The Psychology of Creative Writing

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The Psychology of Creative Writing takes a scholarly, psychological look at multiple aspects of creative writing, including the creative writer as a person, the text itself, the creative process, the writer’s development, the link between creative writing and mental illness, the personality traits of comedy and screen writers, and how to teach creative writing. This book will appeal to psychologists interested in creativity, writers who want to understand more about the magic behind their talents, and educated laypeople who enjoy reading, writing, or both. From scholars to bloggers to artists, The Psychology of Creative Writing has something for everyone.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An outstanding collection of provocative essays. Psychologists, writers, and anyone who likes to read, think, and learn will enjoy this profoundly revealing window into the creative process.”
—Josh Waitzkin, author of The Art of Learning

“[T]his book . . . has an enormous amount of information and insight on the process and practice of creative writing, and I believe writers and non-writers, creative or not, can benefit from its discussions.”
—Piers Anthony

”The Psychology of Creative Writing offers unparalleled insight into the lives, minds, and processes of literary artists. The book is an utterly original and deeply satisfying exploration of the creative writer, a nuanced study that consistently dispels myths and engages the myriad, fascinating complexities of how literature is made. In assembling the book, the editors have opened a new field of inquiry into the psychological experiences, costs, and rewards of the writing life. Every reader and writer is in their debt.”
—Bret Anthony Johnston, Harvard University, author of Corpus Christi: Stories

“It’s an intellectual treat to see the best-known writers in creativity research writing creatively about creative writing. Kaufman and Kaufman have assembled a fine team of scholars to illuminate how people create with the written word.”
—Paul J. Silvia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, author of How to Write A Lot

“What are the secrets of creative writing? Who are the creative writers? What is so special about what they do (when it works), and how do we help others, or ourselves, to find that magic? Here is psychological research, theory, and experiential wisdom from well-known experts, on creative person, process, product, and cultivation of creativity – both in eminent writers, and in our own everyday efforts. The book rings with value and can open new doors for both scholars and practitioners. A unique contribution – highly recommended.”
—Ruth Richards, Saybrook Graduate School, editor of Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature

“Like a multiperspectival novel itself, with surprising revelations and an interesting cast of characters, this wide-ranging collection by well-known creativity researchers provides a valuable resource about creative writing: where the corroboration and conflicts are among studies, and where opportunities lie for further expanding our understanding of creativity and the literary arts.”
—Seana Moran, Stanford University

"...This rich collection of papers by (mostly) psychologists who research creative writing from a great variety of perspectives offers major sections on the writer, text, process, development, and education... this volume a good one to have at hand."
—Rebecca Wells Jopling , OnFiction

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521707824
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/22/2009
  • Pages: 406
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., completed his doctorate in cognitive psychology at Yale University in 2009. He also holds an M.Phil. in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar, and a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied psychology, human–computer interaction, and voice performance. In his research, he combines various perspectives, including cognitive science, philosophy, and evolutionary psychology, to further an understanding of intelligence and creativity. In addition to publishing more than 20 book chapters and articles in professional journals such as Intelligence and Journal of Creative Behavior, he is co-editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence (with Robert J. Sternberg, forthcoming). Kaufman's work has been covered in media outlets such as The Philadelphia Inquirer and Men's Health. Additionally, he writes a blog for Psychology Today called 'Beautiful Minds.' He is the recipient of the 2008 Frank X. Barron student award from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association for his research on the psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts.

James C. Kaufman, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the California State University at San Bernardino, where he directs the Learning Research Institute. Dr Kaufman's research focuses on the nurturance, structure, and assessment of creativity. Kaufman is the author or editor of fifteen books either published or in press, including Creativity 101, Essentials of Creativity Assessment (with Jonathan Plucker and John Baer), International Handbook of Creativity (with Robert J. Sternberg), and Applied Intelligence (with Robert J. Sternberg and Elena Grigorenko). His research has been featured on CNN, NPR, the New York Times, New Yorker, and the BBC. Kaufman is a founding co-editor of the official journal for the American Psychological Association's Division 10, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. He is also the Associate Editor of Journal of Creative Behavior, the Editor of International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving, and an Associate Editor of Psychological Assessment, and he is the Series Editor of the Psych 101 series. He received the 2003 Daniel E. Berlyne Award from APA's Division 10 and the 2008 E. Paul Torrance Award from the National Association of Gifted Children.

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Table of Contents

Part I. The Writer: 1. The Personalities of Creative Writers Jane Piirto; 2. Killing Your Babies: The Creative Writer, Locus of Control, and Rumination E. M. Skrzynecky and James C. Kaufman; 3. 'The more I write, the better I write, and the better I feel about myself': Mood Variability and Mood Regulation in Student Journalists and Creative Writers Adèle Kohanyi; 4. Characteristics of Eminent Screenwriters: Who Are Those Guys? Steven R. Pritzker and David McGarva; 5. The Tears of a Clown: Understanding Comedy Writers Scott Barry Kaufman and Aaron Kozbelt; Part II. The Text: 6. The Evolution of Creative Writing Daniel Nettle; 7. Literary Creativity and Physiognomy: Expressiveness in Writers, Readers, and Literature Martin S. Lindauer; 8. The Literary Genius of William Shakespeare: Empirical Studies of His Dramatic and Poetic Creativity Dean Keith Simonton; Part III. The Process: 9. In search of the writer's creative process Todd Lubart; 10. Writing as a collaborative act R. Keith Sawyer; 11. Writing as an interaction with ideas Mark A. Runco; 12. Creative Cognition in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Thomas B. Ward and E. Thomas Lawson; Part IV. The Development: 13. Writing in flow Susan K. Perry; 14. Writers' Blocks and Blocked Writers: Using Natural Imagery to Enhance Creativity Jerome L. Singer and Michael V. Barrios; 15. Pretend Play, Emotional Processes, and Developing Narratives Sandra W. Russ; 16. The Healing Powers of Expressive Writing Janel D. Sexton and James W. Pennebaker; Part V. The Education: 17. How Rewards and Evaluations Can Undermine Creativity (and How to Prevent This) John Baer and Sharon S. McKool; 18. Teaching Writing by Demythologizing Creativity Grace R. Waitman and Jonathan A. Plucker; 19. Creation and Response: Wellspring to Evaluation Genevieve E. Chandler and Pat Schneider; 20. Fostering Creative Writing: Challenges Faced by Chinese Learners Ai-Girl Tan; 21. Putting the Parts Together: An Integrative Look at the Psychology of Creative Writing Scott Barry Kaufman and James C. Kaufman.

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