A properly sceptical article by Anthony Gardner on the creative writing industry, in the latest Royal Society of Literature mag, quotes one teacher explaining that ‘creative writing schools in the US teach that a poem needs to have what they call “redemption”: something at the end which lifts the reader up.’
And you will know of course that all stories (including novels) need a beginning, a middle and an end. Also that short stories need to have a surprise final sentence, that all fiction must be written about what you know and rooted in your own experience and that paragraphs must never begin with ‘and’ or ‘but’.
But did you know about the redemption needed at the end of a poem? Obviously, scriptwriters must conform to this rule, and any book that has a downbeat ending is generally thought to be ‘depressing’ and therefore not good, but that redemptive kick in a poem is a new necessity to me, although, to the real benefit of the world, I don’t write poetry.
And this is the way my blog piece ends, not with a bang but a moment of uplift to suggest that all is wonderful fine in the best of all possible creative writing schools. Let the networking begin, let the creative take notes and let no one forget that what the reader needs from writers most of all is elevation from their lowdown existence.
One small question: what exactly have readers done to deserve this? Well, they’ve bought your book, read your poem, gone to your movie. And because you have left them feeling really warmed, endorphins tingling, they are ready to purchase more of the same. More of the same. More of the same.
And life is beautiful.