Structured imagination and the writing of creative stories

Lisa Marie Pavlik, Fordham University


Studies on structured imagination support the idea that different knowledge structures produce differences in creative thought. This study examined the relationship between structured imagination and creativity in story writing. The purpose of the study was to explore writers, development and use of their early ideas on story creativity. These early ideas contained varying degrees of originality defined in terms of being unusual and interesting. Both psychological meaning and originality were varied in order to influence the quality of the final product. Participants produced phrases or paragraphs (image descriptions) that were meaningful/original, meaningful/nonoriginal, or nonmeaningful/nonoriginal. Then they wrote stories incorporating these phrases and paragraphs. Results showed that subjects in groups 1 and 2 wrote psychologically meaningful stories significantly more than subjects in group 3, and that subjects in group 2 wrote original stories significantly more than subjects in group 3. Also, these differences were moderately related to the qualities of meaning and originality of early ideas. In addition, the perceived emotional importance of story phrases was not related to psychological meaning separately. However, emotional importance was highly related to story creativity in terms of both meaningful portrayals of human dynamics and interesting or original scenes (psychological meaning plus originality). This suggests that the reader's perception of both meaningful portrayals and interesting situations and characters may be necessary to produce emotionally important ideas.

Subject Area

Cognitive therapy|Educational psychology|Fine Arts|Rhetoric|Composition

Recommended Citation

Pavlik, Lisa Marie, "Structured imagination and the writing of creative stories" (2000). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9975360.