Creative Writing 101: Everything You Need to Get Started

Lindsay Kramer

Creative writing: You can take classes in it, you can earn a degree in it, but the only things you really need to do it are your creative thinking and writing tools. Creative writing is the act of putting your imagination on a page. It’s artistic expression in words; it’s writing without the constraints that come with other kinds of writing like persuasive or expository. 

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What is creative writing?

Creative writing is writing meant to evoke emotion in a reader by communicating a theme. In storytelling (including literature, movies, graphic novels, creative nonfiction, and many video games), the theme is the central meaning the work communicates. 

Take the movie (and the novel upon which it’s based) Jaws , for instance. The story is about a shark that terrorizes a beach community and the men tasked with killing the shark. But the film’s themes include humanity’s desire to control nature, tradition vs. innovation, and how potential profit can drive people in power to make dangerous, even fatal, decisions. 

A theme isn’t the only factor that defines creative writing. Here are other components usually found in creative writing:

  • Connecting, or at least attempting to connect, with the reader’s emotions
  • Writing from a specific point of view
  • A narrative structure can be complex or simple and serves to shape how the reader interacts with the content.
  • Using imaginative and/or descriptive language

Creative writing typically uses literary devices like metaphors and foreshadowing to build a narrative and express the theme, but this isn’t a requirement. Neither is dialogue, though you’ll find it used in most works of fiction. Creative writing doesn’t have to be fictional, either. Dramatized presentations of true stories, memoirs, and observational humor pieces are all types of creative writing. 

What isn’t creative writing?

In contrast, research papers aren’t creative writing. Neither are analytical essays, persuasive essays , or other kinds of academic writing . Similarly, personal and professional communications aren’t considered creative writing—so your emails, social media posts, and official company statements are all firmly in the realm of non-creative writing. These kinds of writing convey messages, but they don’t express themes. Their goals are to inform and educate, and in some cases collect information from, readers. But even though they can evoke emotion in readers, that isn’t their primary goal. 

But what about things like blog posts? Or personal essays? These are broad categories, and specific pieces in these categories can be considered creative writing if they meet the criteria listed above. This blog post, for example, is not a piece of creative writing as it aims to inform, but a blog post that walks its reader through a first-person narrative of an event could be deemed creative writing. 

Types of creative writing

Creative writing comes in many forms. These are the most common:

Novels originated in the eighteenth century . Today, when people think of books, most think of novels. 

A novel is a fictional story that’s generally told in 60,000 to 100,000 words, though they can be as short as 40,000 words or go beyond 100,000. 

Stories that are too short to be novels, but can’t accurately be called short stories, are often referred to as novellas. Generally, a story between 10,000 and 40,000 words is considered a novella. You might also run into the term “ novelette ,” which is used to refer to stories that clock in between 7,500 and 19,000 words. 

Short stories

Short stories are fictional stories that fall generally between 5,000 and 10,000 words. Like novels, they tell complete stories and have at least one character, some sort of conflict, and at least one theme. 

When a story is less than 1,000 words, it’s categorized as a work of flash fiction.

Poetry can be hard to define because as a genre, it’s so open-ended. A poem doesn’t have to be any specific length. It doesn’t have to rhyme. There are many different kinds of poems from cultures all over the world, like sonnets, haikus, sestinas, blank verse, limericks, and free verse. 

The rules of poetry are generally flexible . . . unless you’re writing a specific type of poem, like a haiku , that has specific rules around the number of lines or structure. But while a poem isn’t required to conform to a specific length or formatting, or use perfect grammar , it does need to evoke its reader’s emotions, come from a specific point of view, and express a theme. 

And when you set a poem to music, you’ve got a song. 

Plays, TV scripts, and screenplays

Plays are meant to be performed on stage. Screenplays are meant to be made into films, and TV scripts are meant to be made into television programs. Scripts for videos produced for other platforms fit into this category as well. 

Plays, TV scripts, and screenplays have a lot in common with novels and short stories. They tell stories that evoke emotion and express themes. The difference is that they’re meant to be performed rather than read and as such, they tend to rely much more on dialogue because they don’t have the luxury of lengthy descriptive passages. But scriptwriters have more than just dialogue to work with; writing a play or script also involves writing stage or scene directions.

Each type of script has its own specific formatting requirements. 

Creative nonfiction

Creative nonfiction covers all the kinds of creative writing that aren’t fiction. Here are some examples:

  • Personal essays: A personal essay is a true story told through a narrative framework. Often, recollections of events are interspersed with insights about those events and your personal interpretations and feelings about them in this kind of essay. 
  • Literary journalism: Think of literary journalism as journalism enhanced by creative writing techniques. These are the kinds of stories often published in outlets like The New Yorker and Salon. Literary journalism pieces report on factual events but do so in a way that makes them feel like personal essays and short stories. 
  • Memoirs: Memoirs are to personal essays what novels are to short stories. In other words, a memoir is a book-length collection of personal memories, often centering around a specific story, that often works opinions, epiphanies, and emotional insights into the narrative. 
  • Autobiographies: An autobiography is a book you write about yourself and your life. Often, autobiographies highlight key events and may focus on one particular aspect of the author’s life, like her role as a tech innovator or his career as a professional athlete. Autobiographies are often similar in style to memoirs, but instead of being a collection of memories anchored to specific events, they tend to tell the author’s entire life story in a linear narrative. 
  • Humor writing: Humor writing comes in many forms, like standup comedy routines, political cartoons, and humorous essays. 
  • Lyric essays: In a lyric essay, the writer breaks conventional grammar and stylistic rules when writing about a concept, event, place, or feeling. In this way, lyric essays are like essay-length poems. The reason they’re considered essays, and not long poems, is that they generally provide more direct analysis of the subject matter than a poem would. 

Tips for writing creatively

Give yourself time and space for creative writing.

It’s hard to write a poem during your lunch break or work on your memoir between calls. Don’t make writing more difficult for yourself by trying to squeeze it into your day. Instead, block off time to focus solely on creative writing, ideally in a distraction-free environment like your bedroom or a coffee shop. 

>>Read More: How to Create Your Very Own Writing Retreat

Get to know yourself as a writer

The more you write, the more in tune you’ll become with your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. You’ll identify the kinds of characters, scenes, language, and pieces you like writing best and determine where you struggle the most. Understanding what kind of writer you are can help you decide which kinds of projects to pursue. 

Challenge yourself 

Once you know which kinds of writing you struggle with, do those kinds of writing. If you only focus on what you’re good at, you’ll never grow as a writer. Challenge yourself to write in a different genre or try a completely new type of writing. For example, if you’re a short story writer, give poetry or personal essays a try. 

Need help getting started? Give one (or all!) of these 20 fun writing prompts a try .

Learn from other writers

There are lots of resources out there about creative writing. Read and watch them. If there’s a particular writer whose work you enjoy, seek out interviews with them and personal essays they’ve written about their creative processes. 

>>Read More: How to Be a Master Storyteller—Tips from 5 Experts 

Don’t limit yourself to big-name writers, either. Get involved in online forums, social media groups, and if possible, in-person groups for creative writers. By doing this, you’re positioning yourself to learn from writers from all different walks of life . . . and help other writers, too. 

I wrote something. Where do I go from here?

Give yourself a pat on the back: You did it! You finished a piece of creative writing—something many attempt, but not quite as many achieve. 

What comes next is up to you. You can share it with your friends and family, but you don’t have to. You can post it online or bring it to an in-person writing group for constructive critique. You can even submit it to a literary journal or an agent to potentially have it published, but if you decide to take this route, we recommend working with an editor first to make it as polished as possible. 

Some writers are initially hesitant to share their work with others because they’re afraid their work will be stolen. Although this is a possibility, keep in mind that you automatically hold the copyright for any piece you write. If you’d like, you can apply for copyright protection to give yourself additional legal protection against plagiarizers, but this is by no means a requirement. 

Write with originality

Grammarly can’t help you be more creative, but we can help you hone your writing so your creativity shines as brightly as possible. Once you’ve written your piece, Grammarly can catch any mistakes you made and suggest strong word choices that accurately express your message. 

features of a creative writing

Creative Primer

What is Creative Writing? A Key Piece of the Writer’s Toolbox

Brooks Manley

As we delve into the world of writing, it becomes apparent that not all writing is the same. One form that stands out due to its unique approach and focus on imagination is creative writing. This section will explore the question, “ what is creative writing ” and highlight its key characteristics.

Definition of Creative Writing

Creative writing is a form of writing that extends beyond the bounds of regular professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature. It is characterized by its emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or poetic techniques to express ideas in an original and imaginative way.

Creative writing can take on various forms such as poetry, novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, and more. It’s a way for writers to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a creative, often symbolic, way. It’s about using the power of words to transport readers into a world created by the writer.

Key Characteristics of Creative Writing

Creative writing is marked by several defining characteristics, each working to create a distinct form of expression:

1. Imagination and Creativity: Creative writing is all about harnessing one’s creativity and imagination to create an engaging and compelling piece of work. It allows writers to explore different scenarios, characters, and worlds that may not exist in reality.

