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on Feb. 05, 2012 :
I stumbled upon this neat little book from the author's website, after looking up "writing prompts". The author offers a Writing Prompt Generator on his website, which I quite liked. So when I saw that he also had an e-book with 500 prompts, I was quite interested.
The book is, as the title suggests, a compilation of writing prompts - 500 of them to keep you going. The premise behind the prompts - and (pun intended) what prompted the book - is that a lot, if not the majority, of the writing prompts out there are very dry, giving you a word or a vague concept to work with. One notable example taken from Maxwell's book is "The Sea". Yeah, that wouldn't be very inspiring to me neither - at least, not in the aim of overcoming a writer's block!
Therefore, in his book, Maxwell proposes to give us a series of actually functional prompts, that should get your creative juices going. But he doesn't stop at that. After a brief description of the major genres of fiction, he then proposes us a story generation - with instructions and a couple of examples on how he used it with his own prompts. If your really blocked, you can use his exercise and ask yourself the right questions from the prompt to up with the basis for characters, location, conflicts, climax, etc. I personally found that very informative and useful - I know I'll be using it!
Follows 3 short stories from 3 other authors using the prompts, along with a commentary on how they used them. And throughout the book, it is always emphasized that the prompts an ideas on how to use them are only there to get us started - ultimately, what we decide to do is up to us, and the sky is the limit.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book, and would recommend to anyone who enjoys writing and might need a bit of extra inspiration and a push to stop procrastinating - be them a seasoned writer or a newby, like me.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)