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Tenure

Fiction compared to Non-Fiction

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My hobbies include non-fiction writing and photography, sewing, reading (which goes without saying??) and web/graphic design, though I'm trying to tap into more creative hobbies such as fiction-writing.

I just wanted to pick up on this. I know it seems pedantic, but I think it's important. You think fiction writing is more creative than non-fiction writing. I would say it's a very difficult thing to judge, probably impossible, to say that one art-form is 'more creative' than another, unless we're considering oil painting against throwing excrement at a wall. I just get the feeling that you think non-fiction writing might not be all that creative. I would say that it's actually a very challenging thing to do. You're recording reality, as you see it. It's an incredibly creative activity, requiring a good discipline of the senses and a sharp use of vocabulary and style to correctly record an emotion, or a general sense of what something means, or even to accurately describe what something is.

Just my $0.02 on that.

As for the thing about computer games, I'd add that they have not just the potential for being aesthetically pleasing, but for being great test-maps for trying out all sorts of new computing architecture. The need to be able to create attractive environments drives companies to create better hardware, whilst the efforts to create some new way to play stretches us beyond our preconceived notions of how we use computers. Procedural generation for example, which is being explored in the game 'Spore' extensively, and with much more experimentation and exploration for the commercial field of video games, could one day be crossed over into scientific exploration of Artificial Intelligence. Hell, a friend of mine is confident that it could actually mean a revolution in how everything is constructed.

In a sense, video games may be where the next 'Rearden Metal' will start.

Edited by softwareNerd
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You think fiction writing is more creative than non-fiction writing. I would say it's a very difficult thing to judge, probably impossible, to say that one art-form is 'more creative' than another,

I think that as a generality, that it is very reasonable to think that fiction is "more creative" than non-fiction. The basic argument that I see is that in non-fiction writing you have the facts (the story) already, you just have to decide how to tell it (the creative part). With fiction writing, you have to create the story (one creative process) and ensure it actually works, and then you have decide how to tell it (a second creative process).

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I started typing in a rebuttal to this, to say that the creation of a world for your ideas is just an additional component of fiction-writing, and that it does not make it any more creative than non-fiction. However, I concede that I simply mean that they both require the same amount of effort, as far as being able to write well is concerned, and as far as being able to research your writing is concerned.

However, an interesting thought came to me that I've heard before and wanted to recycle. The true merit of fiction writing comes from the way it fully utilitises the imagination. If creativity is our means of exploring the unknown, and our imagination is our tool for truely knowing ourselves, then together, through fiction-writing, they actually work to create a wonderful means for self-expression and self-examination.

Edited by Tenure

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I think that as a generality, that it is very reasonable to think that fiction is "more creative" than non-fiction. The basic argument that I see is that in non-fiction writing you have the facts (the story) already, you just have to decide how to tell it (the creative part). With fiction writing, you have to create the story (one creative process) and ensure it actually works, and then you have decide how to tell it (a second creative process).

Ah I knew someone would address that, when I said "more creative"! I do think that non-fiction is a creative process, certainly; having spent much of my time writing non-fiction essays (for school and for fun), I realize the amount of selectivity that it requires, not only in content (to a certain extent), but conveyance of it. But, as RationalBiker says, one can generally be assumed to be "more creative" since you start with less to work from. I do concede that both, however, are extremely creative processes.

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The true merit of fiction writing comes from the way it fully utilitises the imagination. If creativity is our means of exploring the unknown, and our imagination is our tool for truely knowing ourselves, then together, through fiction-writing, they actually work to create a wonderful means for self-expression and self-examination.

Hi Tenure, welcome to the board.

I have no idea what the bolded part actually means. Can you elaborate? While imagination is important, I'm not sure that I would agree that fiction gets it merit from the way that imagination is utilized.

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It depends on what you believe the imagination is. Personally, I believe it is the act of self-examination. If for example, you take a dream. It is a wonderful work of the imagination, piecing together all sorts of information. The important bit however, is that it is all about you. Even if you dream about someone dying, it is all about what value they are to you.

The imagination is our tool for externalizing everything we feel and think. Creativity, on the other hand, is about a very different approach. Creativity is about exploring the unknown. It's kind of like algebra. You start out from what you don't know (say for example, you ask 'What is love?'), and you use creative methods to deduce what you can know. Some methods will work, some won't. Creativity is the process of trial and error. I'm not saying it's a blind process, but that the real beauty of creativity, is in how you figure things out. It is, to put it bluntly, the scientific method. You try things, see how far they work, and discard them if they don't work.

The imagination, I should put it better, is a process for expression. Creativity is a method of exploration. I just get annoyed at people calling things 'creative' and 'imaginative', on the sole merit that it is fantastical or different. Fantastical and different can be good, but I think people use all these terms without thinking about what they mean.

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