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The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry

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This coursebook takes aspiringauthors through every stage of the writing process. Exercises and activities encourage writers to develop their skills, and contributions from forty authors provide a generous pool of information, experience, and advice. This book should be of interest to those who are just starting to write, as well as those who want some help honing work This coursebook takes aspiring authors through every stage of the writing process. Exercises and activities encourage writers to develop their skills, and contributions from forty authors provide a generous pool of information, experience, and advice. This book should be of interest to those who are just starting to write, as well as those who want some help honing work already completed. It should suit people writing for publication or just for their own pleasure, those writing on their own or in writing groups.


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This coursebook takes aspiringauthors through every stage of the writing process. Exercises and activities encourage writers to develop their skills, and contributions from forty authors provide a generous pool of information, experience, and advice. This book should be of interest to those who are just starting to write, as well as those who want some help honing work This coursebook takes aspiring authors through every stage of the writing process. Exercises and activities encourage writers to develop their skills, and contributions from forty authors provide a generous pool of information, experience, and advice. This book should be of interest to those who are just starting to write, as well as those who want some help honing work already completed. It should suit people writing for publication or just for their own pleasure, those writing on their own or in writing groups.

30 review for The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    This book was set for a class, but was never really used. I've dipped into it now and again, but I haven't found it particularly useful, which is perhaps why we didn't use it. There are some exercises, but I didn't feel a burning urge to do them, they didn't inspire any immediate thoughts. There are some anecdotes, but I didn't relate to them all that well -- Julia Bell describing how a literature degree took away her hunger for books, for example, but while my degree has got in the way of my This book was set for a class, but was never really used. I've dipped into it now and again, but I haven't found it particularly useful, which is perhaps why we didn't use it. There are some exercises, but I didn't feel a burning urge to do them, they didn't inspire any immediate thoughts. There are some anecdotes, but I didn't relate to them all that well -- Julia Bell describing how a literature degree took away her hunger for books, for example, but while my degree has got in the way of my reading, to some extent, it hasn't taken away the love of it. (On the contrary, I love and adore digging into a book or books to construct an essay, and my degree opened up the world of reading and writing poetry in a way I'd thought I'd never really get.) The strength and weakness of it is that it deals with a wide range of topics. It's very general. So if you're an absolute beginner, perhaps it's worth reading, but for deeper insights, not so much. Actually, I can't think of many books on writing I've found genuinely useful in that way. Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled made me write poetry enthusiastically, eagerly, yes, and Ursula Le Guin's Steering the Craft taught me about things I'd never thought about before, like thinking about the rhythm of my writing. I travel everywhere with those two books, just in case I feel the urge to turn to them again. And there are books which are fascinating because they're all about a personal view of writing, which works too. This one just ended up being none of those, really.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie Higgins

    DNF rather uninspiring

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gainford

    Does not have everything, but has a lot. 40 writers share advice, and they share very good advice at that. The book offers some of the following: How to start writing and keep writing Reading and Research Training the eye Showing and Telling Developing Character Point of View Setting Plot Rereading and Revising Advice on Publishing I believe this book could have offered more technical detail, i.e. like on different types of character dialogue; more on different methods of character development, direct and Does not have everything, but has a lot. 40 writers share advice, and they share very good advice at that. The book offers some of the following: How to start writing and keep writing Reading and Research Training the eye Showing and Telling Developing Character Point of View Setting Plot Rereading and Revising Advice on Publishing I believe this book could have offered more technical detail, i.e. like on different types of character dialogue; more on different methods of character development, direct and indirect; creating fictional time... However there are many strong points to this book and you receive an eclectic range of advice from experienced writers and teachers. I think the power of this book lies in showing you how stories work and inspiring you to write your own, and that it is possible for you to write your own. As the book says: 'The biggest misapprehension about writing is that it is as instant and effortless as its master practitioners would have us believe. It is not for them, and it is not for anyone. It is hard. It is a process. A novel never slithers out whole like some clever-eyed prodigy. It is made, not born.' So this book teaches you that writing is a craft and has to be learned and after reading this book you will be well on your way to creating this craft. And as the inspiring Paul Magrs cleverly adds 'Remind yourself that anyone learning a craft has to practice and waste materials as they learn. But our materials are relatively cheap – paper, pens. At least we're not cutting diamonds or stained glass. One slip of the pen and you haven't blown a fortune.' This book was very helpful and inspirational. I definitely recommend it to beginning writers. And remember my fellow writers 'that no one can write exactly as you do. You are the unique product of a unique life history. So if you don't write this text and in your own particular way, then no one else ever will.'

