Writing the Wave, by Elizabeth Ayers, is one of the best how-to-write books I’ve read in a long time. The exercises are inventive and interesting, even fun to complete. Thanks to poet Carolyn, who introduced me to it.
Ayers style is light and engaging, and her exercises come from experience that she had met, struggled with and overcome. Whether you are blocked, filled with ideas, or just don’t know where to start, this book will help you.
Why can I say that so blithely? Because it’s in its 15th anniversary edition, and third printing. Ayers is a writing instructor, so the pages tell you what to do next and warn you not to go on until you have completed a section. You won’t want to jump around, as doing the exercises in step and as they come build on what you know and what you learn.
I’m giving the book away because I have two copies and want to share the wealth.
There are three parts:
1. Jumping In, which helps you overcome fears, layer your own imaginative material to get new material for your writing and claim a main idea and develop it.
2. Going Deeper, in which you control and structure your ideas, create an outline, feel your way from beginning to middle to end and try out structural models.
3. Writing the Wave in which you learn to overcome writer’s block, jump-start a stalled work, bright and liven up dull writing, use sound to push your imagination into risking, and discovering your project.
Ayers also has an interesting website, and offers online writing courses.
Giveaway: All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog. Because the blog is new, you have a better chance of winning than on the old blog! A winner will be announced on Sunday, May 24, 2015.
Update for 5/24: Willow Paule is the winner of the book.
–-Quinn McDonald is a writer who loves books on writing.