By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
A Creative Writing Handbook: Developing Dramatic Technique, Individual Style and Voice
Edited by Derek Neale (A & C Black Publishers, $39.99, softcover, 415 pages)
As the introduction points out, this handbook is not meant for absolute beginners who are taking their first tentative steps as writers.
Instead, Derek Neale says that it is aimed at those who are already writing and keen to develop their writing style and general approach to writing.
Written by three published writers who are also experienced tutors, A Creative Writing Handbook advocates an integrated approach to writing.
The key to this, according to Neale and fellow contributors Bill Greenwell and Linda Anderson, lies in understanding the connection between dramatic writing and other forms of writing.
One of the crucial suggestions is that whether you are writing fiction, poetry or drama, when you combine it with “life writing” then it will show how a writer can best integrate the “art and craft” of writing.
There is no point in having the best ideas in the world if you don’t have a solid technique. As Neale says, without “the scaffolding” those ideas will never become a reality on the page.
They refer to American novelist Joyce Carol Oates as saying, “Rewriting, revising and re-imagining your work are the lifeblood of the creative process”. It is this dedicated attentiveness to the original concept that can transform an idea, and it is this approach that can improve and develop your writing style.
Most telling is Neale’s comment that “all writing benefits from the writer’s decision to pause at vital moments, to follow the hunch that something could be improved, however slightly”.
The handbook comprises four sections, three of which explore ways of writing and developing style, while the last contains a set of readings to be used in conjunction with the exercises in the other three sections.
It succeeds to invigorate and sustain you as a writer simply by showing, explaining and inviting you to try various ways of writing.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.