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The Playful Way to Serious Writing

by Roberta Allen

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791267,936 (3.5)None
For anyone who has ever dreaded the blank page or struggled to find something to write and then agonized over how best to write it, or has simply found writing to be hard work, The Playful Way to Serious Writing breaks down common writing barriers and frees the writer within. Drawing on extensive experience in teaching creative writing and a lifetime of free artistic expression, Roberta Allen, novelist, short story writer, and author of Fast Fiction, has created a unique book of writing exercises packed with hundreds of verbal directives and visual cues. The key, Allen says, is ENERGY, "the force behind the words, the desire to bring forth something that has never before existed." Allen's ENERGY METHOD, which focuses creativity without interruption or that nagging inner critic, can be used for any type of creative effort at any level -- stories, novels, plays, memoirs, sketches, journals, and more. Attractive, engaging, funny, and free ranging, The Playful Way to Serious Writingis more than just a writing guide -- it is an endless sourcebook of ideas and a trusted creative companion.… (more)
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In "The Playful Way to Serious Writing" Roberta Allen advocates the use of free writing in order to access your creativity. The idea is that you take a "prompt" or exercise of some kind, set a timer for 5, 10, or 15 minutes, and then write. This isn't the kind of writing where you plan and organize and outline--you just write whatever comes into your head and keep writing. This is supposed to help you turn off your inner critic and get down to the really creative stuff.

Allen does a wonderful job of establishing a childlike tone to the book. The font is large and plain, and looks a bit like a child's handwriting. The sentences are short and direct, kind of like what you'd expect to hear from a child. Allen discusses events from her own childhood, and the prompts seem to evoke a child's curiosity and lack of understanding about the world. She talks about the energy that some words and ideas have, always capitalizing it ("ENERGY")--it seems a little bit silly, but again, it's the sort of thing you can imagine a child doing. This helps to establish a tone and sense of freedom--it helps to disable that inner critic so the child in you can come out and play without fear.

There isn't much to distinguish the prompts and exercises themselves from those in any other writing book (like Heffron's "The Writer's Idea Book," Shaw's "Writerrific," or Rekulak's "The Writer's Block"). But the tone of the book itself is certainly more conducive to helping us shed our serious, adult critic-minds and return to a more playful, childlike attitude. And this can be a handy thing for anyone having trouble tapping into their creative side. This approach isn't for everyone, but if it sounds like fun, you might enjoy this book!

Full review at ErrantDreams ( )
  errantdreams | Dec 15, 2007 |
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For anyone who has ever dreaded the blank page or struggled to find something to write and then agonized over how best to write it, or has simply found writing to be hard work, The Playful Way to Serious Writing breaks down common writing barriers and frees the writer within. Drawing on extensive experience in teaching creative writing and a lifetime of free artistic expression, Roberta Allen, novelist, short story writer, and author of Fast Fiction, has created a unique book of writing exercises packed with hundreds of verbal directives and visual cues. The key, Allen says, is ENERGY, "the force behind the words, the desire to bring forth something that has never before existed." Allen's ENERGY METHOD, which focuses creativity without interruption or that nagging inner critic, can be used for any type of creative effort at any level -- stories, novels, plays, memoirs, sketches, journals, and more. Attractive, engaging, funny, and free ranging, The Playful Way to Serious Writingis more than just a writing guide -- it is an endless sourcebook of ideas and a trusted creative companion.

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