Creative Writing TheoryTheory of Creative Writing
Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing.
Definition of creative writing and pedagogy: Bibliographical story
Given that creative writing as a whole is "the least theorised area in the whole British Constellation" (Haake 83), the theory of creative writing can be inconceivable. Anyone who could and should develop and pursue new theory is often not only resistent to the ascription of a theory, but "can also make up a disproportionately large proportion of those who withdraw from the theory" (Ostrom xii).
In this sense, the concept of creative writing cannot always be defined in a consistent manner, as D. G. Myers states in his historical monography The elephants Teach: Writing since 1880: "It seems that folks speak about radical other things when they speak about creative writing" (2). "There are two things about creative writing:
1 ) a didactic field, the instruction of literature and verses at higher education institutions and schools throughout the whole territory; and 2) a nationwide system for the occupation of literature and poetry to instruct the subject" (xiii). It is beyond doubt that the creative writing practices, epitomized by the workshops ambience, were created in the United States at the end of the 19th and since then have been flourishing throughout the entire nation during the 20th. year.
In the mid-1990s, Myers claimed that "no other era and no other land had established an institute that even resembled the writing workshop" (Myers 12). Thomas Bartlett's 2002 paper for The Chronicle of Higher Education, in which he states: "Over the past six years, more than fifty universities have expanded their student service lists to include creative writing, taking the number to well over 300 in both residential and non-residential institutions" (A39).
But neither its foundation in this land nor its fast growing are a sign of the successful development of creative writing in US science. Creativity as a disciplinary still fights for legality in US colleges, and his absence of or departure from theories that guide his teaching has increased suspicions of his part in many British department.
Indeed, most of the creative writing criticisms at the place of higher education come from the very British sections, where the School of Creative Writing shares an offices with its literary and composing peers. Relations between these cults in the British divisions are often tense.
The 2003 essays "The Strangeness of Creative Writing: Shirley Geok-lin Lim explains: "An Institutional Query, dissatisfied with creative writing as a universal aspiration, is becoming more and more common among system educators and admins who have become sceptical of the brainchild of the'discipline'. Since " creative writing instructors are seldom considered to be active as disciplinarians by their colleagues", although they "are more and more active in institutions that comprise course teaching, curricula, pupil degrees, performance appraisals, promotion, employment and pupil appraisals", it is still the case that "their "academic discipline" seems incompatible with the rigour and assessments that determine the profession" (161).
Lim's reason for this absence of "rigour" is a mystery: "While creative writing programmes are flourishing all over the United States, they have rarely been tested by outside parties or had to answer for themselves to the same degree as programmes such as composing and Americanism. This is why Lim arguments that while composing and American Studies seem to have struggled and gained places within British divisions by proactively exploring and evolving new theory and pedagogy (and publicizing those findings), creative writing has not.
This means that "the issues that the Department of Compositional Sciences has been raising since the 1970' s in order to settle their study in the academic home of English are still more seldom addressed in creative writing" (150). In a way, the seeming absence of theory in today's creative writing disciplines reflects the origin of the school.
Founder of creative writing at the academic levels designed it as an alternate to philological writing (see mainly Myers, Chips. 1 and 2). Her theory of viewing literary as a creative act became almost ubiquitous: "One could convincingly say that creative writing was the most powerful theory of literary art in America since the Second World War" (Berry 57).
"Initially, the doctrine of writing at US colleges... was... an educational experimentation.... to transform and re-define the scholarly studies of literary studies by creating a means to approach them "creatively", i.e. by means other than..... historical or linguistic" (4).
However, he adds: "In the next fifty years of his lifetime creative writing gradually turned away from its initial goal" (4). An early creator and head of the first Iowa University' creative writing postgraduate programme (later just named Iowa Writer's Workshop), Norman Foerster shares this initial view.
Stephen Wilbers reports, "Foerster further stressed that the Board of Letters did not suggest "to found a professional college for writers and critics" - although the programme soon developed into a writing workshop - but that rather innovative research was meant to be a necessary complement to a broader field.... research in the widest possible meaning" (44).
Therefore, the studies and practices of creative writing were not initially meant to be a main subject in which writing for writing's sake; it tried to create a new means of approach to it. "Right from the start creative writing was an institutionary way of dealing with writing as if it were a continual process of experiencing, not just a body of information, as if it were a alive thing, as if humans wanted to do more of it" (Myers 8).
Somehow, however, the overwhelming bulk of creative writing programmes over the past 50 years seem to have abandoned this initial premonition - or, one might say, they have pushed the concept of creative writing too far and made it a separate field, like writing, rather than a means of further studying to grasp it.
However, even if this was the cause - even if creative writing became a field, why did the next generations who understood one theory so quickly shrink from evolving to supplement and fortify? What are so few next-generation studies on the texture and doctrine of creative writing?
