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The Writer's Idea Book

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  863 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Writers will jump start their creativity with over 500 unique idea-generating prompts, from clustering to role-playing to automatic writing, that get the words flowing.
Hardcover, 262 pages
Published May 15th 2000 by Writer's Digest Books (first published 2000)
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Suzanne Lagrande
If you’re looking for a treasure trove of writing exercises to get you started writing, look no further than The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron. He starts by identifying what he calls the Enemies of Creativity: The Procrastinator, The Victim, The Talker, The Critic and the Judge and discusses how to subdue them strategies to subdue them. He then outline some genereal techniques for generating story ideas (such as clustering, listing, cut and paste in Chapter Four: Getting Ready to Write). Su ...more
Michelle Lynne
May 03, 2014 Michelle Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book of over 800 writing prompts because the prompts help you, not only to develop as a writer, but to develop your ideas when you may not know how to get started. As I progressed through the book, the first few chapters of prompts were very general - they helped me to get some interesting story ideas onto the page. Continuing on, the book continued to encourage more and more specific prompts that had to do with molding the characters you'd created earlier, or editing some ...more
StarMan rated it liked it
Jun 05, 2015
Victory Wong
I'm reading sections out of this book to help inspire me to write and push myself back into the writing realm and I believe it's doing a good job. It's my first book like this, so it maybe seem obvious to some people some of the stuff in the begining. There is a begining part about different stresses that writers have on them to not write-- like feeling we have other more important responsibilities, or writing/thinking as "The Author" rather than just letting the creative juices flow. So far I q ...more
Chad Hall
Jun 17, 2014 Chad Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-writing
I've been reading this book for a few months, not because of the difficulty but because of the density. Heffron offers a heap of advice and suggests hundreds of writing prompts, all designed to enforce the lessons in the preceding text. I found myself only able to absorb one short chapter a day. In may ways, this book is the closest thing to a textbook for creative writing. I look forward to going back through this book and actually doing the writing prompts. If you want help learning to write, ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many good prompts, but they are not the true value of this book. The book's tone keeps me writing when I want to stop. It's about "quit your whining and just WRITE for god's sakes." And it makes me keep writing and writing even when I want to stop because it's all crap flowing onto the paper, and nobody will ever want to read this crud, and how in the world am I going to convince anyone I'm a writer, and on and on. I keep this book on my desk as inspiration for those critical sessions of debilit ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Kym rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone attempting to write
This is a fantastic book! I will be using it for years I'm sure! Each chapter starts out with a description of what you'll be working with whether it is the basics of making sure you are writing every day or more complex topics as character development. Then throughout the chapter you get different prompts and exercizes to work through to help work on those topics.

I found the backstories to be very interesting and the exercizes to be fun and ones that can be done many times.
Rhonda Browning White
I picked up this book because it's full of writing prompts, though only a portion are fiction-specific. There were some good tidbits of advice sprinkled throughout, but some of the book's encouraging nature became tired after a while. This book is one I would recommend to writers who feel they suffer from so-called writer's block (I personally feel that's a lame excuse for laziness), or to writers in the early stages of the craft or who are in need encouragement.
Lisa M
Mar 07, 2012 Lisa M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heffron provides "Prompts," i.e. writing exercises, to jump-start your creativity in various areas, such as exploring ideas to start with and what to do when when your project goes flat and you need to up the stakes. The latter is what I found to be particularly helpful, and why I gave the book 4*s. I'm not usually into books that involve writing exercises, but this one got me thinking outside the box I was in.
Oct 07, 2009 Sherry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I didn't actually finish this one. It was due back at the library. But while I had it, it was great. I'd certainly check it out again. I picked it up for some, you know, 'ideas', of which there were plenty. In some ways it's 'just another writing' book. Good ideas and plenty of excercises to do that are helpful. As far as advice, etc. it's nothing I haven't heard before. Just keep writing!
Amy Saunders
Oct 13, 2008 Amy Saunders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any writer.
Shelves: writing-prompts
One of my favorite prompt books. Heffron offers a little coaching but this book is all about the writing. I've found it very helpful in tapping into my own life, past and present, for traits and emotions I can project onto my characters. It makes you dig, even into things that hurt, and as a result my characters and stories now go deeper. It's excellent for getting a handle on raw emotions but also for jump starting ideas.
Jan 01, 2014 Angeli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-help
It's rare for a "self-help" kind of book to really make an impact with me. They all seem so cookie-cutter, filled with the same endless diatribes and platitudes. Within the first few pages, Jack Heffron's book grabbed me by the horns and left me shaking with my eyed filled with tears. Here, at last, was someone who understood the writers' struggle. I recommend it heartily to any and all of my writerly friends.
Juan Maestas
I've had this book for many years- twelve, actually. It's been a great source to kindle ideas to start writing when you're feeling creatively blocked. It's accessible to a degree, but nothing I'd want to read cover-to-cover (though I feel that wasn't the author's intent to begin with, which makes it feel slightly dodgy).
Ruric Amhari
Dec 30, 2012 Ruric Amhari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Excellent book packed with ideas to get the creative thoughts going. Twenty nine chapters in 4 main sections: bending and stretching, exploring, finding form, assessing and developing.

