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Book: Investigative Creative Writing

Chapter: 15. Four Investigative Exercises for Individual Discovery

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.34904


This chapter discusses four homework exercises for creative writing students that can also be used in other disciplines. A reimagined version of William S. Burrough’s cut-up method is presented, and Camoin and Vanderslice’s vision of “something else” is revisited. Innovations on a dictionary-centered assignment developed by poets Kim Addonizio and Dr. Leigh Graham are provided as well. Investigative character development is explored, and so is investigative spontaneous prose in connection to theories of Jack Kerouac, Charles Olson, and the South Park episode that mirrors the Oprah Winfrey/James Frey scandal from 2006 which is based on a nonfiction ethics question. Glimpses of Plato, the biographer Enid Starkie, and the classic rock band REO Speedwagon help comprehend immersive self-discovery processes. Three images are included in this chapter as examples of student work.

Chapter Contributors

  • Mark Spitzer ( - markspitzer) 'University of Central Arkansas'