Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Writer's Idea Book: How to Develop Great Ideas for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, & Screenplays” as Want to Read:
The Writer's Idea Book: How to Develop Great Ideas for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, & Screenplays
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Writer's Idea Book: How to Develop Great Ideas for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, & Screenplays

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,071 ratings  ·  64 reviews

Since its publication ten years ago, The Writer's Idea Book has become one of the most popular books for writers. The 'secret' to its success is the number of idea-generating exercises. In this new edition, every chapter will feature new exercises, text, and examples/models. Some of the updated text will be drawn from Heffron's original sequel to the first edition, The Wri

Paperback, 10th Anniversary Edition, 337 pages
Published January 15th 2012 by Writer's Digest Books (first published 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Writer's Idea Book, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Writer's Idea Book

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,071 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Writer's Idea Book: How to Develop Great Ideas for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, & Screenplays
Shawn Deal
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A literal gold mine of ideas, prompts and exercises to get a writer going. I use many of these in my own creative writing class. Granted not all of these will be to every writer's taste but there is enough in here for every writing to get a lot out of this book. Recommend it.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, at the end of October, I spontaneously decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, which is the National Novel Writing Month that usually happens in November. Hence my decision to dive into this idea book that I just happened to already have on my Nook account, downloaded from who knows when, because I knew I'd want to try to get back into writing one day. I'm planning to refer to this book throughout my writing process, since I have not seriously written in such a long time.

This book definitely ha
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this book years ago when I was looking for a last minute game for my writing group. From the title it was not what I expected, but that, in the end, is what I like the most about this book. Jack Heffron’s book has more prompts in it than I have seen in any other writing book. It’s really just a collection of small blurbs and then about five to ten prompts, sometimes just a pull page of prompts, and yes, I am still working my way through them. So many good prompts and so little ti ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-writers
This book is perfect for writers looking to become more creative and polished. There are prompts to help get ideas on the page and can help if you're in a rut when it comes to new ideas. There are prompts to help revise previous writings you've done by changing point of view or voice, etc. Exercises to help you find the best way to convey your story or idea without being cliche or unoriginal. Really this book is an excellent way to improve your skill as a writer, the prompts/exercises are numero ...more
Don Incognito
I found this book's writing prompts only moderately useful, because they involve many topics that I don't find directly relevant to story ideas, such as why one doesn't want to write or what one's beliefs on some issue are.

They're as good as anything in forcing one to write, about anything; and then the mind has a way of popping out thoughts that may prove unexpectedly relevant or useful to one's story, even directly involved in it. But...I'd rather move on and look at more interesting writing p
Kym Gamble
Jul 02, 2012 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.
Dilbag Singh
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will give you how to capture an idea. How little things about your day to day life can trigger a concept. It shows you the practice of how to capture the character, his her motivation and how to see your present world in a different way so as create new stories.
Angell Johnson
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Writing prompt books have never interested me, but I thought to give this one a try. I think because I’m 7 years late reading this book, everything seems old and cliche to me. I did find the exercises useful. But when working with writing prompts, it feels like I’m writing what everybody else is writing, which is meaningless.

On the back cover blurb, the author does tell you that it’s up to you to put your own spin on the ideas provided. Because everyone has ideas, it’s hard to write something th
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a book filled with a wide range of writing prompts, this is the book. From creating ideas to exploring ideas to evaluating ideas, the prompts expanded my writing depth and forced (allowed?) me to turn my characters world upside down to better understand my characters origins.

Longings usually are associated with the past, the desire to reunite with a time or place or person who is no longer around. Create a characters who longs for someone or something in her past but
I struggled to get through this book. While it might have been good for writing prompts (which I wasn't really looking for), as far as actual information, I found it pretty sparse. Especially when you consider that there wasn't a lot of examples given for some of the direction. I wish there was a how-to approach with it.
Mikaela Robertson
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-yearly
This book opened my mind to what treasures were already inside me. It's the first writing prompt book I've read and I loved it. I found it incredibly helpful and motivating for improving and growing my writing skills.
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 03, 2013 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
Amy Saunders
Oct 13, 2008 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.
Oct 07, 2009 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!
Rhonda Browning
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 01, 2014 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.
Dec 04, 2009 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.
Ruric Amhari
Dec 30, 2012 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.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
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).
Feb 05, 2016 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.
Apr 07, 2010 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.
Elisa George
Jul 18, 2012 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.
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.
Apr 28, 2015 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.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Windry Ramadhina ...: The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron 1 1 Dec 16, 2015 09:04PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language
  • Fiction Writer's Workshop
  • A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life
  • The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing
  • The Artist's Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living
  • Around the World in 80 Trees
  • Into the Deep (Rock Harbor, #3)
  • Sleeper's Castle
  • Time's Echo
  • The Prayer of Protection: Living Fearlessly in Dangerous Times
  • One Little Lie (The Pelican Harbor, #1)
  • The Prayer That Changes Everything: Book of Prayers
  • Seeing Darkness (Krewe of Hunters #30)
  • Think Better, Live Better: A Victorious Life Begins in Your Mind
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Writing to Change the World
  • The Lost Queen (The Lost Queen Trilogy, #1)
See similar books…

News & Interviews

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
25 likes · 39 comments