A Unique Resource for a Budding Creative Writer: Leap Write In

I think that creative writers are born writers. Yes, there is learning and development and training that can help shape you and help you better understand how to use the elements of language. But a creative writer, one that loves the sound of words and the way the look on the page, one that loves a good story often has that desire to write from early days.

I was always writing poems and stories. I wrote several small books as a child. And there were some songs I also penned. I’m not sure I’m a great writer. But, the fact is, I’ve always enjoyed writing. And Kathryne, my oldest, has also grown up a writer. She’s a pretty talented writer (although she doesn’t often share her work). And I keep my eye out for any resource that might encourage that writer’s heart that she has. Enter the book: Leap Write In. 

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Leap Write In by Karen Benke is a creative writing book for “tweens, teen, and other earthlings.” It isn’t a curriculum. Instead it is a very unique book of inspiration. Each short “chapter” is a reading, a jumping off point for the reader to then write.

From the book’s description:

Invite your jittery mind into quiet slips of timed or untimed writing experiments that are designed to encourage your timid heart to forge forgotten feelings and entice your shy-self to make friends with emerging emotions. With a bounty of prompts to select from, you’ll be inspired to explore all the wacky, confusing, brave, soul-stirring wonderings and wanderings of your emerging life’s inner treasure in a way that’s sure to unleash what you most need to say. In this book you’ll find:

On-the-Spot Drops that offer quick “free-fall” prompts on different themes, such as short-winded poems and seven-line stories.
Mini Memoirs to unlock personal narrative to share, or not.
Suddenly a Story suggestions to explore feelings and states of being like fear, reluctance, compassion, kindness, anxiety, anger, jealousy, happiness, and more.
Surprise Yourself Surveys for those who think they know everything about themselves.
Untie-Your-Mind Word Lists to jump-start stalled imaginations.
Definition Decoders to introduce new ideas and styles of writing.

Created especially for tweens, teens, and other earthlings, this book provides you with a chance to create imaginative poems, stories, fragments, and real-life on-the-spot sketches. All that’s required is that you take a breath, relax, reset, and leap write in!
After a brief introduction- which contains not instructions, but a taste of the unique writing style to come- there are short sections with titles like “S-T-R-E-T-C-H” which guides the writer to write about what life hasn’t given and how that makes them feel; “Practicing Farewell” which tells the writer to write a farewell to a favorite pet; or Your “Heart’s First Hunch” that gives the writer a set of sentence starters to complete with their first thought, not thinking it through deeply.

There are places in the book itself to write. Many of them are creative spaces, like this one from the section “Doodle Down.” In this section, writers are supposed to fill a page with doodles and then write to or about the shapes they find in their doodling.

Another creative space is this one from the section “First Day” where the author is going to write about an important first, using this shape.

Most of the prompts, like this section “Fill Half a Page With Y-O-U” encourage the writer to write the first thing that comes to mind to truly express themselves without hesitation.

So, what did we think?

It’s definitely different. And different can encourage creativity when it spurs the writer to step outside of the normal bounds of writing and the way they think of writing to try something new.

I think that this would appeal, primarily, to kids who already liked to write. Kathryne, my writer, thought it was interesting and quirky and liked the thought-provoking prompts. However, my child who already shivers at the very words” creative writing” and would walk through hot coals to avoid it, would have no interest in the book. He would chafe at the purposefully vague “instructions” in each section. Convinced he must just get it over with, he would want to know exactly how many sentences, words, and syllables would be required. This would not be fun for him.

There are some interesting prompts. Kids who enjoy that kind of thinking and wandering creative thought can really be stimulated by some of them to come up with some creative pieces of poetry and prose. But, again, kids who don’t will be confused by the vagueness and shifting thoughts and ideas.

There were a few prompts that concerned me. I would hesitate in letting a younger tween/teen use this book because of them. There were a few passages that talked about experiences with a shaman and shape-shifting. My older child would see that and choose not to read those. But a younger, less-experienced child may not understand, and I wouldn’t want that exposure.

There is also a prompt about peer pressure and smoking. It doesn’t directly say the girls gave in and disobeyed, but it imply that. And the writer is supposed to write about peer pressure and why it wasn’t a good idea to give in. Although this is a good jumping off place for a discussion between parent and child, I wasn’t comfortable with the way it was presented.

My conclusion: For an older teen who enjoys this wandering creative style and who already has a strong Christian worldview and can evaluate the material well, this can be a good and interesting resource. For a younger tween or teen, I’d probably not recommend. I do know that Karen Benke has a book called Rip the Page geared more toward kids 8-10.

You can find Leap Write In on Amazon here.

Disclosure: We received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

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