Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Back To Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan @agoodconfession #wwwblogs

Today’s team book review comes from Aurelia

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Aurelia chose to read and review Back To Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan

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Tired of theory and want more application and practice? Back to Creative Writing School helps you to develop and use intrapersonal skills to build stories. This book pours out prompts and exercises which not only motivate you to start writing but inspire you to continue writing. A few of the exercises could use more explanation and instructions but you definitely won’t be bogged down with too much information.

True to its title, Back to Creative Writing School explains how to use music, dictionaries, nicknames, animals, and more to fuel original writing. This book even shows you how to use simple board games to write  adventure stories. You’ll learn how to take dog-eared clichés and turn them into memorable and blossoming descriptors. Rather than picking character names, you’ll learn how to invent them. Finally, there are over thirty sources for endless writing ideas not commonly found in other books on writing. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this book.

My favorite quote: “The only limit is your imagination and the more you exercise it the more it will stretch.” –Bridget Whelan

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Back To Creative Writing School By Bridget Whelan @agoodconfession #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Alison, she blogs at http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison chose to read and review Back To Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan

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Back to Creative Writing School – Bridget Whelan

The advent of self-publishing means that everyone can be a writer. Everyone can publish a book. But does that mean that everyone should? And is writing a skill that can be taught?

I don’t think it can. I think that an ability to write is a bit like an ability to paint. Or to sing. Anyone can (and probably should) have a go, but it doesn’t mean that, by following rules and conventions and going to classes, you can learn to do it well.

So if writing is a talent rather than a skill that can be learned, then is there a place for a book like this?

I think that there is. If writing is a talent, it can still be honed. And it should be honed. And the exercises in this upbeat, entertaining and easy to read book will certainly help to do that. There is so much wonderful advice here on aspects like planning, characterisation, plot, writing humour, writing horror, point of view; the list goes on. And the exercises are easy to follow and interesting and fun to do.

If you’re someone who thinks they can write and wants to have a go, then this book is a great place to start. And if you’re a writer who wants to brush up on their skills, or if you are having trouble with a particular aspect of your writing, then there are plenty of exercises in this book to help you.

There are a few things that I don’t necessarily subscribe to – for example, I’ve never felt the need or the inclination to go into my characters’ back stories , likes and dislikes etc. to the extent that is recommended here. But I know that a lot of writers find that helpful. That aside, this book is a great buy for aspiring and established writers alike.

4 out of 5 stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan @agoodconfession #bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry chose to read and review Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan

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Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan

4 out of 5 stars

There are two distinct schools of thought concerning creative writing courses and ‘how to’ books: those who consider writing a skill that can be taught, and those who think that the ability to write compellingly is an innate talent that you either have or you don’t; yes, your craft can be improved upon, but if you don’t have what it takes to keep readers turning the pages, no amount of diligent study will make that much difference. I stand, arms folded, in the latter camp and, thus, approached this review choice with cynicism. I am delighted to report that I now bow to Bridget Whelan’s expertise!

Back To Creative Writing School is a charming and inspiring book that encourages the reader to discover the rhythm and beauty of words. At first I thought it was just a basic beginner’s guide for the student who has never tried to write so much as a descriptive paragraph; some of the instruction goes right back to the things you learn at school (hence the title, I’m guessing), like the difference between similies and metaphors. Many of the exercises, though, are so clever and unusual that they might help undiscovered talent to bloom—which is, I think, the book’s strength.

About half way through I found myself thinking, ‘hmm, yes, that’s a good point’ more than once, to the extent that I’d recommend any fellow ‘old hands’ to give this a read, too.   I’ll be the first to agree that writing is a constant learning process, and it’s good to remind oneself of the basics. I nodded my head in agreement at the examples of the unrealistic, information heavy dialogue often found in debut novels, the explanation about unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, the warning against the dreaded clichés and ‘telling not showing’, the use of onomatopoeia and alliteration. The only section I was not so keen on was the one about humour—I reckon that writing ‘funny’ is something for which you really do need to have an in built knack. The ability to analyse why something does or doesn’t work doesn’t necessarily provide the fine skill necessary for effective comic timing.

A few ‘thank yous’ to Ms Whelan: 1) for the excerpt of James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’—I have not read ‘The Dubliners’ since ‘A’ Level and had forgotten how much I loved it; 2) for making me laugh: I have about 200 superfluous occurrences of the word ‘just’ in all my first drafts, too!! And 3) I am one of the 3% of people who have the condition synaesthesia (a sensory mix-up in which you see letters, words and music as colours), and this was a reminder of what a gift it is to a writer.

In short: the innovative exercises in this book won’t teach you how to produce a spellbinding novel, but if you do have the talent it could well unlock the door to a new creative world.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com