The Full Wiki

Creative Writing: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Creative writing article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Creative writing is considered to be any writing, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of literature. Works which fall into this category include novels, epics, short stories, and poems. Writing for the screen and stage, screenwriting and playwriting respectively, typically have their own programs of study, but fit under the creative writing category as well.



Somewhere in the educational scheme there must be encouragement for the dreams and imaginings of youth. The student must be permitted emotional expression in order that he may be taught to discipline his emotions. His shy fancies must be drawn out of him for the good of his soul. [1]

Creative writing can technically be considered any writing of original composition that is in no way guilty of plagiarism. In this sense creative writing is a more contemporary and process-oriented name for what has been traditionally called literature, including the variety of its genres. The practice of "professional writing" is not excluded from creative writing — one can be doing both in the same action. In her work, Foundations of Creativity, Mary Lee Marksberry references Paul Witty and Lou LaBrant’s Teaching the People's Language to define creative writing. Marksberry notes:

Witty and LaBrant…[say creative writing] is a composition of any type of writing at any time primarily in the service of such needs as
  1. the need for keeping records of significant experience,
  2. the need for sharing experience with an interested group, and
  3. the need for free individual expression which contributes to mental and physical health.[2]

Creative writing in academia

Unlike its academic counterpart of writing classes that teach students to compose work based on the rules of the language, creative writing is believed to focus on students’ self-expression.[3] While creative writing as an educational subject is often available at some stages, if not throughout, K–12 education, perhaps the most refined form of creative writing as an educational focus is in universities. Following a reworking of university education in the post-war era, creative writing has progressively gained prominence in the university setting. With the beginning of formal creative writing program:

For the first time in the sad and enchanting history of literature, for the first time in the glorious and dreadful history of the world, the writer was welcome in the academic place. If the mind could be honored there, why not the imagination?[4]

Programs of study

Creative Writing programs are typically available to writers from the high school level all the way through graduate school. Traditionally these programs are associated with the English departments in the respective schools, but this notion has been challenged in recent time as more creative writing programs have spun off into their own department. Most Creative Writing degrees for undergraduates in college are Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees (BFA). Some continue to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, the terminal degree in the field. At one time rare, PhD. programs are becoming more prevalent in the field, as more writers attempt to bridge the gap between academic study and artistic pursuit.

Creative writers typically decide an emphasis in either fiction or poetry, and they usually start with short stories or simple poems. They then make a schedule based on this emphasis including literature classes, education classes and workshop classes to strengthen their skills and techniques. Though they have their own programs of study in the fields of film and theatre, screenwriting and playwriting have become more popular in creative writing programs, as creative writing programs attempt to work more closely with film and theatre programs as well as English programs. Creative writing students are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular writing-based activities, such as publishing clubs, school-based literary magazines or newspapers, writing contests, writing colonies or conventions, and extended education classes.

Creative writing also takes places outside of formal university or school institutions. For example, writer Dave Eggers set up the innovative 826 Valencia in San Francisco, where young people write with professional writers. In the UK, the Arvon Foundation runs week long residential creative writing courses in four historic houses.

In the classroom

Creative writing is usually taught in a workshop format rather than seminar style. In workshops students usually submit original work for peer critique. Students also format a writing method through the process of writing and re-writing. Some courses teach the means to exploit or access latent creativity or more technical issues such as editing, structural techniques, genres, random idea generating or writer's block unblocking. Some noted authors, such as Michael Chabon, Kazuo Ishiguro, Decheonbae Jones, Ian McEwan, Rose Tremain and reputed screenwriters, such as David Benioff, Darren Star and Peter Farrelly, have graduated from university creative writing programs.

Controversy in academia

Creative writing is considered by some academics (mostly in the USA) to be an extension of the English discipline, even though it is taught around the world in many languages. The English discipline is traditionally seen as the critical study of literary forms, not the creation of literary forms. Some academics see creative writing as a challenge to this tradition. In the UK and Australia, as well as increasingly in the USA and the rest of the world, creative writing is considered a discipline in its own right, not an offshoot of any other discipline.

To say that the creative has no part in education is to argue that a university is not universal.[5]

Those who support creative writing programs either as part or separate from the English discipline, argue for the academic worth of the creative writing experience. They argue that creative writing hones the students’ abilities to clearly express their thoughts. They further argue that creative writing also entails an in-depth study of literary terms and mechanisms so they can be applied to the writer’s own work to foster improvement. These critical analysis skills are further used in other literary study outside the creative writing sphere. Indeed the process of creative writing, the crafting of a thought-out and original piece, is considered by some to be experience in creative problem solving.

It is also believed by some in the academic sphere that the term "creative writing" can include "creative reading" which is the reading of something not typically understood to be a creative piece as though it were creative. This expanded concept further addresses the idea of "found" materials being of literary value under a newly assigned meaning. Examples of this might be product assembly directions being considered "found poetry."

