by Sarah-Jane Bird
“I’ll teach you how to write. I will. You’ll use me all the time. I have all the tricks hidden up my sleeve, and when you think about it I’m an investment.”
You pay for your shiny new book, and leave the shop with it tucked under your arm. With a clever title and a promise to make you a better writer, you feel inspired already. So you buy it, and there it will sit proudly on your bookshelf, or perhaps on your desk. And there it will sit. And sit. And – well you get the idea.
The hard fact is, none of these books will make you a better writer and they certainly won’t force you to write the novel you have always wanted to write. They can’t force a pantser to become a planner, and they won’t have you write your best seller in thirty days.
That being said, there are some books out there that can provide you with a little motivational kick when you need it. One of my favourites is The Five Minute Writer. If I was ever going to judge a book by its cover or indeed its title this would be it. But the reviews were pretty positive, so I impulse purchased and this book found it’s place on my desk. And then this strange thing happened, I used it. And I used it again, and again. And then I realised what a wonderful little book it really was.
The Five Minute Writer is full of short five minute (funnily enough) exercises that are there when you need a little inspiration, motivation or a simple kick up the backside! The book contains fifty eight exercises, short enough to tackle when you are pushed for time. The exercises themselves vary from character development, to dialogue, points of view, clichés and many more besides.
On a personal level, I found the book to be most helpful when I took on the exercises in the mind of my characters. Exercise 26 is all about two faced characters, and how people may be perceived from one person to the next, which is much more beneficial when you take on the task with your characters in mind.
I found this book to be one of my favourites, and one I will always go back to especially when I am in need of character development. By seeing the task through my characters eyes, they became layered in ways I hadn’t considered before. And the book is ideal for those who have busy schedules. Priced at £6.99 from Amazon, this book is a hidden gem with a lot of potential.