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The 3 A.M. Epiphany

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  975 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Discover Just How Good Your Writing Can Be

If you write, you know what it's like. Insight and creativity - the desire to push the boundaries of your writing - strike when you least expect it. And you're often in no position to act: in the shower, driving the kids to the middle of the night.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany offers more than 200 intriguing writing exercises des
Paperback, 261 pages
Published August 5th 2005 by Writer's Digest Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  975 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Gus Sanchez
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
For us writers that need swift and frequent kicks in the ass when it comes to shaking off the writing doldrums, The 3 A.M. Epiphany is precisely the tonic you'll need to cure the writer's block blues.

Daniel Kiteley's exercises are indeed uncommon. Broken down into categories like Point of View, Characters, Women and Men, Children and Childhood, Conversation, Thought and Emotion, Biography and Autobiography, History, Work, and Travel, just to name a few, the writing prompts you'll find here will
Vanessa Wu
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hey, who said erotic stories had to be predictable?

With titles like FUNHOUSE MIRROR, NUDES, LISTFUL, RUSSIAN DOLL IN REVERSE, CAUGHT ON TAPE and many more, these writing exercises really shake up your style and get your creative juices juicing.

I have bought and read just about every book ever published on creative writing and this is one of four I kept.

What I like about it is that many of the exercises can be applied to whatever you are are writing at the moment. You don't have to stop what you
Javier Avilés
No sé como calificarlo porque son una serie de ejercicios narrativos que debes efectuar paralelamente a la lectura. Desafortunadamente no hay nadie para corregirlos y comentarlos. Viene acompañados de consejos y advertencias del autor que te muestran cierto camino, el de la diversidad narrativa principalmemte.
Un libro de muy largo recorrido.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Succeeds where a lot of writing exercise books fail. Kitely is kind enough to not treat his reader like an idiot, and there's a lovely mix of insight and playfulness to the exercises. I had a lot of fun with these. Remember that? When writing was FUN??? I know! Only wish I'd had it as a reference when I was teaching intro to creative writing a million years ago.
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Possibly unfair to call this "read," as I've only actually attempted two of the exercises thus far - still, these are more than mere writing prompts, as Kiteley explores the reasoning and origin of each exercise in detail.
Priscilla Long
Dec 01, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am slowly doing the exercises in this book of exercises for fiction writers. I am very pleased with them so far. They are far from being humdrum fiction exercises.
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on writing exercises out there. Lots of fun, original exercises, and I use them in my own writing and also in the classroom.
Erika Dreifus
(This review was originally published in The Practicing Writer, September 2005 and was based on a copy provided by Writer's Digest Books.)

I first learned about fiction writer and teacher Brian Kiteley some years ago when I discovered his name in my research on writing historical fiction. Then I found a set of writing exercises he'd posted online, and I was impressed once again. So while I have yet to meet or work with Kiteley in person, I was familiar enough with his background to know that when
Jennifer Worrell
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft
If you're tired of the same one-liner prompts, this is a good book to try. Kiteley comes up with scene exercises that have some meat to it, challenging you to write 300–700 word chunks based on a theme. I unfortunately didn't have time to go through as much of this book as I wanted to (I borrowed it from the library), so I skimmed through to find some exercises that pertained to what I was currently writing. I found some that made me think about relationships between my characters, ways to devel ...more
T. Hampton
I struggled with this one. I wanted to like it. I like the idea of the book. But the writing style and the exercises included just didn't work for me. Kiteley is a literary fiction writer and reader, and that comes across in this book. I prefer fantasy and science fiction, something which Kiteley admits he actively discourages in his live workshops because he doesn't read it much himself.

I think the exercises provided in this book are good ones. And at a different stage in my own writing endeavo
Sep 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fiction writers, writing teachers
A different take on the usual writing-exercise book. I've been going through it and marking things I like and might use. A lot of them are interesting to read about but would probably be incredibly frustrating to attempt. They aren't simple and obvious, though, and I like that.
Diah R
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
It was as if I have found my own holy grail in writing fiction.

Kiteley wrote an exercise book intended to be used by all fiction writers.
Inside, you will find many (and I mean MANY) small prompts that you can do one by one; or, if you are feeling brave, combine two or three prompts to create your own short stories.
Exercise are varied from 500-600 words.
At least those were the ones that I did during my day job.

But I love it anyway.

