Detecting the Creative in Written Discourse


  • Sky Marsen Victoria University of Wellington



creativity, stylistics, metaphor, ambiguity, narrative, fiction


This article explores the notion of creativity as it relates to writing. It supports the tenet that all written texts, regardless of genre, contain creative elements to varying degrees, one reason being the representational aspect of language and, in particular, written language. It proposes that it would be more productive to examine written creativity on a continuum rather than through an exclusive dichotomy between creative and non-creative, and describes the elements that would be involved in such a continuum. The article explains some pertinent approaches to creativity, both linguistic and non-linguistic, and leads to a discussion of creative techniques on semantic, syntactic, and textual levels, drawing examples from a database of different texts.

Author Biography

Sky Marsen, Victoria University of Wellington

Sky Marsen (Ph.D., Monash University) is a semiotician and narrative theorist. Her interests include writing studies, stylistic text analysis of fiction and film, and professional communication. She is author of the books Narrative Dimensions of Philosophy (Palgrave, 2006)Communication Studies (Palgrave, 2006), and Professional Writing (Palgrave, third edition to appear 2013), as well as of several articles on written discourse analysis and semiotics. She has taught at universities internationally, including at California Institute of Technology, The University of Western Australia, and City University of Hong Kong. She is currently Senior Lecturer in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.



How to Cite

Marsen, S. (2012). Detecting the Creative in Written Discourse. Writing and Pedagogy, 4(2), 209–231.



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