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Creative Block: 500 Ideas to Ignite Your Inner Genius - Lou Harry

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Genre: Encyclopedias / Reference / Author: Lou Harry / Paperback / 672 Pages / Book is published 2005-04-20 by Perseus Books

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      18.10.2009 15:25
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      Essential for all keen writers

      If you have read my previous review on "The Writers Block" then you will have a rough idea of the premise of this book. If not, here is a rough precis to start.

      Like 'The Writer's Block' before it this is a book that is notable initially by the fact that it looks quite odd - 10cm high x10 cm long x 10 cm deep. The idea is that in a creative void, you open this book at a random page and find an idea that will give you inspiration. On the front it describes itself as having "500 ideas to ignite your imagination", which is over 100 more than were in the already extensive "Writer's Block."

      Also, whereas the previous edition was primarily aimed at writers, this has a wider scope. In the book's introduction it claims that it can provide inspiration not just to writers but also to people who work in the ideas and creative industries.

      In general, the ideas within can be defined into a number of recurring categories:

      Spark words - these are single words or phrases which are meant to trigger imaginative thought - eg trash, reject, search and wake-up.
      Spark quotes - these are lines of dialogue to help inspire you - eg "let's try something different" or "we need to talk"
      Spark settings - these provide a location for action - eg inside a tent, in the woods, a battlefield
      Explain its - where a moment is identified free for you to expand on - "write about a third date," "recall the moment in life when you felt most like a fish out of water."

      As you may also find within this book there are instructions for actions you can take that may help - "doodle - don't be afraid to let works work their way in". There are also prompts to encourage you to get your inspiration from people around you - "Get their story: ask your parents to recall a memory they have never shared with you."

      The tasks are also punctuated with images and "expert advice" - tips from a number of professionals in creative industries.

      I was a huge fan of the first book as I felt it actively helped me to write in the face of a lack of inspiration. In essence, despite some slight differences in categories this is a natural follow-on from the "Writer's Block" - and in my opinion not any better or worse - thus the same 5 star rating.

      It has also provided me with a ton of ideas which have really developed and basically just got me putting pen to paper in an easy way. As such, I consider this book to be an essential part of my bookcase, especially my creative writing section and I can imagine it providing a lot of long term use to many other people as well.

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