Tutor profile: Farren W.
What is Creative Writing?
For me it is the best form of expression to depict ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, to better sympathize, empathize and to relate and correlate with the environment around me. The purpose of creative writing is to both entertain and share human experiences, like love or loss. Writers attempt to uncover a truth about humanity (and the human condition) through poetics and storytelling. If you'd like to try your hand at creative writing, just keep in mind that whether you are trying to express a feeling or a thought, the first step is to use your imagination. It can take on many forms including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography, memoirs, short stories, comic books/graphic novels, travel writing, and more. Creative writing is a skill - honed through hard work, practice, and personal commitment to bettering yourself and your craft. On that level, it's really not that different from carpentry with words. Or welding. Or painting. What your writing ultimately becomes will be a reflection of you, your dedication to it, and your life around that period. It may draw inspiration from previous writers, and others may shape the final form, but the content you create will still always be unique to you. Looking purely at externals such as how other writers feel about their work is not the key to improving what you write. It's figuring out what parts of yourself you're tapping into, and how to develop those further within the appropriate framework for your chosen medium. There's a lot of beauty in the world, it's true. But it's also a very bleak place at times. If we didn't have writers to organize the thoughts of the world and readers to be entertained, educated, or informed by them, imagine how much gloomier it would be. Take a moment to really imagine a world without books, movies, video games, magazines, jokes, comics, songs, poems, nursery rhymes, etc. It's impossible for me to imagine the world without the dimension of the imagination. Bottom line is that creative writing makes life bearable.
Is Shakespeare Too Difficult for Modern Audiences?
The Bard can be a tough read because Elizabethan English contains many words and phrases that are no longer in use in Modern English. It's also because, with the exception of his sonnets, Shakespeare's works are meant to be performed, not read silently. You can pick up a lot from context when you see people interacting, so it's easier to keep everyone straight and understand the plot. The musicality of the language rings through more clearly too, and you're not so worried about missing a turn of phrase or reference here and there. Even modern plays are harder to understand in text than in performance. Shakespeare's plays can be especially confusing because he includes so very few stage directions. Basically, just entrances and exits. As an actor himself, he took it for granted that players would know to "suit the action to the word, the word to the action." (Hamlet) Also, in many of his plays, the reader requires a good working knowledge of Greek mythology and old folklore, which if you're not well-versed in can end up going over your head. Shakespeare has many layers of meaning operating at the same time, all of them interrelating on different levels - that's why he's so celebrated. On the surface, it's a love story or the 16th century equivalent of an action movie, but underneath it's about politics and relationships and love and death and sex and family and honor and justice and religion. It's all wrapped up in the craft of writing itself and the rich and amazingly inventive way he uses words. And then of course there's the constant innuendo. Yes, sometimes it's difficult to understand, but it's a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You do it to challenge and engage your mind. When it's complete, you realize not only that you actually enjoyed the process, but you also feel like you accomplished something too.
Why is grammar important?
Grammar lays the groundwork for coherent communication. People associate grammar with errors and correctness. But knowing about the rules of grammar also helps us understand what makes sentences and paragraphs clear, compelling, and precise. Some common errors are with punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, subject/verb tense, and other basic mechanics and parts of speech. Even something as simple as a misplaced comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. For example: “Most of the time, travelers worry about their luggage.” vs. “Most of the time travelers worry about their luggage.” Poor grammar harms your credibility and makes you look negligent. People are going to make judgments on your competence and intelligence based on your grammar, whether they realize it or not — and regardless of whether you think it’s okay for them to do so. Right or wrong, bad grammar hurts your bottom line both professionally and personally. Ultimately, language is the tool with which we try to make sense of it all. It’s how we describe and report on ourselves, the world, and our reality. We use it to discern truth, fight for what's right, woo potential partners, and make peace with our souls. And as such, it deserves our respect. Good grammar honors the power and beauty of words.
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