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Creative Writing

1. The Art of Detail and Texture of a Story

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the importance of details when it comes to creative writing, focusing in particular on: (i) the lack of hard and fast rules for what makes good writing; (ii) John Gardner's advice from The Art of Fiction (1983) – "In any piece of writing, the writer's first job is to convince the reader that the events he recounts in the story really happened"; (iii) Colm Tóibín's view that "a novel is a thousand details" and the idea of creative writing as an accumulation of small details; (iv) the idea that it is always better to show the reader something than to simply tell them, with an example from Gwendoline Riley's 'My Phantoms' (2021); and (v) the idea that creative writing involves a balance of the left and right halves of your brain.

Course

In this course, the writer and critic Edmund Gordon (author of The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography) provides some tips and tricks for improving one's creative writing, both fiction and non-fiction. In the first module, we think about the importance of details when it comes to one's writing (cf. Colm Tóibín's dictum that "a novel is a thousand details"). After that, in the second module, we think about narrative and plot, focusing in particular on the narrative theories of Aristotle (Poetics, c. 335 BC) and E. M. Forster (Aspects of the Novel, 1927). In the third module, we think about narrative viewpoint, before turning in the fourth module to explore why and how we create vivid, memorable characters. In the fifth and final module, we think about the importance of dialogue in creative writing.

Lecturer

Edmund Gordon is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at King's College, London. His first book, The Invention of Angela Carter (2016) received the Somerset Maugham Award, the Biographers’ Club/Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize and a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the US National Book Critics’ Circle Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gordon, E. (2022, April 11). Creative Writing - The Art of Detail and Texture of a Story [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/creative-writing-gordon/the-art-of-detail-and-texture-of-a-story

MLA style

Gordon, E. "Creative Writing – The Art of Detail and Texture of a Story." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Apr 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/creative-writing-gordon/the-art-of-detail-and-texture-of-a-story

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