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Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

(Now Write!)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A collection of personal writing exercises and commentary from some of today's best novelists, short story writers, and writing teachers, including Jill McCorkle, Amy Bloom, Robert Olen Butler, Steve Almond, Jayne Anne Phillips, Virgil Suárez, Margot Livesay, and more.

What's the secret behind the successful and prolific careers of critically acclaimed novelists and short

Paperback, 269 pages
Published September 7th 2006 by TarcherPerigee (first published 2006)
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Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Now Write! is a useful addition to the bookshelf for writers, especially those who also teach creative writing. I immediately started using some of the exercises in my fiction class.

I had a moment where I laughed out loud. Amidst the usual exercises on character and point of view there was this advice from Kathleen Spivak in her "The Writing Exercise: A Recipe."

Ingredients and Preparation

Before bedtime, pick up the alarm clock. Set it to ring two hours earlier than your usual wake-up time.

Robert Beveridge
Sherry Ellis (ed.), Now Write!: Fiction Exercises from Today's Best Teachers and Writers (Tarcher, 2006)

Exactly what it says it is: a compendium of writing exercises from various folks. Ellis herself is entirely transparent aside from a brief introduction; from there, it's the writers and nothing but.

Needless to say, in a book like this, especially with so many different contributors (there are eighty-two different sections), you're bound to have some inconsistency. As well, it sometimes seems a
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are some magnificent writing exercises in this book. I found numerous helpful prompts that I will definitely be using in the near future. I highly recommend this book to other aspiring writers.
Jessi Dazzo
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
This book got me thinking about my writing. Its full of exercises that have ultimately created many story ideas for me to work with. But a lot of the writing exercises were too complicated/time consuming for me to get into. I may have to re-read this at some point when I have more time to devote to lengthy exercises. However, there are a lot of helpful tips in here to get you to take a closer look at your writing and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to "delve deep" and take a good look at ...more
Amanda Patterson
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent fiction writing exercises.
Aug 20, 2007 rated it liked it
I'm thinking of using this book for my next Writing Group session. I've only looked through the first few exercises, but I like what I've seen so far. The first exercise is from Jayne Anne Phillips, the author of Black Tickets among others... anyone who has taken Marc's classes would recognize her as the author with the wedding photo on the front cover of her book. I think doing something with wedding photos would be fun, especially given the demographic of my group.

I used some of these w
Shayla Raquel
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I specifically purchased this book to brainstorm writing exercises for my local writing group. I was surprised by how many useful, out-of-the-box exercises were covered in Sherry Ellis’s book.

Now Write! provides exercises for POV, character development, dialogue, plot and pacing, setting and description, craft, and revision.

I recommend bringing along some sticky labels to bookmark your favorite writing exercises. Definitely a book you’ll keep coming back to again and again.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: reference, writing
I was turned off by this book at the first few exercises. But after a while I did find some brilliant exercises that really helped clarify my writing. Some of the authors just like to hear the sound of their voice. But others really do know what they are talking about. So it is worth a read for those that are interested in writing effectively.
Ann Harleman
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many great exercises in Now Write! If you have a minute, please take a look at mine🙄: “More Is More: An Exercise in Revising Your Story.”
I’d love to hear what you think. This exercise is the outgrowth of two decades of teaching creative writing to visual artists @rhodeislandschoolofdesign. Thanks 🙏 to all my students! I miss you! ❤️
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A quick and easy read, the passages and writing exercises by various authors was a great inspiration that there is no one right way to write. The important thing is to write. From reflections on research, story development, and character depth, this is a handy and welcomed addition to my writing library.
May 12, 2007 added it
Shelves: on-writing
Includes exercises from Wolverines Laura Kasischke and Eileen Pollack as well as former-Wolverines Nancy Resiman and Rick Hillis. Wolverines sounds more impressive than Michiganders or ‘people affiliated with the University of Michigan MFA program’, no?
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm teaching a fiction writing class and using this book. It's chockful of great exercises to get you started writing--and to get you moving more deeply into--fiction. There is also some excellent craft discussion on Point of View, Character Development, Dialogue, Plot and Pacing, Setting, etc. ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Even though I teach middle school, many of these exercises can be tweaked/ reworded for adolescent creative writers. Even if the exercises don't work the way you envisioned, they still work.

Heather Larcombe
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another of those "reading this for no particular reason" books. I'm not a writer, and don't particularly intend to become one, but I'm still interested in the process and the tools. You never know what knowledge might come in handy someday. ...more
L.A. Jacob
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference, writing
Some of these exercises were great (The Collage is one I like to use now), and some, well, you can tell they're written by new agers with their whole "guided imagery" thing. In general, this is one of the best books on prompts and exercises that I've read. ...more
Keith Cochran
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked this book for the advice given by Ramsey Campbell and Jack Ketchum alone. Two of my favorite authors. Very good advice and exercises from current authors. I suggest picking this up and reading it cover to cover, twice.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting collection of writing prompts and musings from some serious teachers. Unfortunately, it's all at too high a level for my high school students. I'd recommend it to advanced writers. It's a taste of a writing workshop at home. ...more
Sue Pullen
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing and helpful book.

Extremely interesting, with excellent writing exercises by great authors. I have found a lot of useful tips that I am now using and my writing has grown much stronger due to this book. Great fun!
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
i read maybe 1/4 of the book this morning -- there's really excellent breadth in the exercises. great for working on various elements of a story, depending on your mood or current worry. :) ...more
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Writing exercises geared towards developing projects, and jump starting your brain.
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Trying to generate some new materials, so I returned to flipping through this book I picked up a writer's conference in '07. ...more
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This has some very useful exercises to get your creative juices flowing.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teacher-stuff, ebooks
Loved the range of ideas, pulled out a few exercises that would work for my middle school kids. This book would work well with a high school AP or Honors class :)
Mathis Bailey
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This book has good tips for aspiring novelists.
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ownit
Good series of exercises and challenges on writing techniques

Read but on my reference shelf.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Helpful and encouraging sharing and prompts.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific collection of writing exercises. I use this book almost every day in my fiction writing practice.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book for prompts to start writing.
Anisah Karim
Jun 22, 2018 added it
Shelves: anisah
exercises from writers on every step of the writing process
Marie-pierre Stien
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
A good book, except I never wanted to do any of the exercises in it.
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Sherry Ellis was a writer, social worker, writing coach, and the originator of the Now Write! series of writing exercise books. She edited Now Write!, Now Write! Nonfiction, and coedited Now Write! Screenwriting with her niece, Laurie Lamson. Her author interviews were published in literary magazines and are anthologized in Illuminating Fiction. She passed away during the process of putting togeth ...more

Other books in the series

Now Write! (5 books)
  • Now Write! Nonfiction: Memoir, Journalism and Creative Nonfiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers
  • Now Write! Screenwriting: Exercises by Today's Best Writers and Teachers
  • Now Write! Mysteries: Suspense, Crime, Thriller, and Other Mystery Fiction Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers
  • Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers

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