Despite the large number of academic creative writing programs throughout the world, many people argue that creative writing cannot be taught. Louis Menand explores the issue in an article for the New Yorker in which he quotes Kay Boyle, the director of creative writing program at San Francisco State for sixteen years, who said, “all creative-writing programs ought to be abolished by law.” [6]

Forms of creative writing

See also


  1. ^ Johnson, Burges and Syracuse University. "Creative Writing"; Inferences Drawn from an Inquiry Now being Carried on at Syracuse University Under the Direction of Burges Johnson, Litt.D., and Helene Hartley, Ph.D., into the Effectiveness of the Teaching of Written Composition in American Colleges. (Syracuse: Syracuse university, 1934), 7.
  2. ^ Marksberry, Mary Lee. Foundation of Creativity. Harper's Series on Teaching. (New York ; London: Harper & Row, 1963), 39.
  3. ^ Johnson, Burges and Syracuse University. "Creative Writing", 3.
  4. ^ Engle, Paul. "The Writer and the Place." In A Community of Writers: Paul Engle and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, edited by Robert Dana, 2(Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999).
  5. ^ Engle, Paul. "The Writer and the Place," 3.
  6. ^ "Show or Tell - Should Creative Writing be Taught?" by Louis Menand - The New Yorker, June 8, 2009
  • Everett, Nick. 2005. Creative Writing and English. The Cambridge Quarterly. 34 (3):231-242.

External links

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Creative writing article)

From Wikiversity

This learning resource is part of the Portal:Writing Center.

P writing.svg

If you often shudder at the thought of having to let your imagination run wild and settle down onto paper, then you've come to the 'write' place. Descriptive narratives are usually what's on the list, when you first begin to learn to write creatively. But the rule of the thumb is: No one can ever teach you to write 'creatively', although they can give you a few jumpstarts. Why not start with something a little more closer to home: Descriptive, Personal Narratives? True, it sounds very philosophical and intelligent, but really, it's not. It's just your own words on paper. And if you have a good sense of humor, are a sensitive being or are a dramatic person, it will show through in your writing.


Let's take you through it slowly:

1) Forget about what anyone has ever taught you about creative writing. We shall now begin afresh.

2) Lock yourself in a tiny room, leaving several windows open so you can breathe easily, and not get stifled by the overwhelming creativity that empties itself out of your brain. You can either sit on the floor, or at your desk. Although the floor-sitting yoga position is most desirable.

3) Make sure all distractions are out of the way before you begin. If your window's still open and you can hear the cars outside, so be it. But cut off all other distractions, such as music, your TV, etc...

4) Take out a blank sheet of paper and place it in front of you. Stare at it hard, but keep your mind as blank as the paper. Try to keep all thoughts out of your mind. Don't worry about anything else.

5) Next, when your mind is truly blank, and all you can hear (other than the cars and your neighbors yelling) is blankness, think about your happiest moment in life. Just think about it, and let the mood leave your body and envelope the room. You can now dance or jump around. What you need to feel is lightness and warmth.

6) Next, think about the darkest day of your life, when everything went wrong. Feel the emotion weighing heavily on your soul.

7) After this, take your paper, and on the front write "The day I was the happiest was when...". You don't need to write anything down just yet. Just go back to the memory of your happiest moment.

8) Pretend you're talking to someone, and relating what happened on your happiest day. Try to recall the place, the people, what exactly happened, and how you felt. Now, on your paper make three columns. In the first one, write down the 'setting': where and when this happy memory took place. Be specific. Jot down one or two descriptions of the place and the time. eg; "On the first day of junior high, next to the lockers. Sunny day, busy school."

9) On the next column, note down who the 'characters' or people involved were. Describe them the way you remember them. The characters could be animals, people, imaginary friends, etc. eg; "Sparky, my pet rabbit. Frisky, friendly, loving. Lives in my backyard."

10) In the last column write down what happened in a few words. The cause-effect, or what you felt when it happened. eg; "Sparky followed me all the way to junior high. Made a lot of friends because of her, on that first day."

11) Now see if you can add a few more descriptions to each column, each detail a little more specific than before. Try your hand at linking them all together.

12) Don't bother at all about grammar. This is your imagination running wild here, and we want to know what it has to say, without being bombarded by adjectives, capitalization, and conjunctions. That can come later. Get the creative process going first. Just imagine you're telling your friend (real or imaginary) about what happened that day. As you speak to yourself, write down what you're saying. Add the descriptions where appropriate.

13) Congratulations! You've written a a descriptive narrative!

14) If you're still lost, check out the sample Personal Narrative I've written below. It's written more like a diary entry, because that's what diaries are. They're just narratives, pieces of writing that you 'narrate', or relate to others, including yourself.

Simple list

 User:Jtneill/Creative writing

See also


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection



Creative writing is a massive and inexact field. Creative writing, be it poetry, a short story, or a novel, can be a complex, intimidating, and extremely difficult undertaking. However, it can also be enormously rewarding and enjoyable. This Wikibook attempts to explain some of the principles of 'good writing', offer tips on how to write, and hopefully provide a forum for peer review.


Specific writing types

See also

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address