Keep writing, fellow writers!
Erin Geil
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite writing exercise books of all time, there's one after it that I have as well called the "4 am Breakthrough" that is just as good, although at this point in time, I have no idea where they are. I've flipped through I don't know how many writing exercise books and just roll my eyes at the exercises, these prompts made me get excited to write. And I hope they make you want to write as well.
Andrew Post
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read through this book (I'm still only a short way through the exercises) and thought, on the whole, that it seems to be a great way to learn to stretch your writing muscles in new and unconventional directions. Exactly what I need right now. I bought this book to help get me out of a bad writing slump, and so far it's doing admirably.
Heather McC
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Filled with lots of writing prompts that will challenge and stretch the creative mind, Kiteley's book is great for writing groups, critque groups, writers block or rainy days with nothing to do. Pick a prompt and go!
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Helpful for my writing of short fiction. Will probably be helpful for my longer writing in the future when needing inspiration.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant exercises. Highly recommended.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Fun excersises
Challenging writing prompts and lack of time made me abandon this book before I really started it. A personal failing rather than the author's. Was impressed by the exercises, which really required you to stretch your imagination and ability.
Rachel Meyer
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This book is full of excellent exercises and ideas for writers. It encourages you to think in new ways and would be perfect for when you had writers block. Great for any writer's shelf.
Catherine Gillespie
I’m not normally one for writing exercises. I like to read through them, but rarely try them. However, Brian Kiteley’s approach in The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction changed my mind (a little). Kiteley believes that writing exercises (prompts to get you to write a short piece of fiction) can be done with your current set of characters/piece of fiction in mind, and can become a valuable part of that work. With that mindset, I did try several of the exercis ...more
Beaulah Pragg
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
If you like to write, and want to write better, this is definitely the book for you. Stuffed full of exercises to stretch all different sorts of writing muscles, from point of view to vivid description, interview and voice, Brian Kiteley has genuinely delivered on the tagline promise - writing exercises that transform your fiction.

No. 1, for example, is to write 500 words in first person while only using the personal pronoun 'I' twice in the whole piece. Surprisingly hard and really rewarding. I
Sharon Bakar
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm slowly working my way through the exercises - and they are challenging. But some very nice material has emerged from them and I'm able to use them to give me new perspectives on work in progress.

I wouldn't recommend this for new writers (a collection of writing prompts is a much better bet and I recommend The Writer's Book of days by Judy Reeves) but for anyone who has material already and wants to improve their craft, or needs shaking out of a rut, this has to be one of the best books on th
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Writers of all shapes and sizes
Recommended to Meow by: Heather Sellers
This book is excellent! Even if you aren't a serious writer but you love to write for the sake of it, this book will get your creative juices flowing for sure. It makes you think about characters and stories in a way that you didn't before (like the exercise "Public Space vs. Private Space"). The heavily literary exercises will be good for the literature-phile while the simpler exercises will definitely pique the interest of the casual writer, with concepts inbetween.

The cover design is also gor
Matt Briggs
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
This is a pretty good book of very practical writing exercises. Although the exercises themselves are very straightforward and easy to follow, they quickly move into some abstract areas of theory. In his explanations Kiteley lets you know where you are headed, but always he is focused on providing direction to get words down on a page. There are hundred of exercises and a sequel. I've been following them in order, and I'm still in the POV section. The title is a problem, but clearly has more to ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is preliminary because I have only spent an hour or so with this book, but it wasn't what i expected. I was looking for a book with writing exercises and it was very highly rated on Amazon, with several glowing review, plus the title is sexy. But the introduction and how to use this book chapters are annoying to me. They are basically bulleted lists that read more like fashion magazine copy than writing advice. And the exercises haven't intrigued me much yet. Maybe I need to try a few more ...more
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers of fiction
This book is tough to put on a shelf. It sits in my to-read stack, though I have gone through the introduction and whatnot. It's a writing excercise book, as the title clearly explains, and I think it's silly to read through the numerous exercises as if they were a novel.

I have already found the exercises useful, the approach interesting, and think it would be a good tool for a creative writing class as well as the individual.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This is required reading (and, through the exercises, writing) for my MFA. Looks interesting. The author is self-admitting to his tendency to be a layered, thicker-styled writer. From my brief pages thus far, he has moments of brilliant-ness...and, in my opinion, areas where conciseness would do, more than the ramble. But who am I to complain? He's the head of a PhD in writing program and has credits to his name. I'd better sit up and take notice, eh?
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's hard to gauge the effectiveness or quality of a writing book. It also depends on how much effort you as a writer put into it. However, the exercises seem interesting, and he offers suggestions on how to combine them. It is not prescriptive: just do a bunch and re-read them later; then answer, what insights into your own process did you get out of them? But in terms of the variety and intelligence of the exercises, they're a cut above what I've used before. A four for now.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
The 3 A.M. Epiphany has lots of interesting writing exercises, ones which can stretch the way you think about how to portray a scene or person. It is very much designed to improve the mechanics of your thinking about scenes, about wording, about how a character thinks in a very specific situation, and about many small things. It isn't a book full of broad principles. Don't read it expecting a guide to forming a story, but rather with the idea of practicing new writing techniques and mechanics.
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“THE CLOSET. Write a story in which the narrator is snooping around an ex-boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) apartment because he or she still has a key. The whole story takes place in a closet in the bedroom that the narrator retreats to when the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend comes home with the narrator’s best friend. The narrator must endure, inside the closet, maybe the sounds of this couple making love for the first time or perhaps simply a loving conversation unlike any the narrator has ever had with this former paramour. Describe only what the narrator can see and smell inside the closet and what she can hear and guess is going on outside the closet. Resist the temptation, in this exercise, to rub salt in the open wounds of this narrator. Simply show us the events unfolding outside his view, spending as much detail as you can on what is happening rather than on the emotions of the trapped, guilty, outraged observer. If you present the actions and dialogue of this other couple effectively, you will show us your narrator’s deep sadness or anger or a combination of the two, without having to describe it.” 0 likes
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