Friday, May 29, 2009

Creative Writing

THERE ARE writers who have suggested that there are only three basic themes in the world: love, death and birth. Though this may at first seem limited or reductive, consider the work of some of the great writers that we have continued to read and study for generations: Melville, Wharton, Austen, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Woolf. Also consider the ways in which these themes can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. Death could mean literal death, as well as spiritual death. It may mean loss, change or crisis. Birth could mean redemption, renewal or beginning. There are many possibilities within the framework of these three ideas. The goal is to examine the ways your writing can work towards your theme, and the various ways you can express your theme without being unsubtle or ham-handed.

1. Consider one of the three themes discussed: love, death, birth. Choose one.

2. Write about a page describing the action of a character, a person you know, yourself, or evoking images for use in a poem. While writing, try to express the theme you have chosen through this mundane action. The action might be:

a) farming or gardening; b) taking pictures; c) organizing a stamp collection; d) knitting a blanket; e) playing baseball; f) making tea.

While writing this page, do not mention in your writing death, birth or love. You should instead simply have the idea in your head, have its feeling in your mind. Your theme should unfold naturally from this piece of writing, rather than make a glaring appearance that leaves the reader little doubt of the intended meaning.

From "Structure, Style and Theme" by Adrianne Finlay, in Creative Writing Guidebook, edited by Graeme Harper (Continuum).

Source Citation:Finlay, Adrianne. "An exercise on theme.(AN OPEN BOOK)(Brief article)." The Writer 122.7 (July 2009): 8. Popular Magazines. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 29 May 2009


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Len Wilson

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