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The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Designed for all students in the introductory course, The Practice of Creative Writing has a simple message: you can do this, and it’s worthwhile to try. Heather Sellers, who writes in multiple genres herself, has developed an approach that focuses on the habits and strategies that produce good writing in any genre: Images; Energy; Tension; Pattern; Insight; and Revision. ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published August 10th 2012 by Bedford/St. Martin's (first published July 27th 2007)
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Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great investment (about 100$) for beginners who are serious about learning to write. My writing changed a lot as I read it because I started to understand the craft. Creative writing is describing the moving pictures in your mind, and letting that movie become the platform for your story. I was impacted by understanding showing versus telling. Sellers discusses the principles of writing, the building blocks. This is definitely worth the investment. I didn't find a lot of the writing ...more
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This was a required textbook for my creative writing class, and I really enjoyed it. For one, it doesn't read like a dry textbook or how-to book. I actually looked forward to reading from it! Sellers keeps her writing interesting and engaging. Her explanations were clear, simple, and direct. I didn't enjoy all of the reading examples she provided at the end of the chapters, but I'm excited to use her exercises some more. This is a great resource for beginning writers.
It's not easy to create an introductory creative writing text that covers both poetry and prose (and even bits of literary nonfiction and drama), but Heather Sellers has done just that. I do have quibbles -- for example, her tone, which doesn't address students like the thoughtful adults that they are. But after plowing through twenty possibilities, this was the text I chose for my Intro to Creative Writing class.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm using this book to teach in the fall. I think it really is the best creative writing textbook that I've read though I wish it was organized by genre rather than all genres together. The readings and examples are fabulous. Some of the exercises are a bit tedious but I'm learning from this book. I think the chapter on images in particularly helpful.
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent resource for creative writing students. Each chapter outlines a specific writing strategy -- each of which builds on the one before. It's filled with activities, writing projects, and professional examples for reading. Probably the best text for a Creative Writing class.
Shanea Kirk
I am so glad I'm done with this book-for annoying and useful reasons!
The good-I loved how many exercises were in it throughout each chapter, not just at the end of one or in a separate section, but after a concept was discussed there was a way to apply it. I had a blast doing different techniques I don't usually enjoy or even think about using. Also, the readings at the end of each chapter made me laugh and cry. It felt like a little reward to all the work in the beginning of each chapter. A
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it

80% of content was required reading for class, and I haven't finished the rest. This text is perfect for creative writing classes to motivate new and developing writers. It has an upbeat and positive tone, creative prompts, and relevant, sometimes humorous content. The featured examples from other authors are often interesting and good models. The writing is clear and easy to understand, and each chapter has a good focus with helpful tips and explanations. I may use this in my own future
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
We used this book as part of my Freshman level creative writing workshop and I thought it was very effective.

All chapters are relevant for all genres of writing, and Sellers makes a case for switching back and forth in order to build different facets of one's skillset.

All of the writing examples were well chosen and Seller's own voice is easy to read, without being too dry or condescending.
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-home, school
This was a fabulous textbook. I've read several "how to write" books and this was the first time I actually understood HOW to implement the principles so many of these books preach. I'll be keeping this on my shelf for future reference.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a mentor text for my first creative writing class. Although there are a lot of great sample pieces in the book, the instructional text was contradictory in many places. We are told to use imagery, to write what we see and then told to only write what we know, to let go of fanciful images and ephemeral ideas. We are told to use colorful words to enhance the story and then told to avoid the thesaurus and use simple one-syllable words. There was a lot of comparing apples to oranges. ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A useful book... many good poems and stories in it. I also found several helpful exercises that I modified for an adult CW workshop I recently taught. A keeper for future ones! There is a new edition out...but this one was just fine....
Dejanira Dawn
*for College*
Brittany Walker (NekosBooks)
I thought I knew what was nessesary to get started writing a book, but this guide opened my eyes to things that I didn't know about and made me think more deeply into the writing process.
Jade C. Jamison
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have taught (and studied) creative writing with a lot of books. I loved this book the first time I taught from it and continue loving it because it isn't your run-of-the-mill creative writing textbook. So many of them focus on the same thing (and those topics aren't bad, but they're done to death), topics like plot, characters, setting, etc. Sellers focuses on elements that are usually glossed over in other texts, and that is what I appreciate about her book.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This textbook rocks. Intro to CW textbooks are a tough lot: either too much like lit texts, or too loosey-goosey find-your-soul. Sellers's text manages to balance the loosey-goosey with practical, straightforward exercises and advice. She even makes a great argument for why CW is an essential course for any college student. I learned from this textbook, and my students loved it, too.
Elizabeth Preslar
I did come out with some decent material from the writing prompts in this book, but it doesn't compare well to others I've tried. Sellers tries to turn her opinions and silly ideas into facts and it didn't sit well with me. I thought the examples of poetry and short stories were well chosen, but that's about the only thing I liked.
I have a request for anyone out there willing to help. I was supposed to receive this book last week, but shipping has been delayed twice. I need to know the titles of the poems on page 57 (Collins), 95 (addonizio), and 141 (Hoagland) so I can read the poems for my online class. Thanks you so much.
Tabitha Vohn
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-brow
This is great for my uses. It has a lot of beginner's creative writing activities that will be accessible to high school students, while striving to teach them a bit of craft as well. Moreover, it provides guidelines for helping them to evaluate literature from a writer's perspective. I love it! There's enough info for an entire course, so I'm condensing it into an end of the year unit.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is BRILLIANT -- full of stories and writing exercises and unique takes on writing as well as being written in a way that is not only helpful but easy to follow. To date, it's the best writing guide I've read.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book! I am very glad my professor chose this as our main textbook for the term. It is full of great ideas and examples of creative writing. I would recommend this to anyone trying to write.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another Creative Writing text book, this one is great for those looking for exercises to improve writing. It's full of prompts and practices that can keep you busy for hours, days, months maybe.
Brigid Cruickshank
I haven't used much of the book in my own course, but a few ideas that I cultivated were inspired from this text.
Theresa Crater
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally a text for writers, not students of litearture! Sellers tells my students what I had to discover all on my own.
Araminta Matthews
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: career-reading
THis is a fantastic writing resource. I particularly love the recipes section.
I actually might keep this book from my college...mwahahaha!!
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Not bad. There were a lot of helpful tips and pointers in this book.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read with some good ideas about how to improve your writing.
Sara Lamers
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction-read
This book also made many things "click" for me. I appreciate the secton on "reading as a writer" -- good for writers of all genres, especially fiction.
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read this for my Intro to Imaginative Writing class in the spring.
Manuel Crespo-Rodríguez
rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2014
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Heather Sellers has a PhD in English/Creative Writing from Florida State University. She’s a professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where she teaches poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing courses. She won an NEA grant for fiction and her first book of fiction, Georgia Under Water, was part of the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program.
“...writing is making a mess, and then working and reworking to create a beautiful piece.” 2 likes
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