edited by Robin Behn
contributions by Alex Czaja, Jesse DeLong, Zachary Doss, Chris Emslie, Romy Feder, Pia Simone Garber, Freya Gibbon, Molly Goldman, Krystin Gollihue, Ashley B. Gorham, Chapin Gray, Jenny Gropp, Annie Hartnett, Stephen Hess, Greg Houser, Jess E. Jelsma, Matt Jones, Kirsten Jorgenson, Sarah Kelly, Laura Kochman, Kristin Aardsma, Kenneth Kruse, Breanne LeJeune, Christopher O. McCarter, Meredith Lynn Noseworthy, Brian Oliu, Megan Paonessa, Luke Percy, Kirk Pinho, Stephen M. Reaugh, Sally Rodgers, Rachel Adams, Curtis Rutherford, Elizabeth Seymour, Jill Smith, Maggie Nye Smith, Emma Sovich, Bethany Startin, Lisa Tallin, Danilo Thomas, Stephen Thomas, Jessica Trull, Jessica Leigh Bailey, Brandi Wells, Leia Penina Wilson, Theodora Ziolkowski, Amanda Katie Berger, Holly Burdorff, Ashley Chambers and Tasha Coryell
introduction by Robin Behn
University of Alabama Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-8173-9232-1 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5942-3
Library of Congress Classification PE1408.O465 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.02


Fun and innovative exercises and prompts for creative writing students
Once Upon a Time in the Twenty-First Century: Unexpected Exercises in Creative Writing is a unique creative writing text that will appeal to a wide range of readers and writers—from grade nine through college and beyond. Successful creative writers from numerous genres constructed these exercises, including poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction to one-act plays, song lyrics, genre fiction, travel guides, comics and beyond. The exercises use a broad range of creative approaches, aesthetics, and voices, all with an emphasis on demystifying the writing process and having fun.
Editor Robin Behn has divided the book into three writing sections: Genres and Forms, Sources and Methods, and Style and Subject. In each section, Behn offers a brief introduction which explains how to get started and specific ways to develop one’s writing. Each introduction is followed by extensive exercises that draw on literature from classic to contemporary, as well as other art forms and popular culture. Examples range from Flannery O’Connor and Langston Hughes to Allen Ginsberg and Gertrude Stein, from Jamaica Kincaid and James Joyce to Arlo Guthrie and Harryette Mullen. Integrated within the exercises are apt examples of student writings that have emerged from actual use of the exercises in both the classroom and in writing groups. The book concludes with general advice and direction on how to get published.
Based on years of hands-on experiences in the teaching of creative writing in high schools, colleges, and after-school writing clubs, this volume of exercises offers inestimable value to students and teachers in the traditional classroom, as well as a growing number of homeschoolers, those who are part of a writing club or group, and independent writers and learners of all ages.