2. Emotional Engagement: Creative writing often evokes strong emotions in the reader. It aims to make the reader feel something — whether it’s happiness, sorrow, excitement, or fear.

3. Originality: Creative writing values originality. It’s about presenting familiar things in new ways or exploring ideas that are less conventional.

4. Use of Literary Devices: Creative writing frequently employs literary devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, and others to enrich the text and convey meanings in a more subtle, layered manner.

5. Focus on Aesthetics: The beauty of language and the way words flow together is important in creative writing. The aim is to create a piece that’s not just interesting to read, but also beautiful to hear when read aloud.

Remember, creative writing is not just about producing a work of art. It’s also a means of self-expression and a way to share one’s perspective with the world. Whether you’re considering it as a hobby or contemplating a career in it, understanding the nature and characteristics of creative writing can help you hone your skills and create more engaging pieces. For more insights into creative writing, check out our articles on creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree and is a degree in creative writing worth it .

Styles of Creative Writing

To fully understand creative writing , one must be aware of the various styles involved. Creative writing explores a multitude of genres, each with its own unique characteristics and techniques. The styles we’ll explore in this section are poetry , short stories , novels , screenplays , and plays .

Poetry is a form of creative writing that uses expressive language to evoke emotions and ideas. Poets often employ rhythm, rhyme, and other poetic devices to create pieces that are deeply personal and impactful. Poems can vary greatly in length, style, and subject matter, making this a versatile and dynamic form of creative writing.

Short Stories

Short stories are another common style of creative writing. These are brief narratives that typically revolve around a single event or idea. Despite their length, short stories can provide a powerful punch, using precise language and tight narrative structures to convey a complete story in a limited space.

Novels represent a longer form of narrative creative writing. They usually involve complex plots, multiple characters, and various themes. Writing a novel requires a significant investment of time and effort; however, the result can be a rich and immersive reading experience.

Screenplays

Screenplays are written works intended for the screen, be it television, film, or online platforms. They require a specific format, incorporating dialogue and visual descriptions to guide the production process. Screenwriters must also consider the practical aspects of filmmaking, making this an intricate and specialized form of creative writing. For those interested in this style, understanding creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree can provide useful insights.

Writing for the theater is another specialized form of creative writing. Plays, like screenplays, combine dialogue and action, but they also require an understanding of the unique dynamics of the theatrical stage. Playwrights must think about the live audience and the physical space of the theater when crafting their works.

Each of these styles offers unique opportunities for creativity and expression. Whether you’re drawn to the concise power of poetry, the detailed storytelling of novels, or the visual language of screenplays and plays, there’s a form of creative writing that will suit your artistic voice. The key is to explore, experiment, and find the style that resonates with you. For those looking to spark their creativity, our article on creative writing prompts offers a wealth of ideas to get you started.

Importance of Creative Writing

Understanding what is creative writing involves recognizing its value and significance. Engaging in creative writing can provide numerous benefits, including developing creativity and imagination , enhancing communication skills , and exploring emotions and ideas .

Developing Creativity and Imagination

Creative writing serves as a fertile ground for nurturing creativity and imagination. It encourages individuals to think outside the box, explore different perspectives, and create unique and original content. This can lead to improved problem-solving skills and a broader worldview, both of which can be beneficial in various aspects of life.

Through creative writing, one can build entire worlds, create characters, and weave complex narratives, all of which are products of a creative mind and vivid imagination. This can be especially beneficial for those seeking creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree .

Enhancing Communication Skills

Creative writing can also play a crucial role in honing communication skills. It demands clarity, precision, and a strong command of language. This helps to improve vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, making it easier to express thoughts and ideas effectively.

Moreover, creative writing encourages empathy as writers often need to portray a variety of characters from different backgrounds and perspectives. This can lead to a better understanding of people and improved interpersonal communication skills.

Exploring Emotions and Ideas

One of the most profound aspects of creative writing is its ability to provide a safe space for exploring emotions and ideas. It serves as an outlet for thoughts and feelings, allowing writers to express themselves in ways that might not be possible in everyday conversation.

Writing can be therapeutic, helping individuals process complex emotions, navigate difficult life events, and gain insight into their own experiences and perceptions. It can also be a means of self-discovery, helping writers to understand themselves and the world around them better.

In conclusion, the importance of creative writing extends beyond the realm of literature and academia. It fosters creativity, enhances communication skills, and provides a platform for self-expression and exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, the benefits of creative writing are vast and varied. For those interested in developing their creative writing skills, check out our articles on creative writing prompts and how to teach creative writing . If you’re considering a career in this field, you might find our article on is a degree in creative writing worth it helpful.

Steps to Start Creative Writing

Creative writing can seem daunting to beginners, but with the right approach, anyone can start their journey into this creative field. Here are some steps to help you start with creative writing .

Finding Inspiration

The first step in creative writing is finding inspiration . Inspiration can come from anywhere and anything. Observe the world around you, listen to conversations, explore different cultures, and delve into various topics of interest.

Reading widely can also be a significant source of inspiration. Read different types of books, articles, and blogs. Discover what resonates with you and sparks your imagination.

For structured creative prompts, visit our list of creative writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing.

Planning Your Piece

Once you have an idea, the next step is to plan your piece . Start by outlining the main points, characters, settings, and plot. This can serve as a roadmap to guide your writing process.

Remember, a plan doesn’t have to be rigid. It’s a flexible guideline that can be adjusted as you delve deeper into your writing. The primary purpose is to provide direction and prevent writer’s block.

Writing Your First Draft

After planning your piece, you can start writing your first draft . This is where you give life to your ideas and breathe life into your characters.

Don’t worry about making it perfect in the first go. The first draft is about getting your ideas down on paper. You can always refine and polish your work later.

And if you don’t have a great place to write that first draft, consider a journal for writing .

Editing and Revising Your Work

The final step in the creative writing process is editing and revising your work . This is where you fine-tune your piece, correct grammatical errors, and improve sentence structure and flow.

Editing is also an opportunity to enhance your storytelling. You can add more descriptive details, develop your characters further, and make sure your plot is engaging and coherent.

Remember, writing is a craft that improves with practice. Don’t be discouraged if your first few pieces don’t meet your expectations. Keep writing, keep learning, and most importantly, enjoy the creative process.

For more insights on creative writing, check out our articles on how to teach creative writing or creative writing activities for kids.

Tips to Improve Creative Writing Skills

Understanding what is creative writing is the first step. But how can one improve their creative writing skills? Here are some tips that can help.

Reading Widely

Reading is a vital part of becoming a better writer. By immersing oneself in a variety of genres, styles, and authors, one can gain a richer understanding of language and storytelling techniques. Different authors have unique voices and methods of telling stories, which can serve as inspiration for your own work. So, read widely and frequently!

Practicing Regularly

Like any skill, creative writing improves with practice. Consistently writing — whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly — helps develop your writing style and voice. Using creative writing prompts can be a fun way to stimulate your imagination and get the words flowing.

Attending Writing Workshops and Courses

Formal education such as workshops and courses can offer structured learning and expert guidance. These can provide invaluable insights into the world of creative writing, from understanding plot development to character creation. If you’re wondering is a degree in creative writing worth it, these classes can also give you a taste of what studying creative writing at a higher level might look like.

Joining Writing Groups and Communities

Being part of a writing community can provide motivation, constructive feedback, and a sense of camaraderie. These groups often hold regular meetings where members share their work and give each other feedback. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with others who share your passion for writing.

Seeking Feedback on Your Work

Feedback is a crucial part of improving as a writer. It offers a fresh perspective on your work, highlighting areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Whether it’s from a writing group, a mentor, or even friends and family, constructive criticism can help refine your writing.

Remember, becoming a proficient writer takes time and patience. So, don’t be discouraged by initial challenges. Keep writing, keep learning, and most importantly, keep enjoying the process. Who knows, your passion for creative writing might even lead to creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree . Happy writing!

Brooks Manley

Brooks Manley

features of a creative writing

Creative Primer  is a resource on all things journaling, creativity, and productivity. We’ll help you produce better ideas, get more done, and live a more effective life.

My name is Brooks. I do a ton of journaling, like to think I’m a creative (jury’s out), and spend a lot of time thinking about productivity. I hope these resources and product recommendations serve you well. Reach out if you ever want to chat or let me know about a journal I need to check out!

Inspiring Ink: Expert Tips on How to Teach Creative Writing

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What Is Creative Writing? Types, Techniques, and Tips

by Kaelyn Barron | 5 comments

features of a creative writing

Even if you’re not a big reader of fiction, you’ve more than likely encountered creative writing—or at least, the outcomes of creative writing—at some point. In fact, you can thank creative writing for your favorite films, songs, musicals, and much more.

But what exactly makes writing “creative?”

Simply put, creative writing is any writing that falls outside of technical, journalistic, or academic writing.

You can think of it as classic storytelling. It can be written with a number of intentions: to entertain us, comfort us, or teach us a lesson; most importantly, good creative writing speaks to our shared human experience. It shouldn’t just tell us something—it should make us feel something new.

