Monday, January 12, 2015

The "So What" of Every Creative Piece

Even if you aren't writing a persuasive academic essay, every piece of literature has an argument (like a thesis statement.) Every poem, description, narrative or other piece of creative writing suggests a world view about something.

I call this your "so what."

Your argument might not be stated directly; usually it will be suggested by a character's action or a description of a place.

Younger readers might say that they love English class because "every interpretation can be right. My opinion matters." That's not exactly right. The writer, through plot and description, nudges the reader in a particular direction. The writer offers a view of the world through word choice and word order. There might be some question - some gray space - as there is in life, but that doesn't mean that the writer isn't inherently arguing something about something.

As you write, test your writing. Ask yourself what your "so what" is. You might not know at first - writing is a form of discovery that might lead you to your "so what." Or perhaps you're trying to choose an action or texture to better illustrate your "so what." Later drafts, though, should not only have an overall "so what," but also smaller ones that help to support the complete project.

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