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The Observation Deck

Epel, Naomi
Publisher:  Chronicle Books, USA
Year Published:  1998  
Pages:  160pp   Price:  $19.95 US   ISBN:  0-8118-1481-5

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The Observation Deck is a deck of cards and accompanying book designed to stimulate authors in new ways. Written with many quotations, examples, and recommendations from successful writers, the book provides over 50 techniques to inspire. These techniques allows a stumped writer to turn their ideas upside down or look at their writing in a new way to uncover a path to the natural conclusion. They are creative and useful for writers of all levels.

Epel does not wish to change the writer's technique, but to shed light on new ways to get started in the creative process. The card deck offers infinite possibilities for overcoming writer's block. When a writer is suffering from a drought of ideas, drawing a card such as "Consult the News," "Study Opening Lines," or "Start with a Title" can create a starting point. At times when the plot seems to have died down or characters have become flat, cards like "Change Your Point of View", and "Build a History" can draw the writer away from the immediate problem and give them another way to fix the story's foundation.

The book is a collection of instructions for each card. The techniques on each card are supported by many accomplished authors and expanded upon to include new variations. Ideas include eavesdropping on a conversation, observing a familiar location at an unusual time of day, moving to a new space, using a different writing instrument, and many others. They are designed to be used individually or in combination, or even with creative variations. According to Epel, adding these new tools to the writing process can break down the block and let new ideas flow.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

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