Fotini Egglezou – The Use of Common Topics in Teaching Creative Writing

Fotini Egglezou – The Use of Common Topics in Teaching Creative WritingAbstract: The trip to rhetorical topics (plural: topoi/τόποι in Greek) started during antiquity. Since the era of Aristotle, of Cicero, of Quintilian. It consists of a long and adventurous trip which lasts until today. Topics stand somewhere between the land of formal logic and of persuasion. They are well known as ‘argumentative matrices’ and are closely related to the production of premises and formal arguments. Ιs this the only truth about them? The modern return of rhetorical studies and the association of rhetoric with the notion of creativity in language use: a) reveal the faded -by the patina of time- relation of rhetorical topics to the invention of ideas and, consequently, to the imaginative operation, b) remind that during antiquity the poetic production was considered as a result of ‘mimesis’ which was influenced by the production of arguments and c) pinpoint the creative value of common topics such as definition, comparison, relationship, testimony etc. in teaching creative writing. In our era, the trip to rhetorical topics has not ended yet. In this paper, we are searching the rhetorical topics on the cusp between logic and imagination, at the point where the certainty of the familiar meets the uncertainty of the unknown. The aim of the paper is twofold: to examine the main aspects and functions of the system of topics and to give emphasis to the use of common topics as a modern, useful, adaptive and applicable tool in classroom for improving both essential components of students creativity such as fluency, flexibility and originality of ideas as well as their creative writing skills in various literary forms.

Keywords: common topics, creative writing, creativity, imagination, language arts

Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 23, July 2016,,, ISSN 1314-4464

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