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The importance and validity of Creative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction (CNF) has been one of the hottest and most expansive literary genres since the mid-90s, but many still fail to understand the concept of the genre. As a genre that tells truthful stories in an artful and engaging way, there can be roadblocks to the genre’s validity when it comes to the use of creative liberty.

How has the mainstream introduction of CNF altered the way we read and trust our authors? How can CNF be directed within the periphery of the public mainstream in a way that credits the genre with more than just memoir? Additionally, how do we deal with the ethical dilemmas that creative liberties create within the genre?

  • This is a very interesting topic that I know all too well, as someone who loves using imagery and creative literary tools in my writing, I've encountered issues between how realistic the writing sounds. Creative Nonfiction can fall into a gray area for many writers as they want to tell their true story realistically and honestly, to a point where there isn't much room for creative freedom. I feel the balance can be made, and introducing more creativity and freedom to nonfiction can add a new layer to honest and truthful story telling. – theanding 4 days ago
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  • Love the topic! I enjoy reading memoir, but I do think that's all that comes to mind when most people hear "creative nonfiction." I haven't found a non-memoir CNF work I enjoy in awhile. I hope to see a lot of non-memoir works mentioned in the post. – Stephanie M. 6 hours ago
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The Importance of Learning the Classics

Is it important to learn about classic literature to better understand contemporary writing?

  • I think this a great start for a topic! Maybe you could refine the topic a little by pointing to specific classics that are commonly assigned in secondary education? For example, To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations, etc. I think that specific examples would definitely focus the article more and add to its impact. – Opaline 3 months ago
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  • Learning the basic nature of Classic Literature has always had a high importance, but there are stories that can be substituted. This might be something you'd want to explore as you're researching, such as what books might be able to replace, for example, A Tale of Two Cities in terms of having the same themes; so perhaps finding a more modern novel with themes of doppelgangers, unrequited love, and so on. I believe this is how new classics are born as time goes on and the classics we have now become more like the tales of Chaucer - simply something we skim over once or twice through secondary school or university. – Steven Gonzales 3 months ago
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  • I'm so glad there are more voices for this! I've taught college and high school, and I lose sleep over the push to leave Classic Literature to electives and Humanities rather than retaining it as part of a general education requirement. Yes, there are some we can substitute, but why? I don't believe that anything contemporary has the same academic or historical value. The emphasis on language and prose style is often only evident in older works. I would love to see how many of the most successful writers were influenced by the classics. A lot of the best novels out there have hints of classic works - prose, themes, conflicts and unique premises. To understand contemporary works, it would help to read the works that influenced their authors. – wtardieu 3 months ago
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Taken by Laura Jungblut (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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Does Author Matter?

What if you stumbled across the most beautiful poem you’d ever read while browsing the Internet, only to learn that it was created by a computer program. Would it lose it’s value? Would "A Raisin in the Sun" lose it’s value if it was written by, say, a white man, or would it retain its message?

  • Between "Biographical Fallacy" (Wimsatt & Beardsley, 1946) and "Death of the Author" (Barthes, 1967), I can't help feeling this topic has been done to death (no pun intended). I'll admit, your invoking of Hansbury, however, might provide a somewhat fresh take. It's one thing to talk about authorial biography and intent when it's simply a matter of literary interpretation, but race does seem to complicate these matters. I could see the whole article just being about that; however, I'd be very surprised if even that hasn't been done before. – ProtoCanon 3 months ago
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  • I think art can, and should, stand alone anonymously. Knowing the author or artist can influence our reaction to it. – Jeffrey Toney 3 months ago
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  • I have always thought that the poem, or any piece of literature, can be interpreted as a stand alone piece, irrespective of the author. As such, the reader can always delve into the rationale behind why an author was stimulated to write what they did, but the words themselves carry more weight than the author. – NateSumislaski 3 months ago
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  • Extremely interesting topic! I think it just depends on how you are reading it. New Criticism and close reading basically don't take the author into consideration. If you want to analyze a work from a biographical and/or historical standpoint, then maybe the author does matter--who says you can't analyze a computer program? To produce a great poem, that program has to somehow be programmed to follow the expectations of what a "great" poem is, for example. That will lead us to the programmer(s).– James Zhan 3 weeks ago
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Is it really canon?