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ruric Amhari

    Aother writing handbook - split into three main sections: gathering, shaping and finishing. Takes you through the process from keeping notebooks, diaries and clearing space, to training the eye, to plot, characterisation, point of view and setting and finishes with readig, revising, criticism and how to get published.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John Hanson

    This is a collaborative effort from the early 90s by a group of writers associated with the University of East Anglia and possibly the Tindal Street Fiction Group. These names mean practically nothing to me here on the left side of the pond, but I can relate to my own local organizations. It's not any old local writing community that can step forward and produce such a work. This book is aimed at quite amateur writers, yet the tops do drift into advanced concepts. A catch-all, if you will. I This is a collaborative effort from the early 90s by a group of writers associated with the University of East Anglia and possibly the Tindal Street Fiction Group. These names mean practically nothing to me here on the left side of the pond, but I can relate to my own local organizations. It's not any old local writing community that can step forward and produce such a work. This book is aimed at quite amateur writers, yet the tops do drift into advanced concepts. A catch-all, if you will. I dabbled through this text over ten months, section a week. The writing styles are easy and palatable, and while I could have read it very quickly, I tend to read such texts very slowly and try to absorb the knowledge as I do. I did not lag because I was bored. I did skim over the last bits on what to do next, not from boredom but from relevancy. Things have progressed quite a bit since 2001. Today if you want to submit to an agent or publisher, you go to their websites and find out exactly what they want. You want to find a writing group, join Facebook and search. Memorable sections for me were the concrete-abstraction discussions, a.k.a showing versus telling, and the point of view lectures. This stuff never gets old. I also enjoyed the POV discussions; which I give serious attention in my own writing ;) The only downside was wordiness. Some of the essays rambled on for pages and said nothing really valuable. I got the feeling some of these writers like to hear their own words more than making them effective for the audience. Does a learning writer really need to know the history of the Tinsdale Fiction Group? Really, this 379 pages should have been 250. On the upside, I found zero grammar mistakes, zero spelling errors, zero formatting snafus, and even the drivel was well written. This is not a book you'd seek out -- today there are many more modern, more refined writing reference books -- but if you ran across it for $1 in a bargain bin as I did, you wouldn't go wrong reading it. Thank you guys for putting this book out there for me to find.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Olga Tsygankova

    Це начебто підручник, але написаний у вигляді есе з порадами від різних авторів і викладачів творчого письма. Ідея, може, й гарна, а виконання, як на мене, не дуже. Поради повторюються різними словами, більша частина книги - просто набір кліше (з якими автори пропонують боротися) про написання художніх текстів. Show, don't tell. Як це ново й оригінально. Revise thoroughly. Справді? І так далі. Можна було б сказати, що книга для тих, хто ще жодної не читав по написанню художки, але тоді вона Це начебто підручник, але написаний у вигляді есе з порадами від різних авторів і викладачів творчого письма. Ідея, може, й гарна, а виконання, як на мене, не дуже. Поради повторюються різними словами, більша частина книги - просто набір кліше (з якими автори пропонують боротися) про написання художніх текстів. Show, don't tell. Як це ново й оригінально. Revise thoroughly. Справді? І так далі. Можна було б сказати, що книга для тих, хто ще жодної не читав по написанню художки, але тоді вона занадто "на умнякє". Короче кажучи, ні туди, ні сюди.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is one of the better textbooks I have read on Creative Writing. It is clearly laid out and I enjoyed reading it. The different perspectives of the various experienced teachers was useful and I liked the handy little exercises all the way through the sections.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy Perkins

