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Craft Book Spotlight: The Bloomsbury Introduction to Creative Writing

Now in its second edition, Tara Mokhtari's introductory guide offers both honesty about the state of the industry and information on a variety of genres, including scriptwriting and digital media.

The Bloomsbury Introduction to Creative Writing cover features a bright orange background and a black-and-white illustration of a laptop and pencil

“Learning how to shape your ideas into well-crafted pieces of writing is essentially learning how to think critically and creatively at the same time,” Tara Mokhtari writes in the introduction of The Bloomsbury Introduction to Creative Writing, now in its second edition.”Any good writing teacher will tell you that learning how to write is tantamount to learning how to think…The key theme of this book is the relationship between knowledge derived from experience and the pursuit of writing.”

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Mokhtari asserts this approach is part of what makes her text stand out from the rest in the industry: “I am interested not only in craft, but also in how the creative process creates new ways into knowledge, and how refining and practicing craft can complicate our relationship to the world,” she says in an interview with Bloomsbury about the latest edition.

But the second edition further helps Mokhtari achieve another goal: To develop transferable skills that will lead to fruitful careers for all students. 

“It is imperative for creative writing programs to both nurture minority voices and prepare students with critical thinking and practical transferable skills for the job market.”

“Perhaps forty years ago, if you undertook a creative writing degree, you could have expected to publish a novel or collection of poems at the end of it. You also probably would not have graduated with massive student debt. Things are radically different now,” she tells Bloomsbury. “It is imperative for creative writing programs to both nurture minority voices and prepare students with critical thinking and practical, transferable skills for the job market.”

To that end, the book offers real honesty about pursuing a career in creative writing (“it isn’t sufficient to want to be a writer merely for the romance of it, for the ego, for the fame, for the money: mostly because only a very small number of writers achieve the career which affords them any or all of these delicious benefits”) as well as information on writing for video games, video scriptwriting, virtual reality, and other forms of digital content. 

It also includes a wealth of information, exercises, and workshop suggestions for a variety of genres, including screenwriting, playwriting, and hybrid forms. 

“Over the course of this book, and then for decades to come, your relationship with writing will grow and change the same way every relationship does – and that is alright,” Mokhtari writes. “Be patient, keep working at it, give it whatever it needs to develop, have faith, and honor your writing practice.”

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