This purpose of this article is to determine whether or not the recently published rehearsal script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child should be considered as a new addition to the Harry Potter canon. In other words, this article would focus on the mixed reception from fans, J.K Rowling’s involvement in the project (or lack thereof) and argue for or against the play as part of the overall Harry Potter story timeline.

  • Does reception decide what "canon" is? Or is the fact that JK Rowling an author already confirm its legitimacy? Keep in mind that it is a theatrical play. – Christen Mandracchia 1 month ago
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  • Fan reception does not dictate what is and is not canon. Canon is decided by whoever owns the creative rights. – Steven Gonzales 1 month ago
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  • Alright, I see both of your points. In some ways I agree and disagree at the same time. While I think canon is determined by the author, I also believe that an individual's 'personal' canon (the fan perspective) is valid and worthy of study. However, that's just my opinion. – AlexanderLee 1 month ago
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  • This is interesting, because "canon" is typically whatever the original author claims it to be. However, Cursed Child uses any number of ideas embraced by the fandom community long before the Cursed Child was written (friendship between Albus and Scorpius, Albus being in Slytherin, etc). Does the relationship between author and fandom change what the "canon" is? Does it give the fandom more ownership of the material? – sophiacatherine 3 weeks ago
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Elizabeth Slays the Dragon: Feminism in Children's Literature

Analyze how children’s literature has changed over the years to be more inclusive and to have strong female protagonists. One example of this theme is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch.

  • This is an interesting topic. I cannot say I am familiar with many strong female protagonists in children's literature other than The Paper Bag Princess. That goes to show there should be more – Riccio 5 months ago
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  • You could start with Jo in Little Women and Anne in Anne of Green Gables plus Pippi Longstocking and Ramona and Beezus. – Munjeera 5 months ago
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  • It's stupid to have male heroes only since men are stronger than women, as a group, but not the dragons, etc., that are so often slain in children's literature. This father of two female dragon slayers says, "Great topic." – Tigey 5 months ago
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  • Look at Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen"--in that story, the little girl, Gerda, is the one who embarks on the dangerous journey to save the boy, Kay. Also, some of George McDonald's fairytales feature interesting female protagonists, as does Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost." – Allie Dawson 4 weeks ago
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Taken by Lauren Mead (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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Santa Claus as a Chaotic Figure

St. Nick/Santa Claus is often presented as a jolly, warm, and overall positive spirit of the holiday season. However, a closer look at other culture’s "St. Nick" figures (creepier ones like Krampus) and the like could present a darker side. Aside from that, the article would also discuss or look at the deeper motivations behind the St. Nick figure. Why make toys? Why distribute them? What is his motivation? In some ways Santa can be considered "chaotic good"–a figure operating generally for good under their own moral structure. No one has told St. Nick to do these things, he does so of his own volition and for his own reasons. Whose system of morals does the Santa judge children by? What would happen if children were judged on a different system of morals–perhaps "good" children were no longer the traditional moral good, but rather the most ambitious or the most cunning children? Additionally, the santa *punishes* bad children. This goes against the traditional "reform" system where those who are bad are brought gently to good. Krampus type figures even bodily kidnap or harm children to punish them. (A fun and possibly seasonal article.)

  • Interesting topic! I like it. But it might help to ground it in some specific movie versions of Santa. Maybe even including the Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss? – Ben Hufbauer 1 month ago
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The Appeal of Harry Potter

Harry Potter continues to be an endearing franchise. What thematic elements make it so loved years after the books and films have been completed?

