Title: Constrained Writing, Creative Writing. The Case of Handbooks for writing Romances
Authors: De Geest, Dirk *
Goris, An * # ×
Issue Date: Jan-2010
Publisher: Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics
Series Title: Poetics Today vol:31 issue:1 pages:81-106
Abstract: This article broadens the concept of 'constraint writing' by applying it to a less prestigious segment of literature, namely the writing of popular romance novels. In order to find out how constraints play a role in writing and publishing such commercial texts, a corpus of handbooks for writing romances is carefully analysed. Such handbooks meticulously guide aspirant-writers through the entire process of writing romances, from the first ideas to the final act of having their texts published. This product- and process-orientated approach is ultimately based on a number of discursive strategies which enable the aspiring
writer to conceive of romance writing as an accessible and feasible yet highly constrained activity. In this article three such dominant strategies are carefully discussed; attention is successively paid to the handbooks’ continuous appeal to the romance reading experience,
their conceptualisation of writing as a craft and a profession and their scarce but functional use of explicitly normative language. Finally the role of the genre’s highly influential institutional context in the handbooks’ formulation of generic norms and constraints is considered as well. This article ultimately demonstrates the broad applicability of the notion of constraint writing to many forms of literature
ISSN: 0333-5372
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Literature, Discourse and Identity, Leuven (-)
Literary Theory and Cultural Studies, Leuven
* (joint) first author
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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