Thursday, June 11, 2009

Creative Writing Can Help Your Reporting

There have been a lot of headlines lately about creative writing classes - can it be taught, should it be taught, who can teach it? In college I took one creative writing class as a journalism major. It didn't count toward my major but was an english credit, but I think it could have been a J-credit.

Here's what creative writing can teach a hard-core journalist:
  1. Show don't tell. The great thing about creative writing course is each week you focus on a specifc area, and most of those revolve around showing what the characters see, touch, taste, feel, etc...
  2. Abolition of the verb 'to be'. My teacher made us go through and circle every form of to be. OUCH. Then the assignment for the next class revolved around changing every single circled verb to a descriptive one.
  3. Think outside the box to tell the story. A basic way to tell the story exists, but sometimes the better article comes from a more creative, non-traditional approach.
  4. Take criticism and become better from it. Sure we've all probably gotten an email or note complaining about a particular article we penned. But in a creative writing class you sit in the hot seat and watch as your literary attempt gets torn to pieces. Then you need to go back, re-evaluate, maybe even re-invent the piece. Thick skin grows quickly in a creative writing class.
  5. Learn from the attempts of others. Peer evaluation acts as the main driving force behind the class. You read countless stories by the time the class ends. Just like reading other newspapers and publications forms your writing, reviewing your peers stories gives you the chance to learn what you love, what you hate and what you would do differently.

No comments:

Post a Comment