What is Creative Writing?
Creative writing is most popularly understood to be writing that comes from the imagination, writing that is ‘not true‘. Creative writing is the very fine art of making things up, in the most attractive, apt and convincing way possible. It’s the telling of lies in order to reveal illuminating and dark truths about the world and our place in it. We tend to think of Poetry, Fiction and Plays. Of course, we do know that some creative writing is partly based inspired by real events or based (auto)biography, such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road or Sylvia Plath‘s The Bell Jar, and we are all familiar with the extent to which real life and real people can sometimes directly or indirectly inform creative work. ‘Write about what you know’ is the writer’s maxim that has long since fallen into a crashing cliché - but it‘s a cliché for a good reason. Many writers do precisely that. Nonetheless, such creative writing remains in essence a fiction and makes no actual claim to the facts.
In the 1970s, the term ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ came to describe a type of factual writing that transcended the boundaries of style and approach that we normally associate with that of the journalistic, technical or academic. There are many inexhaustibly researched, extremely detailed and expertly written studies of everything from astrophysics to yachting. But these could not be considered to be Creative Non-Fiction. What puts the ‘Creative’ into Non-Fiction has a great deal more to do with how a subject is treated rather than the actual nature of the subject itself. The personal involvement of the narrator with its subject or subject matter is a common element, and events are rarely recounted in the ‘objective’ way which we tend to associate with journalism or other types of factual writing. But the chief hallmark of Creative Non-Fiction is a higher, more stylised technique, closer to that of the novel, say, and this immediately distinguishes it from other types of informative writing.
Literature Wales only provides funding for events or bursaries for those engaged in the performance or practice of creative writing.