In creative writing, there are many approaches to storytelling. While some prefer to write in first person, using the “I” word a lot, other authors may present a more objective view of the world. The approach makes a difference in how the story is constructed and, ultimately, what the story is trying to achieve. In this article, we will discuss some books that are highly valued by creative writers, particularly journalists, and the differences between these two types of writers.
David Versus Goliath
One of the best-known stories in the history of English literature is David and Goliath, by the British writer Walter Scott. It is an epic story of a small boy’s quest to slay a giant. As the novel opens, young David is feeling very insecure about his size. His father had been killed by a giant, and young David is afraid that he will suffer the same fate. He resolves to fight his own battles and prove to the people around him that he is not weak, but rather courageous and powerful. This story is rich in symbolic meaning. Indeed, young David’s journey to slay Goliath is a metaphor for his journey to establish himself as an independent, powerful adult.
Scott’s novel is one of the few that was actually published before the end of the 19th century. It is considered to be one of the first modern English novels, along with Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. It was first published in 1819, and the last sentence of the 336-page novel had not been written when Scott died in 1832. The novel has been adapted for film a few times, most notably in 1923 and 1977, and is still frequently included in school English books and reading lists. It has also been called the “Scottish J. K. Rowling.”
The Woman Warrior
Another Scott novel that is worth exploring is The Woman Warrior, first published in 1881. In this story, a young American woman, Olivia, heads off to fight for her life in a remote part of Mexico. Despite the dangers that she faces, Olivia is a determined young woman who wants to establish herself as an independent adult. She wants to prove to the world that she is not inferior to men, and she certainly does not want to return home an invalid. While in Mexico, Olivia witnesses the cruelty and injustice that the Mexican men show toward the women. She is disgusted by what she sees, and she vows to never again show feelings of inferiority toward men or be ashamed of what she is. This is quite a dark story that explores a lot of issues, but it is also a very romantic one. The Woman Warrior is often rated among the top 100 novels written by English-language authors. It was also made into a movie in 1920, starring Gloria Swanson.
Another powerful, independent woman who defies society’s expectations is Ally McBeal, the crusading lawyer from the hit TV show of the same name. Born Alice McBeal, in 1923, in Texas, she grew up helping out her father, a lawyer, who specialized in personal injury cases. As a young woman, she was very feisty and opinionated, and it got her in a lot of trouble. She attended University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Afterwards, she moved to New York City, where she became one of the most prominent trial lawyers in the country. In 1975, after working for a few other firms, she founded her own law firm, specializing in personal injury cases. She is an extremely successful professional who has managed to defy the odds throughout her life. She is currently the only female lawyer to hold a place of honor in the New York Bar Association. In 1982, she was inducted into the American Law Institute, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994.
The Red Tent
The Red Tent, by Anita Shreve, is a story that explores the tensions that arise from the ongoing struggle for independence and equal rights. It is set in the American South and primarily focuses on the Amish community there. The book follows several prominent Amish families as they try to hold on to their conservative culture while also trying to fit into the society around them. Despite their desire to stay “traditional,” changes continue to sweep through their community. Most shockingly, an unmarried daughter who wants to leave home and go to school falls in love with a non-Amish man. The ensuing struggle leads to an important revelation about the women’s rights within the Amish community, one that shocks the readers, who had come to believe that being a traditional, submissive woman was the only way to go about life. The Red Tent became a part of the American literary canon after it was featured on best-seller lists, including the New York Times. It is currently one of the top 100 novels written by English-language authors.
Finally, we come to the most famous of the Scott novels, Sophie’s Choice, first published in 1946. The story focuses on Sophie, a young French woman who has to make a difficult choice between her father, who is a prominent, influential surgeon, and her mother, a novelist. Sophie is torn between wanting to please her parents and follow in their footsteps and wanting to establish herself as a writer. She ultimately decides to follow her heart and writes a novel, which ends up being quite successful. Sophie, like many other literary figures before her, defied the odds and succeeded in spite of the many obstacles that she faced, particularly during World War II. At the end of the novel, she has proven to the people around her that she is not only talented, but also strong and independent enough to go it alone.
Sophie’s Choice is one of the most celebrated novels of the 20th century, and it continues to be popular today. Indeed, it was made into a movie in 1963, with Bette Davis playing Sophie. The novel has been adapted for film twice more since then: in 1995 and in 2013. It is also frequently taught in high school English classes as an example of a winning, independent woman who overcomes great odds to succeed in life. Overall, these are all really good books to use in creative writing. They allow for a lot of freedom to the writer, and they can be used to tell any type of story that the author might want to write, from a gritty legal drama to a romantic tale. As you might imagine, not all writers will necessarily enjoy these kinds of books. They can be extremely difficult to write, and some may even consider them to be on the “masculine” side as opposed to the “feminine.” That being said, whatever the case may be, these books are a great choice for those looking to write creatively.