Cathy's Reviews > Write Outside the Lines: a creativity catapult

Write Outside the Lines by Cathy Altman Nocquet
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May 06, 2012

(Review from the author)
it was amazing
Recommended for: 8 years to adult and homeschoolers

Some early reviews:

"What happens when you put Robin Hood in the sewer with a band of merry microbes? Or start a story on the inside of an eyeball? You discover the wonderful, outlaw joy of writing a story that no one else has dared try before. In "Writing Outside the Lines," Cathy Altman Nocquet shows aspiring writers of any age how to have more fun -- and be more productive -- than they ever thought possible.
For anyone who has laughed at a Neil Gaiman story, shivered at the plot twists of J.K. Rowling or gasped at one of Michael Chabon's concoctions -- and then wondered: 'Why can't we teach anything like that in school?' -- the answer is: 'Now we can.' WOTL is the most ingenious, subversive, life-affirming textbook that I've ever encountered. It's a book that will inspire a new generation of great writers, and help even the most apprehensive students discover that, yes, writing can be wonderful."
-- George Anders, New York Times best-selling author and co-recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, 1997

"With this inspiring and instructive book that captures the essence of her creativity workshops, Cathy Altman Nocquet frees readers of all ages to write with confidence and courage."
-- Sheila Kohler, O'Henry Prize winning author and Lecturer, Princeton University, NJ

"I have rarely seen a teacher as inspiring as Cathy Altman Nocquet in her creative writing workshops. With humor, wit and depth of understanding, she opens her students' minds to the endless possibilities of their own imaginations, giving them the skills and direction to put this into words. Her book joyfully guides each student to find his or her own voice."
Amy Gamlen, Teacher, Musician and Composer, Paris Jazz Underground

"A warm, engaging and original book that leaves children more confident about not only their ability to write, but to think. With WOTL, we've witnessed the launch of a counter-culture Creativity Camp, with the mission of challenging and developing each child's unique talent. I loved the infectiously funny, subversive voice and the rollicking rhythm of the whole thing!"
-- Denise Young, Journalist, Paris

After one day online, WOTL is in Amazon's Top Ten for Kid's Language Arts (2nd place) and Reference Non-Fiction (6th place)!

New review from ENV, a true writing guru:

"Most books that teach writing put the cart before the horse. They advocate letting your imagination run loose but don't tell you how to do it, and for the nervous neophyte it leads to shutting down instead of opening up. 'Here's a box of adverbs and a nice selection of some other parts of speech. Now write a short story.'
This author operates on the theory that teaching writing is not, at least at the beginning, about the fine art of creating literature, but of releasing your secret drooling idiot. It's about letting your wackiness escape, throwing snowballs at the squad car, belching in the elevator, and extracting the stout stick that life has shoved up your alimentary tract. I am reminded of Roy Campbell's epigram about a group of namby-pamby novelists.
He wrote: "You praise the firm restraint with which they write - I'm with you there, of course: They use the snaffle and the curb all right, But where's the bloody horse?" You can't jump the fence if you don't have a horse.
Doubtless the writer will be charged with excess, but that would be missing the point, which is: Take ownership of that thing you've been hiding all these years, strip it naked and let it howl at the moon. That's the necessary beginning. Later, of course, we can all have a glass of sherry and critique Henry James."


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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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David This is a book that is useful, it is useful because it is a book about how to be creative, it is a creative book about how to be creative, and it is destined for those who can't help being creative because they are children. Children are the ones who play and their play is creative. Once they have successfully become adults, which generally implies reigning in and raining on their creativity, they play to waste time. This book really lets a child maintain, develop, deepen, and if necessary, reconnect with the creativity that is their God given birthright. Or just their given birthright for the children of atheists or non theist families. Cathy really knows how to talk to children since nothing displeases them more than childishness, that being for adults. She helps them develop and shelter their vulnerability, for vulnerability is one of the secret hot spots, that well known blue bird of creativity. But being vulnerable, vulnerability is often the first spot trod on by well and not so well meaning adults. "Write Outside the Lines; a creativity catapult," takes you right there, to the child and should you somehow have protected and nourished your innocence, it will take you to the child remaining in and for you. In other words the book is for children and the child-like. If you have maintained this all too vital side of yourself, you deserve this treat and you will be able to use it in your to all appearances adult life. Everyone needs to write, and everyone can write, for their personal enjoyment and by the by, that of others. This book does it right.


message 2: by Betty (new)

Betty Heller Like Strunk and White, this is a must for anyone who hopes/enjoys/wants or needs to write. Great for youngsters, but also a very useful exercise for adults. Of course, it is immensely creative, but I especially appreciate that it is all done with great wit by an author in love with language and storytelling. Ms. Altman Nocquet has a wonderful gift and we are lucky that she has chosen to share it with us.
Nardo* let go! I said let go!! Oh all right...Nardo's gifts are even greater and you will certainly profit by reading"his" book.


Cathy Nardo's gifts are GREATEST. He is the one and only Immortal Nard. NARDO


Cathy This just in, from a professor of Journalism:

"Mme. Nocquet has created a book that cajoles the creativity out of students. She does it by teasing their brains with questions and challenges that can’t be dismissed. But there’s much more to WRITE OUTSIDE THE LINES than that. Nocquet augments her whimsical exercises with some pretty solid instructions....The skill that can do most to upgrade students’ writing is the ability to think. WOTL is a summer camp for one-way minds. The activities are lots of fun, and deftly designed to take straight-track mentalities on new, sweeping excursions that will change them in unexpected ways."

-- D. Martin Professor of Journalism


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