Monday, April 19, 2010

To the writers

i09 features a useful post from Charlie Jane Anders, "4 Danger Signs to Search For, Before Sending Off Your Novel." It's good, solid, practical advice, although I tremble to imagine it applied to this blog.

Word of warning, the blog is written very quickly in between other tasks or it simply wouldn't happen. (There, that covers me, right?)

As I was copying and pasting in the link and considering a title for the blog post, though, I did initially hit upon 'to the creative writers.' And it struck me - why do we talk of creative writing? Surely all writing is creative (bad or otherwise)? When I set creative writing tasks for assessment, I always feel a little twitch of discomfort, as though it implies the critical task is not creative or vice-versa.

My creativity is constantly taxed in scholarly writing. I'm still inordinately proud of my observation that Voldemort concealed his identity in "an act of anagram" in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Drawing the reader in, amusing the reader, is just as important to me in terms of scholarship as in terms of creativity. The better I can capture the sense of the novel or play or short story that I'm writing on, the better I can explain how it works and why it is significant.

This also goes to the vexing problem that plagues academics of my interests. How can you write about vampire slayers, windy warthogs, little green gnomes etc in a serious scholarly work without it sound(ing - proof reading fail) just a bit ridiculous? The only answer is in extending your creativity in how you write about such matters.

1 comment:

titanium said...

Thanks for linking to that, I will find it useful.

While creative/critical/blog writing is equally valid, I reckon it's ok to not carefully craft a blog post as much as you would an essay or a story. :) A quick proof read for glaring spelling mistakes is probably enough.

On "Creative Writing" isn't that just a primary school version of saying "fiction writing"? Couldn't you assign a "fiction writing exercise" instead?