My favourite writing self-help book (today)

For World Book Day, I was going to write a list of the creative writing books that have influenced me or the ones I keep going back to. But the list was growing too big in my head. A list meant more work and there have been so many creative writing books in my life over the years; how could I narrow it down? I like different books for different moods, different stages in the writing process, different moments in my life. So, I decided to share just one. In the future, I may share others.

The one I chose is called Rip the Page by Karen Benke. It is not yet a classic and not an obvious choice. I first bought it when running Inky Writers creative writing after school club for children as it’s aimed at 9–12 year olds. But I dipped into it when planning HoneyLeaf Creative Writing Workshops for adults too.

It is full of quirky, creative advice and encouragement from children’s authors which is just as valid to adults. And it has lots of open-ended, original prompts which are brilliant for freewriting. Appealing to my inner writing child that needs lots of nurturing, play and fun to even pick up a pen, this book always reminds me where it all begins.

While my children wouldn’t pick up this book on their own, the exercises are great starting points for working with children if you are home educating, or want to help children practise writing at home. It covers the basics of form and style, with the Definition Decoder offering explanations of point of view, concrete poems, haiku, odes, idioms, similes and metaphors.

If World Book Day has reminded you or your children that you have a book inside you ready to find form on paper, Rip the Page is as good a place as any to start.

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