer with a seed of an idea you would like to develop, or are looking to strengthen your creative writing skills, this book has you covered. Covering every aspect of narrative, from setting initial goals to formatting a manuscript, Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies provides the tools and instruction you need to make your story the best it can be. Learn to spark your imagination and sketch out ideas Create compelling characters and paint a picture with description Develop your plot and structure and maintain continuity Step back from your work and become your own ruthless editor The rise of e-books has opened up the publishing world, even to non-established writers. If you have a story you're dying to tell but aren't sure how, Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies is the clear, concise solution you need.
Write vibrant scenes and essential summaries "Show--don't tell." How many times have you heard this standard bit of writing advice? It's so common in writing courses and critiques that it has become a cliche. Writers are often told to write scenes, dramatize, cut exposition, cut summary--but it's misguided advice. The truth is good writing almost always requires both showing and telling. The trick is finding the right balance of scene and summary--the two basic components of creative prose. Showing and Telling shows you how to employ each of these essential techniques in the appropriate places within a narrative. You'll learn how to: Write scenes and cut exposition Compress time and summarize background information Create graceful transitions Effectively inject interpretation And more! Complete with examples from bestsellers and interactive exercises, this comprehensive guide offers an in-depth look at scene development, the role of reflection in storytelling, the art of summarizing, and how to bring it all together.
Sharing the secrets of powerful writing, the author of Elements of Editing explains how to eliminate poor writing habits, enliven tired vocabulary, write effectively for a target audience, and express oneself with greater clarity, harmony, and specificity. 25,000 first printing.
In the vein of The Creative Habit and The Artist’s Way, a new manifesto on the creative process from a master of the impossible. Since well before his epic 1974 walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Philippe Petit had become an artist who answered first and foremost to the demands of his craft—not only on the high wire, but also as a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, and writer. A born rebel like many creative people, he was from an early age a voracious learner who taught himself, cultivating the attitudes, resources, and techniques to tackle even seemingly impossible feats. His outlaw sensibility spawned a unique approach to the creative process—an approach he shares, with characteristic enthusiasm, irreverence, and originality in Creativity: The Perfect Crime. Making the reader his accomplice, Petit reveals new and unconventional ways of going about the artistic endeavor, from generating and shaping ideas to practicing and problem-solving to pulling off the “coup” itself—executing a finished work. The strategies and insights he shares will resonate with performers of every stripe (actors, musicians, dancers) and practitioners of the non-performing arts (painters, writers, sculptors), and also with ordinary mortals in search of fresh ways of tackling the challenges and possibilities of everyday existence.
The Definitive Source for Clear and Correct Writing The Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference is the comprehensive resource on grammar and usage, a necessity for every writer's desk. It presents balanced instruction and real-world examples that will ensure professional and flawless work on every occasion. "There are some principles of usage I thought I'd never understand. This book has proven me wrong. Clear, illuminating, and comprehensive - this is a must-have resource for grammarians and laymen, alike." -Fiona Maazel, managing editor of The Paris Review
You don't need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That's the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side. When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring--the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.
The craft of writing offers countless potential problems: The story is too long; the story's too short; revising presents a huge hurdle; writer's block is rearing its ugly head. In HELP! FOR WRITERS, Roy Peter Clark presents an "owner's manual" for writers, outlining the seven steps of the writing process, and addressing the 21 most urgent problems that writers face. In his trademark engaging and entertaining style, Clark offers ten short solutions to each problem. Out of ideas? Read posters, billboards, and graffiti. Can't bear to edit yourself? Watch the deleted scenes feature of a DVD, and ask yourself why those scenes were left on the cutting-room floor. HELP! FOR WRITERS offers 210 strategies to guide writers to success.
Discover the Difference Between a So-So Manuscript and a Novel Readers Can't Forget We've all read them: novels by our favorite authors that disappoint. Uninspired and lifeless, we wonder what happened. Was the author in a hurry? Did she have a bad year? Has he lost interest altogether? Something similar is true of a great many unpublished manuscripts. They are okay stories that never take flight. They don't grip the imagination, let alone the heart. They merit only a shrug and a polite dismissal by agents and editors. It doesn't have to be that way. In The Fire in Fiction, successful literary agent and author Donald Maass shows you not only how to infuse your story with deep conviction and fiery passion, but how to do it over and over again. The book features: Techniques for capturing a special time and place, creating characters whose lives matter, nailing multiple-impact plot turns, making the supernatural real, infusing issues into fiction, and more. Story-enriching exercises at the end of every chapter to show you how to apply the practical tools just covered to your own work. Rich examples drawn from contemporary novels as diverse as The Lake House, Water for Elephants, and Jennifer Government to illustrate how various techniques work in actual stories. Plus, Maass introduces an original technique that any novelist can use any time, in any scene, in any novel, even on the most uninspired day...to take the most powerful experiences from your personal life and turn those experiences directly into powerful fiction. Tap into The Fire in Fiction, and supercharge your story with originality and spark!
