Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review of Creative Calisthenics by Terri Main

No Novel's Journey today. I'm at the MuseOnline writers conference, teaching, learning and having a great time. However, I've been meaning to review this book for a long time, and I can't think of a better time than during the MuseOnline Writer's Conference. For you MuseConners: Terri is teaching. Go check out her forum workshop!

About the Book: (Taken from Creative Calisthenics, page 8)

Unlike physical training which is often boring and always painful, training your creative muscles can be fun. That's what this book is all about – pumping up your creativity and having a good time doing so.

Most writing books tell you how to write something. They give you information about sentence structure, passive versus active construction, plot elements, characterization, organization, research, writing a query letter and the list goes on. Creative Calisthenics is different in that we don't tell you how to write. We give you prompts and let you write. These prompts may help you learn some of those other things, but that is not as important as the fact that it is helping to get you to writing. To switch metaphors for a moment, these exercises are jumper cables for the brain. Don't know what to write about today? Flip to any page and you have an exercise to help you. With over eighty articles detailing more than 175 different exercises, writing prompts, story starters and idea generators, there is always something that can shake loose those mental cobwebs and get you writing.

My Review:

I highly recommend this book for beginning writers, writers who struggle with finding or pursuing an idea, and anyone who teaches creative writing. I recommend it for any writer looking for a way to freshen up their writing life or who feels they need some fun challenges to spice it up.

This is not a workbook. This is a book to play with. Terri has come up with fun ideas and story starters that you can use to warm up your brain, break through writer's block, find a unique angle to your article or scene, or just toy with when you have 15 minutes of writing time and no pressing things to write. I didn't try to read it front to back; I just picked exercises at random. I found all of them interesting and potentially fun. A few ideas, i'd seen elsewhere, but others were new to me. Even though I didn't do them all, they all caused a firing of creative synapses in my brain.

Check it out--and while you're at it, go visit Terri's Creative Calisthenics website, where she posts more fun ideas.

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