1. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    The definition of creativity?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Renee J, Oct 27, 2014.

    In the outline thread, the thought was put out that outlines stifle creativity. So, I thought creating an outline used creativity, so I didn't see the difference between being creative while writing versus building an outline.

    I don't want to turn this thread into another outline thread. I was wondering what creativity means to different people. Is it coming up with a plot and characters? Is it how well you can write prose? Is it just writing and then finding out what you created?
     
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  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For me creativity means taking what I imagine in my mind - just a thought, or a serious of images and translating them into something coherent. When I draw it's shapes that make up the image, when I write it's the language that shapes the images. It's the words and slant of them ( how they're arranged ) that give the images depth and feeling. That for me is the creative part.

    Plot and characters seem to evolve from daydreaming. I don't find this as much a part of my creativity as much as the language to shape them. For instance my story Worms of Wicher-Woo - Tetty is just an orphan dropped in a garden to hang out with some worms. In a way, she's a cliche until she's shaped. So when the tone is established that's when the character feels created and becomes an extension of my creative process but to just imagine her and the plot they're like seeds that haven't been planted yet. Stagnated.

    I don't seem to get as much joy as I hoped in seeing the finished project, though. I feel more relief and an anxiousness to get on to the next project. I kinda envy my father and brother when they finish their art and show it off, you can see how pleased they are. Me, I feel exhausted, relieved and kinda edgy.
     
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  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    For me, creativity is just seeing the world with new eyes. It's bringing something new to the table. This can be done through characterization, the use of language, and many other elements of writing. Of course, creativity isn't restricted to just writing. There were/are plenty of creative thinkers in fields like physics.
     
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  4. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    Coming up with new ideas.

    You could also look at it as synthesis: Taking two concepts and blending them into a new third one, the opposite of analysis.
     
  5. karmazon
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    karmazon Member

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    This is what I was going to say. Blending existing ideas in a new way. Since humans attached a rock to a stick creating an axe every new "creative" thing has been done this way.
     
  6. Glasswindows
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    Glasswindows Member

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    Being creative while writing versus building an outline, aren't the opposites at all. Outlines that are made up for you of course do disturb using your own creativity from the beginning. But when it comes to writing, you do it your own way. If you feel like it does disturb you somehow, ruining your work, well then you're doing just that. You have to stop and start over on your own terms. The definition of creativity? Needs a lot more wide-spread answer than when it comes to writing. Since creativity doesn't occure only in one area but some people called creative are creative on the whole. But maybe you're talking about the act of creation, not the feature in a human being. There isn't really What it means to you -part on it, since it's a pretty scientific term. How people use their creativity, where they think they use it most, maybe.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think a textbook definition is "Using tools in unique but effective ways" So if everyone does it than you doing it isn't creative, but if it isn't effective than it isn't creative either.
    Example;
    Mission kill with a brick.
    Option A, hit head wih brick. Effective but hardly unique
    Option B Make him eat it! Unique but without a plan probably not effictive.
    Option C Grind the brick into smaller bits and make him chock on them. Unique? And effective? CREATIVE!


    There isn't a rule on how to be achieve this concept. Just over thinking. lol In writing the mission is to protray something and the tools are how you try. So you have to use your tools in a less common way that works for it to be creative.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
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  8. Mr Orange
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    Mr Orange Member

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    The definition of creativity is watching everybody run to the left, and choosing to run to the right.
     
  9. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think if you created an outline and refused to budge off its course then at best you'd end up with a stilted book. I've heard it put a lot of different ways, but in the end, you need to be going someplace if you're going to make a decision to change route.
     
  10. Mr Orange
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    Mr Orange Member

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    Didn't say nothing about creating an outline and refusing to budge off course. I meant exercising a high-end of perspicacity that allows you to drive a fork between two pre-existing ideas and poke your head out and see things that haven't been seen before.

    Very noble, though. Going down with your novel.
     
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  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, creativity is creating something new to you (because it's hard to know if something is new to the world), something that isn't an obvious straight-line conclusion from the available inputs.
     
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  12. Mr Orange
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    Mr Orange Member

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    All you've done there is yoke the internal to the external in a way that side-steps the recursive problem that we're all just panhandling words/ideas that have been written a thousand times before. I wouldn't make the mistake of using myself as the sole gauge for the worth of my work. Writers are notoriously stupid people. I'm 1 of them.
     
  13. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I just used a poor time to employ a second person pronoun and you picked it to be you when I really meant just anyone.
     