    A helpful book for creative writers with interesting and creative expanding exercises.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Addy

    I applaud myself for having the idea to read this book again. It's reminded me of everything I've forgotten since I left uni. I can't recommend it enough to any writer. I applaud myself for having the idea to read this book again. It's reminded me of everything I've forgotten since I left uni. I can't recommend it enough to any writer. 👏

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tommye Turner

    Not very useful past age 15...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Day

    I attend a Creative Writing group called Pen to Paper in York (UK) and the host is Lizzi Linklater and she recommended that I read this book; so I borrowed it from the library. The book is a collection of essays, by various creative writing related bods, organised into sections: Gathering, Shaping and Finishing. The sections are helpfully sub-sectioned, and the editors provide linking essays, which summarise and ease transitions between the various parts. Most of the contributors seem to have a I attend a Creative Writing group called Pen to Paper in York (UK) and the host is Lizzi Linklater and she recommended that I read this book; so I borrowed it from the library. The book is a collection of essays, by various creative writing related bods, organised into sections: Gathering, Shaping and Finishing. The sections are helpfully sub-sectioned, and the editors provide linking essays, which summarise and ease transitions between the various parts. Most of the contributors seem to have a link, tenuous or otherwise, with the Creative Writing MA at UEA. That this material was drawn together prior to 2001 gives me the frustrating feeling that I'm reading a Historic Document composed of snapshots of 'how it was in my day' and this is heighted by the absence of dates for the various pieces. I get the feeling that some of them were written long before this book was edited. Having said that – the vast majority of the essays are: - Useful - Easy to read - An exercise in Creative Writing in their own right - Illuminating, thought provoking and (in some cases) genuinely inspiring / bordering on genius. The exercises are, for me, the best part of the book. I only found one that I couldn’t get on with, but the rest enabled me to write some fifteen thousand words consisting of short stories, self-reflection, poetry, micro-fiction, experimental pieces, autobiography and descriptions of various kinds. I lost interest towards the end, simply because the last part covers drafting and editing (I haven’t written anything substantial enough to be able to take it through this process) and publishing (ditto). When the time comes, I may have to revisit these sections. Overall, I loved the vast majority of this book, and the fact that I’ve been inspired to write so much within a couple of week is testament enough to the efficacy of what is expressed, so: one to be recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick Sheridan

    No one writing guide can give you all the answers you want, and I'm pretty sure all of them together couldn't either. As such you have to pull your information from various places and your own confidence. I was a little underwhelmed by this compendium initially because so much of it seemed second nature to me, and wasn't helping shift my mind on a few issues. Then in the space of half a page a sudden influx of information that was presented quite casually completely shifted the block I was No one writing guide can give you all the answers you want, and I'm pretty sure all of them together couldn't either. As such you have to pull your information from various places and your own confidence. I was a little underwhelmed by this compendium initially because so much of it seemed second nature to me, and wasn't helping shift my mind on a few issues. Then in the space of half a page a sudden influx of information that was presented quite casually completely shifted the block I was struggling to work around, and I realised that all the information in the book is quality and valuable, and the book shouldn't be held to account for me already having some of that knowledge. All that stops a perfect rating (beyond the impossibility of The One True writing guide) is some of the work exercise or jumping-off prompts. They are often very twee and ridiculous. I appreciate that the beginner writer might need encouragement to think outside the box, but to anyone with a little experience (who wants ideas that work, not ideas that inspire) then can come off as a bit too quirky or zany, and fairly cliché. This is not a fire-and-forget book, and I am sure I will be returning to it many times for years and even decades to come. Nick xx

