Into the Book


What the Wind Picked Up is a very interesting experiment in writing. Many beginning writers fear that people will steal their idea, and that they’ll be copied. This book seeks to prove that all ideas are ultimately not original: it’s the execution and style which distinguishes writers from each other. To prove this, ChiLibris, a Christian writer’s group, asked 22 of their members to write a short story based on the same story idea.

The concept is simple. Each of the short stories had to begin with the line, “The wind was picking up,” and end with the line, “So that’s exactly what she did.” In addition, each story had to use all of the following ideas:

  • Pursuit at a noted landmark
  • A case of mistaken identity
  • An unusual form of transportation

I would not have thought that twenty-two stories which shared these elements could be so vastly different than each other. Each story was completely and totally unique. After reading the book, I noticed that even Cinderella, with a few tweaks, would fit into this mold perfectly. The point of the book is to prove that even with the same ideas, the final story can be completely different.

Most of the stories were very entertaining. There were a few which I thought were sort of constrained by the requirements, while most of them made you forget that there were even requirements at all, so subtly were they woven in. The entire cast of writers includes Karen Ball, Stephen Bly, Angela Hunt, Donita K. Paul, and Jefferson Scott. Most of the stories I heartily enjoyed, making me want to reread the entire book over again. These stories were highly enjoyable.

This book is a good read for writers especially: it’s a good way to inspire creativity in our writing. But even for non-writers, this is still a good collection of 22 short stories which are, for the most part, excellent reads. I recommend this book, and also recommend checking out other works by these authors, especially if their writing here is an indication of their excellence.

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Published on 5 July, 2011. Last updated on

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