  • I think it has to do a lot with the fact that the books were famous before it became a movie and the kids who grew up reading those books are now adults and thus, they encouraged their younger siblings to take interest in the movies and read the book. Not to mention that some of us read the books as adults, (like me) and encouraged our children to take an interest in the franchise (both in books and movies). (at least that is what I did). – Nilab Ferozan 8 months ago
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  • I have see how popular the topic is on the Artifice itself. – Munjeera 8 months ago
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  • This would be a super read! I think it's important to consider the books and the films as separate entities , but also compare their success at some point in the article – LilyaRider 8 months ago
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  • Harry Potter has this certain nostalgic appeal that leads to people feeling a connection with the series, and the desire to pass it on to younger traditions. Aside from fantasy, the series deals with issues of friendship, loss, families, hope, struggles, etc., which allows for a multitude of viewership. Due to these numerous facets, this series has the ability to reach readers/viewers in at least one area of human emotion. – danielle577 7 months ago
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  • It's the characters. There are so many characters or parts of characters that each of us can identify with or want to be. I started to read these books as a teenager, and yet older than the targeted audience. I wanted to get my letter telling me I was a wizard (or witch) and would be swept away into this magical world that exists alongside of our muggle world. Even as an adult it is wonderful to believe that somewhere there is magic or this alternate world that could exist. The core story of love and friendship endures past the books and films. And even as I re-read the series I laugh and cry at the same moments that I read in the first reading. And am sad when it's all over that I need to re-read and re-watch. It's one that shall continue to endure. – therachelralph 7 months ago
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  • I agree that it's the characters because the characters are thought out to such an extent and written in such detail that they can easily be imagined as real people instead of just imaginary people from a book. They also cover a wide range of types of people and do not stick to hard stereotypes. The good characters have flaws. The bad characters have good somewhere inside them or backstories explaining why they are how they are. The booksmart Hermione doesn't always have the answer and brought new depth to the 'nerd' and 'bookworm' characters. All the characters have an amazing depth to them that is actually surprising considering just how many characters there are. Even small characters that you hardly see or ones that didn't even make it into the movies have complete characters. None are hollow characters just there for the furthering of the plot, instead being fully-formed people. I would say that the characters are the main reason the series remains relevant. The magic doesn't hurt though. Essentially, the series creates a world perfect for the imagination of all ages to explore and young fans just get to know the world and the characters in new and deeper ways as they get older. It doesn't just fade away and get forgotten because there's always more to experience and enjoy. – AnisaCowan 7 months ago
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  • It's the appeal of the alternative reality: this rich and amazing world that is just around the corner, if only we know how to look for it. I'd also say it was how well Rowling constructed her universe and how rich and detailed it is. Just the care she put into naming her characters, it reminds me of Tolkien.I think another part of the appeal is that we can all imagine ourselves in that world. If not as students, then as teachers or at least as a denizen. In that respect, it reminds me of Star Trek. – LisaDee 7 months ago
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  • Someone please formulate what Rowling did. I need the money. – Tigey 5 months ago
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  • Many people have mentioned the characters and I agree that is a huge part of it. JKR has called them "character-driven" books and after reading that quote I was immediately like, oh, yeah. It got me thinking. Technically all books are driven by the actions of characters, but some plots don't require you to know the characters on a personal level to be entertaining. JKR takes character to a whole new level; as people have said, it's like you know them (not just the main characters--almost all of them) and could predict what they would do in any situation. And her dialogue is fun, witty, and personal to each of her characters. It makes her writing more fun and truly exceptional, and the story so much more dimensional than the plot of defeating Voldemort. That goes along with the idea of world creation. I hate comparing HP to things like Twilight and The Hunger Games because it blows them out of the water from a writing, literary, and overall goodness standpoint. But a comparison serves to make my point--Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins created worlds within or in the future of our world. They added new rules and created some creatures, devices, and spaces that are purely the products of imagination. But J.K. Rowling created a Wizarding world that, while occasionally intersecting with the muggle world, is a space all it's own. She doesn't even rely on the existence of technology. She invented hundreds of spells, animals, laws, backstories, places, histories. It's mind-blowing. – katybherman 2 months ago
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Taken by Sarah Swanigan (PM) 6 days ago.
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The Success of Herbert's Dune

Why was Dune so successful despite being largely inaccessible to a mainstream audience? How did Herbert manage to write the best-selling sci-fi novel of all time (surpassing classics such as the works of Asimov and Wells)? While rumors of its reboot arise, why might a major studio (Legendary Entertainment) take on such a sprawling project?

Overall, what is the appeal of Dune, and why has it been so enduring?