New Writing

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 1479-0726
The paper examines the benefits and efficacies of cohort-based supervision of creative writers through the case study analysis of two creative writing cohorts established at the Queensland University of Technology. Surveys of and interviews with participants suggest in completion times and in the quality of work improvements arise principally through the mechanism of positive peer interaction and monitoring. There are three implications flowing from the study: i) cohort-based supervision is practical; ii) that the creative writing workshop is a long established and now refined mode of cohort-based supervision; and iii) that cohort-based candidature suggests authorship is a more collaborative task than is usually conceived.
This narrative contribution provides a perspective on war and corruption in the north Caucasus. It is prefaced by an attempt to situate the violence and corruption induced by the Russo-Chechen wars in the context of global struggles, especially Palestine.
For many years, the pedagogy of creative writing has been delivered primarily through workshops in which students critique each other's work. Students only need their imagination and a pen and paper to begin writing a story. It has not been necessary for creative writing teachers to prioritise use of emerging technologies and in consequence, creative writing classrooms have remained largely ‘low tech and quaintly humanistic'. This interdisciplinary paper explores from a practitioner-teacher perspective how social media can help develop theory and practice in the pedagogy of creative writing. It does so by presenting an account and early stage assessment of pilots conducted using Twitter with creative writing BA students at a UK University since November 2012. It is argued that the strict character limit of tweets, in combination with their live and public nature, can force critical enquiry into what comprises a meaningful narrative. Summary reflections consider how the Twitter pilots contribute to a new theoretical position that helps bring understanding to skills it is necessary for writers to develop in the face of emerging technologies in the twenty-first century.
The English writer, Margaret Drabble, published her first novel, A Summer Bird-Cage, in 1963. Most of her early novels are simple and are written in a traditional manner. In her early days, she expressed negative opinions about experimental novelists such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, and boasted of being a traditionalist. However, as her career as a novelist deepened, her methods of writing gradually changed. Despite her early conservative alignment, she eventually used progressive writing techniques in her fifth novel, The Waterfall, on the theme of adultery and its consequences. Drabble says the use of narrative techniques was necessary to depict the protagonist's deep psychology during her suffering. We can judge it to be moderately experimental. About 35 years after The Waterfall, The Seven Sisters was published. Her writing technique had greatly progressed by then. The novel consists of four parts, but she switches the narration throughout, utilising the framework of Virgil's Aeneid, as a result of which the construction is highly complicated. Drabble in her early period is said to have been a writer whose novels were simple and based on daily matters. However, Drabble's contemporary work resembles very closely the kind of experimental novel she once opposed.
In my essay, ‘Paying Close Attention, Thinking To Some Purpose’, published in New Writing Volume 17, 2020, Issue 3, I considered the part played by purposeful thought in a fiction writer’s creative process. Sanchia Page, 1983 is a chapter from The Former Boy Wonder, the novel-in-progress at the heart of this essay. Seen together, chapter and essay represent a continuous narrative of theory and practice designed to illustrate a novelist’s methodology.
Creative Writing as a course, or concentration of a study, for a disciplinary major is a relatively new field in the Chinese education system, but it has grown rapidly in the past ten years. This study is probably the first that provides a comprehensive survey of creative writing education in China. It explores the historical background and possible reasons for the development of creative writing as a thriving discipline in China’s mainland. It then analyses some representative undergraduate, graduate and doctoral creative writing programmes recently established at Chinese universities, followed by a discussion of various platforms for the practice of writing in Chinese creative writing communities. Research into creative writing in China shows that the exploration of a ‘sinicized’ theory of creative writing along with the publishing of localised textbooks has been given much attention among scholars, in the hopes of legitimising the discipline in Chinese academia. This article concludes with a thorough discussion of the characteristics, challenges and future directions of creative writing education that are unique to the Chinese context. It would be both significant and helpful to the international community in obtaining a general understanding of creative writing practices in China for future academic dialogue.
