5 Remarkable Writing Prompt & Exercise Books

After working at Writer’s Digest for a decade-plus, I saw more than my fair share of writing exercise/prompt books—plus I also acquired and edited quite a few. Writing prompts have always been an ever-popular topic of discussion (and usefulness) for writers, regardless of stage of career.

Here I’d like to share what I found to be the most remarkable books—a mix of Writer’s Digest titles and other publishers’ titles.

Also: Over at the VQR blog, I’m looking for writers to share their favorite writing exercise or prompt. One random commenter will win a selection of Miro journals in a nifty canvas tote. Click here to go comment with your favorite prompt. (Don’t do it here or it won’t count toward the drawing.)

The Pocket Muse by Monica WoodThe Pocket Muse by Monica Wood

What makes this book so special is the small size, vivid images and playful design, and high-quality production. It’s now out of print, though you can get copies used–or opt for the sequel, The Pocket Muse 2.

Read more at Amazon.





The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley

3 A.M. Epiphany
& 4 A.M. Breakthrough by Brian Kiteley

I rarely find the time to use writing prompts, but if I did, these are the books I’d use. Very sophisticated and thought-provoking, I do put them to work in the classroom—for brainstorming nonfiction ideas to write about. Highly recommend to both writer and teacher. (I know both books are popular in MFA programs.)

Read more at Amazon.



What If? by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter
What If?
by Anne Bernays & Pamela Painter

This is one of the original exercise books for writers, published in 1991. It has since been updated (and has a textbook price to match), but you’re safe sticking with the original.

Read more at Amazon.





The Practice of Poetry
The Practice of Poetry
by Robin Behn

If you’re a poet, this is the one to grab. It’s another one that’s been around forever and doesn’t go out of style.

Read more at Amazon. 






The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron
The Writer’s Idea Book
by Jack Heffron

Last but not least, one of the best-selling titles of all time from Writer’s Digest was this exercise/prompt book, authored by one of its editors. It was just released this year in a 10th anniversary edition.

Read more at Amazon.




What are your favorite writing prompt books? Plus, don’t forget to share your favorite writing prompt over at the VQR blog.

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