The Playful Way to Serious Writing

( 2 )

Overview

For anyone who has ever dreaded the blank page or struggled to find something to write and then agonized over how best to write it, or has simply found writing to be hard work, The Playful Way to Serious Writing breaks down common writing barriers and frees the writer within. Drawing on extensive experience in teaching creative writing and a lifetime of free artistic expression, Roberta Allen, novelist, short story writer, and author of Fast Fiction, has created a unique book of writing exercises packed with ...

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Overview

For anyone who has ever dreaded the blank page or struggled to find something to write and then agonized over how best to write it, or has simply found writing to be hard work, The Playful Way to Serious Writing breaks down common writing barriers and frees the writer within. Drawing on extensive experience in teaching creative writing and a lifetime of free artistic expression, Roberta Allen, novelist, short story writer, and author of Fast Fiction, has created a unique book of writing exercises packed with hundreds of verbal directives and visual cues. The key, Allen says, is ENERGY, "the force behind the words, the desire to bring forth something that has never before existed." Allen's ENERGY METHOD, which focuses creativity without interruption or that nagging inner critic, can be used for any type of creative effort at any level—stories, novels, plays, memoirs, sketches, journals, and more. Attractive, engaging, funny, and free ranging, The Playful Way to Serious Writingis more than just a writing guide—it is an endless sourcebook of ideas and a trusted creative companion.

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Editorial Reviews

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. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618197293
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 947,486
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERTA ALLEN is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Playful Way to Serious Writing and Fast Fiction. Currently on the faculty of the New School, Allen is also an established visual artist and has exhibited worldwide, with work in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Table of Contents

Contents Starting Out What is the ENERGY Method? 12 How it works 16 How to know when a word or image has ENERGY 18 How to rebel 19 How to use the exercises 20 How to choose the exercises 21 Splotches 24 What is her secret? 26 Pick a letter 28 Why is she smiling? 30 Six figures 31 Moments 36

Looking Inward How far back can you go? 38 Memories 39 More memories 41 Whose memory is it? 43 False memories 44 Still more memories 45 Two sides of the story 46 A safe place 52 Objects not directly related 54 Pick a fear 58 More fears 61 Still more fears 62 What will happen here? 64 Found objects 65 Realizations 68 Life-shaping events 70 Found objects 72 Woman sitting 73 Decisions 74 More decisions 75 Still more decisions 76 What does he want? 78 Desires 79 Dreams 82 Imaginary dreams 83

Looking Outward Pick a letter 84 Who and where? 86 Loose lines 88 Three ways to explore characters or real people 90 Ten ways to get a piece or project unstuck 91 Pick a character 94 Who have I left out? 99 Who and where? 100 Getting physical 102 Minor mishaps 105 Shades of gray 106 Pick a problem 110 More problems 115 What is his problem? 117 One or two? 118 Solutions 120 Mixed feelings 121 Emotional states 122 More emotional states 123 A stranger 124 Mirror monologue 125 Mouth piece 126 Eye piece 127 Found objects 128 Combination piece 129 Hair piece 130 What’s in the box? 131 Is she “real”? 132 How are they connected? 134 Four silhouettes 136 Who is she? 138 One of three women 139 Pick a name 140 Before . . . 142 After . . . 143 Who is he? 145 Where and who? 146

Looking All Around Pick a place 148 More places 151 A real place 152 Another real place 153 Islands 154 What was lost here? 156 A primeval place 157 Dream space 158 Twenty-four figures 159 More inspirations 163 Pick two numbers 164 Whose hand is this? 166 What do they smell? 168 What does she smell? 169 A bad taste? 170 Eavesdropping 172 Sound piece 174 Pick an action 176 Pick an issue 178 Pick an animal 180 Pick a noun 182 More lines 184 Drawing lines 186 Cryptic writing 189

Looking Ahead Now What? 190 How to run a Playful Way group 195 Acknowledgments 199

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2002

    USEFUL FABULOUS

    I'm a professional writer, but even I found this book useful, to get me writing again when I'm stuck. Unlike most books that am to help you write--most of which are written in a tedious style that belies the intent of the work--this book is fun & exciting, from its picture-based exercises to the physical appearance of the book: casual fun exciting. It doesn't tell you how to write, it provokes you to write!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    Fun for everyone--useful writing exercises that work

    This book contains exercises to stimulate your writing ability. The book has been used by such diverse groups as grad students doing PhD dissertations, elementary school students, college students and professionals. The exercises are designed to stimulate both parts of the brain--the left, or verbal side and the right, which is more pictorial and less verbal. Some of the verbal exercises have you finish the sentence "Before..." as in "Before the Texan had finished speaking" or "After" as in "After he had called off the wedding...." Still others have you write a piece based on a picture in the book, or a feeling of energy, or a taste, a smell, something non-verbal. I have had fun doing writing that is stimulated by such assignments. It is actually surprising what can come out of your typewriter (or laptop, in my case) when you just let loose on one of these larks. I recommend this book especially for middle school and high school students who need tutoring in writing and find it dry going. Instead of term papers or compositions, these writing exercises can provoke even the dullest student to pour out their feelings on paper.

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