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What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction…

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers (original 1990; edition 1991)

by Anne Bernays (Author)

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867715,832 (3.81)8
Title:What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
Authors:Anne Bernays (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (1991), Edition: Reissue, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernays (1990)



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In 83 lessons organized into 12 section Bernays and Painter offer advice and suggest activities designed for students and beginning writers. More experienced writers will benefit from the review materials in this book as well.

Readers will find the sections differ in their importance. How to begin a story (Beginnings) and the usefulness of Notebooks, Journals, and Memory will most likely be informative only to those early in their writing career. Beginning writers may also find the inclusion of games and the instruction to learn from the greats to be useful. For more advanced writers the reviews provided by topics such as characterization, perspective and point of view, dialogue, plot and (the potpourri included under the heading) mechanics are likely to be useful despite.

The coverage of each topic generally begins with a short explanation of the essential point. That is followed with an exercise that allows readers to practice the skills and techniques just described. This is the weakest part of the book and I was not moved to attempt most of them. Greater thought in crafting more interesting and practical exercises would improve “What If?” greatly. Most of the chapters conclude with examples that depict student’s responses to the exercise. Reading these examples was the most interesting and fun part of the book.

I found this “What If?” to be useful despite my many years of experience as a writer. ( )
  Tatoosh | Sep 4, 2018 |
Good one. ( )
  Greymowser | Jan 22, 2016 |
While I found the prompts interesting, the sample exercises were all from student work, which I didn't find inspiring to read. Almost all of the exercises were aimed at realistic fiction or personal essays, so if you're writing genre fiction you have to rethink them to make them helpful. ( )
  aulsmith | Feb 6, 2013 |
Good set of exercises for writers. I use the exercises heavily in my creative writing class. Practical and clear. ( )
  jpaulett | Jun 17, 2010 |
Wonderful book for the "stuck" fiction writer who needs help curing chronic or acute writer's block. The prompts are divers and creative. ( )
  UtopianElle | Jun 3, 2010 |
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Anne Bernaysprimary authorall editionscalculated
Painter, Pamelamain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Our Students
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ANNE BERNAYS: To be a good writer you must know how to do two very different things--write like a writer and think like one.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062720066, Paperback)

What If? is the first handbook for writers based on the idea that specific exercises are one of the most useful and provocative methods for mastering the art of writing fiction. With more than twenty-five years of experience teaching creative writing between them, Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter offer more than seventy-five exercises for both beginners and more experienced writers. These exercises are designed to develop and refine two basic skills: writing like a writer and, just as important, thinking like a writer. They deal with such topics as discovering where to start and end a story; learning when to use dialogue and when to use indirect discourse; transforming real events into fiction; and finding language that both sings and communicates precisely. What If? will be an essential addition to every writer's library, a welcome and much-used companion, a book that gracefully borrows a whisper from the muse.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:25 -0400)

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Organized by the elements of fiction and comprised primarily of writing exercises, this text helps students hone and refine their craft with a practical, hands-on approach to writing fiction.

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