How did Shakespeare learn creative writing

Having recently moved to a different town I found myself in the local library the other day exploring where everything is. I always look for sports, for books on writing, for fiction, local history; well, just about everything. While standing looking at the creative writing books, the thought hit me. How did I not think of it before.

Whether you are in the library or a bookstore or subscribe to magazines like Writers Digest, you have found hundreds of books, blogs, advice columns, writing groups, and all offering help on creative writing. Thousands of people eager to help, to point you in the right direction, give great writing tips. The list is endless.

So standing in the library looking at creative writing books the thought it me. How did Shakespeare learn creative writing?  Never in my college days studying English did I learn anything about self-help creative writing books of the fifteenth century or any subsequent centuries.

One could argue that Shakespeare read Aristotle’s “Poetics.” But there is no evidence he did. Of course there is a cult or two who claim old Will could not have written those plays; that they were written by Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or a roomful of monkeys with quill and parchment. Many of these cult members also believe the films of Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein are actually the work of Charlie Chaplin.

By the by, “Hamlet,” according to many scholars, was a rewrite of an earlier play by Thomas Kyd. It is an interesting theory, but that play, if it exists, has not been found, though it would not be surprising if Kyd did write an earlier version. And yes the character Hamlet is based on a real Danish prince.

Whoever wrote the play the same applies to Marlowe and Bacon. How did they learn to write without teaching aids?

Perhaps the early writers going back to ancient Greece were geniuses. Perhaps they knew how to tell stories. Perhaps writing is simply telling a story.

If you have lots of creative writing books, even a few, keep them. Read them, forget them, and just tell your story your way. It seemed to work for the ancients.

My ancient writings are found here:


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