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About this book

In this dynamic exploration of the discipline of creative writing, Graeme Harper departs from the established ‘how-to’ model in a personal manifesto which analyses why human beings are, and have long been, passionate about writing. Illuminating the five essential keys to creative writing, directly related to the desire to undertake it, Harper analyses creative writing’s past and ponders its future, drawing on theories of the self, cultural interaction, consumption and communication.

Blending practice-based critical context with contemporary creative writing theory, this book is an ideal companion for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Creative Writing and Literature. Lively and thought-provoking, it is an invaluable tool for all aspiring and established writers who wish to harness the positive effects of their craft.

Table of Contents

1. Intention

Abstract
At what we might call the ‘big question’ level of creative writing, the level at which you make the personal decision to do some writing, you have deemed to put other things you have to do or like to do aside, to take the time, find the place, employ whatever equipment you need (laptop, pencil, phone), do whatever you can to set forth or to continue with creative writing. You have expressed a macro intention or intentions. This means that your state of mind concerned with writing, your holistic mindset, anticipates that you will act in a certain way.
Graeme Harper

2. Action

Abstract
If you do not at some point take action, you will not at some point be a creative writer. No question. Creative writing is, ultimately, your actions. It must be so because at a very basic level writing involves you inscribing something, that is, it involves you literally or figuratively (say, on a computer screen) marking, etching, making symbols that ultimately create what we recognize as words, phrases, and other components of a writing system. Although the tools of writing have changed over time, to inscribe entails physical activity (or a substitute that creates an inscription, such as in the case of you verbally dictating your creative writing).
Graeme Harper

3. Emotion

Abstract
In formal analysis, anecdotes are often frowned upon for lacking critical depth. And yet, an anecdote is also thought to reveal experiences and to connect individuals personally in ways that structured, formal analysis mostly does not. With that in mind, and as feels appropriate in a chapter entitled ‘Emotion’, here then is an anecdote:
Graeme Harper

4. Imagination

Abstract
Imagine a world without imaginations. In terms of quality of life, you probably would not want to do that. In terms of your abilities, you can do it. You can do this imagining because human beings have what can be called ‘higher order’ imaginations. Our imaginations are able to work at a level of cognitive and creative engagement that makes us distinct as a species and provides the impetus and support for such activities as creative writing. That does not make us the only living things on the planet with the ability to propose, imagine, and create. Animals have imaginations and insects create. Birds, spiders, dolphins, mice, chimpanzees, octopuses, bees – the creative activities of other living things regularly astound us, not simply because of the creativity itself but perhaps also because we value creativity so much in ourselves. Our sometimes proprietorial sense with regard to the creative seems to stem from this fact; but, more positively, might arise not from wanting to deny the power of creativity in other living things but rather from the conflating of the concepts of creativity and of the imagination.
Graeme Harper

5. Pleasure

Abstract
The eminent writer Joyce Carol Oates writes in The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft and Art(2004), forty years after she published the first of her many novels. The practicing writer, the writer-at-work, the writer immersed in his or her project, is not an entity at all, let alone a person, but a curious mélange of wildly varying states of mind, clustered toward what might be called the darker end of the spectrum: indecision, frustration, pain, dismay, despair, remorse, impatience, outright complete failure. (Oates, 2004: 51–52)
Graeme Harper
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