Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Creativity vs. Craft

At a recent book event, my husband asked the author which part of her writing process was creativity and which part was craft. The poor woman looked startled then said the two were so intertwined that they could not be separated. 

In science, creativity and craft are more easily distinguishable. The creative parts involve identifying interesting problems and figuring out which questions to ask so that a correct answer can be found. Craft comes into play when executing the experiment. Years of practice are often required to produce interpretable results. 

For me, writing is a mixture of creativity and craft. Figuring out what story to write, deducing the best way to tell it, and asking probing questions about my characters and their quests are all creative endeavors. The process of getting the story down for the first time is mostly unbridled creativity. Revision, however, is not exclusively craft. Seemingly, years of practice are often required to produce a clearly written manuscript. But a manuscript that is merely technically adept will not sell. Readers are looking for heart in a novel, characters they can identify with, and situations that are both real and unique. Breathing life into the novel is the creative part of revisions.

5 comments:

Vicky Lorencen said...

Well said, Ann. I love the way you weave your science background into your posts.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Thanks, Vicky. I've been ignoring this blog. I'm trying to get back with the program.

Patti Richards said...

Love this Ann! Well-said. Creativity and craft are seamless at times and then other times, very easy to distinguish. Thanks for sharing!

Kathy Wiechman said...

You said it well. Even though the process requires both aspects individually & intertwined, the end result must be a smooth combination that takes the reader on a seamless journey.

Ann Finkelstein said...

Thanks Patti and Kathy. I used to think about the difference between creativity and craft when I wrote my book on doing science with children. Most of the time when I'm writing fiction, I'm just trying to fix it.