I was just heading to bed but wanted to read a little bit more from my Imagine book before I did and I got caught.
In this one section, the author is writing about how the structure of poetry affects the creativity of the writer:
Just look at poets, who often rely on literary forms with strict requirements, such as haikus and sonnets. At first glance, this writing method makes little sense, since the creative act then becomes more difficult. Instead of composing freely, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints.
But that’s precisely the point. Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they’ll never invent an original line. They’ll be stuck with clichés and conventions, with predictable adjectives and boring verbs. And this is why poetic forms are so important. […] the difficulty of the task accelerates the insight process.
Wow. That’s fascinating. When I was young – pre-teens, maybe – I wrote my own poetry, but it wasn’t structured into any form I could name (mostly because I couldn’t ever remember all the different rhyming schemes). Yet it did have structure; I rarely wrote free verse. It never occurred to me that by confining my poetry to a certain structure, I was actually stimulating my creativity. Looking back though, I can see that it did.
I don’t write much poetry these days, but these paragraphs still stood out to me because lately I’ve been feeling constraints on my writing and a lot of those constraints stem from the expectations (structure) of the genre I’m writing in. I’ve decided I need to shrug them off by “forgetting” what genre I’m writing in just so I can get out whatever my story is and it’ll work or it won’t.
These paragraphs make me wonder if I shouldn’t keep trying to work within the structure/expectations of my genre after all…
Nah, probably not.
Something to think about though. Do you feel that the structure and expectations of your genre help your writing or constrain it? I’d love to know.
Okay night all, and happy writing.