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Writing Matters: Creative Writing Activities

Activity 1 - Information

Without readers, archival documents such as literary manuscripts remain unread and forgotten. Readers bring these documents to life by connecting them to their personal interests. The creative process is an organic development that requires imaginative connections with "neural and electrical messages rippling the whole into dynamic patterns." (R.W. Gerard, "The Biological Basis of Imagination," in The Creative Process: A Symposium, 1965, p. 246)

Students will be guided in this site search by activities centred on three basic principles of creativity: information, inspiration and invention.


"Much brain work precedes the imaginative flash -- the theory of gravitation may result only when the metaphorical apple falls on the prepared mind."

- R.W. Gerard, in The Creative Process: A Symposium, 1965, p. 246

Preparation, as you will see by exploring the Canadian Writers website, is vital to any form of creation. Thomas Edison, the prolific American inventor, insisted that a high percentage of perspiration is a precondition of inspiration. But playful exploration is just as important in the creative process. So in response to the questions and probes of this search, let your students' curiosity lead them as they explore the resources of Library and Archives Canada. Have them record their responses in a writing journal, blog or log.


  1. Ask students to review the list of writers and select one for further study. Have them read more about their chosen writer on the Canadian Writers website. Then ask them to answer the following questions:
    1. Has the author used different genres in his or her writing? Which genre does he or she seem to focus on, and why?
    2. Was the writer influenced by other writers and thinkers? What other influences are mentioned? How was this evident in the author's creative writing?
    3. What type of writer was he or she? (example: novelist, playwright, essayist , political writer, biographer, poet, etc.) What was his or her greatest achievement or claim to fame?
    4. Identify the main themes or issues explored by this author. What problems were examined or exposed?
    5. Did this writer tackle controversial subjects? Was he or she subject to censorship or book banning?
    6. Record at least two interesting facts that you learned about the writer. Why did these facts spark your interest?

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