I’ve been a “creative writer” for as long as I can remember. I remember writing stories before I started writing poems. I wrote a novella when I was in elementary school in the vein of Stephen King and I’ll admit I learned about subplots from him and characterization, and I probably even borrowed some characters from him, but gave them different names, altered storylines, but nonetheless sampled, to an extent. If you care, the novella was a blend of something King-esque and influences by Audrey Rose (book, not film), which I know sounds terribly similar.
But because of this, and because of my current studies, I’m working on linking new media and creative writing in efforts to further legitimize it as a field. There are reasons for doing this, such as establishing a stronger site identity for creative writing in the university (honestly, how often do you see a creative writing department?) and giving it some sound theoretical grounding (craft criticism, using OOO with poetics, theories of authorship studies and new media, for example). I’m using the four areas suggested by Adam Koehler in “Digitizing Craft: Creative Writing and New Media: A proposal” which are 1. process, 2. genre, 3. authorship and 4. institutionality.
But my question is the following: if one were to link new media and creative writing to further legitimize it as a field of study, what should it even be called? What do creative writers think of the term “creative writing” itself? For example, the word creativity usually implies “original” and that sets off all kinds of ideas about things like the muse, voice, etc.
In thinking about this in terms of Koehler’s essay, he uses the term “Digital Creative Writing Studies.” He uses the term “digital” to imply how genres and authorship expand, mutate, an resist in digital spaces. He uses the term “studies” so we can build theory into the practice of creative writing, and link this all to pedagogy and build these bridges and expand these ideas.
While I don’t mind the phrasing of “Digital Creative Writing Studies”, I am certainly not attached and think we can find other terms as well. I’m also questioning this since there is more than “writing” done in a digital environment, so should we even use that term? Or is it still ok because we are still talking/thinking/doing writing, as a primary activity, even though we are working in new media environments. The word creative also a loaded term since it implies being original, though creative writing is thought to be creative in that it refers to being innovative, thoughtful, sampling, and using the tools available to create something as a form of self-expression or for sharing with others or both, and most often both. And creativity is one of those terms that may mean different things to different people. And in this sense, I may be oversimplifying the term “creative” and “creativity.” (Hint: I probably am.)
So today I started experimenting with others terms one could use. Such as New Media Creative Writing, New Media Creative Writing Studies (so long, I know, but it respects both new media and creative writing, which is really an important term that would be hard to get away from) and New Media Craft Studies and for a brief wonderful moment, Digital Craft studies, though there is a lot about digital craft.
But maybe terminology is no big thing, though it really is, at least in a university. Terminology is also a double edged sword in that once you create it, you cannot get away from it. But Creative Writing, as a field, does need to legitimize itself, which is why I focus (and why Koehler focuses) on the four areas that we do. By looking at process, authorship, genre, and the institution of creative writing in the university, we can build that. But terminology seems important as well, even though this may be premature.
I hate it when I answer my own questions. I think I just did there.
But all the same, if you are a creative writer, I would love to know what you think about the following terms:
- Creative Writing as a term/institution in the university
- Digital spaces/new media
Never feel the need to answer all of those things. Pick something important. Say something about it. We are in need of voices (no pun intended), scholarship and discourse around these things in creative writing departments.