Let the writing be of words: From writing stories to writing materials

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Across the Anglophone world (and elsewhere), creative writing courses are proliferating. A remarkably high number of tertiary education institutions now offer to train students at undergraduate, graduate coursework and postgraduate research levels. While few such courses enjoy the huge numbers who enrol in, say, the
business or communication faculties, there is a steady and growing number of people who believe they have a story to tell in prose, poetry or script, and who want to be trained in the techniques and in the field. Not many of our graduates go on to work as professional published writers; and not all of our graduates are sophisticated
users of narrative; or even of language. Writing is not alone in this; all disciplines produce graduates with uneven skills and capacities. But I suspect that in the case of writing, we tend to confuse means and ends – to focus on the book inside the person, and not on the material that is used to make it. By “material” I mean ideas and the interest in narrative, and also language – vocabulary, syntax, punctuation, organisation – and ideas. In this paper I discuss ways of engaging with these two different, but related, aspects that should be part of the attributes possessed by our graduates at all level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalWriting in Practice
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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