The Handbook of Creative Writing

The Handbook of Creative Writing

The Handbook of Creative Writing

The Handbook of Creative Writing


An extensive, practical and inspirational resource, this three-in-one volume is aimed at students and practitioners of creative writing at all levels. In 48 distinctive chapters the Handbook:•examines the critical theories behind the practice of creative writing (Part 1). •explains the basics of how to write a novel, script or poetry (Part 2). •explores how to deal with the practicalities and problems of becoming a writer (Part 3). As well as the main creative writing activities, chapters cover other practices, from translation to starting a small magazine and from memoir writing to writing for children. Contributors are all experts in their fields: poets, novelists, dramatists, agents, publishers, editors, tutors, critics and academics. Anyone with an interest in creative writing will find this book invaluable in developing their own creative writing projects and as a way into new areas of writing activity. Key Features
•The only book to combine the theory and practice of writing with detailed advice on the business of writing and living as a writer
•Combines breadth and depth with original thinking on creativity and evaluation of creative work
•Shows ways of approaching the task of writing and how to improve one's work
•Presents material which is hard to find elsewhere, e.g. writing for teenagers; writing humorous fiction; finding a film agent


Steven Earnshaw

As a handbook this guide is intended not just to help and inform, but also to provoke and inspire. The contributors are professionals within their fields of expertise and apart from being asked to cover the necessary topic have been free to deal with their subject how they see fit – there has been no attempt to produce regulation and uniform chapters. The book is aimed primarily at the student embarking on a creative writing programme in Higher Education, with many of the writers here also teaching on creative writing MAs or MFAs, and to that end many of the chapters reflect the different teaching styles on offer. This book, therefore, is also intended for tutors. The aim throughout has been to have within the pages of a single book all that you might need as a writer or tutor to further your writing and teaching, and to further your writing career. It explores a number of different contexts within which the student-writer and teacher of creative writing work: literary tradition and genre, the postgraduate degree, the academy, literary culture, literary theory, the world of publishing and production, the world of being a writer and writing.

How to read this book

I don’t for a second imagine that anybody will read this book from cover to cover; it is not that type of book. Rather, it is the virtue of a handbook that readers can jump immediately to what they need to know: I want to write a novel (Rogers); teach creative writing in the community (Sargent); introduce literary theory into my workshops (Ramey); publish poetry (Twichell; O’Brien); get an agent (Smith; Friedmann; Brodie), choose a degree (Newman; Vanderslice) and so on. Conversely, if you have no interest in cultural, academic or theoretical contexts you will quickly see that you should avoid Section One, and if you have no interest in knowing how to get your writing out into the ‘real’ world and make a splash as a writer, you will turn a blind eye to Section Three (although I gather that this rather unlikely). But if you were, indeed, to be the ‘ideal reader’ and read the book from one end to the other, you might make a number of surprising connections.

For instance, Brian Kiteley’s ‘Reading and Writing Historical Fiction’ and David Rain’s ‘Literary Genres’ include digressions into different aspects of the history of the novel, and might be read in conjunction with Jane Rogers’s ‘Introduction to the Novel’. Aaron Kunin’s ‘New Poetries’ is packed full of references to experiments with writing and concepts and takes the reader well beyond the realms of poetry. It could be read alongside . . .

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