Review: ‘Back to Creative Writing School’ by Bridget Whelan

2013

Bridget Whelan is an author and creative writing lecturer. In this book she sets out to provide ’30 practical and witty exercises’ to help readers start writing. She covers a lot of ground – poetry, prose, humour, horror, cliches and description.

Structurally the book imitates a year long writing course; three terms of ten weeks. Each ‘week’ covers a different topic with one or more exercises to get the reader writing.

Having read the book completely and tried over half the exercises I can say without a doubt that Bridget Whelan is successful in her aim. Not only have I worked on the answers but several have stimulated the beginnings of new work on my part.

I really enjoyed most of the exercises I did; they stretched me and helped me to find new sources of inspiration. I especially liked the idea if random words in the dictionary as a prompt and found the advice on creating tension and fear using a common structure helpful.

The authorial tone, witty and encouraging, was a real bonus in a book partially aimed at the nervous beginner. Her enthusiasm really fed mine.

I’m glad I picked this book up; I foresee that shall be dipping into it whenever I’m procrastinating and need a kick to get back to my writing.

Highly recommended

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