Ways of Reading in Creative WritinG
Creative writers use the following approaches to reading. Each entails a different orientation toward the text that a writer is studying.
Connective Reading - Reading to find one's place in the text. Reading to empathize, to hold space for what is being shared.
Asking: What in this text holds resonance for me? What happens in my mind and in my body as I read? How can I validate the honesty and vulnerability of the author behind this text?
Craft-Based Reading - Reading to construct how the text works.
Asking: What choice is the writer making here? What other choices could the writer have made? How do the effects of these possibilities compare? What is it about the way this text is written that makes readers feel and respond the way they do?
Evaluative Reading - Reading to exposed the contingencies of evaluation at play in the text's reception, identifying the judgments that might be made about how a text corresponds to a contingent set of values.
Asking: How effectively does this text locate itself in the literary landscape? How might this text be received by a readership, based on where it locates itself in relation to genre, tradition, convention, etc.?
Critical Reading - Reading to interrogate ideological closures (i.e., how the author mobilizes commonly held assumptions).
Joanna Russ argues that writers “do not make up their stories out of whole cloth; they are pretty much restricted to the attitudes, the beliefs, the expectations, and above all the plots that are ‘in the air’." To what extent does this text interrupt (or intervene in) the attitudes, beliefs, expectations, assumptions and myths that circulate among its audiences? What are the potential political, social, ecological, etc. consequences of this story?
"EVERY PAGE WAS ONCE A BLANK PAGE, JUST AS EVERY WORD THAT APPEARS ON IT NOW WAS NOT ALWAYS THERE, BUT INSTEAD REFLECTS THE FINAL RESULT OF COUNTLESS LARGE AND SMALL DELIBERATIONS."