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Creative Writing

CWU English Department

What is Creative Writing?

"Like a child at play, the creative writer expends his emotion (libido energy) into a world of make-believe. In serious fantasy he fulfills his wishes without embarrassment, allowing his reader to do the same." Sigmund Freud 

"Every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him." Sigmund Freud 

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer." Hemingway - By-Line; "Old Newsman Writes: A Letter from Cuba"; (pg. 184) 

The creative process, on the other hand, is much more elusive. It describes the process that artists engage in when they are creating something that did not previously exist. The creative process involves the student in decision making about content, genre, form, structure, language, theme, craft, and imagery. The end result is the creation of something new that has its own meaning. 

The point at which various decisions are made will be different for each student and, possibly, for each project. Some students will make a decision (about form, for example) at the pre-writing stage and adhere to that decision. Another student might make a similar decision at the pre-writing stage and then change his or her mind several times during revision. Some decisions cannot be made until certain truths about the work become evident to the student. The process, then, is an organic process, and one that is unique to individual artists and students. It describes the complex interaction between the student and the work-in-progress. 

Gertrude Stein said the following about writing: "... think of the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting" (Preston, 1935). 

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Related Major Skills
Highly imaginativePersistent
OrganizedIndividually expressive
Proficient in interpretive readingProficient in grammar
Open to criticismProficient in editing
Proficient in critiquingProficient in word processing
Able to work with deadlinesObservant
Strong communicationProficient in close reading
Proficient in researchProficient in fiction, non-fiction & poetry writing
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