Creative writing is a multifaceted endeavor requiring verbal skills, extensive content knowledge, and the motivation to persist in spite of obstacles. In this chapter we focus particularly on creative writing in the form of science fiction and fantasy. We begin with a presentation of a particular view of creativity, namely the creative cognition approach that emphasizes knowledge and how it is used. We then consider ways in which access to that knowledge can, on the negative side, limit and, on the positive side, guide the originality and believability of new stories that authors generate. Along the way, we also make suggestions about ways in which novice and experienced writers can produce texts that are more engaging as well as informative and compelling.
Creative cognition is an approach to understanding and fostering creativity that focuses on fundamental cognitive processes, such as retrieval, conceptual combination, and analogical mapping, and on the conceptual structures on which those processes operate to yield novel and appropriate ideas (Finke, Ward, & Smith, 1992; Ward, Smith, & Finke, 1999). Its goal is to provide a rich theoretical account of the factors that underlie the production of new thoughts; that is, the mental representations that are the raw materials of creativity in all its forms, ranging from the most mundane to the most exalted.
The creative cognition approach recognizes that conceptual structures are developed and that cognitive processes operate within a broader context of individual differences, developmental trends, and environmental influences, among other factors.