Text World Theory, originally developed by Paul Werth and further augmented by Joanna Gavins, offers a rich analytical framework to understand how readers create mental representations of fictional worlds from language; how other worlds which represent unrealised states of affairs may be created from the original world, and how the reader may be cued to attend to these. Peter Stockwell has suggested a model for literary resonance whereby attended entities in texts can, even when unattended, maintain a resonant function and make their absence from attention felt as a gap. In the essay that follows I use a cognitive stylistic framework constructed from Text World Theory and Stockwell’s model of literary resonance to analyse the various worlds created in Philip Gross’ poem ‘Tuonela’, and how the attentional movements between these worlds help the poem to function as a liminal space where the process of crossing boundaries creates a resonant absence strongly signalling a sense of loss, but also maintaining a positive accessible presence for the world of the dead, even though the language used is suffused with negation. I will also draw some conclusions about the relevance of cognitive stylistic analysis to creative writers.
This paper conducts a close and creative - meaning of creation, concerned with creating - reading of Donald Barthelme's ‘Nothing: A Preliminary Account’ in an attempt to make manifest Blanchot's theory of reading and his notion of the absence of the book. Using Blanchot and Barthelme's critical-creative works, the paper argues that the reader actually creates texts through the act of temporally juxtaposing and orienting works toward and around each other, such that each text is crafted not only by individual reader-psyches but the adjacent texts and reading conditions in which the work is consumed. In this way, texts are bound to temporal readerly circumstance - or, as Blanchot puts it, ‘scriptuary exigency’ - and authors can only conceive of audience speculatively. The paper introduces the Oulipian notion of anticipatory plagiarism and recent theories about deliberate anachronism to illustrate that time in fiction is a fundamental concern of the writer as well as a source of anxiety for the reader. Ultimately, I argue that the texts we author are in fact further composed by those text's future-tense reading situations and demonstrates how considering our text's future during the writing process might recalibrate a work's capacities and potential.
In this pedagogy article, I use my own experience building a brand-new MFA as a test case for thinking seriously about why we grow our apprentice writers how we do, whom we hope to reach by growing writers this way, and how to do it better. My article offers some insight into what it means to grow whole writers with healthy writing lives and why more of us should be engaging in that mission. What we might just end up with – or, at least, what we’ve been able to grow in Central Oregon – is a culture of celebration and difference (as opposed to a culture of competition and comparison) in which together we learn to love this world through art; get messy and make some mistakes; and fly, with our own wings.
Gillian Mears’ Foal’s Bread (2011) is an award-winning Australian novel that broadens ways of conceptualising the relationship between humans and horses through metaphor, with attention to the nurturing or abuse of both humans and horses. ‘Therapeutic metaphors’ in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) suggest how the horse-human bond can act as a catalyst to promote healing from sexual abuse and domestic violence. Little research has identified this rhetorical link. Concepts such as hybridity, or the melding of identities, embodied in the mythical Centaur, a primary trope in Mears’ novel, reflects upon the sense of union discussed in horse-human bond research. This essay explores metaphoric structures in Foal’s Bread and correspondences in EFP metaphors, arguing that EFP provides an evidentiary basis for Mears’ figurative language, which demonstrates the rethinking of horse-human relationships in the context of the horse’s role in human recovery or amelioration from sexual or domestic abuse.
This article aims to establish a connection between Daniela Cascella's writing sound and Maurice Blanchot's radical fiction. It will show how Cascella's interest in the relationship between sound and writing pulls her toward a similar abyssal space as the one Blanchot arrives at in his critical essays and own works of fiction. By firstly distinguishing her work, by emphasising its poetic power, from certain trends in sound studies, this essay will read Cascella alongside the writing of Blanchot. It will be shown how both Cascella and Blanchot's writing circles a vanishing point in which the inaugural moment of writing slowly dissipates. The significance of reading will then be explored as a prolongation of this dispossessing temporality of writing. Importantly, then, this article is not trying to say something about the ontological dimension of sound. The commonality drawn between these two authors will be positioned according to the strangeness of writing.
Time is a rare commodity in the academy. Academics are often inundated with multiple teaching, administrative and coordinating tasks, which detracts from time for creative writing and research. This paper discusses the problem of time poverty in academia. It proposes that engaging in creative modes, such as expressive, embodied and poetic writing, can generate a sense of timelessness. Timelessness will be defined as the sensation of fixed or frozen time, where academics are so fully engrossed in an encounter that they are unaware of time passing. Creative writing can evoke such timeless moments by connecting academics to intrinsically meaningful work that gives them pleasure.
