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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2002
Writers encounter many speed bumps in their projects that can slow down their progress. "The Writer's Idea Book" is designed to get you past those rough spots and make the creative process a little easier.
The book features over 400 prompts to enhance your writing. Plus, each section examines the tricky aspects of writing and how you can overcome them successfully.
Part I begins with how to get started on your writing track. Sections deal with showing up, acknowledging the difficulty, enemies of creativity, leading a creative life and what to do when you're stuck. Each section has related prompts so you can get the most out of the advice given.
Part II shows you how to explore your writing as well as you as a writer. A large amount of prompts help you discover the many faces of you, romantic love, secrets and lies, the spirit of your stories and more.
Part III, appropriately titled "Finding Form," takes you deep into the writing craft. Character development, shaping space and time, point of view, setting, openings and endings are all covered in a way new writers and more seasoned writers can both benefit from.
Part IV covers "Assessing and Developing." Heffron shows the need for writers to up the stakes, consider the reader, study their tone and understand theme.
Each section approaches a key aspect of getting the most out of the written word. Prompts that follow each section are directly related to your reading all through the book so you get relevant practice with your own writing.
"The Writer's Idea Book" has quickly become a favorite among writers, no matter what their experience level. The thought-provoking prompts alone make this a valuable tool any writer can use for their own projects.
But watch out! This book will spark so many ideas, you'll be backlogged on writing projects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2001
I am not a writer, but I enjoyed reading that book. It is informative and humorous. I've read it several times, and every time I find some new ideas. Author helped me to realize that I am not dump, and can write many funny stories about my experience. I am not going to publish them, but I was able to entertain my friends and I am going to read them to my son, when he'll get older (he is only 4-month old now). Buy that book and enjoy!
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on April 28, 2004
Jack Heffron's "The Writer's Idea Book" is a very good specimen of a book of writers' exercises. It mixes "prompts" of various sorts (more than 400 of them according to the cover, and I believe it!) with short riffs of practical advice on a wide range of writing matters. While Heffron is a professional editor and does give advice regarding methods that he believes work best, he concentrates on writing for yourself in this book rather than trying to get published. This is just the idea phase after all--check out his later book, "The Writer's Idea Workshop," for practical advice regarding taking your idea from raw ore to refined metal.
There are many prompts meant to help you mine your own experiences for ideas and plots. (As well as your likes and dislikes, your family, your home town, places you've visited, "public moments," secrets, dreams, and more.) There are prompts to help you explore different forms of writing, structure your story, and more. There are even good solid hints on dealing with openings and endings. The huge number of prompts in this book guarantees that you should be able to find something to spark your creativity no matter what mood you're in.
In fact, about the only thing that bothered me about this book was the lack of the unusual. I love genre. Horror, science fiction, fantasy--I love the strange, and this book had a very "literary" feel to it. That'll make it perfect for many other writers out there, but it left me a little flat. I like to have a certain otherworldliness come into play when looking through lots of writing exercises and warm-ups. This book is meant to push you into finding inspiration from the ordinary rather than the extraordinary; I would have liked a better balance.
It's certainly a fun book, however, and definitely a kick in the inspiration department!
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on July 8, 2002
If you want to write and feel overwhelmed or just at a loss for words, this book will be a lifesaver. Not matter what level your writing skills are, or if you have no skill at all, this book is a must.
Each chapter is organized logically from creativity, to observations, to shaping your piece and wrapping it up. There are prompts included on every page, which direct the reader to do things such as observing other drivers in their cars to writing a scene in which conflict simmers beneath the surface. There is lots of humor included and assistance on how to gather ideas without necessarily writing them in order, yet organizing them for future use. Many of us try to write from beginning to end, then stuff in new ideas only to be frustrated when the final piece feels choppy and has lost its flow. Yes, there is help for this too!
To date, I have found this book to be flawless! It has provided the door I never knew existed. Soon you too will find that we are all great authors at heart... we just needed Jack to help us put it on paper.
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on July 1, 2000
A review from the author of DREAMING YOUR REAL SELF and DREAM BACK YOUR LIFE.
If you ever wanted to write and didn't know what to write about or how to start, this book is for you. Jack Heffron offers more than 400 writing prompts that are sure to spark your interest and desire to put pen to paper-without your feeling limited by the suggestions. He assures you that you will put your personal touch on each one.
If you love to write and have no shortage of ideas, but you'd like a fresh start or a new angle, this book is inspiring in its abundance and originality. Heffron's text is down-to-earth and informative while being realistic about our fantasies about writing compared with the reality. His personal asides are witty and humorous, encouraging us to try the prompts without taking them too seriously.
This is a book I will recommend to my students and writer friends, including those who say they are never blocked. I'm taking this book with me on my next vacation.
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on May 31, 2003
The value of this book is in its many and rich prompts. (No offense to Mr. Heffron, but Part I is the omnipresent: "when you write", "where you write", "celebrating your creative self", etc.) Part II however gets you off and running. There are hundreds of powerful prompts to help you explore the infinite ways to know (and to know what you know) and to write about something. The idea being that the writer (human being) is the quintissential observer, sculptor, shapeshifter, and magician. Prompts have you writing from a variety of imaginitive perspectives, and to various ends. You will strengthen weaknesses and discover hidden strengths. Also highly recommend "Beginnings, Middles, and Ends" by Kress.
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on August 27, 2003
This is a fantastic book! It covers all of the areas that many writers have problems with, and helps you get through them. Mary Heaton Vorse once said, "Writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair" and this book agrees. This book is full of prompts designed to get your juices flowing, and above all, get you writing! Even the most die-hard procrastators and people who are very afraid of writing anything uless it's perfect (like me)will be writing in no time. Most of all, this book showed me that you don't have to be published to be a writer. Any one who writes is a writer. Buy this book, you'll be happy you did.
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on March 17, 2001
For the past year and a half I have had a major case of writer's block. My inspiration to write something creative had ceased, and felt like more of a burden to do. I got a hold of the Idea Book, and forced myself to read the first 5 pages. I was hooked and immediately started writing journals, poetry, short stories, and other pieces that have helped me tap into my creative resources. I now have the motivation to write every night for at least an hour, and just in two weeks I have written over 15 pieces of original work. The book makes it easy for you to develop your thoughts and write them down in your own special style.
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on August 3, 2000
If you feel as though your writing is stuck you must get your hands on this book. And if you're not stuck, you'll be relieved to know that you never have to be. The book is organized into fours steps: warming up, generating ideas, finding form, and developing the story (or article) which eases you into a finished piece that feels fun (because it is!). Heffron has packed 255 pages full of over 400 writing prompts for writers of any genre, or just to play with in your journal. Play with them for a while and you WILL start calling yourself a writer.
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on February 9, 2003
This book is a great reference to have on the shelf to spark one's creative juices or just to pickup and write something different than that three volume novel you've been sweating over for the last 10yrs.
I liked the way Heffron organized the book.
You could literally just open the book, find the word "prompt", read the instructions and write something. You can follow the way the author has it organized or be spontaneous.
The book is geared more in my opinion to short-story/novel fiction writers than columnists or poets.
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