The following is from the Coffeehouse for Writers blog, where I regularly share reviews for the On Our Bookshelves page. In addition to book reviews, writing advice and other goodies can be found at the Coffeehouse blog. I invite you to check it out. :)
The Writer’s Idea Book
By Jack Heffron
Need ideas? Jack Heffron, former senior editor at Writer’s Digest Books, has a few to share. Four hundred to be exact, if you count each one of the prompts included here. I purchased this book because I wanted prompt ideas to use with writing classes. Its claim, “How to develop great ideas for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and screenplays” far exceeded my expectations. Heffron doesn’t just list a bunch of prompts; he encourages us to think and explore to stretch our skills. Having fun is key, and he further elaborates by sharing the things that help make our writing shine. His philosophy consists of general writing truths that keep those creative juices flowing.
What are these truths? First, we must “show up”. In other words, make time to write. Second, acknowledge the difficulty. Yes, “showing up” on a consistent basis can be hard. Next, joy and gratitude play a part in this equation, and these are a result of the first two truths. Heffron continues by explaining what the enemies of creativity are and talks us through those as well.
The book consists of four parts: Bending and Stretching, Exploring, Finding Form, and Assessing and Developing. Each part’s chapters cover steps to guide us on the creative path, with a liberal sprinkling of prompts. Chapter Eighteen, entitled Of Sonnets and Toasters, for example, discusses “appliance fiction”. Never heard of “appliance fiction”? I hadn’t either, but it’s an interesting way to tie fiction and technology together. Add in related exercises, and you’ve got a great start to fresh writing ideas.
This book is helpful and informative from start to finish, but ideas and prompts can also be sampled and used whenever you like. I’ve used this for teaching creative writing to teens and adults, and for my own writing adventures. It’s a great resource for all genres and levels; I plan on keeping this one around for a long time.
The Inland Northwest Christian Writers conference in Spokane, Washington is scheduled for March 19, 2011. Keynote speaker is Jim Rubart, author of Rooms. Other speakers include Jan Cline and Terri Tiffany. Click here for details.
The "Just Write" conference sponsored by the Missouri Writer's Guild will be held in St. Louis on April 8-10. Love the title!
The ladies over at BooKrushed have issued a challenge. Read 11 books published in 2011, now through December 31, 2011. They invite you to join...And, there are prizes...(I said that in a sing-song voice, could you tell?) For more info, visit the BooKrushed site.
What writing books do you recommend? Which one is your all time favorite?
Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1187357