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This is probably the first question you have. Or maybe you already think you know the answer, since you signed up to take a course called Creative Writing or something similar. In all likelihood, you do have some good ideas about what creative writing is, but you may also wonder what distinguishes it from other kinds of writing. The easy answer is that creative writing includes drama, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Those are the main forms of writing that we will look at in this textbook. The answer becomes a little harder when we try to define what makes these forms different from other forms of writing, so here’s another way to look at it. In most of your other classes, you probably write essays. One might argue that the essay is one form and creative writing uses other forms. Yet when we discuss nonfiction, we will talk about the essay as one form that you might use in creative writing (and we will even talk about the differences between nonfiction and creative nonfiction). So there is a gray area between what we might classify as creative writing and other forms. Perhaps the best way to think about the difference is by looking at the kind of assignments that are given in creative writing versus other classes. In a literature class, you might be asked to analyze a piece of literature and give your interpretation. Or in a history class, you might be asked to discuss the causes or the effects of an event. You have a specific topic that defines your task, and you write about it, using evidence to support the assertions you want to make.
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