  13. 5 out of 5

    Flaneurette

    I read this book about four-five years ago. I didn't find it very memorable, and now, flicking through it again, I struggle to see the focus of the book. It is too broad and too general to give anything else than a general insight into creative writing. Yet, at times it gets very detailed, but doesn't succeed in showing the link between a micro and a macro level. Although there are exercises that go with each chapter, the examples aren't too compelling. All in all, this is book tells you how I read this book about four-five years ago. I didn't find it very memorable, and now, flicking through it again, I struggle to see the focus of the book. It is too broad and too general to give anything else than a general insight into creative writing. Yet, at times it gets very detailed, but doesn't succeed in showing the link between a micro and a macro level. Although there are exercises that go with each chapter, the examples aren't too compelling. All in all, this is book tells you how creative writing works and gives you ideas to bear in mind, but to me, it isn't much help in getting through the hard bits. For "playing authors" workshops it is quite resourceful though.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rocks

    Personally my favourite book. I received it from the open college of arts in 2013. Since then I've been reading bits of it whenever in the mood of writing and only finished it yesterday. I feel like I've reached a milestone! It influenced me so much in terms of the writers eyes. Its cardboard smell and baige papers will probably last for decades in my memory. So far I haven't read a book as flowing and easy to read as this. I'm sure I'll be using it as a reference, and the book to pick up whenever Personally my favourite book. I received it from the open college of arts in 2013. Since then I've been reading bits of it whenever in the mood of writing and only finished it yesterday. I feel like I've reached a milestone! It influenced me so much in terms of the writers eyes. Its cardboard smell and baige papers will probably last for decades in my memory. So far I haven't read a book as flowing and easy to read as this. I'm sure I'll be using it as a reference, and the book to pick up whenever my motivation to write is dieing

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

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  16. 4 out of 5

    Melrose

    I bought this book many years ago but never really read past the first few pages until now. Having read a dozen similar books and attended seminars in the meantime, I have to say that I didn't find it as useful as perhaps I would have all those years ago. Most of the essays were great to read, some were inspiring, and many of the exercises sounded pretty great. There are definitely some good stuff in here; it's just that I didn't find it as practical as other creative writing guides.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Creig Sigurdson

    Very Helpful, gave me great exercises to breakthru the block that sits on my brain and halts the flow of pages I like to turn out every day. Big book to charge through so I will have to revisit it often, great resource.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauma Lapa

    a decent collection of essays, tips and tricks of the trade. the scope is broad, the exercises logical and encouraging. not sure how it works for a workshop, but it might just be a book to have in a creative writing teacher's arsenal in an educational establishment.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I was in the very fortunate position to be one of the students that experienced these exercises first first hand. This is a very useful book for writing educators and a blast from the past for me personally.

  20. 4 out of 5

    E.M. Sutherlin

    I really enjoy reading advice on writing from writers who have actually written best selling novels, compared to "writers" who only write books on writing. This book has advice from 40 different writers, and has a lot of great references I can use in the future.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Very helpful advice and guidance which I shall return to on a regular basis. There are lots of exercises to complete if you follow it as a true course book, but even without completing these exercises there is more than enough to inspire and tempt.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Porter

    Think this book is designed for people who want to teach creative writing as alot of the exercises are aimed at groups of people, which made a few of them tricky. Still some sound advice though. Worth a read for the budding writer.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen Madej

    I'm dipping in and out of this book, think I probably should have almost finished it, as I'm on the last assignment. I just seem to find a whole lot of other things to do, rather than read it, like writing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    William

    good, useful info and helpful

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joolsah

    A smorgasbord of sensible, useful and entertaining advice, something to keep dipping back into.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Excellent book for those interested in (creative) writing. Lots of advice and useful strategies.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andy Luke

    Thorough walk-through on many aspects of writing, each by a field specialist. Very little disagreeable flab, I'd recommend this treasure for returning reads.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kit Waal

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mr P Chadwick

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becky

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