Invention and Craft, Second Edition: Exercising Creativity in College Writing and Research (Paperback)
Few composition textbooks that explicitly invoke creativity theory exist, and those that do exist treat it in cursory fashion. What these textbooks recognize but do not pursue extensively enough is the fact that creativity theory is a natural, stimulating and elucidating complement to the knowledge base in composition studies. The connection is natural in that all writing is a creative act to the extent that it brings something into being or produces something. The connection is stimulating in that the drive to create, in whatever form, enlivens human experience. The connection is elucidating for ways that it extends understanding of composing processes and helps pinpoint features of written products that qualify them as "creative." Indeed, creativity (i.e., the transformation of knowledge and its effective, often unique, expression) is the pinnacle of achievement in all fields. Invention and Craft: Exercising Creativity in College Composition and Research 2E capitalizes on this complementary relationship between creativity theory and composition theory, melding knowledge about creative processes and products with best practices in college composition instruction. To that point, while invoking the discourse of process throughout, the textbook consistently emphasizes post-process considerations: the idea that writing is an inherently social act, the idea that no single process is applicable to every individual or every writing scenario and the idea that writing is recursive. Furthermore, all discussions of composing activities take place against a backdrop of established rhetorical principles (e.g., elements of the rhetorical situation, classical rhetorical appeals). In keeping with the focus on creativity, such discussions foreground the need for writers to assume an active role in managing rhetorical principles (through metacognition and reflection) so they can locate meaning and exigency for the text at hand. The general objectives referenced above enable pedagogical benefits such as making unfamiliar composing tasks familiar by connecting writing to other intellectual, artistic and recreational pursuits; facilitating backward- and forward-reaching knowledge transfer; validating experimentation with writing practices through explicit reference to creativity and composition scholarship; energizing students to become active problem-solvers; stressing insight as the hallmark of effective writing as facilitated by extended invention activity and interrogating misconceptions about writing through "straight-talk" backed by research on writers. Structurally speaking, Invention and Craft is characterized by several features intended to support and reinforce instruction. More specifically, it employs visuals to reinforce understanding of focal genres and key concepts; includes in-chapter excerpts from example essays annotated to pinpoint defining features of the focal genres, model essays at the ends of all genre chapters and questions to stimulate critical thinking about those models; closes each genre chapter with a preliminary activity geared toward composing in the focal genre and underscoring the need for substantial invention effort; ends each genre chapter with a genre-specific formal writing assignment that allows plenty of freedom in topic generation so as to cultivate individual interest and allow students to capitalize on already developed expertise; executes similar internal scaffolding across chapters as an aid to reinforcing key concepts and transferring knowledge across genres.
Ronda Leathers Dively--retired Southern Illinois University Rhetoric and Composition Professor and writing program administrator--is the author of Preludes to Insight: Creativity, Incubation and Expository Writing (Hampton Press, 2006), Invention and Craft: A Guide to College Writing (McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2016) and Creativity and the Paris Review Interviews: A Discourse Analysis of Famous Authors' Composing Practices (Anthem Press, 2022). Additionally, she has written numerous articles on expository writing pedagogy and writing program administration.