The Art of Creative Writing: Eternal Lessons from the Past | Tzvetelina Ignatova | Skillshare

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The Art of Creative Writing: Eternal Lessons from the Past

teacher avatar Tzvetelina Ignatova, Content & Creative Writer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Evolution of Creativity


    • 3.

      The Architecture of Perception


    • 4.

      The Art of Style


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Poetry and Science


    • 7.



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About This Class


If you are curious how an ancient poem and creative writing helped Einstein in one of history’s greatest scientific discoveries, you are in it for a treat!


This is a time-travel experience of the bewitching adventure the creative process entails. It sets out to explore different notions of creativity аnd practices used by some of history’s best-known names. From ancient poets and philosophers to painters and modern-day professors, we will dissect perspectives and put them into practice.


The class rests upon the eternity of past knowledge but in its core is change. It is suitable for both beginner and well-seasoned authors who want to sharpen their understandings.


“The Art of Travel”, Allain de Botton

“Reality is not What it Seems”, Carlo Rovelli

“De Rerum Natura”, Lucretius

“The Swerve: How the World Became Modern”, Prof. Stephen Greenblatt

“The Elements of Style”, W. Strunk, E. B. White

Meet Your Teacher

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Tzvetelina Ignatova

Content & Creative Writer


I am a curator of language, fighting for the clarity of communication, and against the tyranny of linguistic mediocrity.


Hi! My name is Tzvetelina Ignatova (or just Lina), and the two core drivers of my existence are the soul-nurturing thrill of exploration & the comfort of well-spilled ink.


With curiosity being the backbone of my character, and questioning — the doorkeeper of my mind, I wander, wonder, and write about various matters.