Rather than spreading new theory, the science seems to be diminishing. Lim asks: "After all, what is the creative writing of all? What would we teach if we were to teach it? Perhaps one of the reasons for this absence of "discipline" is the fact that creative writing has thrived so much at a non-degree level: sparse PhD programmes and an enormous number of Bachelor's programmes:
"Though PhD programmes are the most important place for the official studies of literature theory, the home of creative writing is the home of institutions in the far greater number of nondoctoral schools and academies - places where theoretical classes are rare" (Berry 57). There may be another motive for those who teach creative writing at the university: publishers who may not consider themselves scientists.
Creative writing teachers are often criticised for their place in science, as Myers makes clear: "The notion of employing authors to instruct writing has never met with unquestionable approval, nor has creative writing - the discipline of writing - gone far beyond apologising for itself" (3). They argue that creative authors are less suitable for the challenges of scholarly tradition, such as research and education, because of their other priority.
In this way "the withdrawal from theory - or at least the opposition to it - can partly come from professors who see themselves first as authors and then as professors..... When pedagogics is not important enough to conceptualise - to deal with science - then the concept of theory is insignificant from the outset:'Out of my way - I have lessons and books to write'".
"Whilst alumni of creative writing programmes generally misunderstand their educational tasks, they generally refuse the relation between education and science that underlies the profession" (163). As Myers notes: "Despite the mockery, the authors encountered surprising little opposition when they took their place in the departments of the faculty of the university, and when it was suggested, creative writing was quickly accepted as a curriculum at the university" (3).
Well-known authors and writing programmes have been successful in recruiting talents for those UK divisions where enrolment is otherwise low. One example is "the increasing interest (in creative writing), as the number of British major authors has fallen significantly since 1970 and fell by 23 per cent to 49,708 in 1998" (Bartlett A40). In 1999, even one of these great authors, Kurt Vonnegut, in a New York Times report, acknowledged that "the best creative writing instructors, like the best journalists, are distinguished in the classroom, not necessarily in writing.
Whilst I was teaching with famous literature students in Iowa, the most useful of my lessons were two lesser-known authors, William Cotter Murray and Eugene Garber" (3). Adopting the idea of employing writing as a teacher (as the notion of non-theory is a good theory) is a shift from the initial notion of creative writing as a disciplinary.
Iowa Writer's Workshop's founding members and instructors were not creative authors on the market of popcultures. Instead, they were authors whose career was very similar to that of the accomplished teacher, both of whom describe Vonnegut and Wilbers and Myers: "Edwin Ford Piper, John Towner Frederick, and Frank Luther Mott were the three protagonists in the teachings of creative writing in Iowa in the 1920'.
Even the first advocates of creative writing at Harvard around the turn of the 20th and 20th centuries did not fulfil this criterion: However, it was the introduction of these basic writing programmes that lead to the spread of authors as schoolteachers. Haake argues: "The aim of creative writing programmes has always been to create authors who make publications.
Secondly, these authors were supposed to earn their livelihood as teachers" (79). In turn, the program graduates formed a group of university graduates who were supposed to be teaching all of them, and many of them began their own version of them in the form of the ones they were training.
In Wilbers' words, the sixties were "the decade in which creative writing programmes or writing workshops" became everyday occurrences at university and college level throughout the state. Most of these programmes were established, led and occupied by alumni of the Iowa Workshop" (105). Myers wrote that "for an whole generations of US authors, a business trip to an academic writing studio, followed by a creative writing teacher's career, was the basic education and shared experiences of their time" (2), which encompasses a narrow spectrum of theory and pedagogy than other regulars.
Haake: "Since the first grades were created in Iowa, the teachings of creative writing in America have been largely modelled on a text-centered class. C] reative writing is so intimately connected with this perspective of the'workshop' that it seems almost indistinguishable" (80). When creative writing has no coherent theory among those who teaches it, then it has a rigid coherent educational system - the class.
Iowa' s workshops have hardly ever evolved since the first description, but they are neither an ideals of research nor the object of new research. Instead, according to Haake, "the state of creative writing as'studio art' has evolved from its most popular teaching method: the workshop" (80).
For the first in its history, the concept of creative writing was used at the University of Iowa. According to Wilbers, "in 1939, the classes in creative writing that were to be held in the autumn were... Under the new title'Writer's Workshop'" under the direction of Paul Engle as head of the programme of Iowa, the practise of the studio, as it flourishes today, took its accustomed form:
For many reasons, the workshops remain a succesful way of learning to write creatively, even if it does not do without a critic (see also Carol Bly). Creative Writing at the Public Urban University", Nicole Cooley wrote, "Workshop is both the most important and the most problematical part of creative writing" (101).
