Creative writing. Is it an oxymoron? "Creative" implies making something new, and "writing" is the act of putting thoughts on paper (or in this case, on a computer screen). If all thoughts are new and different, isn't all writing creative? It's a conundrum.
School is starting to finish up, and with it English class. We've covered a variety of material this year, from Lillian Hellman's plays to personal essays and The Great Gatsby. These are classified as different genres- being plays, poetry, novel, personal essay, etc. But under the banner of creative writing, things get murky. Is creative writing based on ideas, or fact? Can an essay on Andrew Jackson be called creative? Is a play written in iambic pentameter creative, as Shakespeare took this style and made it his own? These questions must be considered, especially by English teachers.
For example, when our class was covering personal essays, we wrote our own personal at the end of the unit. I was all set for a great project, until I found out we had requirements. We had to base our essays off of quotes from the essays we had read. This made me think: is it creative writing anymore when there is a structure and required elements? If one were to design a creative writing course, would it be purely based off of things in the heads of the students, or would it have structure and regurgitation of other ideas? The questions are not easily answerable, but they are certainly something to ponder.