Because the world excites me, I'm a fascinating blend of a wide variety of interests and disciplines. My education is a marvelous bag of joy — communications, creative writing, and philosophy — that has given me a unique perspective on the importance of the narrat... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Action. Hello, and welcome to the act of creative writing. There are no lessons from the past. My name is Ubete and in my mother tongue Bulgarian, it means a flower. I say that just like a flower, I blossom. It is in the soul of adventure and the comfort of wells built the ink that I blossom again. I created this class because I find so much beauty in the way things in life are connected. If you too are curious how an ancient form and creative writing helped Einstein with one of history's greatest scientific discoveries, you are in for a treat. Traveling time with me as we pull into the creative process with the historical awareness, we are going to investigate different notions of creativity. Learn from philosophers and painters such as, Nietzsche and Vanguard. We are going to become architects for isn't the right to just that. Shaping characters and creating worlds out of the building blocks of words. I invite you to explore the bewitching adventure of creative writing from a different perspective. The class is suitable for both beginners and well-seasoned authors. I hope I sparked your curiosity so we can ignite the creative process together. Thank you for joining. 2. The Evolution of Creativity: Hello, and welcome to our first class. Before we put creativity into practice, let's first take a look at how it evolves to history and within language. You know how they say, a spike of creativity. If you think about it, this has a lot to do with our pre-ancestors. I mean, ever since homo sapiens found the fire, things changed dramatically for our species. First there was fire, then there were tools, and then the first traces of creative writing in the form of cave drawings. I'm pretty sure our pre-ancestors did not put a lot of thoughts in the creative process. I guess, they were too busy chasing their prey or avoiding becoming one themselves. Anyway, they ignited the process. If we fast forward to ancient Greece, we're going to find ourselves in times when creativity and artistic expression were of utmost importance. Now, ancient Greeks had a little secret, and their secret was called demons. Now, I know what you think. Were demons, that those bad creatures and what did they have to do with creativity? But back in the days, the ancient Greeks believed that demons were something like your imaginary friend who helped you with the creative process. Plato would mock how Socrates is again, hanging around the streets of Athens with his demons. In Ancient Rome, things were not much different. Instead of demons though, the Romans believed that within the walls of an artist's studio, lived another form of magical entity, and it was called a genius. No, that was not Einstein traveling back in time. You can notice here that both understandings share the responsibility over the creative process. Who can blame them? If people didn't like your work? You could always blame it on your demons. Now, things do change during the Renaissance. At this point, the self had become the center of the world, and so Da Vinci did not have a genius within his walls, instead he was the genius himself. Nowadays, creativity is as abstract as it can get. For some people, it's magic, for others, it's a process. What we can learn from the evolution of creativity is that in its core is change. Times change for change is the only constant in life. As the universe expands, so does our understanding of the world. I invite you before putting into practice your creativity, frame it for yourself. What is it? Does it come through you or from you? Do you have a genius within your walls or are you the genius. Can you train creativity? Many people believed that by creating certain rituals, they can plumb into the process more easily. I invite you to share your opinion in the comments below. Until then, constantly, consistently, and continuously create. Thank you for joining. 3. The Architecture of Perception: Hello. Welcome to the Architecture of Perception. In today's class, we are going to play both painters and architects. For isn't a writer just that, building characters and painting worlds. For the purpose of today's class, we're going to use emblematic example that of Diego Velazquez's painting Las Meninas. The painting is created, so much fast that artists like Salvador Dali and Picasso were inspired by it. Picasso in fact create 58 paintings as a comprehensive analysis to Las Meninas. Now, who is Diego Velazquez? He was a Spanish painter and the leading artists of the Spanish Royal Court, during the reign of King Philip The IV. Heavy painted numerous portraits throughout his lifespan. Velazquez, his career comes to its peak, just four years shy to his death, with great Las Meninas. When I say great, I mean, not only by size, but also because of its elaborate architecture. Now, let's have a look at the painting. There are so many layers that one could write a multi-page essay on the conversation of glasses, the trajectory of the looks, and the way we see it. Trust me, when I tell you, many have done so for your final assignment, you may follow their example, and choose to either write an essay inspired by the painting, or write the short story, a narrative from the point of view of one of the characters, from the canvas, as writers, one of the main components we need before we sit and write the story is the point of view of the narrator. How is he going to present the event? How much does he know, and how much does he unveiled to the reader? Now this is an architectural design. Just think one of the painting, whether it's from first person, from second person, or one of the many forms of third person. The way your narrator tells the story could be just that x factor you need to capture the attention of the reader. Now, what makes this painting so alluring to everybody, let's unveiled the mystery behind it. We can see Velazquez himself as a painter, and the canvas in front of him, could it be the painting itself? Is it a portrait of the Infanta? Or is it a portrait of those sending where we are? At the center of the painting is a infanta Margarita Teresa, with her attentive ladies, a dwarf and a doc. But it's show the main subject of the painting? If you look at the mirror in the back, you can see King Philip and his wife in the reflection. Is the reflection showing image from the canvas of the artist? Or are the royals standing where we are as spectators? This painting is so complex, it reminds me of a Dan Brown Novel. If we travel all the way back to ancient Greece, of course, and visit Plato's cave, we're going to find ourselves in the cradle of the importance that the point of view plays. Now, as writers, I invite you to play with the point of view. Mix, twist, mirror, express one sense through another, play with it, and just maybe add a dash of mystery until next time. Constantly, consistently, and continuously create. Thank you for joining. 4. The Art of Style: Hello and welcome to the Art of Style. In the previous class, we emphasized on the importance of the point of view. In this class, we're going to see how perception forms, style and learn a thing or two from the chair and Bangkok. Most forms of creative writing, are less clearly defined yet despite their flexibility, they too have a skeleton to which the author breaks the blood and the flesh, hooking confidently say, "What makes a certain combination of words so alluring to the reader who can say why certain nodes in music can be comforting and make a pleasant experience for you. While the very, very same nodes, but slightly rearranged, can be completely important?" I suggest we seek the answer to that in the province. Oscar Wilde once said, "There had been no fog in London before Whistler painted it. Surely to, there had been fewer cypresses in Province before Van Gogh." Vincent van Gogh, arrived in Arles in 1888 to paint the province and help other people see it. He felt the south of France initially, and mostly through works such as Madame Bovary. Just as literature helped Van Gogh understand the character of the south. He believed that every great painters mission was to enable people to see particular aspects of the World more clearly. Before Van Gogh, the South of France, was surely painted by many others, mostly realistic painters of whom Nietzsche would say, "Completely true to nature. What a lie, how could nature ever be constrained into a picture? The smallest bit of nature is infinite and so he paints what he likes about it. What does he like? He likes what he can paint." Nietzsche knew that painters do not reproduce, but select and highlight as their version of reality reads out valuable features of it. This is precisely what we call style Vincent van Gogh, showed creativity in the way he painted the cypresses of the South by focusing on likeness rather than scale. His style lives in time and is well recognized even by those who are not so familiar with fine art. We may or may not conclude that what separates good art from bad one is no more than the difference between the way it resonates with us and the way the author selected and highlighted certain aspects of it. Just like Bangkok and the South, as writers, we spill ink over topics that are internal. Someone before you has written about love, yet that shouldn't and wouldn't stop you from writing with it. Some of the greatest writers, like Data and Shakespeare, arouse the reader's attention and hold it because they deal in particulars and report the details that matter, that they will surely hides in the details. Next time when you sit and write, be cautious about which aspects you would like to emphasize on. Be a Van Gogh, and create your own true to nature, your own true to yourself style, until then constantly, consistently, and continuously create. Thank you for joining. 