Creative Writing: An Overview

We’re all familiar with school-required “creative writing exercises.” Maybe you had a traumatizing experience when your eighth grade teacher forced you to write a story and read it aloud for the class (no? just me?).

Or maybe you think creative writing is reserved for the artsy free spirits who churn out novels in coffee shops or on sunny farms in Tuscany.

In reality, creative writing is much more than something for your great aunt to scoff at when discussing your major at Thanksgiving dinner.

In this post, we’ll break down creative writing and explain everything you need to know, including:

• Types and examples • Techniques • Who should practice creative writing? • Creative writing exercises to get started

Types of Creative Writing

Examples of creative writing can be found pretty much everywhere. Some forms that you’re probably familiar with and already enjoy include:

• Fiction (of every genre, from sci-fi to historical dramas to romances ) • Film and television scripts • Songs • Poetry • Plays • Vignettes

But creative writing doesn’t have to be limited to fictitious content. It can also include:

• Personal essays • Memoirs • Journals and diaries • Letters

As we can see from this list, some works of nonfiction can also constitute creative writing. After all, many books and films tell stories of real people and real events.

Take, for example, the 2010 film The King’s Speech . The film tells the story of real people and real events, but the script can be considered creative writing as much as the script for Jurassic Park, because it charges historical events with emotion and makes the audience feel invested in the characters.

Writing about your own life is no different. Journals and diaries—when they contain personal thoughts, experiences, or emotions—can also constitute creative writing. Even letters can be included, when they do more than stating facts (not just “today I went to the store” or “today it rained.”)

Creative writing doesn’t require you to make up names or inject unicorns into your manuscript. It just requires a bit of storytelling through more imaginative techniques.

Techniques Used in Creative Writing

You’ll want to make your story one that resonates with people, since creative writing is ultimately telling stories about the human experience. To achieve this, you can apply some of these techniques and literary devices:

Including conversations between characters can help bring them to life, while also moving the plot along without relying solely on the narrator.

This was a favorite technique of Ernest Hemingway. Famous for his simple, straightforward style, he let his characters do most of the talking, which also helped to make them more accessible and relatable.

One great example of character development through dialogue can be found in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice :

“A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”

“How so? How can it affect them?”

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”

“Is that his design in settling here?”

“Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may  fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes.”

Without Austen telling us anything directly, we as readers can get a feel for Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, their relationship, and what they each prioritize.

Good dialogue should sound realistic, but also carry a purpose so that the story can progress in a natural way.

Metaphors and similes

Alternatively, writers can choose to pack their prose with imaginative language, offering the reader vivid descriptions to evoke emotion. This is typical in many forms of creative writing, and it is often achieved through literary devices, like similes and metaphors.

For example, in “A Red, Red Rose,” Robert Burns writes:

“O my Love is like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June; O my Love is like the melody That’s sweetly played in tune.”

Similes create images for the reader by using comparisons, rather than simple adjectives. (What kind of poem would the example above be if Burns just told us his love is “beautiful”?)

While similes can help us to imagine a scene more vividly, they can also be open to interpretation. Because similes rely on association, one word might carry different connotations for different readers (this may very well be the author’s intention).

Metaphors, instead, draw parallels and can take up a few lines, like this famous excerpt from Romeo and Juliet :

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!”

Or sometimes, metaphors can be recurring elements in a text, like in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist , where the desert setting serves as a metaphor for life itself.

Good metaphors can serve as a shortcut to understanding a text because they can convey something complex in terms that are more concise, yet universal. For this reason, metaphors can add extra depth to your story.

Point of view

Deciding which point of view you want to tell your story from is an essential step because it will determine the story’s voice.

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby , for example, is written in the first-person limited perspective—but imagine how different the story would be if Daisy were narrating instead of Nick! Changing the point of view can change the entire story.

Anecdotes are like small stories within the big story. When used in creative writing, they offer readers a chance to learn more about a character without simply stating it directly. They can be used to evoke empathy, to entertain, to teach a lesson, or simply to reveal other dimensions of a character.

We can turn to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for one such example:

“Justine, you may remember, was a great favorite of yours; and I recollect you once remarked, that if you were in an ill-humor, one glance from Justine could dissipate it, for the same reason that Ariosto gives concerning the beauty of Angelica—she looked so frank-hearted and happy. My aunt conceived a great attachment for her, by which she was induced to give her an education superior to that which she had first intended.”

This anecdote, delivered by Elizabeth to Victor Frankenstein, provides background for Justine’s character and reveals the history between the characters’ families. By testifying to Justine’s “frank-hearted and happy” nature, readers are led to sympathize with the character even more, especially in light of her tragic fate (she confesses to a crime she did not commit and is promptly executed).

Making proper use of the right techniques can make any writing better, but it’s especially important in creative writing if you want a well-developed story that resonates with readers and doesn’t feel forced.

Who Should Practice Creative Writing?

Now that we’ve gone over what exactly creative writing is and the techniques used to compose it, you might be wondering what exactly you can do with this information.

Because creative writing isn’t just for English majors and best-selling authors. We all have stories to tell, and even if you never show your work to anyone, practicing creative writing can be beneficial to just about everyone.

Aside from proven therapeutic benefits , creative writing exercises can help to:

Build your imagination and creativity: By stimulating the parts of your brain responsible for creativity, you’ll train your mind to think “outside the box” to find new, innovative solutions.

Organize your thoughts: Developing a plot requires the ability to think logically, since you’ll want to make the underlying point clear. This kind of thinking can of course be helpful in the workplace and many other parts of your life.

Grow your confidence: Putting your thoughts down on paper takes guts. Expressing yourself through writing and seeing your ideas translated to words can help build self-confidence.

Improve your communication skills : By refining your writing skills, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively, both in speech and on paper.

Give your mind a break: Like reading, creative writing offers the perfect escape from everyday life. You’re in complete control of everything that happens, so let yourself go and see the wonderful things your mind builds when you set it free.

How Can You Get Started?

If you’re new to creative writing, there are a number of ways to get started. Keeping a diary to write down your thoughts and ideas can be extremely helpful. Or, check out our many great writing prompts to get your creativity flowing!

What do you love to write about? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

  • 70 Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire You to Write
  • 10 Creative Writing Exercises for Beginners and Writers
  • How Writing Prompts Can Boost Your Creative Writing Skills
  • Fast and Loose: 3 Ways Freewriting Will Upgrade Your Creative Career

Kaelyn Barron

As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

David G Simpson

I see during my searches of creating writing that the term, snippet is not used. Why is this, as it is a very entertaining concept, as I enclose an example.

The small boy asks his grandpa, “Grand daddy, what will you do if you ever catch the last beaver in th e world?”

“Well son, that will be the saddest day that I ever could imagine.”

“You know son, that almost happened a couple hundred years or so ago. Money was hard to come by and rich people over in Europe wanted all the beaver they could buy from men that were willing to risk their lives in the new America that had a seemingly endless supply of the rich furred animals.”

The old man said, “the only thing that stopped the beaver from being totally wiped out was the silk worm.”

That didn’t stop the boy from his original line of questions about beavers, he could care less about any worms. After all he was a trapper, in his own mind.

The boy, stopped his Grandpa again, in the manner that young kids do, that are impatient for another answer. “Granddaddy, how long have you been trapping beavers?”

“Well son, let me see; I started just about the time I was your age I think.”

“How many have you caught,” came next.

“There’s no telling, maybe a truck load, maybe two.”

The boys next words took the old trapper back a step or two when the boy said, “Granddaddy do we have to catch them all, or can we leave me a few so I can take my son, someday, and show and tell him what you’ve taught me.”

Shegaw Tarekegn

Interesting

Kaelyn Barron

Thanks, hope you enjoyed the post!

Cindy

Great article. I appreciate reading even more now. Understanding these things has opened a new door for me. I mostly wrote for my own entertainment, but what I have learned here, I am inspired to give it a try on a bigger scale.

Thank you for the inspiration.

You’re very welcome Cindy, and thank you for the kind words! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article :) Happy writing!

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Creative Writing: Definition, Types, Examples

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Creative writing is the art of creating original works of self-expression that entertain and give voice to the human experience. Unlike technical or academic writing , the purpose of creative writing is not to present facts but to give rein to the writer’s imagination through poetics and storytelling. A creative writer invites the reader to step out of reality and enter a fantasy realm created by the writer’s own imagination.

Some of the techniques used by creative writers include plot and character development, underlying themes, vivid settings, point of view , dialogue, anecdotes , figures of speech , and emotional appeal.

Types of Creative Writing

One of the most popular and artistic types of creative writing, poetry uses the aesthetic and rhythmic characteristics of language, along with other linguistic and poetic devices (phonesthetics, meter, alliteration, assonance, rhythm, ambiguity , irony, symbolism , among others) to evoke an emotional response, suggest a variety of interpretations to words, or to achieve musical effects.