Recent literature on the activities of creative practitioners within the academy has focused on their roles as cultural workers within the higher education sector – contributing to the so-called ‘creative economy’ as skills-based practitioners with ‘real world’ experience – or it has considered the role of the academic teacher in shaping the creative life and careers of their students. Relatively little has been done, however, to specifically examine the lived experience of creative writers in the Australian academy as they attend to the professional requirements of their work as teaching and research academics on the one hand, and their linked professional activities as creative writers, on the other. This paper reports on the findings from a preliminary survey conducted between July and August 2013 which aimed to explore the career trajectories, expectations and experiences of work at the nexus of creative and academic labour. It identifies a number of key tensions between academic and creative aspirations of academics who are creative writers, along with institutional benefits that in some cases aided the production of their creative work.
Academic writing in higher education research is commonly perceived as the process of ‘writing up’ knowledge rather than exploring ideas. As a result, the potential to use creative writing approaches to develop and relay meaning has often been overlooked. This article investigates creative writing as a rich and meaningful mode of representation in academia. It argues how dominant institutional discourses inhibit personal voice by favouring objectivity, and further affirms that researchers need to oppose the pressures of academic writing by ‘coming into’ one’s creative writing voice and consciousness. It is anticipated that using literary and poetic devices to relay the writer’s personal and creative voice can generate research that encompasses the full richness of human experience.
Screenwriting in the academy is an emerging research area. To date, it has been difficult to study screenwriting activity in higher education settings, not least because few academic journals publish screenplays. This is largely because scripts written in the academy have not been seen as research or as fully-fledged creative works worthy of publication. There has been a persistent idea that scripts are not stand-alone works but merely ‘blueprints’ for the films or television programmes based on them. This situation is now changing, with a number of academic journals publishing screenplays as creative research and treating scripts as texts in themselves, irrespective of production. This article explores the reasons behind the marginal position of screenwriting in the academy, which includes discipline bias, and argues for the repositioning of screenwriting as a valid and valuable creative and research practice. The article argues that the outcomes of this creative research, the screenplays themselves, should be treated as creative research texts in their own right that are deserving of publication irrespective of any staging or production. The article also discusses future directions of Screenwriting Studies as a scholarly discipline.
In the study of creative writing as an academic discipline, much attention has been paid to pedagogy, often in reaction/opposition to the question ‘Can creative writing be taught?’ What of the creative practitioners who are working in an interzone between nurturing their students’ writing and maintaining creative output of their own? Institutional ‘publish or perish’ demands have not yet aligned themselves with the shifting realities of the creative marketplace, the changes in the publishing industry, and the mental fatigue of analysing student work. In this scenario, the creative who is also an academic (or the academic who is also a creative) may find that his or her practice is paralysingly out of sync with the syllabus; and teaching from a state of creative depletion may engender a cascade of self-doubt. This paper will look at the process by which these practitioners attempt to navigate this zone of creative disconnect.
In most arts and communication courses, the students' main vehicle for expression of their research findings is the critical essay, the dissertation or thesis. But in Creative Writing and other practice-based disciplines, the student's main mode of expression is what Lincoln and Denzin call a ‘performance based’ creative artefact resulting from practice-led research. In this paper I will give examples of performance based research in four fictional pieces, ‘The Lives of Animals’ and Diary of a Bad Year, narratives in which J.M. Coetzee uses fictional devices in order to explore issues that are traditionally articulated by conventional forms of critical analysis; ‘Just a Story’, a student narrative assignment on meta-fiction which itself uses meta-fictional devices to make its point; and ‘The Absence of Theory’, a paper I wrote in the form of a short story, which explores theories of creativity that underpin creative writing workshops. In these stories, I aim to show how the creative language of the short story can be employed as an alternative form of academic discourse to the conventional essay.
