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A Writer's Workbook: Daily Exercises for the Writing Life Reprint Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312286217
ISBN-10: 031228621X
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

After nine months of not writing--nine months of morning sickness--Caroline Sharp had a new baby and an urge to write again. Trouble was, she was out of practice. So she devised a series of 32, mostly half-hour exercises to get her writing muscle back in shape. Thus was born A Writer's Workbook. In it, Sharp embraces warming up with a journal. She is personable and humorous, often returning to the subject of her addiction to coffee. Although her book is recommended in Elizabeth Gilbert's (Pilgrims) introduction for any reluctant writer in need of a jump-start, it seems best suited to fictioneers. "Write a character description of yourself," an early exercise suggests. "Write down as many food memories as you can recall," urges another. "Take yourself through 24 hours in your character's day," and "See if you can come up with a true list of bad behavior." While the exercises cumulatively don't help you create a greater whole, if they get you writing, they've done their job. And as you write, keep in mind: "You've got to get in the habit of harvesting all the acreage," says Sharp. "The pretty flowers are great, but the bent and twisted and screwy ones are more interesting." --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A Writer's Workbook is the most generous favor to those among us who would write and could write, if only we could get down to work . . . This is a book for students, for professionals, for poets, for playwrights, for journalists and for those of you who don't even dare call yourself writers yet, except the most secret moments of the night.” ―Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Stern Men, from the Foreword

“Opened-hearted, ardent, and encouraging. A must-have book for students and teachers alike.” ―Elise Paschen, Executive Director, Poetry Society of America, and author of Infidelities

“With this charming, insightful, and indispensable guide, Caroline Sharp may very well have ended writer's block in our time.” ―Albert J. Zuckerman, author of Writing the Blockbuster Novel

“A supportive and encouraging book every aspiring writer will find particularly useful.” ―Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (June 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031228621X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312286217
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a perfect solution for those writers in need of something to write about.
Caroline Sharp wrote this book after not writing for a significant period of time. She was searching for inspiration and invented her own. With this book she gives suggestions for various exercises and writing techniques. The book is meant to be done one chapter after another growing as you progress but some of the chapters are tedious and actually stopped me from writing, like the chapter on outlines (you have to write something in order to have something to outline!). I have found that skipping around works better for me only because some days are less patient than others.
For those of you serious writers looking for new techniques and new ideas this is a wonderful book to absorb. Sometimes the best ideas come from out of the blue and this book just gives you the blue a little bit faster.
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Format: Paperback
First, I know this review looks too long, but it might help you out. So please, read on.

I read a few of the "chapters" (exercise sections) of this book and found it to be a little too conversational. Sure, we all value a charming and witty instruction book to a dry academic one, but I still think she brings nothing new to this genre of book.

It seems like she could easily have gotten all of these ideas from other writing books, seminars and articles, and frankly, most of them are better written than this one. You've probably encountered most of the ideas put forth in this book, beginning with an intro akin to:

"Oh, we all say we're going to write, but we never get around to it. Well never, fear, because [insert generic writing guide book title] is here to kick your rear in gear!"

Something like that.

There are really so many different types of books, kits, articles, memoirs, classes and manifestos on the subject of writing, exercises, inspiration and so forth. (Just do a search on Amazon for Writing Instruction or Writing for Publication.) I really can't recommend this book, though.

Unfortunately, the author also thinks it's cute or somehow necessary to write quite a few words in ALLCAPS to add emphatic notice to the concept. Personally, I think that WRITING like THIS every few PAGES looks unprofessional and can be quite IRRITATING. This stylistic flaw alone makes me wonder whether she's a very credible source. Is font manipulation creative? Sure, to an extent, but "all-caps" serves no purpose, and it's easy to do and banal.

I think that this work misses a point about writing: it requires self-discipline as well as inspiration and talent.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on September 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Caroline Sharp has written an approachable, easy to understand "hand-up" for aspiring writers.
Breaking down the fear so many face at the thought of approaching a vast blank page, Sharp guides novices and experienced writers alike through a series of steps and exercises to get the writing going.
Kudos to Ms. Sharp for sharing her hard won knowledge and experience with the rest of us.
1 Comment 39 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
During a search of books by Elizabeth Gilbert on Amazon.com, I came across Caroline Sharp's "A Writers Workbook". Anyone with a desire to put pen to paper needs to read this book. I want to buy one for every friend who has expressed an interest in writing! It encouraged me to begin journaling again after many years.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book encouraging daily exercises to develop better writing skills. It works if you use it. Great traveling book. Timely arrival and in good shape.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have so many books on writing activities, notebooks and journal writing. This book covers all the activities the others do in one book plus more. It is a must have if you want to write well.
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