Below is an example of a lyric poem by the Romantic poet John Keats :

“O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought,

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

A play is a work of literature that is performed on stage in a theater or on television, or heard on the radio. Plays have a dialogue between actors/characters and are watched/listened to rather than read by an audience. There are 6 major kinds of plays: tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy, melodrama, domestic drama, and symbolic.

Below is a soliloquy from Macbeth , a Shakespearean tragedy, when Macbeth learns of the queen’s death:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

A work of fiction is a piece of creative writing that portrays characters, events, or places in ways that are strictly imaginary rather than based on facts or history. A fictional narrative might be inspired by reality or contain some emotional truth, but the writer always seeks to take the reader to an imaginary place. Works of fiction generally use poetic and descriptive language. The term fiction is commonly used for written prose narratives such as novels, novellas, and short stories.

Below is an excerpt from J. K. Rowling ’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets :

October arrived, spreading a damp chill over the grounds and into the castle. Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, was kept busy by a sudden spate of colds among the staff and students. Her Pepperup potion worked instantly, though it left the drinker smoking at the ears for several hours afterward. Ginny Weasley, who had been looking pale, was bullied into taking some by Percy. The steam pouring from under her vivid hair gave the impression that her whole head was on fire.

A memoir is a personal narrative written about an important part of the author’s life. Unlike an autobiography, with which it is often confused, a memoir spans a specific period of time rather than the author’s entire life. Memoirists choose a critical period in their lives and narrate it from their perspective. Their thoughts and feelings are central to the narrative.

Famous memoirs (and memoirists) include:

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

5. Personal Essays

The personal essay (also known as a narrative essay ) is a piece of non-fiction writing that narrates an interesting, entertaining, humorous, or thought-provoking story based on the writer’s personal (or second-hand) experiences. The story in a personal essay must, in essence, be based in fact, even if the writer has modified conversations, condensed timelines, or changed names/descriptions to make the story more interesting or to protect identities.

Famous personal essays (and essayists) include:

  • Goodbye to All That by Joan Didion
  • Once More to the Lake by E. B. White
  • Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf
  • Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

6. Screenplays

Screenwriters or script writers write screenplays for movies, television shows, or video games. They need to carry out research for the story, develop the narrative, write the script, screenplay and dialogues, and deliver the whole package in the requisite format to development executives. The creative direction and emotional impact of the screenplay and of the finished product largely depend on how well the screenwriter has done their job.

Songwriting is the process of creating a song. A songwriter is an artist who creates musical compositions and writes lyrics for songs. The 6 elements of songwriting are lyrics, melody, harmony, tempo, meter, and rhythm.

The list of most iconic songs of all time includes:

  • Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
  • Imagine by John Lennon
  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
  • Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
  • Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

No matter what the genre, all types of creative writing allow writers to express themselves in unique, imaginative ways. Each of these employs a variety of techniques, serving to grip readers and keep them hooked throughout.

features of a creative writing

features of a creative writing

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What Is Creative Writing: A Complete Guide

Discover What Is Creative Writing as we unravel the art of self-expression through words. In this blog, learn the meaning and techniques of creative writing, igniting your imagination and honing your storytelling skills. Unlock the world of literary creativity and learn how to craft compelling narratives that captivate readers.

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A Statista survey found that 76,300 Authors, Writers and Translators work in the United Kingdom alone. This shows Creative Writing is a demanding career worldwide. Further, read this blog to understand What is Creative Writing and explore its various types, the writing process, and valuable tips for improvement. 

Table of Contents   

1) What is Creative Writing?   

2) Importance of Creative Writing  

3)  Key Element of Creative Writing  

4) Types of Creative Writing  

5)  The Creative Writing Process  

6)  Tips for Effective Content Writing  

7)  Conclusion  

What is Creative Writing ?   

Creative Writing is the art of crafting original content that elicits readers' emotions, thoughts, and imagination. Unlike Academic or Technical Writing, Creative Writing allows for more personal expression and imaginative exploration. It encompasses various forms such as fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and drama, all of which share the common thread of artistic storytelling.   

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Key Element s of Creative Writing    

Key Elements of Creative Writing

2) Character development: Compelling characters are the heart of any great story. Through careful development, characters become relatable, complex, and capable of driving the plot forward.    

3) Setting and atmosphere: The setting and atmosphere create the backdrop for the story. By skilfully crafting these elements, Writers can enhance the overall mood and tone, allowing readers to feel like they're living within the story's world.    

4) Plot and storytelling: A well-crafted story keeps readers engaged and invested in the narrative's progression. This includes introducing conflicts, building tension, and crafting satisfying resolutions .    

5) Dialogue and voice: Dialogue adds authenticity to characters and provides insight into their personalities. A distinctive narrative voice also contributes to the story's uniqueness and captivates readers.   

Importance of Creative Writing    

Creative Writing holds a profound significance beyond its role as a literary pursuit. It bridges imagination and reality, fostering personal growth, communication skills, and cultural preservation. Here's a closer look at why Creative Writing is of paramount importance:   

1)  Personal e xpression and c atharsis   

Creative Writing is a sanctuary for self-expression. Individuals can voice their innermost thoughts, emotions, and experiences through poetry, stories, and essays. This act of sharing vulnerabilities and joy brings about a cathartic release, offering a therapeutic outlet for emotional expression. Moreover, it cultivates a deeper understanding of oneself, promoting self-awareness and self-acceptance.   

2) Cultivation of c ommunication s kills   

The art of Creative Writing cultivates effective communication skills that transcend the written word. Writers learn to convey ideas, concepts, and feelings coherently and captivatingly. This proficiency extends to verbal communication, enabling Writers to articulate their thoughts with clarity and eloquence, enriching interpersonal relationships and professional endeavours.   

3) Nurturing e mpathy and p erspective   

Writer s develop a heightened sense of empathy as they craft diverse characters and explore multifaceted narratives. Immersing oneself in the shoes of different characters fosters understanding and tolerance for various viewpoints and backgrounds. Readers, in turn, experience this empathy, gaining insight into the complexities of human nature and the diverse tapestry of human experience.    

4) Preservation of c ulture and m emory   

Creative Writing serves as a vessel for cultural preservation. Writers immortalise traditions, customs, and historical events, ensuring that the essence of different cultures is passed down through generations. By capturing the ethos of a specific time and place, Creative Writing contributes to the collective memory of humanity, fostering a deep connection with the past.  

5) Exploration of s ocial i ssues   

Writer s wield the power to effect change through their words. They can shed light on societal issues, challenge norms, and provoke critical conversations. By addressing topics such as social justice, equality, and environmental concerns, Creative Writing becomes a catalyst for positive transformation and advocacy.   

6)  Fuelling c reativity and i nnovation   

Engaging in Creative Writing nurtures a fertile ground for creativity to flourish. It encourages a departure from the ordinary, pushing boundaries and prompting new ideas. This imaginative thinking spills over into other aspects of life, inspiring innovative problem-solving and the pursuit of novel solutions.  

7) Connection and i mpact   

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Types of Creative Writing    

Types of Creative Writing

1) Fiction   

Fiction is perhaps the most well-known type of Creative Writing. It involves inventing characters, settings, and plotlines from scratch. Writers have the freedom to create entire worlds and realities, whether they're set in the past, present, future, or even in alternate dimensions. Novels, short stories, novellas, and flash fiction are all forms of fiction that engage readers through compelling characters, intriguing conflicts, and imaginative settings. From fantasy realms to gritty crime dramas, fiction transports readers to new and exciting places.    

2) Poetry   

Poetry is the art of condensing language to evoke emotions, provoke thoughts, and communicate complex ideas using rhythm, rhyme, and vivid imagery. Poems' brevity requires Writers to choose their words carefully, often crafting multiple layers of meaning within a few lines.   

Poetry can take various forms, including sonnets, haikus, free verse, and slam poetry. Each form carries its own rules and conventions, allowing Poets to experiment with structure and sound to create impactful compositions. Poetry delves into the depth of emotions, exploring themes ranging from love and nature to social issues and personal reflections.  

3) Creative n on-fiction   

Non-fiction Writing draws from real-life experiences, observations, and research to convey information, insights, and personal perspectives. This form includes genres such as essays, memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, and journalistic pieces. Non-fiction Writers blend storytelling with factual accuracy, presenting their ideas in a compelling and informative manner .   

Personal essays offer a glimpse into the writer's thoughts and experiences. Memoirs and autobiographies share personal journeys and reflections, connecting readers with the author's life story .    

4) Screenwriting   

Screenwriting focuses on creating scripts for television shows, movies, and other visual media. This form requires Writers to consider not only dialogue and character development but also visual elements, scene transitions, and pacing. Screenwriters collaborate with Directors, Actors, and production teams to bring their stories to life on screen, making it a highly collaborative and dynamic form of Creative Writing .   

5) Drama and P laywriting   

Playwriting is the creation of scripts for theatrical performances. The challenge lies in crafting engaging dialogue and constructing scenes that captivate both the audience and the performers. Dramatic Writing requires an understanding of pacing, character motivations, and the visual aspects of storytelling. Theatrical writing requires a keen sense of the following:    

a) Character dynamics: Building relationships between characters and exploring their motivations and conflicts   

b)   Stage directions: Provide clear instructions for Actors, Directors, and Stage Designers to bring the play to life  

c)  Dr amatic structure: C rafting acts and scenes that build tension and engage the audience.  

