Foundations for Creativity in the Writing Process

Rhetorical Representations of Ill-Defined Problems
  • Linda J. Carey
  • Linda Flower
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


A creative act is usually defined as one that has a valuable or interesting product and that is in some way original or surprising (Hayes, 1981). However, whether we characterize a particular act as “creative” clearly depends on the context or circumstances in which it takes place. For example, we evaluate the creativity of a child’s drawing using different criteria from those we would apply to a painting by Monet; a creative act may be enriching to one individual or it may have earth-shaking consequences. Although creativity in writing is popularly associated with literary genres, other genres, such as expository writing, also offer opportunities for creative products. For example, a research report, a proposal, or a magazine article could be judged creative if it presents information in a new and valuable way to meet the needs and constraints of its audience and purpose—that is, if the text presents an innovative solution to a significant rhetorical problem.


Writing Process Writing Task Task Representation Text Level Student Writer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda J. Carey
    • 1
  • Linda Flower
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of WritingCarnegie-Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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