University of Hawaii at Manoa
All styles of writing can be considered modes of communication. With creative writing, however, an author can move a reader to question, struggle with, understand, and ultimately, vicariously experience circumstances, in a way that isn't always possible with other styles of writing. The best fiction, especially, has a unique accessibility with most readers, for an author is capable of creating an entire world of sensory details, characters, and situations. I believe that a fiction writer's primary goal should not be to merely tell a story, but rather, as Louise Simpson eloquently puts it, "to make words disappear" for the reader. A fiction writer also has the ability to comment on society and life in a way that nonfiction writers cannot. Fiction often walks that fine line between fact and fantasy, so that as Tim O'Brien explains, "Absolute occurrence is irrelevant. A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may happen and be truer than the truth." A reader should want to believe, even for a short time, that an event took place; whether it did or not is not as important. For me, striving to successfully persuade a reader to take that step of faith is one of the most difficult aspects of writing. Initially, however, choosing the structure of my piece was a primary concern. I originally had imagined an incorporation of both poetry and short story--one longer short story interspersed with a number of poems written by the main characters in the story. I had planned to write about the impact of domestic violence on five children of various genders, ages, ethnicities, religions, and classes, in Hawai'i. In flashback scenes, these children would interact together in group counseling sessions, where the social worker would use writing poetry as a means of therapy. In present scenes, the children would be living their adult lives, which would reveal the different paths each took depending on their individual circumstances and identities.
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