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The Importance of Travelling to Creative Writing

Analyse the importance of travelling to experience other cultures on the creative writing process (either your own experience or an author you are familiar with).

  • I think it would be good to include the aspect of travel as not necessarily only the aspect of exploring other countries and cultures, but to use 'travel' as a metaphor for stepping outside of our comfort or familiarity zone even in everyday life, and thereby creating more depth and experience to draw upon in our writing. – MonicaGrant 1 year ago
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  • Stepping outside of the world you know and into the unknown or the other worlds we’ve only read about is essential to unclogging writer’s block. As MonicaGrant said it’s also about getting out of your comfort zone, mentally. Traveling allows you to open up to these new spaces in your mind. It gives you new perspectives and issues to expand upon. Traveling gives you the opportunity to tell the people’s story of them that may not have a voice. – Jailel 1 year ago
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  • I agree with the sentiment that "travel" us a metaphor for stepping outside of one's comfort zone. Furthermore, an author travelling and exploring the unknown lends proper authenticity in regards to escapism, a trait that so many, if not all creative pieces, aim to have readers experience. – TahliaEve 1 year ago
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  • I'm wondering if this relationship might be more reciprocal than the suggested topic allows. What if creative writing is what encourages people to travel? – kelseyodegreef 1 year ago
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  • I definitely like this idea as I think many on this site could relate to the ideas expressed and would be interested to hear another's input. Especially when analyzed through the work of a few great authors of the past. – RJSTEELE 10 months ago
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  • Travelling I always feel can be taken both from a figurative and literal perspective as what one does in promoting their individual growth. The individual experiences of every writer play significant role in how their works turn out, and as such exploring not only the literal notion of traveling from one place to another, but also the mental traveling one endures when dealing with day to day life would be interesting for discussion. – ajaymanuel 10 months ago
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  • An example that could be drawn upon is Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America. – EJSmall 8 months ago
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  • W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn is an interesting read that could tie in will here – Samantha Leersen 1 month ago
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Modern Literary Language

I’m really interested in the evolution of language across literary movements. We saw the quickening and shortening of literary language during the Beat era, and I’d argue the lengthening of language in the decades before. How are we writing today? What will become of modern-day style? I think it’s interesting to try and interpret our tendencies in real-time, rather than decades after they’ve happened. Have we even further shortened words/sentences as a result of the fast-paced digital moment we live in? Is there a niche that has done the opposite (ie. tend toward longer, flowing sentences as a kind of reaction to memes and media)? Have we changed the way we speak and write in some other fundamental way?

  • I think this is a really interesting topic to explore. Modern language is definitely interesting, though I think an article on this topic would definitely need to look at where we have come from. Explore (if only briefly) the history of the development of the English language, earlier eras/movements that saw the way we use language change dramatically. It is easier to see change retrospectively than while it is occurring, so having some previous point of reference would help with accessibility to this topic. Also - clearly defining what is considered 'modern' is crucial. – leersens 4 months ago
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  • I would be interested from the stand point of modern scientific writing and if it does/doesn't translate well into the broader readership. Are there any alternatives? Ways and forms that will make it more readily applied and enacted into policy etc? How can scientists (and hopefully audiences as well) change to accomodate space within the dearth of literature available for consumption today? – DrBax 4 months ago
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  • Here's a really cool analysis of inaugural addresses by US Presidents: https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3534 The linguist who offers that analysis observes that, over the centuries of those speeches, average word lengths have decreased only slightly (by 5% or so) but average sentence lengths decreased by a whole lot (perhaps 50%).Similar changes in literature definitely didn't start with the Beats. The modernists, decades before the Beats, were already paring down language and rejecting what they saw as the literary excesses of the Victorian period, for example. – JamesBKelley 6 days ago
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Exploring the Nom de Plume

