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SUSAN JOHNSTON OWEN-JAZZ / SITE OWNER/MUSICIAN, WRITER,ARTIST, ELEMENTARY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER (RETIRED)
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Creative writing is considered to be any writing, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of literature. Works which fall into this category include novels, epics, short stories, and poems. Writing for the screen and stage, screenwriting and playwriting respectively, typically have their own programs of study, but fit under the creative writing category as well.
Clinical, factual pieces are hard work with a great deal of research. In many ways they are the easiest to write because people can't argue with facts; get one wrong you have a problem. These are the most lucrative for steady, short term work, but can be dull. Creativity, other than making a boring subject interesting isn't high on the scale. Poetry may seem easy, but it is perhaps the most difficult on the emotions. Every poem must have a driving force which pushes the energy and flow. Occasionally I write light, silly poems for fun, but usually they're dark or deep. Claiming that they're not about me is only partially true. They'd have no impetus if they had no inner drive. Poems, good poems, are heart driven, anger evoked or written from passion about anything; even a tree. Poems are a look into the soul. They're little pictures or letters from the heart. Usually a first line will get into my mind and my mood will move it forward. They're usually tweaked several times making sure that the rhythm and beat are smooth. I see poetry as music; lyrics to my emotions. One thing I know for sure, I can't write a first draft on a computer. Very rarely will the flow get moving. I'm more likely to write while sitting in a comfy chair or lying on my bed. I could write anywhere at all if an idea strikes and I get lost in thought. The computer is too impersonal for me, there's no interaction, with the words, pen or page. It may sound silly but my journals are one thing I spend good money to buy. They have to be leather bound and my pen has to be of a particular type. Yes, I can write on any scrap of paper, but I tend not to keep up with these. It's a personal quirk, but I don't usually get blocked working this way. My comfort level is high so I'm able to concentrate. Short stories are different and the timing has to be just so. You only have a certain amount of words to capture attention, pique interest and complete your thoughts. These aren't my strong point and I find them hard. The process of writing a book starts long before any words hit the page. What I'm currently writing has been developed over two years. The main character is very close to me and therefore losing my pace sometimes gets caught on emotion. Right now I'm working on a section about the husband. Although the character is not he, it comes close enough to snag me. Putting him in a bad light when he no longer should be is an emotional conflict. Some authors outline and detail every section; not I. I have my basic story in my head, well developed characters and a basic plot. From there I build, taking suggestions, changing the characters (adding or subtracting flaws or strong points) I'm not sure how to describe this, it's just part of my process. Each writer must write for one basic reason: need. We've all read things that are forced, out of focus or just plain poor; I’ve written many. Once you become comfortable remember what works for you. Mom, Dad and Aunt Mary will love everything; only an outside, objective viewpoint is worth anything and I don't always trust them. My encouragement started with a high school English teacher. My courage to face publication came with experience and age. Remember; not everyone likes Stephen King, that didn't mean he wouldn't have a huge audience. Finding your audience is the hardest, most challenging, ego destroying, and building. part. Once you do it's all in the words...
So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it. ~Harold Acton, Memoirs of an Aesthete, 1948
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow
A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy
I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977
If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison
What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "All Trivia," Afterthoughts, 1931
The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt
Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien
Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain
I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener
Don't be too harsh to these poems until they're typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction. ~Dylan Thomas, letter to Vernon Watkins, March 1938
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth
Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov
Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies. ~Terri Guillemets
Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. ~Orson Scott Card
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~Mark Twain, letter to George Bainton, 1888 (Thanks, Andrew & Barbara), variation of Josh Billings' "Don't mistake vivacity for wit, thare iz about az much difference az thare iz between lightning and a lightning bug."
The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, "Diary," February 1895
Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown
When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can. ~Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842
Writing is my time machine, takes me to the precise time and place I belong. ~Jeb Dickerson,
If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov
Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make. ~Truman Capote, McCall's, November 1967
A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961
I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top. ~English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University
THIS LITTLE BIRD HAS A STORY. WILL YOU SEND ME ONE?