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Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings Paperback – 6 Dec 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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  • Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings
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  • A Creative Writing Handbook: Developing Dramatic Technique, Individual Style and Voice
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  • The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry
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Product details

  • Paperback: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (6 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415372437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415372435
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 3.4 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

‘For anyone getting going as a writer (and even for those who have already made a start), this is an invaluable how-to guide, full of useful tips, mind-freeing exercises, and inspiring wisdom from established authors. A book to banish the terror of the blank page.’ – Blake Morrison, journalist, critic and acclaimed author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including the multi-award-winning And When Did You Last See Your Father? (Granta, 1993)

About the Author

Linda Anderson is an award-winning novelist (To Stay Alive and Cuckoo, both published by Bodley Head) and writer of short stories, poetry, performance pieces, and critical reviews. Her work has been published in Britain, Ireland, the USA, and Australia. She has taught at Goldsmiths' College and at Lancaster University for ten years, becoming Head of Creative Writing from 1995-2002. She has designed several successful courses including a training programme for new writing tutors and an MA in Creative Writing by distance learning. She has also worked as a producer and director for BBC Radio Drama. She has a PhD in Creative Writing.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings is divided into five different sections of more or less equal length: writing fiction, poetry, life writing (including biography and autobiography) and going public with your writing (including editing your work and finding publishing avenues). The final section of the book contains different readings/ samples of published/ well-known writers that illustrate the points made in the different "theoretical" sections.

Basic concepts such as characterization, choice of narrative viewpoint, structure and plot, etc., are explained well in a way that makes them easy to understand, even for beginners, but the real strength of this book lies, in my opinion, in the numerous writing exercises that allow you to apply these concepts to your own writing. In addition, the exercises are "cumulative" and build on each other, which really helps to internalize the things you've learned. The exercises also help you to realize where your own strenghts and weaknesses as well as preferences as a writer lie.

I would have given this book 5 stars (the usefulness of the writing exercises alone would warrant this), if it weren't for the fact that it does not cover genre fiction (with the exception of one or two very short passages, it does not refer to sci-fi, romance or the detective novel, for example). Another, albeit minor, negative point relates to the weight/ size of the book. This is a very heavy/ bulky book indeed.

Still, as creative writing books go, I believe that this is one of the better ones on the market due to the clarity of the explanations provided and the very useful writing prompts/ exercises.
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Format: Paperback
I am studying this book in conjunction with the Open University course and I can say that this is the best creative writing book that I have ever read.

It suggests exercises to help you tap into your own creativity without being prescriptive and allows you to work out what is best for your own work, while providing readings that illustrate the techniques suggested.

Not just a book that you can work through but something that you can keep forever and flick through for inspiration whenever you get a little stuck.
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Format: Paperback
I'm also studying with the OU and am using this as a set book. It's on the level 2 (mid level) A215 course.

The first section of the book is devoted to prose writing and develops characters and scenery, tense and narrative, and other technical aspects of writing short stories.

The second section is about writing poetry- about alliteration, where to break up lines, how to approach writing series and themed poems.

The third section gives a sensitive approach to 'life writing' or biographies and true stories.

There's also a section on how to get published, things like market, presentation and pitfalls.

Lots of readings and practcal exercises to work through, ways to encourage the muses and how to avoid writers block. Had a lot of fun writing poems about tea cups and stories about the neighbours...

It's not a quick book to get through- it's a university course book so it's not written for a quick read. It can be pretty intense, but maybe thats the time line associated with it in some aspects. The course does one chapter per week.

There are different writers writing different sections so it's not generalised by one author who thinks he/she knows all about writing. It's written pretty well, which is what you'd expect. So yes, i'd recommend.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book about five years ago and at the time found it very helpful. But now, having tried and failed to complete a longer piece of fiction, I am beginning to realise I have massive holes in my knowledge of the craft, at least in terms of novel writing. This book does not address outlining and structuring in any detail - and these are essential! Nor do does it focus much on story. In the last three years, I have turned to all kinds of writing guides and resources, particularly those that emphasize story structure. The OU book is lovely - it offers examples from Virginia Woolf and Raymond Carver, both writers I adore. But it won't help you to bang out the structure. What is the character's motivation? His/her flaws and weaknesses? His/her all-consuming goal? How will the character change throughout the story? What will he/she have learned at the end that he/she didn't know at the beginning? I feel the book emphasizes good writing, in the sense of mastery of the language, and unique voice. My writing was all about the language, and the wonderful words. And yet nothing happened to the characters. I was unable to move them across the page. I was clueless about their inner processes and drives. It never occurred to me that a character needed to 'grow'. These are all own particular weaknesses, and I am whittling them down by focusing on what story is - what will satisfy the reader? And I'm afraid that wonderful writing (which I love and will always love) won't keep the reader engaged if there is no story. Whilst this book is very encouraging and does contain interesting and useful content, I would urge every writer who wants to create compelling fiction to also look at story structure - I've found books on screenwriting helpful.Read more ›
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