In the last decade screenwriting as a profession has changed significantly, with the writing of a screen idea no longer a singular individual pursuit. Screenwriting has become a truly collaborative practice, and even though the screenplay is considered by some as being ‘authorless’ or a ‘signpost not a destination’ , it is also an activity that inherently recognises writers as the creators of novel and original content. This re-examination of screenwriting situates the practice inside the academy as a place where future practitioners can understand the industry they aspire to work in, and the contexts within which it operates. To this end, the screenwriter steeped in the traditions of creative writing can become more creatively responsive to the industrial and economic factors driving the processes of screen production. By re-conceptualising the screenwriter as a creative and conditioned agent who plays a specific part in the realities of the contemporary screen industry, we can better prepare students for professional practice scenarios that will enable them to make creative contributions that shape and change the industry.
Despite the regular recognition today of such literacies as ‘information literacy’, ‘media literacy', ‘digital literacy' and such broadly defined competencies as ‘cultural literacy' or ‘social literacy' the weight of ethics continues to lie in recognition of literacy related to the literary text. The same moral panic that attached itself three-quarters of a century ago to the impact of television on the reading abilities and propensities of the population attaches itself to the notion of the teaching and research of screenwriting and the notion that it should occupy a place of equality in the company of literary prose and poetry. Fail to put the case forward for a contemporary ethics of literacy that includes understanding screen texts and engaging in writing for the screen and we fail to ground the research or teaching of screenwriting in higher education in any strong or sustainable sense. We need to declare today a new ethics of literacy in which the ability to write for the screen stands equally with other reading and writing competencies.
This article examines the pedagogy of Hughes Mearns, the arguable founder of academic creative writing in the United States in the 1930's and 1940's, in order to better understand issues of access and educational purpose for creative writing instruction. Mearns' belief in the imaginative ability of all students paralleled cultural messages at the time about the collective rather than selective ability of individuals to write creatively and the importance of providing individuals with creative writing instruction. The open-access view is evident in interdisciplinary approaches to creative writing including CWAC – or Writing Across the Curriculum initiatives that use creative genres to teach low- and high-stakes writing. Overall, the affirmative vision of creative writing as an academic pursuit that needs to be widely taught is a view that should remain central to the purpose of Creative Writing Studies.
I teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in a university setting. I also have a PhD in Creative Writing, a background in linguistics and have taught so-called ‘creative’ and so-called ‘academic’ courses for a good number of years. I won’t belabour the point about these binary distortions, but at a recent conference where I presented a paper entitled ‘Critical Thinking: The Ultimate Transgression’ they once again reared their ugly heads. The literature on critical thinking is vast but also strangely deficient in how a detailed knowledge of narrative construction could contribute to critical thought. I feel that teachers of creative writing could help fill these important gaps, which loom ever larger given the world we currently inhabit. This article explores how.
In this paper, I focus on the intersection of accounting and, to borrow a much-abused term, a creative approach to that discipline. Here it is applied mostly through the use of creative writing as a means of teaching and learning. Co-authoring Balancing Act, a text for teaching MBA students key accounting principles through creative writing, is a key result of my years writing the ‘Literature & Insights’ editorial for the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ), as well as being writer-in-residence and running creative writing workshops at international accounting conferences. Balancing Act and this paper highlight how creative writing and especially story can be used to explore fundamental aspects of accountability, including social or environmental ones. Such writing complements discussion of issues to be encountered by students in their future professional lives. It attempts to bring to life the situations and personal perspectives of a range of different parties affected by selected accounting practices. Story connects us all, and the application of creative writing as a tool to enhance learning in other disciplines is always personally rewarding. It is an effective way to ground the values and practices that those professions publicly espouse, and demonstrably so within management accounting.
This paper explores the opportunities and challenges of writing narrative-driven digital games to foster a sense of narrative immersion. It does so by focusing on the experience of four expert writers, whose careers have spanned the modern video game era, and whose games have won awards and acclaim and sold in the millions. In their interviews, these game-writing pioneers describe some of the reasons that players play games, and convey their own struggles in writing for this medium. They suggest that those who wish to write high-quality, narrative-driven digital games should be well-versed in how to exploit a range of narrative elements, some of which are unique to games, while others have been present since storytelling began. They also stress the importance of understanding the complex interplay between narrative elements and game mechanics. Their suggestions underpin the development of several recommendations for the would-be digital game writer who seeks to foster a sense of narrative immersion for the player.
