creative writing

Evolution

Here’s something I mentioned in one of my classes today… Just a theory I’m working on.

I’d argue that throughout any given literary movement (or, more generally, artistic movement), there’s an ongoing debate of many, many voices, each representing a slightly different approach to defining and realizing the ideals of that movement. The debate isn’t always formal. Indeed, rather than writing or speaking about what literature should do, writers engage in this debate through the works they create. It might be helpful to think of each piece of writing we read not just as a text in and of itself, but as a declaration of what “good” writing should look like. In other words, a writer is never just telling a story. Rather, a writer is both telling a story and making a statement about how a story should be told.

With this distinction in mind, we can think of all of literature (from The Epic of Gilgamesh right through Fifty Shades of Grey* and beyond) as an ongoing conversation about how to tell a story. Writers influence other writers who, in turn, influence other writers still. As the population of writers increases, disagreements over “best practices” are bound to occur, but these disagreements yield new kinds of writing, thus ensuring literature’s continued evolution. Within this context, there’s always a dominant, overarching theory of writing that more or less defines a given age, but there are always other theories and forms lurking beneath the surface, waiting for the right conditions to emerge and assert their own dominance… Only to gradually drift out of favor as time and circumstances dictate.

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*I haven’t read it, but I understand that EL James wrote the series, initially, as Twilight fan fiction — so, essentially there’s some degree of conversation going on there, even if it’s limited.

Trying to Make Sense of the World: An Interview with Charles Holdefer

In the latest installment of my podcast, I interview Charles Holdefer, author of Back in the GameThe Contractor, Nice, and Apology for Big Rod. An American author, Charles lives in Belgium and teaches in France at the University of Poitiers. I caught up with him recently when he was invited to teach a week-long creative writing seminar at the Rosemont College Writers Retreat.

Make Things Happen: Writing Tips from an Eight-Year-Old

In the latest episode of my podcast, a misunderstanding leads me to interview an award-winning eight-year-old author and her younger sister. Later, their father reveals how his own childhood trauma has informed their creativity. The younger sister then rounds things off by explaining how to make pot holders. The episode ends with a musical remix of the interview titled “Over Under (It’s Kinda Weird).”

http://www.buzzsprout.com/11865/99129-make-things-happen-writing-tips-from-an-eight-year-old