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The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 003-5313109805
ISBN-10: 1582973512
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Kiteley is the director of the creative writing programme at a leading US university. A frequent award winner, he is the author of many successful novels.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1st edition (August 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582973512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582973517
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
And I do mean use. The exercises are intriguing and fun and sprinkled throughout rather than lumped at each chapter's end. I also found the writing style very accessible (as opposed to the usual dry 'lecture notes into a book' approach). The introduction may be appear long, but don't skip it. There's a lot of suggestions and ideas for getting the most out of this book.

Whether you're a beginning writer or more experienced, there's a lot of stuff in here that will get even a blocked writer generating material quickly and brainstorming new ideas.

I do have one complaint however - It's printed in what appears to be 6-point type! Very good lighting and strong reading glasses are a MUST for this one.
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Format: Paperback
Books of writing exercises mainly aim to inspire creativity in the writer. Usually the idea goes like this: by putting a constraint on the writer (a particular topic, a set of words to use, etc.) and often a word limit or time limit, the writer will come up with new material she wouldn't have thought of if she'd simply set pen to paper and said, "what comes next?" It can help to alleviate the terror of confronting the blank page that many writers face now and then.

Brian Kiteley's "The 3 A.M. Epiphany" is a little bit different, in several ways. For one, most of the books I've read use time limits, whereas this book uses word limits, pushing you to come up with small gems rather than reams of material to sift through.

The exercises also have an additional dimension to them that most don't. Each one is carefully constructed to help you explore a certain aspect of your writing. These aren't meant to be "merely" inspirational--they're designed to teach technique, as well, without reading like a dry instructional book.

There are types of exercises in here I really haven't seen anywhere else, particularly in the sections on "Internal Structure" and "Exercises for Stories in Progress", and I think you'll find them inspiring in ways that other books aren't. They'll make you think, work and write in whole new directions.
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Format: Paperback
I was, to say the least, skeptical when I bought this book. I have read many books designed to spark ideas and motivate you to write, through various plans and exercises. But I came to this book anyway, hopeful. To imagine a book being a spark to the writing via the "uncommon writing exercises" it promises is saying quite a thing. Hard to live up to that hype. But Kiteley does it, and does it with such skill that you wonder what it must be like to sit in on one of his lectures. I read this book and simply envied his students. Creative approaches to writing are commonplace (often not that creative on second thought, and sometimes not even helpful), but "uncommon" approaches, as this book offers, are a wonderful thing to a writer wondering where to go next. If you are a writer satisfied with the present state of your craft, pleased that you've found a genre you like, and want nothing more than to write at the level you currently do, you don't need this book. But I feel sorry for your lack of adventure. If, on the other hand, you are a writer looking for a challenge, or a writer mired in the regular grind, take this book and study it carefully. The ideas in it are incredible new ways of seeing things that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Not every exercise will spark you. Fine. There are many, and every day is a new chance for an exercise that didn't interest you to change your mind. If you are serious about exploring the craft and not just skating along the surface of it, this book will reward you.
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Format: Paperback
Written by the director of the University of Denver's writing program, this book's introduction is worth having on the would be writer's shelf. Based on years of developing exercises, Brian Kiteley presents them to challenge the writer's preconceived ideas of what stories should be. The intro is so concise in its presentation that the reader will find him/herself stopping to ponder the freshness of the thoughts.

One of the ideas presented in these early pages is the idea of using combinations of these exercises to challenge yourself and your writing without falling into the temptation to stop the free flowing of ideas. In other words, don't let the logical side of the brain interrupt the creative side.

For those familiar with writing books and the exercises contained within, they often feel repetitive or stale. In contrast, these exercises have the feel of someone tapping on your shoulder over and over or a kid in the backseat saying, "How much longer until we get there?" They are meant to get under your skin as it were, but it seems to make sense. How would characters that aren't you react or behave?

The real test will be if it compels me to write. But it certainly has given me some new things to consider.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That's right, bibliophiles. Not borrow from the library. =Own=

This book is brimming with exercises that will sharpen your mind, and help you unlock your own inherent skills. It's amazing how similar our writing can be to others. Yet we're taught to seek out individuality. It is this disparity that often forces us to strive too hard to be unique.

In mimicing or embracing the style and work of others, our voices can still emerge. Mr. Kitely is very astute in recognizing this and the exercises encourage the adaptive reuse and combination of disparate styles and ideas. This book is both a teaching tool, and a mind opener. Some of the exercises are a bit more challenging than I might be up for at 3:00AM, but honestly, there's value in each and every one.

I feel like even after only a few exercises, I have a better understanding of my own limitations and thought processes, and have grown as a writer. Not to mention the fun. I've taken a few of these exercises and shared them with friends in our own mini-workshops, and it makes for some great storytelling and idea sharing. Give this a shot-- it will help you, even if only slightly. That alone justifies the 10 bucks it costs.
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