Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Blind Boys of Alabama Learn more Fitbit



There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 23 December 1998
I teach creative writing in the UCLA Writer's Program (online) and always recommend this book to my students as one of the two best books (along with Janet Burroway's "Writing Fiction") on the craft of writing ever penned. I have used the information in this book time and again in writing my own novels and stories ("The Death of Tarpons" (novel), "Monday's Meal" (story collection), "Over Easy" (thriller forthcoming from Random House, 1999). A more intelligent book than this has yet to be written. If you aspire to create memorable, quality prose, you must buy this book! It will aid you throughout your writing career in thousands of ways. Five stars is not enough to award this book, which I'm sure is destined to become a classic if it is not already considered so.
0Comment| 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 April 1999
I like the fact this book gives you a mini-workshop you can take at home. Whereas it is not a substite for really tuition, it is a mine for new ideas and plots. I lent it to my creative writing teacher a couple of months ago and he hasn't yet given it back to me! My only problem with this book is I didn't really understand the point of a couple of exercises, but then again it might be because I am not a native English speaker. However, it's still a good purchase if you don't have the time or the inclination to go to a workshop.
0Comment| 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 March 1999
I am a beginning writer with very little experience. This book, along with "Writing Down the Bones"(Natalie Goldberg) and "The Art of Fiction"(John Gardner), is an absolute must if you want to write satisfying and realistic stories.
0Comment| 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 July 1997
I have scores of books on writing, and this is among the very best. It not only teaches, but prompts story ideas at every turn. Truly worth your time and money.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 May 2009
Being a complete novice at this writing game, I bought this book wondering what I'd done.
What if? Is very informative, entertaining and thankfully not too serious. A series of exercises that are useful and certainly made me think about who and what I was writing about. What if? Covers various scenarios and although maybe not too serious for me, I like what the authors have done, very clear and straight forward. There didn't seem to be anywhere in the book that threatened to trip me up, not using a langauge or words that I don't understand is a bonus. What if? is a helpful reference guide, especially to someone like me who is just getting started.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 March 2011
This book will help improve your writing, whatever level of writing you are currently at - I could almost guarantee it! Not by telling you how to write (it doesn't do that) but by presenting you with masses of exercises that will help you focus on certain areas of your writing and improve them. With enormous creativity and flair, the authors cover many aspects of fiction writing and address common (and some less common) issues with a "can do" approach. Yes, you CAN improve your writing skills and this is the book that will help you do it!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 May 2010
I found 'What If?' a really useful book. The exercises within the book are divided into different sections focusing on a particular aspect of writing, for example, beginning a story and characterisation. Each section is introduced explaining the benefits of looking at the topic. Exercises are numbered, and have their own introduction, explaining a little of the theory. This is followed by the exercise itself with examples from well known works. At the end the authors give the objective of each exercise and student examples. Each exercise is clearly laid out with headings making it easier to digest the information.

The authors give you a lot of information, but only enough to make the points that they are making, and is accessible even to novice writers. The weakest section of the book is the one that deals with plot. The authors admit they focus on characterisation, and plot derives from that.

Even though the exercises are numbered, you don't have to do them in order, and is possible to dip in and out as each exercise is self contained. Some exercises can take five minutes, others hours, some are even ongoing. The book is like having a creative writing course at your fingertips! One that you can do at your own pace, and personalise to meet your needs.

This book delivers in what it sets out to do: Writing exercises for fiction writers. It doesn't cover topics such as editing/revision or how to get published. It contains a wealth of useful information for people who write fiction. I would recommend it, especially at this price.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 September 2009
This book is an invaluable tool for any aspiring writer; written in a clear no-nonsense manner it will have have your imagination in over-drive and push you to let your creativity flow. Highly recommended.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 June 2015
Different from most writing books, this is - basically - nothing but writing exercises, intended to help with particular parts of writing. I like the layout, organised roughly into categories, and it’s intended to be something to dip into, for inspiration and ideas. I thought I’d work through this one and began, six months ago, by doing some of the exercises. However I didn't feel able to make the time and abandoned it for a while, then recently read the rest of the book, looking at the exercises and thinking that I might get back to them one day.

There are lots of good points made in the book to illustrate what the exercises are about. The writing prompts encourage the reader to be creative and without necessarily leading to anything longer. There are exercises for honing stories that exist already, for picking out features of other people’s writing, and for trying new techniques. In many of the sections there examples given of student responses to the exercises, done in writing workshops.

The authors are themselves writing coaches as well as writers, and I thought this was an excellent resource, even though I didn't make full use of it. I hope to return to it, however, and dip into it in the future.

Recommended.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 September 2009
This is a very different type of writing book it actually keeps your brain ticking along. Another must have for the would be writer.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse