WRITING AND IMAGERYREVIEWS Review by Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns, published in 2011. Mark's had stories published in Black Gate Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Fictious Force Magazine, Hub Magazine, Cafe Expresso, A Fly In Amber, Space Suits & Sixguns, Forgotten Worlds, OG Speculative Fiction, and Chic Flix.
Over ten years ago I took an evening class in creative writing. The lessons were held in a porta-cabin in the car park of the local college, once a week for three winter months. I don’t think anyone took their coat off. What kept me coming back to that freezing portacabin was the fact that the course teacher, Ann Palmer very clearly knew what she was talking about, and proved highly adept at making sure we ended up knowing what she was talking about. A decade later and I secured a three-book deal. ‘Prince of Thorns’ was published in 2011 in five languages across eight countries. Throughout my writing I call upon the basics Ann taught me with such skill and good humour. In ‘Writing and Imagery’ Ann leads the reader thorough fascinating new approaches to unleashing creative potential and getting onto the page. My strong recommendation to anyone interested in improving their writing is to read it.
Review by Daniella Norris, former Israeli diplomat, turned writer and book reviewer. Her stories and articles have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines in the UK, Israel, France, Switzerland and the US, and first collection of short stories, The Year Spring Turned into Winter, was out in December 2008. Her latest book, Crossing Qalandiya:Exchanges across the Israel/Palestinian Divide, co-authored with Palestinian writer Shireen Anabtawi, was published in the UK in May 2010.
In a compelling, easy to read and easy to follow guide to activating your right brain during the process of creative writing, Ann Palmer opens a window into a world full of inspiring images and stimulating ideas. A wonderful tool for Creative Writing students, aspiring writers, and accomplished authors who find that silencing the inner, left-brain-dominated critic is hard work. Packed with practical tips, exercises, and advice gathered during her years as a Creative Writing teacher, Writing and Imagery: How to Deepen Your Creativity and Improve Your Writing is a breath of fresh air in the How To literary section.
Reviews by Ben Scott, co-author of Turn Your Degree into a Career (How To Books, 2003) and editor of the anthology Undercurrents (Gatehouse Press, 2008). He is a writer, a creative writing workshop leader and occasionally judges writing competitions. He has recently been commissioned to ghost write three books in a new children's fiction series. He has been Chairman of the East Anglian Writers, and is currently the Assistant Regional Advisor to the British Isles Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. He is also a History graduate from the University of East Anglia.
Writing and Imagery is a masterclass in finding, honing and magnifying a writer's creative power and prowess. With a right brain, image-lead approach to idea-generation, this book will revolutionise the lives of aspiring and professional writers and well as workshop leaders and teachers everywhere. Writing and Imagery is a powerful way to discover spontaneity, joy and surprises in writing. It works. And it works in different ways for different writers. Artistic skill is not important, in fact, it’s almost irrelevant to the process of redefining the writer’s brain. This new approach to writing has help for every stage of writing, from idea generation to being more original, from struggling with “show not tell” to writing synopses. After years of going to Ann’s workshops, it’s wonderful to see these amazing methods brought to a wider audience. This is a book few writers can afford not to read.
Full Review: Writing and Imagery is a masterclass in finding, honing and magnifying a writer's creative power and prowess. Based on her own experience exploring and teaching using imagery, Ann Palmer gives writers at every level the opportunity and tools to get more out of every stage of the writing process, as well as more from writing classes, workshops and exercises. With a right brain, image-lead approach to idea-generation, this book will revolutionise the lives of aspiring and professional writers and well as workshop leaders and teachers everywhere. But Writing and Imagery is not a prescription, a quick fix in a pill. It’s an invitation to go on an inner adventure - a powerful way to discover spontaneity, joy and surprises in writing. It works. And it works in different ways for different writers. Artistic skill is not important, in fact, it’s almost irrelevant to the process of redefining the writer’s brain. While image work may be alien to many writers, I've found this approach fundamentally shifting and inspiring. Not only does it encourage and build self belief, but harnesses the brains cooperation in the writing process. Ann Palmer is a midwife for the birth of the reader’s own enhanced creativity; she guides the reader to make their own discoveries and journeys into the imaginative subconscious. Don’t just read through the book, use to it to explore the wild creativity of your right-brain. Once you've started working with Writing and Imagery, writer's block may well be a thing of the past. This new approach to writing has help for every stage of writing, from idea generation to being more original, from struggling with “show not tell” to writing synopses. After years of going to Ann’s workshops, it’s wonderful to see these amazing methods brought to a wider audience. This is a book few writers can afford not to read.
Review by Eileen West, Freelance Writer, former winner of the Marty Duncan Award for Humorous Writing. She has been editor and managing editor of two golf magazines, and published 200+ articles. Eileen has an Honours Degree in Journalism from Tulsa, Oklahoma
So often in the course of my work I have longed for Ann to be sitting in front of me, as she does in her workshops, guiding me through techniques to help me tap into my right brain to explore the deeper imagery within it. Now, it’s as if she is. Her book is now a vital tool in my creative armoury...and it comes with a free gift; my dreams.
Review by Simon Whaley, the bestselling author of ‘100 Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human’ which spent four weeks on the UK bestseller lists. A full time freelance writer since 2004, he is the author of eight further non-fiction books and hundreds of articles which have been published in the UK and USA. His short stories have appeared in publications the UK, Ireland and Australia. Simon is a tutor for the Writers Bureau, helping students across the world achieve their writing dreams and he regularly gives talks at conferences and writers' groups.
Writers need an active Right Brain to stimulate creative ideas, and a logical Left Brain to undertake the essential editing process. But, poor Right Brain creativity leaves little for the Left Brain to edit. The solution is Ann Palmer’s Writing and Imagery, which reinvigorates the Right Brain creative stimulus with a series of easy, empowering actions and exercises. Bring your current ‘dial-up’ Right Brain creativity to fibre-optic broadband speeds! Buy this book and two notebooks. One notebook will be your learning journal, your space to experiment with the exercises and doodles. The other becomes your dream-catcher, where you record some of your Right Brain’s most vivid creations. Writing and Imagery unleashes your true Right Brain creativity; so much so, you’ll be doing it in your sleep!
This is an excellent guide to the underexplored - and fascinating - world of imagery and its links to creativity in general and writing in particular. It offers valuable advice on how to make friends with your right brain, honour this relationship and, as a consequence, release your creative energies. Superb chapters about writing fiction are included towards the end; yet, the insights presented throughout the book are immensely beneficial also to non-fiction writers. This is a must-have book for all writers who want to proceed to another level on their creative journeys.
Review by Josef Graf, Co-ordinator of the Earth Vision project
What I appreciate in Ann Palmer’s Writing & Imagery, How to deepen creativity and improve your writing, is how it does not just focus on working through blocks, but converts the blocks to stepping stones. A writer engaged in such a living process can experience a double power thrust in each exercise. I also revel in her treatment of nature’s complexity, with its concomitant human soul-reflection aspect - that is, how the human and nature interface resounds with multi-dimensionality - and how this can lead on to some potent ways of working with metaphor. We cannot afford to underestimate the intuitive wisdom that resides within us. As a spiritual ecologist, I appreciate how Ann Palmer’s nature orientation incorporates appealing aspects such as aboriginal art, and elements like The Alphabet of the Trees - a Guide to Nature Writing. Above all, the approach delivers a kind of potency that arises from a synthesis of both intuition and science-based perspectives. A balance of these elements is most needed now, in this society that must overcome its materialist blindness.
Review by Marilyn Hope Lake, PhD, writer, retired university faculty
Ann Palmer’s book, Writing and Imagery, synthesises a “brain-based approach” to the creative process. Palmer describes “ten key writer-skills” that are primary to the creative writing process. She writes that the mind is expanded to “quantum levels” of activity that “deepens and expands” the writer’s creativity. While these “key” elements are not newly discovered, what is new is Ann’s approach to teaching them. By structuring the book on these elements, she presents a layered approach that is fresh. Her presentation and enjoyable style stimulate us in a unique manner that helps us to “expand our personal creativity.” I will keep this book at my side, because as Ann writes, “blocks” may be opportunities to delve into a deeper meaning; and I recommend it to anyone who writes creatively. On frozen days, our minds, like vehicles, often need a “jump-start.”
Review by Elizabeth Hopkinson, fantasy writer, and member of Swanwick Writers Summer School. Her fantasy novel, My TrueLove Sent to Me, was published by Virtual Tales in 2009
For those of us who naturally work this way, Writing and Imagery provides a fascinating study of the science behind a seemingly intuitive process. For those who don’t, it will open a new world of creativity.
Review by Caroline Paisley BA (Honours) Literature, MA Literature student.
Ann Palmer is an inspiring, enthusiastic and encouraging creative writing teacher. In this book she shares with generosity her impressive knowledge and experience of the writing process.Writing can be difficult, not least because much westernised education emphasises left brain attributes – strait-laced, orderly, rule-bound and censorious. By developing and learning to trust the more unusual and and even ‘quirky’ – but highly creative - right brain, and giving it equal validity with the left, we can achieve a more ‘wholistic’ approach to our work. By working with images we can interrogate our writing and find surprising and worthwhile meanings and directions. The book offers many fascinating exercises and suggestions. I’d never have believed they could reveal so much to me! The journey offered within these pages leads us towards deeper, more honest, more expansive and more original writing, and we may indeed find hidden treasures that will truly amaze.
Review by Della Galton, full time writer and part time creative writing tutor. She has sold over a thousand short stories, hundreds of articles, fourteen serials and two novels. She is also the author of the popular book, How to Write and Sell ShortStories, now in its second reprint. Her latest non fiction book, The Dog with Nine Lives was published in October 2010.
Like Ann Palmer I cannot draw. I even tried an art class once to prove it. And I’m not sure which side of my brain my creativity comes from. However, as a professional writer I’m always looking for new ways to boost my creativity. And this book looks at the craft of writing from a new angle. I found it interesting and inspiring. I’m sure it will be a very useful tool to any student of creative writing or indeed to any writer out there who’d just like to try a new approach.
Review by Fiona Samuel, teacher of English and Media in South Devon and a regular attendee of the Writers’ Summer School.
In 2005, I attended a workshop run by Ann Palmer. It changed my life completely. This is no exaggeration. It really did. For the first time in my life, I was encouraged to use methods that I had always been told were irrelevant, unproven and even nonsense. Using these methods, things that had been unclear for years were now transparent; my confidence soared. This book is a natural continuation of Ann’s workshops and I would recommend anyone, intrigued and cynical alike to read it.
Review from Alexa Radcliffe, Writer and Marketeer, Student of Chichester University – BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing
Ann Palmer takes the intellectual passion we all, as writers in the least, feel for language and literature and enables us to connect this passion with image-based attributes of our right-brain. The organic imagework which follows this process has found new depths within my writing whilst I have been expanding the possibilities that have been trapped, just an image or two away. By understanding how to unlock the key right brain writer skills, Writing and Imagery allows you to reframe and recreate. This book is truly inspirational.
Review by Chrissie Gibbs
Initially realising that Ann Palmer’s book Writing and Imagery was 70,000 words, I thought – how can I do it justice with limited ‘reviewing’ time? Glad I made time because reading many excerpts has shown me how to use that ‘time’ to its best advantage by using imagery to encourage creativity in my writing. I paint pictures occasionally but had no idea about the importance of Right and Left brain process. To quote Ann: ‘Education is derived from the Latin ‘educare’ which means ‘drawing out’ – you can only draw out what is already there’. Reading her ‘easy to read method’ of questions and answers, I reflected on how true her observations are – I quote: “Visualisation always acts as a potent reminder to ‘show not tell”. What impresses me most is that she puts herself in her students shoes by asking their ideas first. She calls it ACCELERATED LEARNING. It draws on perceptions of the whole group, rather than prioritise teacher’s views. In my view Writing and Imagery is a work of art – invaluable to writers and artists with its excellence.