6) Satire and Humour    

Satire and Humour utilise wit, sarcasm, and clever wordplay to critique and mock societal norms, institutions, and human behaviour. This form of Creative Writing often challenges readers to view the world from a different perspective, encouraging them to question established conventions. Satirical works, whether in literature, essays, or satirical news articles, aim to entertain while also prompting reflection on serious topics. 

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The Creative Writing Process    

The Creative Writing Process

1) Finding inspiration   

The process begins with a moment of inspiration—a fleeting thought, an intriguing image, or a powerful emotion. Inspiration can strike anywhere—nature, experiences, dreams, or simple observation. Keep a journal or digital note-taking app to capture these sparks of inspiration as they occur. Explore your interests, passions, and emotions to identify themes and ideas that resonate with you.  

2) Exploring ideas and brainstorming   

Once you've identified an inspiring concept, delve deeper. Brainstorm ideas related to characters, settings, conflicts, and themes. Jot down all possibilities, allowing your imagination to roam freely. This stage is about generating a wealth of creative options that will serve as building blocks for your story. 

3) Planning and outlining   

Organise your thoughts by creating an outline. Outline your story's major plot points, character arcs, and pivotal moments. This outline acts as a roadmap, guiding you through the narrative's progression while providing flexibility for creative surprises.   

4) Writing the first draft   

Once you are done with your outline, start writing your first draft. Don't worry about perfection—focus on getting your ideas onto paper. Let your creativity flow and allow your characters to surprise you. The goal is to have a complete manuscript, even if it's messy and imperfect.  

5) Revising for content   

Once the first draft is complete, take a step back before revisiting your work. During this stage, focus on revising for content. Analyse the structure of your plot, the development of your characters, and the coherence of your themes. Make necessary changes, add details, and refine dialogue. Ensure that your story's foundation is solid before moving on.  

6) Editing and polishing   

Edit your Manuscript for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style. Pay attention to clarity and consistency. Also, focus on enhancing the flow of your writing and creating a polished narrative that engages readers.  

7) Feedback and peer review   

Share your revised work with others—friends, writing groups, or beta readers—to gather feedback. Constructive criticism can highlight blind spots and offer perspectives you might have missed. Use this feedback to refine your work further.   

8) Finali s ing and p roofreading   

Incorporate the feedback you've received and make final revisions. Proofread meticulously for any remaining errors. Ensure that your work is formatted correctly and adheres to any submission guidelines if you plan to publish or share it.  

Tips for Effective Creative Writing    

Here are some of the useful tips you should consider in your work:   

1)  Show, don't tell: Instead of directly stating emotions or details, "showing" involves using actions, thoughts, and dialogue to convey information. This technique allows readers to draw their own conclusions and become more immersed in the story.  

2)   Use of metaphors and similes: Metaphors and similes offer creative ways to describe complex concepts by comparing them to something familiar. These literary devices add depth and creativity to your writing.   

3)  Building suspense and tension: By strategically withholding information and creating unanswered questions, Writers can build suspense and keep readers eagerly turning pages.  

4)  Crafting memorable beginnings and endings: A strong opening captures readers' attention, while a satisfying conclusion leaves a lasting impact. These elements bookend your story and influence readers' overall impression.   

5)  Experimenting with point of view: The choice of point of view (first person, third person, etc.) shapes how readers experience the story. Experimenting with different perspectives can lead to unique narrative opportunities.   

Conclusion    

The Creative Writing process is not linear; you might find yourself revisiting earlier steps as your story evolves. Embrace the journey, allowing your writing to develop and transform through each phase. We hope this blog gave you a clear concept of What is Creative Writing, along with its process and useful tips. With perseverance and a commitment to improvement, your Creative Writing will flourish and captivate readers with its unique voice and storytelling prowess.  

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Creative Writing: 8 Fun Ways to Get Started

Creative writing is a written art form that uses the imagination to tell stories and compose essays, poetry, screenplays, novels, lyrics, and more. It can be defined in opposition to the dry and factual types of writing found in academic, technical, or journalistic texts.

Characterized by its ability to evoke emotion and engage readers, creative writing can tackle themes and ideas that one might struggle to discuss in cold, factual terms.

If you’re interested in the world of creative writing, we have eight fantastic exercises and activities to get you started.

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1. Use writing prompts every week

Illustration of a writer getting ready for a creative writing contest

Coming up with ideas for short stories can be challenging, which is why we created a directory of 1700+ creative writing prompts covering a wide range of genres and topics. Writing prompts are flexible in nature, they are meant to inspire you without being too constrictive. Overall, they are a great way to keep your creative muscles limber.

Example of Reedsy's Creative Writing Prompts

If you’re struggling for motivation, how does a hard deadline and a little prize money sound? Prompts-based writing contests are a fantastic way to dive into creative writing: the combination of due dates, friendly rivalries, prize money, and the potential to have your work published is often just what’s needed to propel you over the finish line. 

We run a weekly writing contest over on Reedsy Prompts, where hundreds of writers from all around the world challenge themselves weekly to write a short story between 1,000 and 3,000 words for a chance to win the $250 prize. Furthermore, the community is very active in providing constructive feedback, support, and accountability to each other 一 something that will make your efforts even more worthwhile.

Take a peek at our directory of writing contests which features some of the most prestigious open writing competitions in the world. 

2. Start journaling your days

Illustration of a writer journaling in autumn

Another easy way to get started with creative writing is to keep a journal. We’re not talking about an hour-by-hour account of your day, but journaling as a way to express yourself without filters and find your ‘voice in writing’. If you’re unsure what to journal about, think of any daily experiences that have had an impact on you, such as… 

Special moments . Did you lock yourself out of your house? Or did you catch a beautiful sunset on your way back from groceries? Capture those moments, and how you felt about them.

People . Did you have an unusual exchange with a stranger at the bar? Or did you reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in years? Share your thoughts about it.

World events . Is there something happening in the world right now that is triggering you? That’s understandable. You can reflect on it (and let some steam off) while journaling.

Memories . Did you go down memory lane after a glass of wine? Great, honor those memories by trying to recollect them in detail on paper so that they will always stay vivid in your mind.

Life decisions . Are you having an existential crisis about what to do with your life? Write down your thought process, and the pros and cons of the possible decisions in front of you. You’ll be surprised to discover that, not only is it a great creative writing exercise, but it can also actually help you sort your life out! 

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3. Create an anonymous social media account

Illustration of a writer thinking

Like anonymous blogging, an incognito Twitter account sidesteps the pressure that comes with attaching your name to your work. Anonymously putting tiny stories out into the ether gives you the freedom to create without worrying about the consequences — which is great, so long as you don’t use it as an opportunity to troll people or spread conspiracy theories. 

You could use the anonymous account in different ways. For example, you could…

  • Tweet from unique points of view (e.g. a dog observing human behavior );
  • Create a parody account of real or fictional people (e.g. an English poet from the Middle Ages );
  • Challenge yourself to write tiny flash fiction stories that fit into Twitter threads.

Just remember, you’re not doing this to fool anyone into thinking that your account is real: be a good citizen and mark yourself a fiction account in your bio. 

How to Start Creative Writing | Screenshot of a tweet by the Twitter account

But if you’re not really a social media kinda person, you may enjoy our next tip, which is a bit more on the analog side.

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4. Find an old photo and tell its story

Illustration of a photo-inspired journaling exercise

Find a random old photo — maybe on the web, maybe from a photo album in a yard sale — and see what catches your attention. Look closely at it and try to imagine the story behind it. What was happening? Who are the people in it and how are they really feeling? Do they share a relationship, and of what kind? What are their goals and dreams?

In other words, bring the photo to life with your imagination. Don't be afraid to take artistic license with your story, as the goal is to be creative and have fun while writing. 

How do you know it’s creative writing?

Creative Writing | info card listing 5 headers below

5. Create a character from a random name

Illustration of a young poet and a warrior back to back

Just as our universe started from a few simple elements, you can create a character from a few basic information, like their name, culture, and gender. Reedsy’s handy character name generator can help you with that, offering random names based on archetypes, Medieval roots, fantasy traits and more. A few examples? A Celtic heroine named Fíona O'Keefe, a hero’s sidekick named Aderine, or a Korean track star named Park Kang-Dae.

Once you've chosen their name, begin to develop their personality. Set a timer for 5–10 minutes and write anything that comes to mind about them. It could be a page from their FBI dossier, a childhood diary entry, or simply a scene about them boiling an egg.

Just ‘go with the flow’ and don’t stop writing until your time is up. Repeat the process a few times to further hone the personality. If you like what you end up with, you can always go deeper later with our character profile template . 

If a stream-of-consciousness exercise is not your thing, you can try to imagine your character in a specific situation and write down how’d they respond to it. For example, what if they were betrayed by a friend? Or if they were elected in power? To help you imagine situations to put your character in, we made a free template that you can download below. 

