Handbook of Creative writing


handbook of creative writingI am a collector of books and among my humble collection I have a shelf dedicated to books about writing. Most of these live at around 808 on the Dewey decimal system and that is where they reside in my library – right along side literature which occupies the rest of the 800s. I am greedy when it comes to words written on our craft by people who practice it.  I have known writers who refused to read manuals or writing guides because it stifled their creativity, or because they refused to conform to the rules of creative writing. I am a student of writing and some day I hope to be a teacher and a coach. I can’t do that without teachers of my own. Architects, painters, bricklayers, even musicians must all undertake a period of apprenticeship under the tutelage of experienced professionals – why should it be any different for writers? With this in mind I grabbed myself a copy of The handbook of creative writing, edited by Steven Earnshaw, Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University. Though the book, in Earnshaw’s words, is aimed “primarily at the student embarking on a creative writing programme in Higher Education”, it is a valuable resource for anyone who is serious about a career in writing. When I bought this book I was half way through a Masters degree in professional writing so it seemed an appropriate resource, but now, even when I am on hiatus from University I frequently refer to the essays. This is not one of those how-to books,  rather it is an scholarly treatment of writing theory and practice and therefore not for everyone. The book contains 48 essays separated into three sections. Section one discusses critical theory, section two contains essays on prose, poetry, screenwriting,  and other forms of writing and section three explores the writing life from agents and publication to literary prizes and making a living as a writer. The handbook of creative writing confirmed for me that writing is not just about publication. It explores writing as a career as well as a worthy academic activity.

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About Sharon

Writer, bibliophile, dreamer and student of everything
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