Ken Duncum, Bill Manhire, Chris Price and Damien Wilkins (eds)

The Exercise Book: Creative Writing Exercises from Victoria University's Institute of Modern letters


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December 2011

Exercises give your body a work-out. These exercises do the same for your imagination.

The Exercise Book is full of stimulating trigger ideas – a treasure trove for writers. There are writing prompts here that will help those who are just beginning. There are others that tackle the dreaded condition known as writer's block. Several exercises are designed specifically for the high-school classroom.

The contributors are all published and successful writers. They include staff from Victoria University of Wellington's famed creative writing programme – Ken Duncum, Bill Manhire, Chris Price, Damien Wilkins – and many others associated with the programme as teachers and graduates.

There are exercise ideas from writers like Emily Perkins, David Vann, Nigel Cox, Curtis Sittenfeld, Kate De Goldi, Dora Malech, Lavinia Greenlaw, Laurence Fearnley, Eirlys Hunter, James Brown, Kate Camp, Dinah Hawken, Jenny Bornholdt, Paula Morris, Hinemoana Baker, Catherine Chidgey and Kirsty Gunn – plus advice on how to create whole fictional worlds from Elizabeth and Sara Knox, from David Geary and Eleanor Catton.

In between are exercises from a host of New Zealand and international writers that explore the nuts and bolts of craft – in poetry, fiction and scriptwriting – along with others that tap the sources of inspiration or show the value of revision and editing.

'Stimulating? Hell yes. Handy? Ditto. I'll be using a lot of the ideas, and I promise not to pass them off as my own.' —David Hill, NZ Listener

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