What causes someone to choose a "nom de plume" ("pen name")? While living in the Internet age, most people are completely comfortable with the idea of identifying themselves online with names other than those they were born with (i.e. usernames). When it comes to writers, the Brontë sisters all used male pseudonyms in order for their work to be taken more seriously. J.K. Rowling was encouraged to hide her sex when the Harry Potter series was initially published because it was feared young boys would not read her work otherwise. Later, J.K. Rowling herself disguised her world-famous name with the pseudonym "Robert Galbraith" when she departed from Harry Potter-related works. However, it is not only women who take up a "pen name." Lewis Caroll, Mark Twain, and George Orwell are just some examples of this. Much like a "stage name" can serve to reinvent oneself into a more exciting character than one’s birth name would initially suggest, what are the myriad reasons for which authors choose nom de plumes? What do they seek to change or perhaps maintain? Have the reasons for pen names changed over time? If so, how?

    Taken by Sadia Ferdous (PM) 2 months ago.
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    Books That Have Changed Your Life

    With free time opening up for a lot of people due to current circumstances, there is plenty of time to read and focus on self-development. Books shape our lives and influence us whether or not we choose to recognize that. Personally, I’m always looking for book recommendations, so perhaps an article could be written about books that deeply impacted you or books that have been well-received in general. They could range from books that developed you spiritually, fictional books that helped you learn the art of writing, or memoirs that shifted your mindset. A diverse selection of book genres and the ways in which they impacted readers would be interesting. You could also touch on the messages, lessons, and themes that made the book resonate with you or readers in general. Recommend books that people will connect with and explain why they altered your life in some way.

    • Just to add also, I think an article like this should try to be as diverse as possible. As in, don't select 5 books that make you feel more optimistic, for example. Pick one that made you look at the world more optimistically (a sad memoir maybe). Pick one that convinced you to read more (YA literature is good for this - it is literature that is easily consumed and is a good starting point for a lot of people who don't like to read). Maybe choose a text that is political or subverts a master narrative of history, something that opens the reader's eyes to an important aspect of the past. These are just examples of course, I just want to stress that an article like this should avoid sameness. – Samantha Leersen 2 months ago
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    • Sometimes this theme, which I've seen before, can be addressed by discussing a book that is read and then re-read at different points in one's life to see how a reader understands a book the second time around. – Joseph Cernik 2 months ago
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    How can writing help with well-being and self development?

    Writing is a beautiful tool used in our day to day lives. Everyone has thoughts piling up in their mind everyday. Sometimes we don’t even notice it. Personal well-being is very important for living a fulfilling life. A huge part of having a healthy well-being is emotions. How should we handle our emotions? Using the tool of writing is a great way to express your emotions on paper and help your thought process. Writing is a great way to improve your self development and get through tough times in life. Writing out how you are feeling is a good thing to practice everyday even if you’re not a writer. Self-reflection is like being your own therapist in hard times throughout life.

    • This is a really wonderful topic. Perhaps you can make it more a discussion topic by adding how writing out emotions continues to well being. Or opening it up to how writing emotions contributes to emotional well being and awareness. Or even journaling in therapy or in therapeutic process? Perhaps different methods of journaling ( just writing words, creative writing, narratives, story telling etc?) – birdienumnum17 5 months ago
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    • A good idea, what, I think is needed is some perspective. In other words, an essay addressing this topic needs to discuss writers who used self-development writing and how it helped them. Perhaps there are movies or TV shows where self-development writing has been used so some sort of timeline can be seen where self-development writing begins and what it leads to. – Joseph Cernik 3 months ago
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    • I wonder how the reverse applies? Writing to process emotions/trauma can also help you grow as a writer. Memoirists do this and so do novelists and poets...Jillian Weise wrote a novel (The Colony I believe) about life as a person with a missing leg and the pressures and misconceptions of those around her. She developed it from a series of journal entries. Writing can help you move towards personal well being and learn how to transform emotions into art. – rosebo 3 months ago
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    Fan Fiction & LGBT Expression

    Last week, Archive of Our Own (AO3), a major fanfiction archive and network, won the Hugo award for Best Related Work, an award never before given to a website or unpublished fan work. Fan fiction is the genre that comprises unpublished, written fan works based on other media, such as comics, television, film, and books. Perhaps because it is written by "amateurs" or because it is unpublished, fan fiction has often been scoffed at as unprofessional or self-indulgent. But for fans, fan fiction can be a way of reshaping popular media to reflect their identities. Members of the LGBT community in particular often criticize popular media for lacking compelling narratives surrounding LGBT themes, and when left unsatisfied, many fans turn to fanfiction to see themselves in the media they otherwise enjoy.

