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What Is Creative Writing in Arts & Humanities?

In the 21st century, the term “creative writing” can be used to define a range of narrative, poetic, and graphical arts that are characterized by their originality and innovation. However, the term “creative writing” has a long history in the arts and humanities, and it originally described the practice of writing creatively in the service of particular artistic, philosophical, or cultural principles. Moreover, writing that incorporates innovative, experimental, or alternative methods is often regarded as creative, as it encourages the breaking of established rules and the questioning of tradition. Therefore, this blog post will explore the history of creative writing in the arts and humanities, before delving into the meaning of this important term for contemporary practice.

The Evolution Of Creative Writing

The origins of creative writing can be traced back to ancient Greece and the practice of chreography, or the art of writing. In ancient Greece, literary criticism and creative writings were considered to be a form of self-expression that was integral to the culture. A prominent theorist of aesthetics and literature, Aristotle, famously defined literature as “an art of the possible” that encouraged critical thinking and independent creative expression. According to Aristotle, “all literature is drama” because literature is “the imitation of the arts”, and drama is a form of storytelling that usually involves action and dialogue. This definition highlights the dramatic and narrative elements that are present in many creative writings, from epic poetry to comics.

Over time, as literary criticism developed into a form that consisted of close readings of literature alongside critical analysis and commentary, the practice of creative writing largely became invisible. Although literary critics engaged in creative writing, this was largely considered to be a form of embellishment rather than representation. In modern times, the term “creative writing” largely refers to the practice of writing that is characterized by its originality, as it often incorporates aspects that are outside of the ordinary. This is in contrast to “typical” or “cliche writing”, which often follows set formulas and is characterized by its repetitiveness. Creative writing can be performed by anyone, irrespective of talent or skill, as long as the individual has a pen or computer in hand; however, it is often considered an artistic endeavour that is more characteristic of individuals who engage in it. Moreover, innovation is admired in the field of creative writing because it signifies a willingness to question the status quo and offer something new. These factors, taken together, make up the “ideal” creative writer, as defined by contemporary theorists in the field.

The Varieties Of Creative Writing

The term “creative writing” can be used to define a wide range of artistic productions that are characterized by their originality, innovation, and artistic expression. The most prominent type of creative writer is the “free verse” poet, who often writes in an unrhymed, metered verse form known as “blank verse”. This kind of poem is usually characterized by its use of language that is as direct and unadorned as possible, and it often draws its influence from the lexicon of everyday language.

Another prominent type of creative writer is the “absurdist”, or the satirical poet, who often mocks traditional aesthetic values and poses questions about societal conventions and taboos. A notable example of an absurdist poet is Jonathan Swift, who is best known for his poem, “The Modest Proposal”, which lambasts the practice of eating animals. In the poem, a father suggests that the government should raise poor children in wealthy families so that the wealthy may be forced to eat meat that is less expensive and more abundant. Thus, in a satirical vein, Swift mocks the practice of eating flesh and encourages readers to consider alternative modes of living.

Both of these types of creative writer are characterized by their willingness to engage in social debate and criticism, and they tend to question social conventions and assumptions that they perceive to be unjust or immoral. These are the prominent types of creative writer that are discussed in detail below.

Blank Verse And Free Verse

The term “creative writing” can be used to define a range of narrative, poetic, and graphically-based arts that are characterized by their originality and innovation. The most prominent type of creative writer is the “free verse” poet, who uses language that is as direct and unadorned as possible, preferring to work with what he calls “monopsychoanalysis”. This is in contrast to the rhymed and measured verse forms, such as “rhymed couplets”, that are characteristic of “classical” poets. A free verse poem tends to be unrhymed, and it sometimes uses language that is in accordance with modern colloquialisms, providing a fresh and vivid evocation of the senses.

This kind of poem is usually characterized by its use of language that is as direct and unadorned as possible, and it often draws its influence from the lexicon of everyday language. Indeed, many free verse poems are inspired by works of literature that are considered “classics”, but the form also derives its influence from popular culture and the news media. Moreover, some readers consider free verse to be an “unglamorous” form because it does not fall into easily definable rhyme or meter schemes, thus making it harder to produce. This is one of the reasons that it has been largely overlooked in the canon of traditional poetry. Nevertheless, it has become popular among writers and poets in the 21st century because it affords them the opportunity to experiment with lyricism and innovation.

The Comic Book As A Literary Form

The term “creative writing” can also be used to define comics, which are often considered to be a “literary genre” that was birthed in the 20th century. In the 1960s and ‘70s, underground comix, or self-published comics, emerged as a form of protest that was a response to the “establishment” comics that were often perceived to be a form of propaganda. Many of these comics were considered avant-garde and innovative, as they often featured experimental narrative structures, unorthodox narrative arcs, non-traditional layouts, and alternative illustrations.

In the 21st century, the variety of comics has increased, along with their creative scope. Moreover, many traditional comics, such as those that were published from the 1960s to the ‘70s, have been redefined by today’s creators as a “meta-narrative” that probes themes that are contemporary and relevant to our cultural moment. In other words, contemporary comics, whether they are humorous, satirical, or otherwise, explore themes that are in dialogue with our current societal conditions—often using the form as a lens to examine these topics.

Comic Books And The Art Of The Possible

Comic books, like all literature, can instruct and entertain us, as they often feature stories that provoke thought and discussion. Moreover, the medium is an excellent tool for creative writers who want to explore a particular theme or idea because it allows for a great degree of freedom in terms of content and structure. This is one of the reasons that it has been used so frequently in artistic pursuits, including graphic novels, manga, and web comics—all of which are discussed below.

The Graphic Novel

A “graphic novel” is a story that is told fully through illustrations—often in black and white, although color illustrations are also common—and, in some cases, photographs. Graphic novels are often printed in relatively small runs, which makes them more affordable for average readers. In the 21st century, graphic novels have received an important validation as a form of “literature”, with many major publishers, such as Penguin, releasing titles that are considered to be among the best in the field.

Furthermore, many contemporary graphic novels incorporate important social and political themes, as well as explore themes that are deeply psychological and narratively complex. Some graphic novels are quite short, only a few dozen pages long, but a great many are longer than this, often spanning several volumes. Nevertheless, the average reader usually finishes a graphic novel in a couple of days. Thus, they can be viewed as a quick, easy, and affordable literary form that is accessible to a larger audience.