Creative Writing… Creative or Imaginative writing is artistic representation or recreation of events. It differs from other forms of writing because it lays emphasis on methods and techniques of linguistic expression. Although descriptive and narrative writing are aspects of creative writing, their emphasis is on content and not the casting of artistic delight. The creative writer deploys inventive and suggestive content and recasts the same with artistic prowess, creativity in writing, quite like style is the homage that what pays to how.
Although creative writing is neither sociological nor historical documentation, the writer borrows material about human experience and builds upon it through imaginative action. The – writer is expected to faithfully capture the truth about human existence. This need for artistic fidelity has led to the definition of literature, the product of creative writing as “a slice of for the recreation of real man in real society. The writer should be faithful to the world he is recreating in order to ensure artistic relevance and credibility, and effectively engage the reader hi the world of his dream.
Also, since the content of creative writing draws it’s Impetus from Imaginative thinking, the pattern and outlay of the creation should be so effective that the reader can suspend disbelief, he should, for Instance, create a tortoise and a bag of wisdom that are real and suitable enough for the reader to see and carry, also since the writer relies on imaginative thinking, it means that he is the basic source of information for himself.
Perhaps, that is why some people suppose that true wit in writing comes from inspiration, A writer needs to be inspired by his environment – the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the society in which he writes. Inspiration as used here is not in the sense of being possessed or being mad. Rather what is suggested here is the state of being conscious or sensitized to the pulse of the society, and possessing the flair and drive to express the same. A writer’s experiences, ambitions, dreams, motivations and his understanding of human motives and responses inform his creative focus.
The uses of creative writing include the following:
- It serves as an outlet for the writer’s accumulated feelings.
- It is used as an instrument for correcting societal ills by drawing attention to them
- It serves as a means of cultural dissemination and historical recreation
- Creative writing is also entertaining. The writer entertains his audience through the various genres that form his products; prose, poetry and drama.
STRATEGIES OF CREATIVE WRITING
1. A creative writer should master the conventions and techniques of his chosen genre. Genres of literature— prose, poetry and drama – have their unique features. Although these features, techniques and devices for writing them are not mutually exclusive, it is possible to categories them.
The convention for writing are story, plot, situation, theme motif and characterization. Story is the narration of events in the text it is “the synopsis of the events and incidents around which the story is built”. Plot is the structure of the story or ordered action in order to make the experience meaningful. Plot can be achieved through sequencing technique, flashback and foreshadowing.
Sequencing refers to the ordering of the plot structure. It can, be chronological, presentation or psychological. Chronological sequencing is story arranged in order of time, while psychological sequencing is arrangement of story according to knowledge. The story starts from where the author knew it, as in detective (whodunit) novel. In presentational sequencing the reader’s preferences determines how the author arranges his story.
Flashback is a cinematic correlation of events where a past event that is relevant to understanding the present is brought in. Foreshadowing is used as indicator of future events, and as a means of achieving literary significance.
A typical plot structure consists of:
- Exposition which develops the story and introduces the characters, background and setting
- Complication which introduces a twist in the plan of the protagonist, hero or Chief Character.
- Conflict which is a clash between the hero and the villain (knave). The conflict when it is seen as clash of the ideals can be externalized and internalized.
- Climax or the turning point is the highest point of tension.
- Resolution or denouncement is the unknotting or unraveling of the events. There is reversal of the hero’s fortuness or fate; he discovers something that was hidden from him (anagnorisis) in comics; or gets destroyed (or dies) in tragedies.
Situation or setting is the .circumstances or background of the story which determine behaviour of the characters in the novel or play.
The subject matter ‘is the area of a story’s focus while the theme is the author’s attitude towards it. The subject matter introduces the quality of human condition while the theme makes philosophical pronouncement about that condition. There is the author’s philosophy of life that is implicitly or explicitly stated.
Motif is the dominant impression running through a work of art. It constitutes of incident or formula which recurs in Literature. It could be pattern of imagery and symbolism, especially of regeneration and rebirth. Whether from its latinate etymological meaning (movere, motum) to have or in association with the German Leitmetif( a guiding spirit), motif in literature is treated as the dominant element or complex of images in the work.
Characters in a literary work constitute “the persons presented in a dramatic or narrative work who are interpreted by the reader as being endowed with moral and dispositional qualities that are expressed in what they say — the dialogue— and by what they do— the action” -(Abrams in Agbada, 1995) characters depict the action and event in the work.
In order to enjoy our love or hatred, affection or condemnation. The creative writer should create credible and realistic characters. The effort designed to meet this challenge is called characterization, the character at the center of the action is called the protagonist, hero or heroine, while the antagonist or villain opposes the hero and foils him in his actions.
Characters can also be round or flat A round character is complex, dynamic, developing, multifaceted and life-like; As the narrative changes the round character changes either from childhood to adulthood (physical) or from Ignorance to knowledge (mental, psychological). The flat character is simple and nondeveloping. There are also characters that are viewed in relation to their fate, desires and drives or circumstance. They are prototypes or stock characters. There are the mother, who’ cares and protects the witch, who tempts and destroys; the virgin, who violates male pride; the alazon, who braggs; the elron who understands and self-deprecates the alazon; the bomolochos or buffoon, who is easily manipulated; etc. There are also archetypes of social configurations like the name dropper, the depraved lecher, the absent minded professor, the} repentant harlot etc. In the dramatic genre, most of what is! known about a character come through his actions words and inaction. Inaction could depict cowardice, cunning, among other possibilities. The ability to effectively recreate these simensions and aspects of prose proses an auspicious challenge to the creative writer.
2. The creative writer should be faithful to the world he is recreating. The writer should represent the world of his writing as it is. In both icastic and fantastic imitations, the writer should recreate what is possible in the mind’s eye of the reader. That is “improbable probabilities should be preferred to probable Improbabilities”. The writer should justify the impossible by reference to artistic requirement For instance, Aristotle requires the writer to be ‘consistently consistent or inconsistently consistent’. A work of art should not be irrational, morally hurtful or contradictory.
A creative work should delight and teach (detuce et utlla). The writer should avoid the creation of loop-sided or sloopy imageries, such that “the mountain is in labour but a mouse is born”, a creative writer should not build people’s hopes only to dash them. Purple patch or extravagant description that ruins a work of art should be avoided.
3. The creative writer should be a good observer that has strong sentivity to details. This is because he relies mainly on his experiences to accomplish his art. He should in the words of pope “follow nature and his Judgement frame” His ability to methodise his experience in line with the focus of his theme and structure of his plot will further his creative endeavour. He should bear in mind that:
True wit is nature to advantage dressed what oft was thought but never so well expressed.
and that true ease in writing comes from art not chance as those move easiest who have learnt to dance.
4. A creative writer may adopt any of the following points of view.
- First person or the T narration is used to achieve artistic closeness. The narrator participates in the action and uses ‘We’ and ‘T’.
- The third person (he, she, they) is used to show artistic distance. The narrator is not part of the story. He is the omniscient narrator that permeates the minds and consciousness of the characters in order to report what they did, what they thought and what they did not do.
5. The creative writer’s tool is the word. His use of language can be direct or indirect and figurative. He uses figurative language which is a deviation from common use of word sequence. While literal words refer to surface, ordinary or
- The child is the father of man
- Cowards die many times before their death.
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