Category Archives: Creativity

Teaching and assessing creativity

The origins of optimism

Optimism and pessimism are not two distinct styles but rather ends of a continuum. At the optimistic end people expect only good events to happen to them. They concentrate on stimuli that indicates a rosy outlook and ignore warning signs … Continue reading

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A proper repartee

The group of women sat around a table, discussing their mother’s instructions on being a “Southern Lady. ” In their story telling manner they competed with each to relate the most outlandish piece of advice. “I never could understand that … Continue reading

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Laughter and learning

Imagine two different college classes: in one the instructors is always logical and serious; and in the other the instructor throws in frequent jokes only tangentially related the subject. In which class do students learn more? According to research it … Continue reading

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The unprincipled conformist

The rebel with a cause is one of favorite heroic types in fiction. But the “foil” of the principled nonconformist, the unprincipled conformist, is also a common antagonist. What makes this character so villainous? Conformity requires that a person at … Continue reading

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Characters and cohorts

In fiction most protagonists like most people are not complete loners. Interactions with their cohorts make up a good portion of novels, so creating these peers takes a bit of thought. What enables a real-life group to be innovative in business also makes … Continue reading

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When characters confuse

When Edgar Allen Poe published “Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841 the murder mystery was a relatively new genre. He wrote a few more of these increasingly popular detective stories before leaving behind his own mystery. In 1849 he … Continue reading

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When characters collide

Consider the possible basic conflicts in fiction:  man against environment, man against man, man against society, and man against self.  In most plots the conflicts are between people.  Even in Robinson Caruso and Castaway, tales of man surviving in isolation, … Continue reading

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What makes a character, a character?

Recently I was following a thread of writers discussing how to find names that make characters memorable.  Honestly, I believe that writers should be looking at the reverse situation.  It is the skillful creation of a character whose strengths and … Continue reading

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What makes a classic, a classic?

When a person refers to classic art, you automatically assume it is the style derived from classic Greek art. This style is associated with city-states on a small Greek peninsula beginning about 500 B.C. and ending 323 B.C., at the death … Continue reading

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Delusion and Imagery

Imagery is one of the harder to pinpoint concepts in writing. What exactly is the difference between describing something in detail and creating imagery?  This concept is not always easy to explain.  So I looked at what some experts in the … Continue reading

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