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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2007
What an interesting and stimulating book! As a teacher and would-be writer I found this book both challenging and delightful. The exercises are practical and thought-provoking. The ideas expressed made me think about my own practices with renewed vigour. It is thorough and lively but unlike some guides to writing, it also provides academic frameworks for writing which give the endeavour depth and intellectual rigour. I really enjoyed the book which made me re-enter the classroom with more creative heart and mind. I also loved Peter Blegvad's illustrations. The title makes the book sound too routine when really it is a labour of love by one of our most esteemed writers and teachers.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2009
If you want to be a writer but don't know how to go about it, you should buy this book. It is one of the most helpful books I have ever read.

It is challenging to read because there is so much to take in, I would advise reading only one chapter at a time. I would also advise to underline parts that really speak to you because you will want to re-read them for inspiration when you are finished.

It is both practical and inspiring, I had a notion of creative writing before I read this book but it made it a reality. By the time you have finished reading it you will realise that all there is left to do is to write.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2011
I am a journalist and author and this is the most useful book I know on creative writing. In fact,I regard it so highly that I ordered a second copy for a friend in South Africa.

It's stimulating stuff (including the humorous illustrations) and my copy is riddled with asterisks and underlinings of various passages. I return to it again and again while munching breakfast to kick-start my writing for the day.

The only other guide an author needs is the latest edition of the Writer's Handbook.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2011
very useful, simple, and clearly divided in topics . a good book for actual and future teachers,
The exercices can be a bit repetitive, but in the end you can always take something from the whole
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2014
I'm writing this as a provisional review after one reading, because I think I need to read it again, but I have a few problems with the book. It's clearly a class job, but. . . Is it primarily a handbook for running classes in creative writing, or is it a self-help course for aspiring writers? Primarily the former, I suppose, but it tries to be both. Certainly the budding writer can pick up all kinds of hints, but only by a sort of bricolage. Maybe two separate books are needed? (I'd better say very briefly where I'm coming from: I wrote some things in my 20s and 30s which were published and did quite well, but my inability to keep turning things out began to weigh on me, and annoy some editors who were waiting for them, and I simply stopped. Now after another 20 or 30 years I really would like to come up with something half-decent to leave behind me when I croak, and I read this among other possible books in the hope of getting a kick-start, but I fear nothing short of a brain transplant can help me.) David Morley is very keen to stress not only that creative writing can be taught, which I suppose it can up to a point (I've done it myself, and my students were shamingly grateful, but I felt something of a fraud.), and to make a special case for higher-degree courses like the one at UEA. Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?! I'm thinking back to the early 1970s, and remembering my friends and I reading Ian McEwan's first books with some incredulity: how on earth did he ever get published, except presumably on the recommendation of his teachers?! Despite what Morley says, academic hothouses have a questionable record of producing the "quality" he talks of. He does at least refer to "mendacious" publicity! I have problems with the whole idea of "creativity" which is tossed around everywhere today. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone creative, and I'm certainly not. I can put bits of knowledge and emotional insight and comment together in what may be slightly unusual ways to make a coherent whole, but I don't call that creativity. Probably nothing more than appropriation and intelligent recycling. But I suppose we're stuck with "Creative Writing" as a thing, or perhaps an industry. I'm also not clear what Morley is saying about the quality of work to be produced. It's not that he doesn't talk about quality, but he also tries to give would-be writers with more modest aspirations something to go on. There are "games" or exercises in every chapter, and some of them are frankly a bit silly for anyone trying to come up with serious work. Also, because the book concentrates on writing classes, Morley suggests many exercises where you are required to read out your work to other students and/or the tutor. No. Just no. If I'm attempting a poem (incidentally, some of the exercises blithely order "Write a poem": if only) I take a lot of trouble over it, it's not just something to be bawled out at a slam. Most poetry is read privately, and if you can't hear in your head whether it's working, perhaps you shouldn't be producing it. I wouldn't do writing in a group like that, any more than I woul;d accept group therapy if I had depression, etc. No thanks. As I said at the beginning, I shall now re-read the book because I think it merits it, and I'm sure I shall pick up helpful pieces of advice, but there does seem to be some possibly crippling confusion over its aims and intended audience(s).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2012
This is a comprehensive and detailed analysis of every aspect of creative writing. I have to disagree with some of the reviews and the book's own blurb in that I found the style neither lively or beguiling, but instead thought it rather dry. As a result I found I didn't concentrate on it as much as it probably deserves. Those elements that I did absorb were intelligently crafted and thought provoking.
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on 3 November 2014
very useful for my course at uni, well worth a buy
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