Why Creativity is Essential For All Genres (A Guest Post by Leanne Sowul)

 

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Today I’m thrilled to have one of my DIY MFA colleagues here for a guest post! Leanne Sowul is a historical fiction writer, music teacher, and the insightful mind behind DIY MFA’s “Be Well, Write Well,” which offers tips and wisdom for writers on maintaining a healthy well-being. She’s also an advocate for cultivating creativity in our lives and recently launched her new project, The Creativity Perspective, to explore this further. I invited Leanne to write about the importance of creativity in writing, and this is what she had to say.

When I first decided to write a novel, I wasn’t sure what genre I wanted to specialize in. I read widely, so I had interest in writing many different things, but I was intimidated by working in the sci-fi, fantasy, or mystery genres because I thought they required a higher level of creativity. Building a world from scratch, or crafting a suspenseful crime, felt beyond me. I wanted to choose a genre that had some rules I could follow; a creativity “support,” if you will.

I have a longtime love for history, so I decided to write historical fiction. I figured I could use historical facts to hang my story on, and felt comforted by the element of nonfiction in my fiction to keep me on track with my story. I thought it was the perfect solution. Oh, how little I knew back then! I didn’t understand I was making the enormous decision of my novel’s genre based partly on fear and partly on an incorrect assumption.

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Chronicling The Craft: How to Identify and Cut Down on Lengthy Descriptions

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Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 20% completion of Draft #3.

Going into the WIP’s third draft, I was aware that one of its lingering weaknesses was overdescription. I tend to overwrite in general, but it’s most noticeable when I’m describing character appearances, setting, and action. So, one of the major questions has been, “How do I use fewer words to convey the same meaning or paint the same picture?”

Today’s Chronicle will focus on answering that question. I’ll share strategies that can help you identify overly descriptive areas in your manuscript, as well as tips for shortening descriptions as you edit. I’ll also explain it’s more important to make your own decisions as to how much description is enough, rather than following specific word- or sentence-length recommendations.
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