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Sharp, Caroline. A writer's workbook; daily exercises for the writing life.

St. Martin's, Griffin. 144p. bibliogs. c2000. 0-312-28621-X. $12.95. SA

For most of us who think of ourselves as writers--as well as for those who would like to include themselves in that illustrious group--one of the most challenging parts of the entire writing process can be just getting started. Caroline Sharp knows that words do not get put on paper by frustrated writers who think that tomorrow would be a perfectly reasonable time to start writing. The purpose of her workbook is to help the would-be writer to start writing today. To that end, she offers 31 exercises that lead writers past the agonizing "what-shall-I-write-about?" stage and directly to the more satisfying putting-words-on-paper part of the process. Sharp's exercises involve various journaling techniques, listening to and elaborating on overheard conversations, copying the style of admired writers, describing people and places both familiar and imaginary, creating and developing characters, recalling past experiences both good and not-so-good, and the creative use of dreams. Along the way, she presents "obstacle pages" that address some of the fundamental issues that frequently keep writers from getting the job done despite their excellent intentions. Sharp concludes her workbook with some suggestions on how to make the most of a writing group and a bibliography of works on the art and craft of writing. This is not a book aimed directly at young writers; indeed, the book's somewhat unfocused organization and Sharp's occasionally meandering writing style could be a bit off-putting to would-be writers below highschool age. For the test of us, however, Sharp's workbook offers some inspiring words of encouragement and several intriguingly diverse approaches to overcoming the dreaded writer's block that is sure to afflict every writer at one time or another. Jeffrey Cooper, Writer/Editor, Long Island, NY
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Cooper, Jeffrey
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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