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This guide to creative writing explores the two genres of poetry and fiction, and defines the basic elements of each. It offers a hands-on approach to writing, and includes essays from noted authors that enable readers to witness the creative evolution of poems and stories. Clearly written and organized, it also contains student writing samples and an easy-to-use guide to the workshop. The section on poetry covers such topics as imagery, lines and stanzas, sound, rhyme and meter, voice, and point of view. The fiction section looks at point of view, plot, character, setting, dialogue, style, tone, voice, and theme. For aspiring writers who view the writing process as a dynamic one, and are looking to improve their editing and critiquing skills.
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When we first talked about writing a creative writing textbook comprised of the two genres of poetry and fiction, it occurred to us that most books on the market today use classic stories and poems as models of excellence for the aspiring writer to emulate. Certainly there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, both of us make allusions to such work in our respective sections of the book. However, we thought it might be more useful for the aspiring writer to have a book more closely modeled after the creative writing workshop wherein the students read and critique work of their peers in an effort to discover what is working in a story or in a poem and what is not working, and thereby apply these lessons to their own work.
The book is organized by genre with each respective genre organized by chapters defining the elements of fiction and poetry, followed by the workshop sections wherein student stories and poems are presented.
In the chapters covering the elements of fiction and poetry, we have presented utilitarian definitions for the reader followed by essays by guest writers. For example, in the chapter on Sound in Poetry, we present a definition of that element followed by an essay on sound by Alberto Rios who addresses the quality of sound in his own students' work. In the fiction section of this book, we define the various uses of setting in the chapter so-named. Following this definition is an essay by the novelist Valerie Miner who writes about the role of setting in her own student's story.
In the workshop sections of the book, we present first the student poem and student story without marginalia, followed by questions the reader is asked to consider. Following this is the same story and the same poem, this time with our marginalia and then our critiques of the student work. Finally, student revisions are presented with critiques.
It is our hope that the structure of this book will allow the readers to witness the creative evolution of poems and stories, and that they will see the process of writing as inherently dynamic as the writers go through draft after draft in the effort of crafting the finest fiction and poetry they are capable of. Whether used by a student-writer in a creative writing class or by a student-writer at home alone, this book will serve as a guide to steer through sometimes rough and unsure waters until the writer is safely moored against the tide. Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my wife Sachiko, and my daughter, Maya, for their patience and support during the writing of this book. I would also like to thank my friend and colleague, Jeff Knorr, who, as ever, was a pleasure to work with.
Great thanks is due my wife Diane and my son, Gabriel for giving me time, support, and patience while writing this book. Also, thanks to Tim Schell, colleague and friend, who is great to work with and always an inspiration.
From both of us, special thanks is due our editor, Carrie Brandon for her belief in the project, unending patience, and energy. Also, thanks to Sandy Hrazdira and Stacy Prock at Prentice Hall for their support and dedication to the project. And to Joseph Lennon, University of Connecticut; Brenda A. Flanagan, Davidson College; Ron Carlson, Arizona State University; and Maria Fitzgerald, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for their helpful comments.
This creative writing text will serve as a guide to steer through sometimes rough and unsure waters until the writer is safely moored against the tide.
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