In his widely read guides How to Write a Damn Good Novel and How to Write a Damn Good Novel II: Advanced Techniques, popular novelist and fiction-writing coach James N. Frey showed tens of thousands of writers how - starting with rounded, living, breathing, dynamic characters - to structure a novel that sustains its tension and development and ends in a satisfying, dramatic climax.Now, in The Key, Frey takes his no-nonsense, "Damn Good" approach and applies it to Joseph Campbell's insights into the universal structure of myths. Myths, says Frey, are the basis of all storytelling, and their structures and motifs are just as powerful for contemporary writers as they were for Homer. Frey begins with the qualities found in mythic heros - ancient and modern - such as the hero's special talent, his or her wound, status as an "outlaw," and so on. He then demonstrates how the hero is initiated - sent on a mission, forced to learn the new rules, tested, and suffers a symbolic death and rebirth - before he or she can return home. Using dozens of classical and contemporary novels and films as models, Frey shows how these motifs and forms work their powerful magic on the reader's imagination. The Key is designed as a practical step-by-step guide for fiction writers and screen writers who want to shape their own ideas into a mythic story.
Get the core knowledge of a prestigious MFA education without the tuition. Have you always wanted to get an MFA, but couldn't because of the cost, time commitment, or admission requirements? Well now you can fulfill that dream without having to devote tons of money or time. The Portable MFA gives you all of the essential information you would learn in the MFA program in one book. Covering fiction, memoirs, personal essays, magazine articles, poetry, and playwriting, this book provides you with: Inspiration and tips on revision, stamina, and productivity Clear instruction on the craft behind the art Detailed reading lists to expand your literary horizons Exercises to improve your writing endeavors By heeding the advice in The Portable MFA, you will gain the wisdom and experience of some of today's greatest teachers, all for just the price of a book.
Based on the bestselling series from The Great Courses, Building Great Sentences celebrates the sheer joy of language--and will forever change the way you read and write. Great writing begins with the sentence. Whether it's two words ("Jesus wept.") or William Faulkner's 1,287-word sentence in Absalom! Absalom!, sentences have the power to captivate, entertain, motivate, educate, and, most importantly, delight. Yet, the sentence-oriented approach to writing is too often overlooked in favor of bland economy. Building Great Sentences teaches you to write better sentences by luxuriating in the pleasures of language. Award-winning Professor Brooks Landon draws on examples from masters of long, elegant sentences--including Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, and Samuel Johnson--to reveal the mechanics of how language works on thoughts and emotions, providing the tools to write powerful, more effective sentences. ALSO AVAILABLE AS A DVD COURSE: https://sapl.sat.lib.tx.us/record=b1945378~S1
Mastering the ins and outs of writing involves more than just learning the rules of grammar. This text provides readers with principles to ensure their writing is readable, concise, convincing, and grammatically correct.
The best children's and young adult novels take readers on wonderful outward adventures and stirring inward journeys. In The Magic Words, editor Cheryl B. Klein guides writers on an enjoyable and practical-minded voyage of their own, from developing a saleable premise for a novel to finding a dream agent. She delves deep into the major elements of fiction--intention, character, plot, and voice--while addressing important topics like diversity, world-building, and the differences between middle-grade and YA novels. In addition, the book's exercises, questions, and straightforward rules of thumb help writers apply these insights to their own creative works. With its generous tone and useful tools for story analysis and revision, The Magic Words is an essential handbook for writers of children's and young adult fiction.
Writing to Awaken is an inspirational investigation of the self through expressive writing, guiding you along the path of awakening through radical truth-telling and self-inquiry. With targeted and revelatory questions, you'll be prompted to explore your own personal narrative--to write honestly about your deepest wounds, greatest challenges, hidden gifts, yearnings, and opportunities for growth--in order to discover a deeply authentic understanding of yourself and move toward a more liberated, truthful life. We each have our own story, a personal myth constructed from the content life presents us: we connect dots to shape the narrative, devise plotlines from circumstance, change characters, fashion conflicts, and adjust structure, settings, and themes as our lives unfold. But so often, over time, we come to believe that weare our story, identifying so strongly with the tales we've told ourselves and others that we cling to them for our very existence--even when they don't quite fit. The realization that there's a discrepancy between the narrative you've crafted and your authentic self can be disconcerting at first, but the exploration of that gap is a doorway to personal freedom, and this book will lead you through it. The writing exercises in this guide, one for nearly every week of the year, ask you to tell the whole truth about your experience. In doing so, you'll come to realize that once you engage in this radical truth-telling, expressing yourself with complete honesty, your story changes; and when your story changes, your life is transformed. Rather than sticking with your illusive and tricky "Story of Me," you'll be prompted to go even deeper, piercing your personal myth andilluminating aspects of psyche and spirit that give way to profound moments of understanding and personal healing. This is not a how-to book for writers; it's an invitation on a journey of self-discovery--a guide to facing yourself without flinching, accepting yourself as you are, surrendering to what is, and daring to question and transform what isn't true. WithWriting to Awaken, you'll learn how to break free from the trance of mistaken identity and discover your essential, authentic self.