5. Word-Paint: Hello and welcome. In this class, we're going to talk about word painting. It is a technique invented by John Ruskin. He was a 19th century English social reformer and art critic who seemed to care mostly about beauty. Every year, John Ruskin would go on a long trip in Europe with his family. It was during one of those trips that he felt irrevocably in love with the beauty of Venice. We can't really blame him for that, can we? For John Ruskin existed only two ways in which one could draw, analyze, and remember a beautiful scene. Either by drawing it [inaudible] , of course, or by writing about it in a very precise way. Now, this gave birth to the technique called word painting. Word paint allows us to capture that psychological impact a beautiful place or object has on us. Hopefully, help us notice the aesthetic reasons behind that impact. Opposed to the dry and shallow descriptions of everyday life, word painting tells of the encounter we have with a beautiful place or object. It digs into the psychology of it. Now, let's see an example of a word paint by Ruskin himself. Now, let's see how John Ruskin describes rain clouds with the word paint technique. Hold on there with me. It's quite long. I remember once, when in crossing the Tere Noire, I had turned up the valley towards Trient, I noticed the rain cloud form on the top of the glacier de Trient. With a west wind, it proceeded towards the Col de Balme, being followed by prolonged wrath of vapor, always forming exactly at the same spot over the glacier. This long serpents-like line of clouds went on at a great rate till it reached the valley leading down from the Col de Balme, under the slate strokes of the Croix de Fer. There, it turned sharp round, and came down this valley, at right angles to its former progress. Finally, directly contrary to it, the width came down within 500 feet of the village where it disappeared. The line behind always advancing and always disappearing at the same spot. Discontinued for half an hour. The long-run describing the curve of a horseshoe, always coming into existence and always vanishing at exactly the same space. Traversing the space between with enormous sweetness. This cloud, ten miles off would have looked like a perfectly motionless wreath, in the form of a horseshoe hanging over the hills. Now, notice the way Ruskin changes vantage point in order to give us some more cinematic experience. Next time, when you create a description of something, try to play with the vantage point and give the reader the notion as if you were a camera I, zoom in and out of the scene. Try to use the word banked approach. Dig deeper and ask yourself certain questions. What makes it pretty? What associations does it bring? What might be a better word, a different word? What feelings does it bring? What if we change perspective? You may choose to employ this technique for your final assignment. Until then, you know how it goes constantly, consistently, and continuously create. Thank you for joining. 6. Poetry and Science: Hello and welcome. In this class, we're going to experience the bewitching adventure of creative writing, and how concepts that are normally considered incompatible, intertwine. Poetry and science have grown to be two subjects most dear to me. I know it may sound weird to you, but they have more in common than you think. Both try to explain that which is in many ways, inexplicable. Now, I'm going to tell you a little story to prove you that. In 1417, an Italian book hunter called Poggio, stumbled upon an ancient poem that survived floods, fire, and the teeth of time. He found it in a German monastery. In times when book hunting was a thing, Poggio hit the lottery there with this. The ancient poem, which was a thousand years old, was written by Roman philosopher and poet, called Lucretius. On The Nature of Things, is a six book poem, consisting of 7,500 lines. Even though the poem was way ahead of its time, still a thousand years later, Poggio found something very beautiful in it, even though he couldn't really grasp the whole idea behind the poem. Surprisingly, the poem does not speak of love, history or myth, it speaks of atomic science, and would later inspire many names, among which, Einstein. Now, what does Einstein have to do with an ancient poem? The thing is that, after reading On The Nature of Things, he was inspired by it. We can say that Einstein rewrote this ancient poem in a creative way using the language of physics and mathematics. Now, this is what I call creativity and intertwined concepts. Professor Stephen Greenblatt wrote the book named Swerve, how the world became modern, that won him a Pulitzer Prize. In the book, he explains how Poggio found the poem and how it fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli, and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno, shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein, and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare, and even Thomas Jefferson. The point of this class is to find the beauty behind how things are connected. If you set out to explore those connections and write a book about it, you might just put your hands on the Pulitzer Prize there. But even if you don't, intertwining concepts in your writing can spice it up. This class celebrates the power of creative writing. It praises its impact, but mostly, it celebrates the unity of the world. You could choose, for your final assignments, the challenge, to pick a scientific paper and rewrite it in a creative way, or you could just write the new poem which would change the trajectory of humanity. In any case, constantly, consistently, and continuously, create. Thank you for joining. 7. Conclusion: Hello. Our classes counter length. I hope this little time travel adventure fed your curiosity. I also hope it prompted you to create and investigate. The world is a beautiful place full of inspiration. Sometimes we need to dust off ancient reasoning to find it. Other times, it is there in front of us in the form of a cloud. Throughout this class, we followed the evolution of the creative process, only to find that in its core is change. We also noticed how language and meaning change with our understanding of the world. We've figured out how important style is and how small details can make the bigger differences. An author needs to be conscious about which aspects he chooses to highlight and emphasize on. Style, of course, goes beyond that and forms naturally done. We put ourselves in the shoes of architects and builders and felt the importance and power of the point of view. We learned how to describe things and places beyond the shallowness of simple adjectives, and dig into the psychological effect they have. Finally, we felt the power and the trinity of literature and how it lives through the ages to inspire in unexpected ways. We saw the magic of how things are intertwined. As a final assignment, you have the option to choose from the following. Write an essay on Las Meninas tell a story from Las Meninas, word-paint, or rewrite the text using completely different language. You can upload your text between 700-1000 words to the project gallery for feedback. You may also use the workspace by drafting and editing over the time of the course. I hope you found this class useful and inspiring. I myself I'm looking forward to reading your works. Until then, you know how it goes. Constantly, consistently, and continuously create. Thank you for joining.