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6. Construct a character by people-watching

A writer observing a person and taking notes

People watching is “the action of spending time idly observing people in a public place.” In a non-creepy way, ideally. Sit on a bench on a public square or on a road-side table at your favorite café, and start observing the people around you. Pay attention to any interesting quirks or behaviors, and write it down. Then put on your detective’s hat and try to figure out what that tells you about them.

For example, the man at the table next to you at the restaurant is reading the newspaper. His jacket and hat are neatly arranged next to him. The pages make a whipping sound as he briskly turns them, and he grimaces every time he reads a new article. Try to imagine what he’s reading, and why he’s reacting the way he is. Then, try to build a character with the information you have. It’s a fun creative exercise that will also, hopefully, help you better empathize with strangers. 

7. “Map” something you feel strongly about into a new context

Illustration of a young romance writer

Placing your feelings into new contexts can be a powerful creative writing exercise. The idea is to start from something you feel strongly about, and frame it into a completely different context. 

For example, suppose your heart is torn apart after you divorce your life-long partner: instead of journaling or writing a novel about it, you could tell a story about a legendary trapeze duo whose partnership has come to an end. If you’re struggling with politicking and petty power dynamics at the office: what if you “mapped” your feelings onto an ant who resents being part of a colony? Directing your frustration at a queen ant can be a fun and cathartic writing experience (that won’t get you in trouble if your co-workers end up reading your story).   

8. Capture the moment with a haiku

Illustration of a haiku poet inspired by the four seasons

Haikus are poems from the Japanese tradition that aim to capture, in a few words, daily moments of insight (usually inspired by nature). In a nutshell, it’s about becoming mindful of your surroundings, and notice if you can see something in a new or deeper way 一 then use contrasting imagery to express whatever you noticed. 

Here’s an example:

Bright orange bicycle

Speeding through the autumn leaves

A burst of color waves

It may sound a bit complicated, but it shouldn’t be 一 at least not for the purpose of this exercise. Learn the basics of haiku-writing , then challenge yourself to write one per day for a week or month. At the end, you’ll be able to look back at your collection of poems and 一 in the worst case scenario 一 revisit small but significant moments that you would have otherwise forgot about.   

Creative writing can be any writing you put your heart and soul into. It could be made for the purpose of expressing your feelings, exploring an idea, or simply entertaining your readers. As you can see there’s many paths to get involved with it, and hundreds of exercises you can use as a starting point. In the next post, we’ll look more in detail at some creative writing examples from some fellow authors. 

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Creative writing is loosely defined as more or less any form of original writing: anything that involves creativity and ‘making things up’. It can therefore be defined simply as writing that falls outside the usual bounds of journalistic, academic, technical or professional writing.

Creative writing is generally considered to encompass all fiction writing, as well as poetry, and many people also include writing plays and screenplays.

The focus of creative writing is generally, but not invariably, on the narrative arc and character development. It is therefore very different from writing such as journalistic writing , which may aim to tell stories, but is focused on facts.

Elements of Creative Writing

There are many different forms of creative writing, and they all have their own features. However, many types of creative writing also share some common features. These include:

1. A strong plot or narrative arc

The plot, also known as the ‘narrative arc’, is the unique ‘story’ of your writing. It describes what happens to your characters.

It is fair to say that this is a feature of all creative writing, and is effectively what distinguishes it from other forms of writing. Without a story, you are simply providing facts. There is a place for that—but it is not creative writing.

A plot does not have to cover a long period of time, or even have a clear ending. If you consider many short stories, they are very much a snapshot in time. You enter the characters’ lives at a particular point, and often leave them shortly afterwards. You do not necessarily know what happens next. Some of the most frightening stories are those where your imagination fills in the gaps (a good example of this is Daphne Du Maurier’s short story The Birds , later made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock).

Even a poem has a story (see box).

Narrative arc in poetry

It is possible to suggest that much poetry, especially more modern poetry is not a ‘story’, but is about feelings and emotions. However, that does not mean that it has no narrative arc.

Consider Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, which ends

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.”

Most people are only aware of these last few couplets. However, the poem has four verses, setting out the poet’s situation (standing in a wood, having to choose between two possible roads), and his feelings about that. He then looks ahead to the future, and how he will one day look back on this and recognise the importance of the moment.

The road is undoubtedly metaphorical. However, there is still a clear plot and story to the poem.

2. Character development

The second feature of creative writing is the creation of characters, and their development over the course of the writing.

In this context, ‘development’ can describe either changes in the character themselves, or a change in the reader’s understanding of the character.

For example, in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol , Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character, undergoes an epiphany in the course of the book, and his character completely changes.

However, by contrast, in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca , the unnamed heroine—and by extension, the reader—learns more and more about her husband’s former wife over the course of the book, and comes to appreciate that all is not what it seemed on the surface.

3. A characteristic use of language

One of the features that distinguishes creative writing is the wide diversity of language use.

Creative writers often, if not always, provide visual descriptions of locations and people. This is because their readers need to be able to imagine the characters and scenes—and providing more descriptions makes this process easier.

Writers like J.R.R. Tolkien spent years creating imaginary worlds. They wanted their readers to share their vision of these worlds in as much detail as possible.

Creative writing also often features a more vivid use of language. Metaphors, similes, adjectives and adverbs abound. Unlike business writing, it is not a matter of ‘more concise often equals better’. In creative writing, more can definitely be more.

4. An underlying theme or message

Some people suggest that every piece of creative writing has an underlying theme or message.

It is certainly true that there can be some very strong underlying themes, especially in certain types of writing. For example, many fantasy novels are very much ‘good vs. evil’, usually with a strong undertone of ‘coming of age’ of characters. Journeys within books are often metaphors for a character’s own journey of development, with a sense of ‘homecoming’ or ‘journey’s end’ towards the end of the story.

This idea of an underlying theme is interesting, because it is arguable that it is not always intentional.

In other words, it is not clear whether writers sit down and decide on this underlying theme, or whether it develops with the writing. It certainly does not seem to be necessary to have a clear ‘message’ in mind in writing—and certainly not a moral one. However, there is also something intensely human about wanting to draw lessons from experience.

The real question is: does the writer do this, or is this part of what happens during the reading process?

5. An emotional appeal

Creative writing has to appeal to our emotions. Otherwise, we might as well read non-fiction.

Writers have to create this emotional appeal, but it is often part of the other aspects of a piece of creative writing. For example, writers develop strong characters, with an appealing story arc. Readers empathise with those characters, and care what happens to them. If the writer does not create interesting characters, the reader loses interest.

It therefore seems likely that the most important aspect of creating emotional appeal is that you, the writer, care about your characters and what happens to them.

After all, if you don’t care, why would anyone else?

Developing Creative Writing Skills

Creative writing is a skill like any other form of writing. It therefore follows that you can develop that skill.

However, it can be much harder to do that than with many other forms of writing. It is, for example, harder to get external opinions about your writing without going on a course (see box).

Creative writing courses and teaching

Many universities and schools offer courses in creative writing. Some of these may be general, and others may have a more specific focus, such as writing for films or screen.

If you want to pursue an interest in creative writing, but you are struggling to get started, one of these courses may be right for you.

However, as with any other course, it is worth doing your research to ensure that you will get value for money.

You can also find plenty of advice and creative writing exercises online, some of which are free. It may be worth trying some of these first, to see if they are sufficient to get you started.

A final thought

Writing is a very personal process.

Nobody can tell you how writing ‘should’ be for you, especially creative writing. Everyone works differently, and the process of developing characters and stories is different for every writer.

Probably the best advice is simply to start writing, keeping in mind the elements listed here, and then seek feedback from those around you.

Continue to: Top Tips for Writing Fiction Storytelling in Business

See also: Writing for Children Writing for Pleasure Common Mistakes in Writing

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A Look Into Creative Writing | Oxford Summer Courses

Exploring the magic of creative writing with oxford summer courses.

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Defining Creative Writing

Creative writing , as taught at Oxford Summer Courses, is the process of crafting original and imaginative works of literature, poetry, prose, or scripts. It transcends conventional writing, encouraging individuals to explore language, structure, and narrative. Whether it's a heartfelt poem, a captivating short story, or a thought-provoking novel, creative writing allows us to communicate our unique perspectives and experiences with the world.

The Magic of Imagination

Creative Writing is a catalyst that sparks our creativity and empowers us to breathe life into our ideas on the page. With Oxford Summer Courses, aspiring writers aged 16-24 can embark on an extraordinary journey of creative expression and growth. Immerse yourself in the captivating realms of Oxford and Cambridge as you explore our inspiring creative writing programs. Teleport readers to distant lands, realms of fantasy and creation, introduce them to captivating characters, and craft new worlds through the transformative art of storytelling. Discover more about our creative writing course here . Unleash your imagination and unlock the writer within.

What Are the Different Types of Creative Writing?