  14. Mr Orange
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    Mr Orange Member

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    You know how to make a man feel special.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Automatically going in the opposite direction from 'everybody else' isn't necessarily creative. It can be, but it can also be inverted snobbery—and can become just as boring and repetitive as the 'norm' if it's done in a knee-jerk fashion. A person who does this isn't always setting a new course ...they're just setting an opposite course. Meaning they always have to have a 'norm' to work from. That's reactive behaviour, not creative behaviour, I reckon. There's a difference. If I say black and you say white, what's creative in that? Do something fun with black, instead. Or ignore me altogether and do something else.
     
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  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I disagree. First of all, there is no situation in which "everybody" runs to the left. In art, everybody (joyfully) runs all over the place. Running to the right as a reaction to people running to the left is not creative; it's just not watching closely enough.

    Creativity, to me, starts with personality - my personality. I have a core thing that I want to get out there, and I don't always know how to express it, or even what it is in certain situations. I write music as well as stories, and I do notice that I have a certain kind of calm, almost a homey feel, even when I'm writing out-there science fiction. My music tends to be roots-rock and folk-rock rather than avant-garde jazz, and my stories feel the same way to me. This doesn't mean I don't like avant-garde jazz; it just means I don't usually create it.

    As I've said here before, characters usually just pop into my head, as do melodies and chord progressions. I then have to put them in situations that require them to act. From there, for me, creativity is a hell of a lot of work. It's work, but I always seem to strive for that beautiful calmness rather than something frantic, spiky, and hard on the ears. I don't like rap music or some of the other kinds of today's popular music because they're hard to listen to - they're aggressive, deliberately ugly, and they make my ears bleed. They don't fit my personality. I want to tell science-fiction stories from the back porch, using acoustic guitars and penny whistles, with lots of harmony vocals. I'm looking for a different sound, a different style, something I could fall asleep to and dream endlessly about.

    Other people strive to create some kind of dissonance, as if the point of the work is to startle people and make them uncomfortable. They think that's what draws attention. I don't agree. I'm looking for harmony in both music and literature and I seek to achieve it.

    That's my creativity. Kanye West's is completely different. Eminem's is completely different. Daft Punk's is completely different. I don't seek their audiences. I seek my audience.
     
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  17. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Creativity is when you are presented with elements and you identify a combination that conveys a form of meaning that was never taught to you.

    Example of non-creativity: alphabetizing a list of words. You are presented with elements (words) and you identify a meaningful combination (an ordering), but you only know alphabetical order is a meaningful combination because someone once told you so.

    Example of creativity: writing a sentence. You are presented with elements (words) and you identify a meaningful combination (a sentence). Someone once taught you the rules of grammar, so there is no creativity in the act of making the sentence grammatically valid. However, you identified that sentence out of the set of all grammatically valid sentences because that sentence meant something to you. No one ever pointed that sentence out to you before you wrote it.

    Naturally, the level of creativity is defined by how profound the meaning is, and by how many combinations could have been chosen.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
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  18. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Both.

    Coming up with a plot and characters is basically the act of synthesizing abstractions of humans' experiences. Both the act of abstraction (i.e. noticing a pattern among experiences and identifying a meaning in that pattern) and the act of synthesis (i.e. identifying how some of those patterns relate to each other) are forms of creativity.

    Writing prose (or poetry) is the act of arranging symbols in a way that conveys meaning, as I explained in my previous post.

    Another possible way of looking at it is that all there really is is words, and "plot" and "characters" are merely sophisticated thought patterns that occur in the mind of someone who reads the words. I do not think our understanding of cognition has advanced to the point where we can meaningfully say whether that statement is right or wrong. I wonder if it ever will.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
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  19. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're both wrong!

    When everybody runs to the right, my wife walks to the left. It's neither creative, nor lack of attention. It's because she's lost!
     
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  20. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hear, hear!
     
  21. Mr Orange
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    Mr Orange Member

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    Everything, when you look closely enough, resists an over branching interpretation. This generates opinions. And the problem with opinions is that none of them are right, but they're all intent on beating the other opinions down as wrong. It's also worthy of note that 2 people going at each other, disagreeing, often end up reasserting the viewpoints that they claim to oppose. They are saying the same thing - differently.

    My definition of creativity. I defend it. At some point in the decision-making process, you, YOU, have to make a choice to stop listening to the voices of other writers, friends, relatives. You have to choose to ride over them. It is you and your integrity that will form the thread that tugs the words across the page. That's what makes the chaos connect.

    I am not interested in creating a harmony, an effortless sound. I am looking for a calm sort of violence.
     
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  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's nothing creative about that. It's just being contrary for the sake of pig-headedness, and it's also rather deterministic.

    On the other hand, taking a side route that no one else even notices exists, that's arguably the beginning of creativity. Creativity arises from perception, in finding a different perspective from which to see a scene or a problem.
     

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