This article traces how a cohort of students enrolled in a self-narrative writing course in New York began to (reluctantly) engage with the course material, including an introduction to Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson's constituents of autobiographical writing, as well as their own narrative experiments and investigations and their self-reflective writing. As a result, many of them found a deeper awareness of audience – as writers and as readers through the recognition of the postmodern, linguistic self and the autobiography as a performative act. By letting go of the idea of the autobiographical self as a fixed, stable entity, they were able to write for an actual audience, in fact, allow that audience to influence how they constructed their life narratives and how they understood their lives.
Writing is an affective process. When the writer writes creatively it is ‘the affective response in the word choice and its resonance for the text's forms and patterns, and other words around it, that determine language use’ (Freiman 2009: 5). Yet this resonance does not occur solely within the text, nor even between text and reader. Writing entails not only the expression of affect, but the writer's experience of it. Or, as Elspeth Probyn (2010: 86) puts it, as we write ‘affects can seem to get into our bodies’. Such contagious affect becomes ‘not a representation of the other, but a rendering’ (Gibbs 2010: 193). Not only does the writer create the body of the text, the text changes the writing body – particularly when the writing itself is intensely affective. Drawing on the affect theories of Gilles Deleuze and Silvan Tomkins, this paper theorises these affective relations of writer and traumatic text. What emerges is a theoretical yet visceral account of transformative resonance of affect in the co-constitutive encounter of writing body and body of text.
Many writers and artists have been interested in the aesthetic beauty and the language of maps. Katherine Harman, author of You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Maps of the Imagination, argues that ‘part of what fascinates us when looking at a map is inhabiting the mind of its maker, considering that particular terrain of imagination overlaid with those unique contour lines of experience’ [Harman, Katherine. 2004. You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 11]. This suggests a palimpsestic relationship that I too want to explore: between the personal experience that one gains from a particular place and the way that this experience, in turn, makes one read a place differently, more idiosyncratically, thus coming to influence one’s sense of identity. This palimpsestic relationship – juxtaposing the process of cartography with creative writing – forms one part of this article’s focus. But it is linked to a second concern, which relates especially to coastal regions, where there is forever a tussle between sea and land over sovereignty. It struck me that prose poetry captures a similar tension between the prosaic and the poetic. The palimpsestic and littoral qualities of prose poetry thus provide the twin foci of this article, which explores these attributes in relation to the sense of place in the north of England.
Composing a verse novel is a complex process because of its dual identity – poetry and fiction. The challenge of adapting a verse novel to the stage highlights these generic negotiations by taking them to another level. The writer and collaborators (directors, composer and actors, in particular) need to go back to basics, interrogating the nature of poetry and drama in order to reconceive the work so that it becomes an effective script, satisfying on multiple levels. In this transformation the author's original conception of the creative work must alter. The process of collaboration with director, actors and associated professionals raises questions, therefore, about a range of artistic tasks, among them defining the characteristics of each genre and the meaning of fidelity. Finally, who has oversight over the project? By drawing on our experiences collaborating on a staged adaptation of Jeri Kroll's verse novel, Vanishing Point, and considering other examples of adaptation, we argue through structured responses by each practitioner that this type of unstable mode is particularly suited to dramatic transformation because it enhances poetry's orality and dramatic potential as well as drama's ability to embody conflict.To date, Vanishing Point has been adapted as four performances, including a staged reading at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ‘Page to Stage’ Festival (5 September 2011, Washington DC) and a workshop with actors, director, composer and movement director (June 2012). Puncher and Wattman will publish the complete verse novel.A short preliminary study by Jeri Kroll appears as ‘From page to stage’: a case study of transforming a verse novel,’ in Encounters: refereed conference papers of the 17th annual AAWP conference, 2012, This co-authored essay considerably expands the argument from two perspectives.
This paper reports on an attempt to engage undergraduate students in extra-curricular writing activities in order to induct them into the tacit knowledge and understanding of a writing community. Using Etienne Wenger's notion of communities of practice as a model for considering learning it argues that in order to welcome students into a community they need to be empowered so that they construct their identity as members of that subject group. A study of the literature surrounding communities of practice, and Participatory Action Research (PAR) led to the adoption of PAR as a mode of consultation with students and as an instrument for change. Students’ views on their experience of the extra-curricular activity are presented and the subsequent progress made in revising the provision is reported, along with the extension of the consultation to include the student view on their curriculum and an attempt to accommodate some of those views in revised delivery. The paper concludes with the proposal that the use of PAR may be a useful tool in promoting autonomy amongst undergraduate students and that Creative Writing tutors may be uniquely well placed to exploit it.
