Introduction to Creative Writing

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Introduction to Creative Writing. Lets start by just sort of yapping a bit about the whole creative enterprise. Take a look at this collection of quotations about writing, art, and the creative process: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Introduction to Creative WritingLets start by just sort of yapping a bit about the whole creative enterprise.

Take a look at this collection of quotations about writing, art, and the creative process:

Browse through the quotes and select one which you feel best represents your own understanding of creative writing and art.

What quotation did you select in Skittish Libations, and why?

What, for you, is art? What is creative writing?

What is the process one goes through on the way to creating fabulous poetry and fiction?

An escape from reality; asedative or distractionFormalistFormalistFormalistCreative WritingA magnification of realityThe improvementof reality (art as a hammerThe invention of realityA confrontation with reality; facing realityDefiance of reality; reality as it ought to beNote that some types, such as satire, mock or interrogate reality

The honoring of traditionFormalistFormalistFormalistArtExpression that is wide-open and freeA pile of crap; a hoax; excuse for not having a REAL jobA commodityThe subversion of tradition Self-expression; solely for self ; exploration of ones unique visionSomething produced solely for others; a means of pleasing an audienceEmotional or psychological therapyCreative WritingProcessProductExpression that is shaped and craftedA mysterious inborn talentA learnable skill SELF OTHERMaybe writings a constant NEGOTIATION of binariesArtist AudienceSubject Object Speaking of Past and Present, here are a couple of competing claims:Creative Writing (Literature) is the art of language in the present moment: the live, unstable, mysterious evolution that is happening continually and right under our noses. It means brand new poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, script-writing, and genres we dont yet know how to name.

Creative Writing (Literature) is the art of language as an ancient activity: something weve been doing since we first opened our mouths to speak and sing around a fire. Some theorists say that the impulse to create poetry is at the root of the human impulse to use language, period.

Ok. So.Nobody knows how to define it.Or theres no final definition.Then how do we learn it?How does it get taught? Should I, as a teacher, emphasize process or product? Craftor free exploration? The work of antiquity or the work of the future?All I can tell you is that, when I go into a classroom.

I teach the writing of literary genres. Poetry, fiction. Creative nonfiction. Some script writing.I encourage wide-open, glorious self-expression. Go for it, baby!I encourage patience, self-denial, and disciplined attention to the needs of audience. Craft.I encourage an understanding of Creative Writing as culturally embedded.I encourage an understanding of Creative Writing as culturally discreet and autonomous.I encourage thoughtful appreciation of extremely old traditions.I encourage experimentation and looney new ways of thinking about the world.I try to do everything.Thats why Im burning out.Thats why Im insane. Dont tell my boss. Ok. Heres a different wrinkle.

wrinklewrinkleWhat is Creative Writing with a capital C and W? = the branch of English Studies that involves teaching and learning how to write creatively, right?

Yeah, butCan it really be taught? Isnt it, according to one ancient tradition, about talent and a mysterious ability to summon the muse?

Whats it doing in a university? How do you evaluate it?

How, really, is it distinct from Rhetoric and Composition, Literary Studies, Linguistics, even Technical Writing? Isnt writing in these fields creative also?

Whats more important: the writing of literature or the study of it?Isnt all language creative, really? Why even have a distinct field called Creative Writing? Cant business reports, department memos, shopping lists, Facebook status updates, even check-writing all be creative?Did you know Back in the 50s, at the University of Iowa, Creative Writing was created as a course to help students understand literature better.

I.e., it was in the service of literature studies.

The idea was that by writing some fiction, poetry, or drama themselves, students would better understand the masterpieces of literature.

But alsoa bunch of teachers who were also writers wanted to get together with other writers and blab about their work

in a college setting.

They couldnt hang out in the bistros of Paris or Gertrude Steins salon anymore (the way they did in the 20s) so they had to get together somewhere)

The university is now sort of the chief watering hole for writers.

Its where they come together, share what theyre doing, argue, write, and learn from each other.Its always been a bit of an outlawNot scholarly like other disciplines. The MFA is a studio degree. Very different criteria.

Not necessarily considered academic. Has even been viewed historically as an almost spiritual pursuit.

Has been part of a sometime-feud between advocates of the STUDY of texts, and advocates of the PRODUCTION of texts. !The belief that creative writing isnt really rigorous or difficult is ill-founded.

Writing a poem or story that works, that is worth re-reading, that gets us where we live


The next time someone suggests that Creative Writing is a fluff discipline, ask them to write a poem and submit it to the Paris Review or Poetry. Tell them to go ahead; give it shot. See how easy it is.

In any case, over the last three decades, Creative Writing programs have proliferated like crazy across the U.S., and record numbers of students are FLOCKING to them.

Despite its sometimes marginal status in the university,

despite dire warnings that the printed word is dying out and giving way to a visual culture,

despite scary statistics which show that reading is ever on the decline,

despite the pragmatic, vocational, corporate, and anti-art bent of most universities

Creative Writing continues to absolutely flourish!

Writers Link

Got it?A Few Fun FactsIt was from Creative Writing that the whole notion of writers workshop developed. Creative Writing workshop strategies were borrowed by, and are now standard features in, composition courses all across the country.

Since the 1980s, Creative Writing has had a somewhat ambivalent, and at times downright antagonistic stance toward academic trendsespecially the advent and dominance of critical theory. At the same time, however, creative writers of all genres have produced works which significantly helped to shape our very understanding of postmodernism.

New fields related to Creative Writing are on the rise, primarily under the influence of Composition Studies. You can now get an MA and PhD, for example, in Creative Writing Studies which examines:

Creative writing pedagogyThe culture of creative writing/creative writing in the culture The history of creative writing in the university.


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