The Truth About Creative Writing

This month we published Discovering Creative Writing by Graeme Harper. In this post the author tells us what inspired the book and what to expect from reading it.

I don’t remember either of my parents ever uttering the proverb ‘honesty is the best policy’, but they nevertheless somehow suggested to us kids that we should follow it. I admit, I have failed on occasion to reach the high standard set by this proverb, often attributed to the polymath and one of America’s ‘Founding Fathers’, Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin, as many folks know, invented bifocals. He also invented swim fins, which I think is kind of cool. So it was, with bespectacled Ben Franklin swimming along beside me, that I thought of writing a book that got as close to the honest truth about what creative writing is, and how it happens, as I could possibly get.

Discovering Creative Writing is not much like swim fins or like bifocals, though I hope it helps people explore creative writing a little faster and more effectively, and that it helps them to see a little more clearly what creative writing actually is.  In other words, that it is an honest account. The book is based on the idea of clues, found primarily in our writing practices – that if we can find these clues, and correctly interpret them, we can get much close to discovering the truth about creative writing.

When I say ‘truth about creative writing’, I don’t mean only truth about the end results of it (e.g. short stories, poems, scripts). Nor do I mean only an honest general idea of what creative writing is and how it happens. I mean, truths (because these are multiple) through finding and interpreting clues in our practice and its results, truths about how we each specifically do creative writing, and through these potentially about how other writers do creative writing.

‘Knowledge is power’. I don’t believe either of my parents ever uttered that proverb either. But I know they thought it, because they didn’t seem to find it a bad thing when I continued postgraduate study for too many years, and they never once asked: ‘Isn’t it about time you got a job?’. Knowledge certainly is power, and Discovering Creative Writing aims to improve the reader’s knowledge about creative writing practices and creative writing outcomes.

Of course, I’m reminded now that Benjamin Franklin also invented the glass harmonic and the lightning rod. If Discovering Creative Writing provides some magical vitreous music that stimulates your ideas, perhaps even has you dancing a little, and if it draws to you that spark that ignites a thought about how you write, and why you write, and in what ways creative writing means and gives so much to us all, then my bookish invention will have done its job.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Creative Writing and the Radical by Nigel Krauth.

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