Author: Carly Berg

Publisher: Magic Lantern Press

ISBN: 9780996254755

                                        Overcome Writer’s Block

Hi all ye budding writers, hiding in your closets! If you wish to wake up and give a voice to all those creative juices churning within you, here’s a lot of fodder to get you going. For up to a year and perhaps even more.

In this book there are fifty two prompts for both fiction as well as non fiction writers, that have been taken from all walks of life. In some cases, the author has even created her own story around these prompts, some of these stories have even been published. Besides, some of these prompts can be used more than once without sacrificing originality.

Reading this book, it is fascinating to  see that there are so many circumstances that can create a good story. Some of them involve making a story out of a list of randomly chosen objects, like the results of an ink blot test. Or the results of the shapes and patterns formed by the tea leaves inside a teacup of freshly brewed tea. They could also be made out of specific lists of words. for instance, words that we love, or hate, that go together in some way.

Other clues for writing in this book, are dreams, a meeting in the afterlife with a friend or relative, or even reality television. Fairy tales, rewritten in modern times with modern people, provide others. Taking advantage of a visit to a new place with different people and the impressions that  they create,  are further suggestions to get those ideas moving. Stories from one’s childhood and people who have inspired one, or at least made an impact on one’s life, are also a  rich source of inspiration. The author also presents a cue for writing on days when one is incapacitated by writer’s block, viz., writing about not wanting to write!

Further prompts that can be used to get going, involve numbers, e.g lists of do’s and don’ts and how to handle them, obsessions and how to get out of them, and stories made out of specifying a time, a character and a situation, among many others. The author provides injunctions and tips on how to proceed and create a story, using the prompts for the best  possible results.

The process of Life consists of achieving a balance between the dual forces of good and evil. A successful story that satisfies the heart, brings into being, an interplay of the positive and the negative, preferably with the happy ending of good winning over evil. Most of the prompts that are presented are based on the above premise. However, the author also explores other realistic possibilities, e.g. a story prompt that starts with a statement “It was not so bad at the beginning” and ends with “It could have turned out much worse”.

This book could provide enough material to serve  as a textbook for a writing workshop.

This is a book that all short story that writers could return to again and again. For me personally. It was fun reading the cues that the author employs, challenging one’s inborn creativity to re-emerge and assert itself, after perhaps years of latency.

Warmly recommended.