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The Writer’s Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the ‘Write’ Side of Your Brain

Designed by a longtime creative writing teacher, this innovative kit includes a 64-page booklet filled with exercises and instructions that focus on a “right-brain” approach to writing. Sixty exercise sticksFirst Sentences, Non Sequiturs, and Last Strawswill get stories off the ground, 60 cards fuel creative descriptions, and four spinner palettes will ignite unexpected plot twists. For any aspiring writer, thiskit is the perfect first step on the path to literary greatness!

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3 comments to The Writer’s Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the ‘Write’ Side of Your Brain

  • Lynn M. Hoffman

    A Terrific Creative Writing Resource What I like most about Jamie Cat Callan’s The Writer’s Toolbox is her non-linear approach to narrative. Premised on chance, writers of all ages literally can choose story elements — their “tools” — from this thoughtfully designed toolbox. There’s a wealth of material and options from which to choose. For example, if you (or your students) are having trouble starting your story, play, or poem, choose a “First Sentence” stick and write for 3 minutes. Or, perhaps a character is giving you trouble. Spin the “Protagonist Wheel.” Maybe you’ll end up with “Laurie the famous actress,” whose goal is, “she wants to see the world.” The only problem is “she’s afraid of heights,” so she takes action and “learns how to drive.” Now you have a protagonist, a plot, and no excuse to procrastinate. I had a great time surrendering to and exploring Jamie’s prompts. While I was writing, my mind was racing, alert, and eager for the next challenge. After experimenting with more than a dozen of her exercises, I started generating my own whimsical, free-wheeling ideas. At the same time, it was comforting to know that if I got stuck, I could always reach for a “Last Straw” stick or a “Sixth Sense Card” to rescue me. The student examples were fun to read, and there’s a not-to-be-missed bibliography on writing. The Writer’s Toolbox is for young and old, teacher and student, experienced and inexperienced novelists, short story writers, playwrights, screenwriters, and poets. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a writing course. All you need is a little encouragement and a toolbox, The Writer’s Toolbox, by Jamie Cat Callan.

  • Scott F. Snair

    Perfect for Teachers and Writers I’m an English teacher and a part-time, professional non-fiction writer. I walked past “The Writer’s Toolbox” in a bookstore this past weekend, sniffed at the creative packaging, and muttered, “All fluff, but no substance, I’ll bet!” And yet, I found myself going back to it. Finally, I bought the damned thing, hoping to scratch the itch.At home, I opened it, expecting buyer’s remorse. No way!!! This kit is amazing. I plan to use it in the classroom next year, both during school hours with my writing students and after hours with my Writers Guild. I especially like the sample story — in the directions — that is essentially the result of the toolbox games.My favorite device? The non sequiter sticks. I plan on using them to help keep some of my non-fiction writing dynamic. Of course, I’ll have to modify the items to my own research and reality, but that strikes me as half the fun.A very clever little box full of games, ideas, and methods for creative writing. Thanks!Scott Snair

  • Carole Flynn

    Writer’s Toolbox: Addictively Fun and Useful! How do you become a writer? By writing something of course. As any writer knows, coming up with fresh ideas is oftentimes the hardest part. This toolbox helps jumpstart the writing process by focusing on three different useful and unique approaches to building a story: sentence sticks, sixth-sense cards, and story wheel palettes.With each set of tools, you are provided tidbits of information–story details–that need to be connected. It will be hard for you NOT to write whatever story starts flowing from your imagination.To get yourself started, randomly pluck a first “sentence stick.” Choose a second stick to reveal a transition. Pick your last stick to nail your climactic moment. It’s as simple as that, but this cleverly packaged kit makes it addictively fun.Still feeling a little intimidated by the writing process? Then shuffle up the sixth-sense deck of cards and then choose a few images to elicit sensory detail (smell, sight, sound, taste, touch, and memory) to create your story. The sixth-sense cards stimulate your ability to write specific imagery that will engage your reader.For a full-blown diagnosis of writer’s block, try using the palette wheels to structure your story. Spin the protagonist palette wheel and your character is instantly on the page. Expand that character with back-story. Rotate the goal palette to further develop your character as you uncover underlying desires and motivations. Twirl the obstacle palette to introduce tension or conflict in your story and ultimately push the plot forward. And finally, spin the action palette to clinch your story’s climactic moment.The packaging on this toolbox is so well done that I leave the writer’s toolbox on my coffee table. Its clever design invites tactile responses from everyone. The hinged hardcover box neatly stores all the writing tools–a book, sentence sticks, a timer, a deck of sixth-sense cards, and four story wheels. Even friends of mine who aren’t writers get a kick out of playing with the toolbox and making up impromptu stories.I highly recommend this to creative types and those who long to be more creative!

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