The Writing Workshop Notebook is devoted to making, remaking, and remarking on writing. Ziegler's text is animated by a concern about how we relate to our own and others' writing and by a desire to have a suitable effect on the reader's experience with writing and critiquing. The book is supported by the author's experience from decades of leading writing workshops.
The first novel-writing guide from the best-selling Save the Cat! story-structure series, which reveals the 15 essential plot points needed to make any novel a success. Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing. Revealing the 15 "beats" (plot points) that comprise a successful story--from the opening image to the finale--this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate--and a novel that will sell.
APublishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 One ofPoets & Writers' Best Books for Writers "How lovely to discover a book on the craft of writing that is also fun to read. . . Alison asserts that the best stories follow patterns in nature, and by defining these new styles she offers writers the freedom to explore but with enough guidance to thrive." --Maris Kreizman,Vulture As Jane Alison writes in the introduction to her insightful and appealing book about the craft of writing: "For centuries there's been one path through fiction we're most likely to travel-- one we're actually told to follow--and that's the dramatic arc: a situation arises, grows tense, reaches a peak, subsides . . . But something that swells and tautens until climax, then collapses? Bit masculosexual, no? So many other patterns run through nature, tracing other deep motions in life. Why not draw on them, too?" W. G. Sebald'sEmigrants was the first novel to show Alison how forward momentum can be created by way of pattern, rather than the traditional arc-- or, in nature, wave. Other writers of nonlinear prose considered in her "museum of specimens" include Nicholson Baker, Anne Carson, Marguerite Duras, Gabriel García Márquez, Jamaica Kincaid, Clarice Lispector, Susan Minot, David Mitchell, Caryl Phillips, and Mary Robison. Meander, Spiral, Explode is a singular and brilliant elucidation of literary strategies that also brings high spirits and wit to its original conclusions. It is a liberating manifesto that says, Let's leave the outdated modes behind and, in thinking of new modes, bring feeling back to experimentation. It will appeal to serious readers and writers alike.
The definitive source of information, insight, and advice for creative writers, from the nation's largest and most trusted organization for writers, Poets & Writers. For half a century, writers at every stage of their careers have turned to the literary nonprofit organization Poets & Writers and its award-winning magazine for resources to foster their professional development, from writing prompts and tips on technique to informative interviews with published authors, literary agents, and editors. But never before has Poets & Writers marshaled its fifty years' worth of knowledge to create an authoritative guide for writers that answers every imaginable question about craft and career--until now. Here is the writing bible for authors of all genres and forms, covering topics such as how to: -Harness your imagination and jump-start your creativity -Develop your work from initial idea to final draft -Find a supportive and inspiring writing community to sustain your career -Find the best MFA program for you -Publish your work in literary magazines and develop a platform -Research writing contests and other opportunities to support your writing life -Decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing -Find the right literary agent -Anticipate what agents look for in queries and proposals -Work successfully with an editor and your publishing team -Market yourself and your work in a digital world -Approach financial planning and taxes as a writer -And much more Written by Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon, the two most recent editors of Poets & Writers Magazine, this book brings an unrivaled understanding of the areas in which writers seek guidance and support. Filled with insider information like sample query letters, pitch letters, lists of resources, and worksheets for calculating freelance rates, tracking submissions, and managing your taxes, the guide does more than demystify the writing life--it also provides an array of powerful tools for building a sustainable career as a writer. In addition to the wealth of insights into creativity, publishing, and promotion are first-person essays from bestselling authors, including George Saunders, Christina Baker Kline, and Ocean Vuong, as well as reading lists from award-winning writers such as Anthony Doerr, Cheryl Strayed, and Natalie Diaz. Here, at last, is the ultimate comprehensive resource that belongs on every writer's desk.
Creative expression through writing helps us uncover gems of hope and serenity, enabling us to navigate difficult times. Sharing stories with one another fills the space between us, inspires us, helps us forge stronger relationships, and teaches us that we're more alike than different. In Your Turn, renowned educator Dr. Tyra Manning offers examples of stories from her own life, followed by an invitation for readers to delve onto their own emotional histories, with plenty of room to explore on the page with writing prompts and tools. A guidebook for transformation through self-expression, Your Turn will spark readers' creative thought and offers them a space to document their own self-reflection--helping them overcome challenges and move forward.
"Julia Cameron invented the way people renovate the creative soul." -The New York Times "With its gentle affirmations, inspirational quotes, fill-in-the-blank lists and tasks -- write yourself a thank-you letter, describe yourself at 80, for example -- The Artist's Way proposes an egalitarian view of creativity: Everyone's got it."--The New York Times "Morning Pages have become a household name, a shorthand for unlocking your creative potential"--Vogue Over four million copies sold! Since its first publication, The Artist's Way phenomena has inspired the genius of Elizabeth Gilbert and millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron's novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. The program begins with Cameron's most vital tools for creative recovery - The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-conscious, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist. From there, she shares hundreds of exercises, activities, and prompts to help readers thoroughly explore each chapter. She also offers guidance on starting a "Creative Cluster" of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors. A revolutionary program for personal renewal, The Artist's Way will help get you back on track, rediscover your passions, and take the steps you need to change your life.