    How does fanfiction fill a void in representation for LGBT fans? What role does fanfiction serve in building and maintaining a fanbase, if any? And what happens when any particular piece of media garners a notable LGBT fan fiction fanbase? What transformative properties do LGBT fan works enact upon media, and what are the positive and negative consequences?

    • Fanfiction has always been a form of escape and wish-fulfillment. For some people, that may be making slight changes to stories; for others, it could be as large as changing a character's identity. Either way, it is a safe space to gather with a community of writers similar to you, and, if you already feel alienated because you are a part of a marginalized community, it can provide a support system you may not be able to find as easily elsewhere.This is a very interesting topic and one I hope someone will pick up. It is very complex and not something I can explain readily in a comment, but definitely one worth exploring. – fhlloyd 1 year ago
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    • Fanfiction is amazing. It gives both writers and readers the catharsis of a world in which they/their OC can interact with beloved people and characters. It's also a nice way of making oneself into someone they wish to be. I agree both with your "reshaping popular media" comment, as well as fhlloyd's comment regarding alienation and support systems. Despite being borne of one person's fantasies, others may find content relatable and enjoyable. – SmileQueenCross 1 year ago
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    • It'd be great to address all the shame around writing and reading fan fiction. There's a lot of it – espadaccini 6 months ago
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    What makes a 'good' story?

    The art and craft of storytelling isn’t something that is ‘known’ but something a writer becomes to learn, with practice. However, stories (as a whole) can be extremely subjective; not every story/narrative is going to be loved by every reader. So: what makes a story ‘great’? What elements of traditional storytelling constitute a good story? Are authors who attempt to undermine these traditions ‘good’ storytellers?

    • This is a good start! You really ought to find some examples of some 'great' stories and see what threads may exist between them. Likewise, you could also find some bad ones and see what common mistakes they made. – majorlariviere 8 months ago
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    • It's all subjective, in the end, I agree. Some 'great' stories may have similar characteristics, or what is generally accepted and praised by the readers. In some cases it may be the name attached to it, making it a 'classic' so, therefore, it's seen as great, but I think what makes a good story is a sense of perspective, environment, description, and a well thought out idea. No matter the genre, the story needs heart. – sarahjae 8 months ago
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    • Depending on the genre and demographic you are trying to reach. A "great" story includes a sense of authenticity and complexity within each character. This helps us as readers to understand their motives, relate to their actions and witness growth within the story itself. – Key 6 months ago
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    • I think this is a very interesting topic. Writing is definitely subjective can people have different likes and dislikes. One person might love a story while the other is just uninterested. I think what makes a good story is making raw connections within simple things. It's about being able to relate to different topics. A story should have unique characters with quirky traits. It should ahem conflict and challenges. It's not about how intense a story is, it's about the deeper meaning behind simple things. – sarahandrosoff 5 months ago
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    Flashblacks and flashforwards in fiction - how useful/necessary are they? When does too much become

    The use of flashbacks and flashforwards is a controversial subject among writers and writing advice pages. Some encourage flashbacks/flashforwards, while others encourage to avoid (especially if they bogg the narrative down or doesn’t contribute anything to the overall plot). How does this criticism and in depth understanding of this literary device assist writers in improving their craft? How does this affect the way writers read/analyse flashbacks and flashforwards in fiction?

    *Two novel’s that could be discussed in detail is "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan and "Time’s Arrow" by Martin Amis.