In Michael Lloyd Gray's essays "Method and Madness in the Creative Writing Workshop" he acknowledges that "workshops.... in the last few centuries have brought forth many well-known authors" (17). In Colin Bullman's essays "Devising and Teaching a Creative Writing Course" Colin Bullman wrote that the student "wants to exchange their creative work with others, which the methodology of the studio allows", while "it has proven that few wish only the teacher to look at their work" (75).
Gray articulated many of the unique issues that the studio perceives as the dominating creative writing pedagogy: "At my very first one in 1994, I realised that the focus would be on failing rather than on succeeding. One thing that certainly happens in many of our work-shops is that the pupils believe that the work of the pupils must be assessed, that they must be faulty, and that the aim of the work-shops is then the search for mistakes" (17).
Wilbers says this emphasis on negativism is intrinsic to any kind of work shop environment, especially since it has affected education in Iowa: "Some of the alumni criticised the workshops as too bad and felt that the workshops lacked popularity and comment.
To the extent that "a novelist... could escape the competitive pressure" (125), he added that "participation in a programme like the Iowa Writer's Workshop... can be suffocating and depressing. An Iowa grad remarks that "the subject seemed....not poetry...but rather technological supremacy that impresses your classmates and writes hard-hitting, assertive poems" (Wilbers 131).
He is even negative, even cruel, in films and fiction that deal with creative writing as a field of study. Accepting the workshops without any genuine effort to alter its theory or practice to rethink how it could strive for strengthening positively harms both the student and the alumnus in creative writing and composing classes.
It also harms the creative writing of the past. A certain level of self-satisfaction is possible for both renowned teachers and new students. As Hans Ostrom put it: "Those who withdraw from theory and education will probably resort to the most simple way of workshop:
Classes can be conducted as a teaching practice that does not involve much teacher involvement or practice - a good thing if you are trying to compose a novel, but a poor thing if you are a learner trying to understand why you are writing, what you are writing and how you might be able to use those abilities elsewhere.
Geok-lin Lim emphasizes the need to pay special heed to the creation and application of theory by creative writing experts in English department. If creative writing is to be realised as a complementing field, its intrinsic opposition and its necessary incorporation into the work of English both intellectually and academically must be achieved" (165).
Whilst there has been little sign of a boost to this process of subdivisionalization, there seems to be a move to trace creative writing back to its foundation theory within the creative writing of the British wards. Barlett is quoting a young associate lecturer in creative writing:
"It' s not about making great authors - it' s wrong from the beginning. They must be taught to think well and to understand well" (A41). Moreover, according to Nicole Cooley, "if we allow creative writing and literature study to be rejuvenated and refreshed, both subjects will win a lot, and our seminarians will profit not only as authors but also as people" (103).
Michael Lloyd Gray also calls on the letter's authors to first take a teaching position: "In the last hundred years there has been an unbelievable increase in the number of creative writing undergraduates at our schools, but perhaps the trend has changed, because this unbelievable increase will unavoidably only result in an unbelievable increase in another direction: that of those who may be university employees who do not make a big impression on the literature world.
In" Creative Writing If the Shoe Fits" Katherine Haake wrote that the trend of US creative writing programmes is to "promote our students' wrong aspirations - that the best" authors finally show up, continue to post, save apprenticeship and so on. Perhaps more difficult at the alumni stage, however, is that creative writing alumni are encouraging to continue and publicize their creative work and ensure teacher posts, while the scientific fellowship is totally neglecting to motivate creative writing alumni to engage in research in the area.
Let us not loose these gifted authors who like to write in a creative way and yet will never succeed: When the theory and pedagogics of creative writing is ever to evolve beyond that of gym arts, we need it to take them there. "Heed the Writer's Muse. Berry, R. M. "Theory, creative writing and the impertinence of time.
Editede la théorie et la pédagogie de l'écriture créative, Hrsg. Rethink the theory and pedagogics of creative writing. Away from the writing workshop. "Developing and giving a creative writing course. "and her dissatisfaction. Editede la théorie et la pédagogie de l'écriture créative, Hrsg. Teaches creative writing at the Public Urban University. "Awareness: Subjects of Critique on Literature, Language, Composition and Cultures 3:1 (2003): 99-103.
"in the writing workshop. "Teach creative writing when the shoe fits. The Strangeness of Creative Writing Theory and Didactics, Hrsg. "The Strangeness of Creative Writing : "Awareness: The critical approach to literature, language, composition and art 3. 2 (2003): 151-69. Writing since 1880. On radishes and shadows, theory and education.
Editede la théorie et la pédagogie de l'écriture créative, Hrsg. Iowa Writers' Workshop.