1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    How creative is creative writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sprirj, Dec 12, 2015.

    Just recently I have been pondering this question; since I'm an artist, musician and storyteller, I was looking at the differences between them, and the one thing I've noticed is a lack of artistic licence in novels. Yes you can create worlds etc, but I think of all the artistic pursuits, it appears that it is the most structured. Art can be abstract and just drips and splats and seen as a masterpiece, music can be anything from bird song, to record samples stolen from other records, film can be silent or hours of someone sleeping. But books....
    Can these be abstract or not follow structures, can they break all the rules, not conform, and still be hailed as masterpieces? Is there a book out there without a storyline?
     
  2. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    There's a reason many works share a similar structure : because it works.
    It's like that story about the emperor's new clothes. A great deal of time and money is spent hiring philosophers to say existential nonsense that the average person would not understand. As "art experts", their opinions are blindly accepted as objective truth.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Novels" are only a subcategory of creative writing, though. There are subcategories of other artistic pursuits that have quite rigid expectations as well.

    If you get into poetry, there's significantly more room for experimentation. And even in novels, there are those who experiment and try different forms.

    The thing is - as with music or film, the more experimental stuff tends to not sell as well. You can make a movie that consists of someone just sleeping, but you're not going to sell a lot of tickets to it.

    Art is maybe an exception to this - there have been some very successful avant garde artists. But in most fields, I think there's a definite balance to be maintained between absolute creativity and accessibility.
     
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  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the difference is scale.

    A picture or a song consume about how much time?

    A few minutes? Most songs are much more than 3 minutes. And you can stare at most parts of a picture within 3 minutes.

    A novel though? No novels are read in three minutes. This is why I think as Bay said. Poems are allowed to be more abstract, because again scale. A poem can be read in three minutes.

    As someone I know once put it. Bad movies and books tend to be easy things for people to agree on, but art and music are not. Because the lack of scale means that something that might be horrible in a more objective sense of music theory may be catchy which is the reason many will like it. You can't create somemthing as large as a novel and expect to survive on catchiness alone like you can with music or a picture.

    Make sense? :D
     
  5. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    The pages are the canvas, the words are the paint. Want an example of out of the ordinary creative writing? Read this year's winner of the (U.S.) National Book Award for fiction "Fortune Smiles" by Adam Johnson. No zombies, no "other" worlds, no fantasy, just fantastic creative writing, stories painted with words. If by "book" you mean novel "out there" without a storyline--not one that most would want to read I would think because the story is part of the art. Writing without meaning would defeat the purpose of the art of creative writing--which I believe is to tell a compelling story creatively. Are you suggesting that random sounds put together without a melody or structure are music, so that then somehow comparatively random words put together without a clear meaning allow for artistic freedom? Maybe I am missing your point???
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  6. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Slice of life lit rejects a lot of story elements. In terms of variation, writing is more like architecture in the arts: there's only so far you can go from "building."
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes, yes Brian, yes, exactly and right true. Death to the engineers, I think.
     
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  8. Ippo
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    Ippo Member

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    It is as creative as it gets.
    Pop songs also follow some sort of structure throughout the song and that doesn't make them uncreative, does it? No, of course - unless it strictly follows a formula but that is not the fault of the so called "creative limitation" of structure.
    Are you implying that art has to be random in order to be "really creative"?
     
  9. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Speak of the devil! Look at Matt's stories, for example, it's almost like he goes out of his way to go opposite of convention and his story's rock!
     
  10. Ippo
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    Ippo Member

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    Who's Matt and where can we read his stories?
     
  11. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Matt is @matwoolf ... Almost every post of his is a story, but I think he still might have some longer stuff on his site blog.
     
  12. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try Finnegan's Wake on for size. I'm told it's a pretty out there experience, and there's a lot of people who think it's amazing. When the Wikipedia article includes the phrase:

    "Despite the obstacles, readers and commentators have reached a broad consensus about the book's central cast of characters and, to a lesser degree, its plot."

    Then it seems like a good bet.

    I've got a copy sitting on the bookshelf but I've not read it yet. Never really felt strong enough.
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think there's a deeper issue here. The definitions of art and music have been expanded to include, as you call them, drips and splats and bird songs. I'm sure there are still some purists out there who would not call many modern works art. Also, we don't experience writing the same way we experience visual art, for example. That's why these different mediums exist in the first place. Visual art can show us things writing cannot, and vice versa. So maybe we shouldn't apply the criteria we use to judge visual art or music to judge writing.

    As far as your questions go, yes, there are many books that don't follow the traditional rules but are still considered masterpieces. Finnegan's Wake has already been mentioned. I'll add Joyce's other book Ulysses to that. Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable is basically just a character sitting in a room by himself thinking. As a more recent example, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is a very unusual book as well.
     
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  14. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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