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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Journey of Hero Writers: A Study of Creative Writing Practices
by Stockwell, Bernadette, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2019, 223; 13880602
Abstract (Summary)

Creative writing programs continue to grow throughout the globe at an exponential rate. According to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (Tucker, 2016), in 1975, there were 24 Creative Writing BFA programs and this number grew to 571 in 2016. Likewise, in 1975, there were 15 MFA programs climbing to 244 in 2016. Just five institutions offered a PhD in Creative Writing in 1975, but in 2016, that number increased to 50. This study seeks to explain and interpret the writing practices that help these creative writers to stay motivated, to modify their work, and to move that work to publication. This qualitative case study utilizes phenomenography and autoethnography as methodologies to interpret the phenomenon of creative writing practices of five individuals who are enrolled in, or graduates of, formal creative writing programs. Throughout this dissertation, I employ the concepts and phases of the hero’s journey as discussed in Christopher Vogler’s book The Writer’s Journey (2007). Four themes emerged from analyzing the data from these five cases. First, processes of creative writing can be learned in established creative writing programs, but creative writers often discover elements of their stories implying that planning and outlining provide only one aspect of story creation. Next, various audiences—the self, peers, mentors/teachers, agents/editors, and the anonymous reading public—prompt creative writers to modify (i.e. revise, edit, add or delete text). In addition, successful sessions can elevate the emotions of creative writers. Knowing that participating in a creative writing session may elicit positive emotions, creative writers who seek publication may benefit from more regular and intentional practices. Finally, like the hero of many stories, creative writers embark on their own journey with every writing session.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Colombo, Michaela
Commitee: Davidson, Judith, Kim, MinJeong
School: University of Massachusetts Lowell
Department: Education Administration
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Creative writing, Higher education
Keywords: Autoethnography, Creative writing, Phenomenography, Writing practice
Publication Number: 13880602
ISBN: 978-1-392-26528-4
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