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The Writer's Idea Book

Heffron, Jack

Writer's Digest Books
Published:November 1, 2002

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Description: From Publishers Weekly
For the myriad frustrated or blocked writers in the world comes another addition to the swelling shelves of guides designed to soothe, teach and inspire. And while Heffron, an acquisitions editor for Writer's Digest and other F+W publications, undeniably loves his subject and knows much about it, he doesn't break out of the conventional (and at this point, one might argue tired) format to tell it. He includes, for instance, the requisite quotes from famous authors that are designed to inspire struggling ones; the familiar pleas for details; the advice on courage and persistence; and the tried-and-true brainstorming exercises. What's better-but still, in form anyway, standard fare-are the 400-plus writing prompts: "Write about your first experience with death"; "Write a scene in which a character returns home after an extended absence"; "Every day for a week, write down something you've learned in conversation"; "Write a new opening" to a piece that's unfinished. Like any catch-all book (this one extends over scripts, poetry, fiction and nonfiction-forms and genres with their own advantages and restrictions), it is ultimately too broad to really instruct. However, those in the market for a basic, practical writing guide will find this one at least as useful as many others.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Heffron (Best Writing on Writing: Twenty Master Plots) is a senior editor at Writer's Digest Books and Story Press as well as a published writer and teacher of fiction. In short, he's been on both sides of the printed page, as writer and reader, as well as teacher/coach on the sidelines. Written humorously but with substance, his book identifies some of the more common causes of writer's block and offers many ways to overcome it, from initiating a story, to resurrecting a stalled story, to casting about for a good ending. All the essentials are covered: changes of voice, point of view, the need for or absence of plot, and building characters. The author also quotes other writers and uses brief excerpts from published fiction as examples of what works and what doesn't. This material would be partly redundant for anyone with an MFA, but if the first chapter works for you, the rest of the book will as well. Recommended for public libraries and as a gift idea for the struggling writer in your life.
Robert C. Moore, Raytheon, Sudbury, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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