- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (September 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 061819729X
- ISBN-13: 978-0618197293
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Playful Way to Serious Writing 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Were a creative writing professor and a kindergarten teacher to conspire on a writing guide, it might look something like The Playful Way to Serious Writing: An Anything-Can-Happen Workbook to Inspire and Delight. In a big font that looks remarkably like a school teacher's penmanship, Roberta Allen (Fast Fiction; The Dreaming Girl) espouses the "ENERGY method" of finding your inner voice; it is, she says, "a way to break that shell of fear," "bypass the inner voice that stops you" and " lose yourself like a child in the magic of creating." Suspension of cynicism is required, of course: write about what an FBI agent would think of your life, or choose a letter that has the most "ENERGY" and pen a story featuring words starting with that letter, and Allen is there to warmly cheer you along.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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As a former teacher, I can see "The Playful Way to Serious Writing" by Roberta Allen as a tool for elementary teachers, art teachers, photography teachers, English and creative writing teachers. Allen is a photographer and artist as well as a writer and this book is the most visual, the most appealing and the most practical exercise book yet.
That it is also fun is definitely a plus. I shall probably use my copy when speaking to genealogy groups about how to turn their heritage into readable stories. I plan to take a couple of the exercises in the book to my critique group (boy, will they be surprised!) and I plan to use a couple of Allen's graphically delightful pages when I tutor my Korean students. These pages weren't meant for that but think of the ESL possibilities in phrases like "a goatee" and "a potbelly." Immigrants often have the English basics. It is the colloquial phrases that throw them.
If you happen to run across this book on the shelf of your bookstore, grab a copy and open it. Leaf through the pages. It will get all of your creative juices flowing.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of "This is the Place"
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!
I literally stumbled on "The Playful Way to Serious Writing" while putting together a writing workshop for children. After testing out a number of the exercises on myself, my own imagination began to soar.
This book is designed for all ages sparking a sense of energy and freshness that can be applied to any form of writing.The children delighted in these exercises and were writing even when not "assigned."
I am a Lutheran Pastor and a trained psychotherapist working in a congregation that is racially, economically, and educationally diverse. I especially appreciated the way Roberta Allen made her book accessible to a wide population. Her photography as well as the way she uses words, numbers, and shapes makes this book highly adaptable.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves to write, anyone who hates to write, and to anyone who needs more play time in their lives. This is definitely one for your holiday gift list!