Creative Writing comes in many forms, encompassing a range of genres and styles. There are lots of different types of Creative Writing, which can be categorised as fiction or non-fiction. Some of the most popular being:

  • Biographies
  • Fiction: novels, novellas, short stories, etc.
  • Poetry and Spoken word
  • Playwriting/Scriptwriting
  • Personal essays

At Oxford Summer Courses, students have the opportunity to delve into these various types of Creative Writing during the Summer School.

The Benefits of Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses

Engaging in Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses offers numerous benefits beyond self-expression. By joining our dedicated Creative Writing summer school programme, you would:

  • Foster self-discovery and gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and personal experiences.
  • Improve your communication skills, honing your ability to express yourself effectively and engage readers through refined language and storytelling abilities.
  • Enhance empathy by exploring diverse perspectives and stepping into the shoes of different characters, broadening your understanding of the world around you.
  • Gain new skills for further education or work, expanding your repertoire of writing techniques and abilities to enhance your academic or professional pursuits.
  • Nurture your creativity, encouraging you to think outside the box, embrace unconventional ideas, and challenge the status quo, fostering a life-long mindset of innovation and originality.

Embracing the Journey

To embark on a journey of creative writing, embrace curiosity, take risks, and surrender to the flow of imagination. Write regularly, read widely, embrace feedback from tutors and peers at Oxford Summer Courses. Begin to experiment with styles and genres, and stay persistent in your course of action. The path of creative writing requires dedication, practice, and an open mind. Join us as we provide tips to help you start your creative writing journey and unleash your full creative potential under the guidance of industry professionals.

Creative Writing is a remarkable voyage that invites us to unleash our imagination, share our stories, and inspire others. It offers countless personal and professional benefits, nurturing self-expression, empathy, and creativity. So, grab a pen, open your mind, and embark on this enchanting journey of creative writing with Oxford Summer Courses. Let your words paint a vivid tapestry that captivates hearts and minds under the guidance of experienced tutors from Oxford and Cambridge. Join us as we explore the magic of creative writing and discover the transformative power it holds within through the renowned Oxford Summer Courses summer school.

Ready to study Creative Writing? Apply now to Oxford Summer Courses and join a community of motivated learners from around the world. Apply here .

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Discover the enchantment of creative writing with Oxford Summer Courses. Unleash your imagination, explore different genres, and enhance your communication skills. Nurture self-expression, empathy, and creativity while gaining valuable writing techniques.

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Elements of Creative Writing

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J.D. Schraffenberger, University of Northern Iowa

Rachel Morgan, University of Northern Iowa

Grant Tracey, University of Northern Iowa

Copyright Year: 2023

ISBN 13: 9780915996179

Publisher: University of Northern Iowa

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.

Attribution-NonCommercial

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: One Great Way to Write a Short Story
  • Chapter Two: Plotting
  • Chapter Three: Counterpointed Plotting
  • Chapter Four: Show and Tell
  • Chapter Five: Characterization and Method Writing
  • Chapter Six: Character and Dialouge
  • Chapter Seven: Setting, Stillness, and Voice
  • Chapter Eight: Point of View
  • Chapter Nine: Learning the Unwritten Rules
  • Chapter One: A Poetry State of Mind
  • Chapter Two: The Architecture of a Poem
  • Chapter Three: Sound
  • Chapter Four: Inspiration and Risk
  • Chapter Five: Endings and Beginnings
  • Chapter Six: Figurative Language
  • Chapter Seven: Forms, Forms, Forms
  • Chapter Eight: Go to the Image
  • Chapter Nine: The Difficult Simplicity of Short Poems and Killing Darlings

Creative Nonfiction

  • Chapter One: Creative Nonfiction and the Essay
  • Chapter Two: Truth and Memory, Truth in Memory
  • Chapter Three: Research and History
  • Chapter Four: Writing Environments
  • Chapter Five: Notes on Style
  • Chapter Seven: Imagery and the Senses
  • Chapter Eight: Writing the Body
  • Chapter Nine: Forms

Back Matter

  • Contributors
  • North American Review Staff

Ancillary Material

  • University of Northern Iowa

About the Book

This free and open access textbook introduces new writers to some basic elements of the craft of creative writing in the genres of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The authors—Rachel Morgan, Jeremy Schraffenberger, and Grant Tracey—are editors of the North American Review, the oldest and one of the most well-regarded literary magazines in the United States. They’ve selected nearly all of the readings and examples (more than 60) from writing that has appeared in NAR pages over the years. Because they had a hand in publishing these pieces originally, their perspective as editors permeates this book. As such, they hope that even seasoned writers might gain insight into the aesthetics of the magazine as they analyze and discuss some reasons this work is so remarkable—and therefore teachable. This project was supported by NAR staff and funded via the UNI Textbook Equity Mini-Grant Program.

About the Contributors

J.D. Schraffenberger  is a professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of two books of poems,  Saint Joe's Passion  and  The Waxen Poor , and co-author with Martín Espada and Lauren Schmidt of  The Necessary Poetics of Atheism . His other work has appeared in  Best of Brevity ,  Best Creative Nonfiction ,  Notre Dame Review ,  Poetry East ,  Prairie Schooner , and elsewhere.

Rachel Morgan   is an instructor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. She is the author of the chapbook  Honey & Blood , Blood & Honey . Her work is included in the anthology  Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in American  and has appeared in the  Journal of American Medical Association ,  Boulevard ,  Prairie Schooner , and elsewhere.

Grant Tracey   author of three novels in the Hayden Fuller Mysteries ; the chapbook  Winsome  featuring cab driver Eddie Sands; and the story collection  Final Stanzas , is fiction editor of the  North American Review  and an English professor at the University of Northern Iowa, where he teaches film, modern drama, and creative writing. Nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, he has published nearly fifty short stories and three previous collections. He has acted in over forty community theater productions and has published critical work on Samuel Fuller and James Cagney. He lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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  • What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!

Creative Writing Summer School in Yale - students discussing

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a range of writing courses that have become extremely popular amongst students of all ages. The subject of creative writing continues to intrigue many academics as it can help to develop a range of skills that will benefit you throughout your career and life.

Nevertheless, that initial question is one that continues to linger and be asked time and time again: what is creative writing? More specifically, what does it mean or encompass? How does creative writing differ from other styles of writing?

During our Oxford Summer School programme , we will provide you with in-depth information on creative writing and how you can hone your skills. However, in this guide, we want to provide a detailed analysis of everything to do with creative writing, helping you understand more about what it is and why it could benefit you to become a creative writer.

The best place to start is with a definition.

What is creative writing?

The dictionary definition of creative writing is that it is original writing that expresses ideas and thoughts in an imaginative way. [1] Some academics will also define it as the art of making things up, but both of these definitions are too simplistic in the grand scheme of things.

It’s challenging to settle on a concrete definition as creative writing can relate to so many different things and formats. Naturally, as the name suggests, it is all built around the idea of being creative or imaginative. It’s to do with using your brain and your own thoughts to create writing that goes outside the realms of what’s expected. This type of writing tends to be more unique as it comes from a personal place. Each individual has their own level of creativity, combined with their own thoughts and views on different things. Therefore, you can conjure up your own text and stories that could be completely different from others.

Understanding creative writing can be challenging when viewed on its own. Consequently, the best way to truly understand this medium is by exploring the other main forms of writing. From here, we can compare and contrast them with the art of creative writing, making it easier to find a definition or separate this form of writing from others.

What are the main forms of writing?

In modern society, we can identify five main types of writing styles [1] that will be used throughout daily life and a plethora of careers:

  • Narrative Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Expository Writing
  • Creative Writing

Narrative writing refers to storytelling in its most basic form. Traditionally, this involves telling a story about a character and walking the readers through the journey they go on. It can be a long novel or a short story that’s only a few hundred words long. There are no rules on length, and it can be completely true or a work of fiction.

A fundamental aspect of narrative writing that makes it different from other forms is that it should includes the key elements of storytelling. As per UX Planet, there are seven core elements of a good story or narrative [2] : the plot, characters, theme, dialogue, melody, decor and spectacle. Narrative writing will include all of these elements to take the ready on a journey that starts at the beginning, has a middle point, but always comes to a conclusion. This style of writing is typically used when writing stories, presenting anecdotes about your life, creating presentations or speeches and for some academic essays.

Descriptive writing, on the other hand, is more focused on the details. When this type of writing is used, it’s focused on capturing the reader’s attention and making them feel like they are part of the story. You want them to live and feel every element of a scene, so they can close their eyes and be whisked away to whatever place or setting you describe.

In many ways, descriptive writing is writing as an art form. Good writers can be given a blank canvas, using their words to paint a picture for the audience. There’s a firm focus on the five senses all humans have; sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Descriptive writing touches on all of these senses to tell the reader everything they need to know and imagine about a particular scene.

This is also a style of writing that makes good use of both similes and metaphors. A simile is used to describe something as something else, while a metaphor is used to show that something is something else. There’s a subtle difference between the two, but they both aid descriptive writing immensely. According to many writing experts, similes and metaphors allow an author to emphasise, exaggerate, and add interest to a story to create a more vivid picture for the reader [3] .

