What If? is the first handbook for writers based on the idea that specific exercises are one of the most useful and provocative methods for mastering the art of writing fiction. With more than twenty-five years of experience teaching creative writing between them, Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter offer more than seventy-five exercises for both beginners and more experienced writers. These exercises are designed to develop and refine two basic skills: writing like a writer and, just as important, thinking like a writer. They deal with such topics as discovering where to start and end a story; learning when to use dialogue and when to use indirect discourse; transforming real events into fiction; and finding language that both sings and communicates precisely. What If? will be an essential addition to every writer’s library, a welcome and much-used companion, a book that gracefully borrows a whisper from the muse.

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This article has 3 comments

  1. pro_crustes

    Buy this edition. It’s great, even if it’s not a textbook. Early edition of a book that has become a textbook in some colleges (thus, the current edition is priced much higher; my acquaintances in academia tell me that is because new teaching methods come out and are incorporated into new editions, and these are very, very expensive to develop, even though that conflicts completely with what is taught in very, very expensive textbooks on economics, and with the fact that the current edition came out _before_ being selected as a textbook, only _after_…

  2. B Cubed

    Definitely not 3rd edition, but still a keeper It’s got some great content for studying.I bought this as a textbook for a Creative Writing class at a state college I attend. I was told to get the 3rd edition, but rationalized that there couldn’t be that much of a difference between 2nd and 3rd edition, so I went with this cheaper route. Word to the wise: they’re very, very different. A month into the semester and not one exercise number, identifier or description has lined up.I ended up renting the third edition, but…

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