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Abstract

In response to calls for systematic exploration of the creative writing field, this study employed a quantitative design to address two research questions: Do second language (L2) writers who enjoy creative writing in English feel different levels of narrative-writing engagement between autobiographical and critical consciousness-raising creative writing? and Does autobiographical creative writing evoke a different emotional tone from critical consciousness-raising creative writing? Statistical and computational-linguistic analysis of short story and survey data of 30 multilingual creative writers at one U.S. public university answered each question. The data presented show narrative-writing engagement for autobiographical creative writing (M = 5.35, SD = 1.09) was significantly higher than narrative-writing engagement for critical consciousness-raising creative writing (M = 4.59, SD = 1.16), t(29) = 3.18, p = .003. Additionally, writers reported significantly more attentional focus (p = .015) and narrative presence (or the feeling of being there in the world they were creating) (p = .047) while writing in response to an autobiographical creative writing prompt. Writers who reported enjoying creative writing in English the most also reported significantly more emotional engagement (p = .033) and narrative presence (p = .01) while writing autobiographical creative writing than did writers who reported enjoying creative writing at moderate levels. Although writers overall did not report different levels of emotional engagement between autobiographical and critical consciousness-raising creative writing, text analysis evidenced that the autobiographical prompt elicited a significantly more positive emotional tone (p < .001). These findings have application for creative writing teachers and for teachers across the curriculum by describing the experiences that different creative-writing prompts may evoke and by supporting informed creative writing praxis.

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