Friday 26 October 2018

Exercises in Style by: Raymond Queneau + Serendipty Agency's YA Discovery Contest

Genre: Fiction, Writing
Published: February 17, 1981 by: New Directions
Pages: 204
Rating: 4/5 stars

Exercises in Style is a fiction-like book that I had to read for my creative writing class. I say fiction-like because the story within is essentially fiction, but the book itself is actually an instructional book on writing. In this book, the same short story about a confrontation on a bus is told over 70 times repeatedly, using different writing styles. One story is written entirely in metaphors, another formatted like an opera. The premise is to show that the possibilities to a writer's voice are endless.

I was very excited to start this book because I thought it would be very cool. I can barely think of 10 ways to write a story, and here, the author has written countless versions of the exact same thing, in formats that I didn't even know existed. It was quite fascinating.

The whole reason I had to read this book in class was for our study on a writer's voice. I myself find it hard as a writer to stick to a distinctive voice, and I don't think that I have truly found mine yet. But this book gave me plenty of ideas, and, while some formats were quite ridiculous, this book also gave me quite a laugh.

Obviously this book tells the same story over and over again, and so it did get repetitive after a while and especially frustrating when I couldn't even understand the format that he chose. But I do recommend this book for any aspiring writers who need help finding a voice.

And speaking of aspiring writers, if you are a new writer of YA, I am proud to feature a contest that may be for you:

Serendipity Literary Agency is hosting their 9th annual YA discovery contest, in which amateur YA writers submit the first 250 words of their novel for a chance to win an entire novel critique from literary agent Regina Brooks. There are also plenty of other opportunities to submit query letters and get discovered by agents. The contest begins November 1st, and you can find out more information on Serendipity Lit's website:

Overall I hope you guys are interested in the contest and best of luck if you do enter! Also, I hope you enjoyed my book review. I rarely ever read writing novels and so I was happy to give this one a feature.

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. unique idea! I think it would annoy me though ;)

  2. Sounds amazing, if I find it at my library I'll definitely give it a try!

    1. You should! It’s great for aspiring writers.

  3. This sounds like a fantastic for aspiring writers. I didn't that there were 70 ways to write!
    Thanks for the info on the YA new writer contest. I know someone who may be interested.

    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club