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Posted December 18, 2012
When we think of writing prompts, we usually think a key word, o
When we think of writing prompts, we usually think a key word, or a setting/situation, or a sentence from which to start off a short story or paragraph. In this book, Cohen offers us some of those ("Write a story using word, word, word, and word", or "Pretend this or that happened and now you have to do that and this"), but he also goes outside the box and provides ideas based on various holidays during the year.
A lot of his prompts get you thinking about aspects of each holidays - how did it start, what's it's history, how is it celebrated elsewhere in the world - which I think is original. I really like how he includes those tidbits of history and of different celebrations in other countries, as well as how he uses questions, to get us thinking about the subject.
I did find a lot of the prompts were geared toward younger students - perhaps tweens to teens - with the usage of "pretend that your parents", "your family", etc, in the prompts. However, those could be easily substitute or altered to an older adult's situation as well, meaning anyone can, in the end, use the book - I know I have some ideas that sparked in my mind as I was going through it.
I think that homeschoolers especially would really love this book, as it is chuck-full of ideas to get students thinking and writing essays about various holidays - not to say that only homeschoolers can use it! Anyone can hone their writing skills, and research skills too, by going through a few prompts per holiday. And the sheer amount of prompts for each holidays means that you will be able to go back to this book for years to come, always writing something different.
Personally, I plan to do just that, and then get my girls on it too (when they, ahem, know how to write) :)
All and all, I think this is a neat compilation of prompts, original in its focus on holidays and in the way the prompts are formulated and presented. It's not just random words or settings or sentences to get you started writing fiction, but rather actual facts and tidbits that will make you think about how and why we celebrate the things that we do.
And, intersperse here and there, are some more traditional, fiction-creating prompts too ;)
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