Between The Wars is a novel based on the life and work of pacifist and social reformer Muriel Lester. An early member of anti-war organisation The Fellowship of Reconciliation, Lester was also a friend of Gandhi and a founder of the East London church and community centre Kingsley Hall. Between The Wars is an interrogation of the beliefs that inspired her, the Christian pacifist movement she was a part of, and the challenge of living out the values of peace through two world wars. It is also an exploration of the relationship between activism and fiction, and the possibility of representing Lester’s ideas in fictional form. This paper examines the process of writing an activist novel that seeks change and yet allows, indeed encourages, the reader to question its beliefs, tracing the connections between the activism of Muriel Lester and the form and style of the novel she inspired.
Ted Hughes’ poems in Moortown Diary log experience of farming in North Devon in the 1970s. They were written during or shortly after the encounters that prompted them, remaining largely unaltered. Statements and letters lay bare his method’s situated acts of experience giving rise to impulses. This essay considers how such situated acts constitute a theatre-site of writing which opens and remains live towards acts of reading. It contrasts a letter written by Hughes four years before writing the poem ‘Coming Down through Somerset’, suggesting the former is a dress rehearsal and beginning of continuous duration which includes the writing of the final poem. And it considers how such situated acts stage theatre inside performance; James Hart’s idea of ‘rumour’ generating audiences through hearsay; Beatrice Fraenkel’s concept of ‘written speech acts’ as texts which include readers in acts of writing, being crucial propositions. Peter Brook, Grotowski, Wordsworth’s ‘spots of time’, Coleridge’s site poems, support a suggestion that live situated acts of writing intend an experience which gives rise to trace texts that await their readers’ participation. A simple architectural model is drawn: a studio-theatre in which writer and reader can, by a Proustian treatment of time, be simultaneously present.
The Western writing craft workshop has been dominated by a narrow conception of ‘reading as a writer.’ An overview of Creative Writing as a discipline in Australia and China suggests that a broader conception of ‘reading as a writer’ would enrich teaching in both the Anglophone countries and Asia while it improves expression and enhances cultural understanding. A comparison of courses that focus on nonfiction at Flinders University in Australia and Sun Yat-sen University in China demonstrates how reading that takes into account a variety of subject aims and outcomes and reflects diverse cultural experiences can benefit native speakers, those who come from non-English speaking backgrounds and second-language learners. Sharing strategies to facilitate language learning and craft knowledge will improve expression and broaden cultural perspectives. In addition, the teaching of nonfiction, which must be pursued at a critical, craft and ethical level, highlights the social responsibility not only of professional writers who are studied but of apprentice writers as they work towards critical and creative competence.
Creative writers are often told there is little relationship between the marketing of books and their sales. However, this relationship is one that can be demonstrated quantitatively. Using deal reports from Publisher’s Marketplace, estimations for the relative size of marketing for a sample of 308 Young Adult books sold in the U.S. market were compared against sales. Results showed a strong linear relationship between marketing and sales. Furthermore, sales spikes, or books that sell much better than average, do not occur until a minimum threshold of marketing is met: the vast majority of books have zero chance at becoming bestsellers. Marketing may not guarantee success, but it certainly makes it more likely. Without it, books, no matter their quality, do not sell at high levels.
This paper collects and analyses some of Don DeLillo's writerly counsel, with an eye to how this advice might promise fresh ways to consider the aims of writing fiction and the fiction writer's place in the contemporary world. Specifically, DeLillo is concerned with the writer's relationship to a contemporary culture that falls most readily into patterns of mass consumption, assimilation, and waste. To counter this, DeLillo asks the fiction writer to labor to find the smallest moments of the individual life and to confront a loss of individuation.
Top-cited authors
Joanne Yoo
  • University of Technology Sydney
Jeri Kroll
  • Flinders University
Stayci Taylor
  • RMIT University
Asma Mansoor
  • International Islamic University, Islamabad
Paul Andrew Williams
  • University of the Sunshine Coast