Each chapter has a brief introduction and is then packed with prompts giving writers and aspiring writers plenty of opportuity to noodle around and explore different ideas.
Feb 05, 2016 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creative-writing
Even though you can't really "read" this book, it is a good find for anyone hoping to find inspiration for writing or for help getting unstuck when writing. There are a lot of good prompts in this book and also a lot of new ways at looking at things to help any writer. Probably the best I've seen.
Dec 04, 2009 Jayme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really great for just getting some ideas rolling around in your head that you can turn around and do something with. A couple of times, the prompts were confusing and the reading got stale. Though this was only a few instances, otherwise his tone was light and encouraging and the prompts were really unique.
Mar 08, 2014 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
I love the writing prompts in this book. I have been keeping a journal off and on for 25 years. I'm planning on writing down some of Neil great stories and I even got a voice recorder app to record them so that when I write them down, I don't miss out on details. I love to write true stories. I'm not very good at writing fiction.
Elisa George
Jul 18, 2012 Elisa George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent resource for prompts. This book contains well thought out ideas in a variety of categories...quite enough to keep any writer busy for quite some time. I have read through all the prompts and have already written many.
Apr 07, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just stared this last night and so far it's talking about one of the most important things any writer can do, getting your butt in the chair.

Good advice so far. Stop thinking about it and just get your butt in the chair.
Jane O'Reilly
Some interesting ideas in this for anyone looking for writing exercises, but best bought in paperback - it's the sort of book you will want to dip in and out of. I ploughed through it on kindle, and it was a long, hard slog.
Scott Marley
Dec 16, 2015 Scott Marley rated it it was amazing
a lot of interesting prompts to choose from when seeking out new ideas make this book worth it already. it's a great resource book for writers that's for sure, I'd recommend it to any who would like to dabble with a pen and paper
Apr 28, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many ideas!! The prompts are spectacular, and the rest is written in such a witty tone it's just plain fun to read. I will be getting my own copy of this book so that I can go through more of the prompts.
I read part of it, but it seems more like a reference than something I would read straight through. It requires patience and may help if you're totally lost in your writing AND if you don't have a deadline.
Jul 09, 2015 K. rated it really liked it
This book has so many great ideas! It's ideal for writers, but is also a great resource for teachers who might be looking to help students with short story ideas. Definitely something you'll want to add to your bookcase!
Apr 20, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pas buat mengatasi writer's block, atau di saat2 awal penulisan dan ingin mencari ide ;)
Steve Davis
Jan 29, 2016 Steve Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading and rereading. This is a book I pick up frequently when I need inspiration or an idea. As a writer this is a reference that I find myself constantly looking at.
Apr 24, 2012 Jessica marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook-book, free
[free nook book]
Jul 20, 2008 Tjoel2 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read January 2011
Lauren K
Feb 02, 2012 Lauren K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-books
A handy resource with plenty of writing prompts.
Sep 16, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got it from the library, decided I had to buy it. Great and interesting prompts for writers!
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Windry Ramadhina ...: The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron 1 1 Dec 16, 2015 09:04PM  
  • 4 A.M. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types
  • The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing
  • What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
  • Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer's Life
  • Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer
  • The Write-Brain Workbook
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • What Would Your Character Do?: Personality Quizzes for Analyzing Your Characters
  • The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations To Cultivate A Productive And Meaningful Writing Life
  • Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Plots, Characters and Complications
  • A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life
  • The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Writers Digest)
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • Getting the Words Right
  • The Weekend Novelist
  • Breathing Life into Your Characters

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