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Posted September 19, 2009
An Innovative Guide Breathes Life Into Writing Exercises
I'm a big fan of writing exercises. They're a great way to generate ideas, develop characters, and deepen your writing. But many books filled with writing exercises can seem dry, even textbook-like with paragraphs of background information and single lines of instruction that are anything but inspiring. Enter "Take Ten for Writers" by Bonnie Neubauer, a pick-a-number volume that expands 100 exercises to 1000.
Neubauer has not only created a visually stimulating guide filled with colorful illustrations and pop-arty, collage-styled pages, each option offers an innovative multi-use experience. The exercise begins with a brief set-up followed by a unique feature: a directive for the user to pick a number between 1 and 10. The chosen number is then found on the following page and combined with the instructions for completing the exercise; an approach that means the exercise can be repeated ten different times with ten different outcomes. And for those that wish to go a little deeper, the "Take Ten Take Away" following each exercise provides additional advice and information.
To date, I've used Take Ten for Writers perhaps a dozen times and have been very satisfied with the results. I used exercise No. 10, Calligrammes, to help me see a poem in progress in a new way. Exercise No. 54, Perspectivity, was a great way to help me delve deeper into a character's background.
Writing exercises aren't for everybody. If you find that you are consistently productive without them, I wouldn't suggest that you take time off just to try them out. But, if you're like most of us and your writing doesn't always flow, or if you just need a break from a larger project, I suggest "Take Ten for Writers" as a good way to keep the juices flowing.
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Posted December 29, 2009
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