Back to Creative Writing School
Back to Creative Writing School has been described as ‘the bible’ for emerging writers and a bubble bath for the brain. Praised by bestselling novelists and students, the 30 exercises are designed to stretch the imagination and defeat the blank page.
About the author
After winning $4000 in an international short story, Bridget Whelan published her first novel – set in 1960s Ireland and London – and became a creative writing tutor at university and in adult education. She has also been a researcher on a national newspaper as well as writer in residence for a community centre serving the low waged. You can meet Bridget online at http://bridgetwhelan.com/ Visit Amazon’s Bridget Whelan Page
Twitter Name: ‘agoodconfession
Facebook Name: Back to Creative Writing School
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a free copy as a blogging friend of the author, but this is an honest review.
I’m not normally a writer who enjoys writing craft books based on exercises or prompts – That’s because I normally have no problems in having plenty of ideas to start off stories, and generally as a novel writer – where the writing process is much slower – I have too many! Being forced into coming up with new ideas as a creative writing exercise is an impact to my normal writing process, not a help.
So, despite having a need to improve my writing knowledge, via many self-study sessions, taking short internet courses, and having a huge collection of writing craft books – I tend to avoid ones that expect us to take the time to do homework.
BUT. This month I’ve been struggling within NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I had intentions to write a lot of short or flash fiction, but that was scarpered with a lack of enough ideas. I moved onto a novel I had an idea for, which has been going well, but without the preparation and rough outlining I needed to have done beforehand, I have now found myself stopped short with a lack of ideas to get through the middle act of the novel.
Enter Back to Creative Writing School – it appears to be kizmet. The author points out in the introduction –
” This book is about writing.
“About defeating the blank page. It’s about taking risks, experimenting, giving yourself the freedom to make mistakes. It’s about finding ideas and developing them.
“Weaving stories in your head while you travel to work or sit daydreaming is not writing. Something happens when you put words into the hard concrete of type or the softer clay of pen or pencil.”
The author is right.Read more ›
By Kathleen Pooler on December 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In her light-hearted, personable way, Creativity Coach Bridget Whelan guides the beginning writer through a series of exercises meant to spark creativity. She provides useful tips, relevant examples and specific exercises to prompt creative writing. The information is credible and easy to follow and her writing is engaging, witty and concise.
Because she addresses a wide range of topics– writing descriptions, humor, horror–this book appeals to writers of all genres and all experience levels. I found her voice to be trustworthy and down-to-earth and her book to be packed with practical tips and prompts.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter, “Descriptions That Multitask”:
” You are the reader’s eyes and ears; you are their skin, their nostrils, their mouth. You can’t tell everything so the few details you reveal have to reinforce the atmosphere of the story or add to the development of a character or contribute in some way to the reader’s understanding.”
She then provides a detailed writing prompt with instructions and questions to stimulate your imagination. The book is divided into three terms, much like a semester course would be with chapter titles such as, “Become a Cliché Killer, Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid, No One Gets Tired of Once Upon a Time.”
This writing guidebook is inspiring, funny and insightful. At the end, she provides a practical step-by-step approach to writing book reviews for fiction and nonfiction. She leaves us with her best advice: “Write as much as you can about anything; Read as much as you can about anything.” She also provides a list of writing resources with her description on how they may be helpful.
I highly recommend this witty and informative writing guidebook for writers of all genres and all experience levels who are looking to break through the blank page to find their voice.
By Stuart Aken on November 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A writing manual that sets out to encourage and inspire, but that also gives the reader tools to use, examples to learn from, and exercises that will help embed the lessons. As a writer of some experience, I generally don’t gravitate toward books on basic technique. I’m pleased I made this one an exception.
Concise, witty, informed and accessible, this is a book that guides would-be writers through the skill sets and pitfalls of creative writing. Bridget Whelan’s writing style is inviting and friendly without straying into the uncomfortable intimacy that a casual approach can sometimes involve. She presents her lessons in small chunks of entertainingly written advice gleaned from experience of writing and of teaching writing students. And she provides exercises that are well thought out and manageable whilst retaining a challenging element designed to make the reader really consider what it is they are being asked to do.
Set out in 3 ‘Terms’, each split into 10 ‘Lessons’, the text takes the reader through those elements of creative writing that most matter. Whilst each subject and topic is dealt with seriously, the writing style allows her sense of humour to come through and engage the reader in a way that makes the whole easily managed.
I particularly liked her sections on humour: in fact parts of it had me laughing out loud. Her sections on horror give a real feel for the genre. The selected samples used to illustrate certain points are always clear and pertinent, showing the best, or the worst, of writing style.
This is a book that will gently and surely lead the would-be writer through the process of approaching and creating imaginative writing. I thoroughly recommend what is an enjoyable, encouraging and inspiring read. And, now, if you don’t mind, I’ll end this review so I can get on with some of the stories that are currently fighting for my attention, having been inspired by this book!