Looking at persuasive writing and we have a form of writing that’s all about making yourself heard. You have an opinion that you want to get across to the reader, convincing them of it. The key is to persuade others to think differently, often helping them broaden their mind or see things from another point of view. This is often confused with something called opinionative writing, which is all about providing your opinions. While the two seem similar, the key difference is that persuasive writing is built around the idea of submitting evidence and backing your thoughts up. It’s not as simple as stating your opinion for other to read; no, you want to persuade them that your thoughts are worth listening to and perhaps worth acting on.

This style of writing is commonly used journalistically in news articles and other pieces designed to shine a light on certain issues or opinions. It is also typically backed up with statistical evidence to give more weight to your opinions and can be a very technical form of writing that’s not overly emotional.

Expository writing is more focused on teaching readers new things. If we look at its name, we can take the word exposure from it. According to Merriam-Webster [4] , one of the many definitions of exposure is to reveal something to others or present them with something they otherwise didn’t know. In terms of writing, it can refer to the act of revealing new information to others or exposing them to new ideas.

Effectively, expository writing focuses on the goal of leaving the reader with new knowledge of a certain topic or subject. Again, it is predominately seen in journalistic formats, such as explainer articles or ‘how-to’ blogs. Furthermore, you also come across it in academic textbooks or business writing.

This brings us back to the centre of attention for this guide: what is creative writing?

Interestingly, creative writing is often seen as the style of writing that combines many of these forms together in one go. Narrative writing can be seen as creative writing as you are coming up with a story to keep readers engaged, telling a tale for them to enjoy or learn from. Descriptive writing is very much a key part of creative writing as you are using your imagination and creative skills to come up with detailed descriptions that transport the reader out of their home and into a different place.

Creative writing can even use persuasive writing styles in some formats. Many writers will combine persuasive writing with a narrative structure to come up with a creative way of telling a story to educate readers and provide new opinions for them to view or be convinced of. Expository writing can also be involved here, using creativity and your imagination to answer questions or provide advice to the reader.

Essentially, creative writing can combine other writing types to create a unique and new way of telling a story or producing content. At the same time, it can include absolutely none of the other forms at all. The whole purpose of creative writing is to think outside the box and stray from traditional structures and norms. Fundamentally, we can say there are no real rules when it comes to creative writing, which is what makes it different from the other writing styles discussed above.

What is the purpose of creative writing?

Another way to understand and explore the idea of creative writing is to look at its purpose. What is the aim of most creative works of writing? What do they hope to provide the reader with?

We can look at the words of Bryanna Licciardi, an experienced creative writing tutor, to understand the purpose of creative writing. She writes that the primary purpose is to entertain and share human experiences, like love or loss. Writers attempt to reveal the truth with regard to humanity through poetics and storytelling. [5] She also goes on to add that the first step of creative writing is to use one’s imagination.

When students sign up to our creative writing courses, we will teach them how to write with this purpose. Your goal is to create stories or writing for readers that entertain them while also providing information that can have an impact on their lives. It’s about influencing readers through creative storytelling that calls upon your imagination and uses the thoughts inside your head. The deeper you dive into the art of creative writing, the more complex it can be. This is largely because it can be expressed in so many different formats. When you think of creative writing, your instinct takes you to stories and novels. Indeed, these are both key forms of creative writing that we see all the time. However, there are many other forms of creative writing that are expressed throughout the world.

What are the different forms of creative writing?

Looking back at the original and simple definition of creative writing, it relates to original writing in a creative and imaginative way. Consequently, this can span across so many genres and types of writing that differ greatly from one another. This section will explore and analyse the different types of creative writing, displaying just how diverse this writing style can be – while also showcasing just what you’re capable of when you learn how to be a creative writer.

The majority of students will first come across creative writing in the form of essays . The point of an essay is to present a coherent argument in response to a stimulus or question. [6] In essence, you are persuading the reader that your answer to the question is correct. Thus, creative writing is required to get your point across as coherently as possible, while also using great descriptive writing skills to paint the right message for the reader.

Moreover, essays can include personal essays – such as writing a cover letter for work or a university application. Here, great creativity is needed to almost write a story about yourself that captivates the reader and takes them on a journey with you. Excellent imagination and persuasive writing skills can help you tell your story and persuade those reading that you are the right person for the job or university place.

Arguably, this is the most common way in which creative writing is expressed. Fictional work includes novels, novellas, short stories – and anything else that is made up. The very definition of fiction by the Cambridge Dictionary states that it is the type of book or story that is written about imaginary characters and events not based on real people and facts. [7] As such, it means that your imagination is called upon to create something out of nothing. It is a quintessential test of your creative writing skills, meaning you need to come up with characters, settings, plots, descriptions and so much more.

Fictional creative writing in itself takes on many different forms and can be completely different depending on the writer. That is the real beauty of creative writing; you can have entirely different stories and characters from two different writers. Just look at the vast collection of fictional work around you today; it’s the perfect way to see just how versatile creative writing can be depending on the writer.

Similarly, scripts can be a type of creative writing that appeals to many. Technically, a script can be considered a work of fiction. Nevertheless, it depends on the script in question. Scripts for fictional television shows, plays or movies are obviously works of fiction. You, the writer, has come up with the characters and story of the show/play/movie, bringing it all to life through the script. But, scripts can also be non-fictional. Creating a play or movie that adapts real-life events will mean you need to write a script based on something that genuinely happened.

Here, it’s a perfect test of creative writing skills as you take a real event and use your creative talents to make it more interesting. The plot and narrative may already be there for you, so it’s a case of using your descriptive writing skills to really sell it to others and keep readers – or viewers – on the edge of their seats.

A speech is definitely a work of creative writing. The aim of a speech can vary depending on what type of speech it is. A politician delivering a speech in the House of Commons will want to get a point across to persuade others in the room. They’ll need to use creative writing to captivate their audience and have them hanging on their every word. A recent example of a great speech was the one by Sir David Attenborough at the recent COP26 global climate summit. [8] Listening to the speech is a brilliant way of understanding how creative writing can help get points across. His speech went viral around the world because of how electrifying and enthralling it is. The use of many descriptive and persuasive words had people hanging onto everything he said. He really created a picture and an image for people to see, convincing them that the time is now to work on stopping and reversing climate change.

From this speech to a completely different one, you can see creative writing at play for speeches at weddings and other jovial events. Here, the purpose is more to entertain guests and make them laugh. At the same time, someone giving a wedding speech will hope to create a lovely story for the guests to enjoy, displaying the true love that the married couple share for one another. Regardless of what type of speech an individual is giving, creative writing skills are required for it to be good and captivating.

Poetry & Songs

The final example of creative writing is twofold; poetry and songs. Both of these formats are similar to one another, relying on creativity to deliver a combination of things. Poetry can take so many forms and styles, but it aims to inspire readers and get them thinking. Poems often have hidden meanings behind them, and it takes a great deal of imagination and creativity to come up with these meanings while also creating a powerful poem. Some argue that poetry is the most creative of all creative writing forms.

Songwriting is similar in that you use creativity to come up with lyrics that can have powerful meanings while also conjuring up a story for people. The best songwriters will use lyrics that stay in people’s minds and get them thinking about the meaning behind the song. If you lack imagination and creativity, you will never be a good songwriter.

In truth, there are so many other types and examples of creative writing that you can explore. The ones listed above are the most common and powerful, and they all do a great job of demonstrating how diverse creative writing can be. If you can hone your skills in creative writing, it opens up many opportunities for you in life. Primarily, creative writing focuses on fictional pieces of work, but as you can see, non-fiction also requires a good deal of creativity.

What’s needed to make a piece of creative writing?

Our in-depth analysis of creative writing has led to a point where you’re aware of this style of writing and its purpose, along with some examples of it in the real world. The next question to delve into is what do you need to do to make a piece of creative writing. To phrase this another way; how do you write something that comes under the creative heading rather than another form of writing?

There is an element of difficulty in answering this question as creative writing has so many different types and genres. Consequently, there isn’t a set recipe for the perfect piece of creative writing, and that’s what makes this format so enjoyable and unique. Nevertheless, we can discover some crucial elements or principles that will help make a piece of writing as creative and imaginative as possible:

A target audience

All creative works will begin by defining a target audience. There are many ways to define a target audience, with some writers suggesting that you think about who is most likely to read your work. However, this can still be challenging as you’re unsure of the correct demographic to target. Writer’s Digest makes a good point of defining your target audience by considering your main motivation for writing in the first place. [9] It’s a case of considering what made you want to start writing – whether it’s a blog post, novel, song, poem, speech, etc. Figuring out your motivation behind it will help you zero in on your target audience.

Defining your audience is vital for creative writing as it helps you know exactly what to write and how to write it. All of your work should appeal to this audience and be written in a way that they can engage with. As a simple example, authors that write children’s stories will adapt their writing to appeal to the younger audience. Their stories include lots of descriptions and words that children understand, rather than being full of long words and overly academic writing.

Establishing the audience lets the writer know which direction to take things in. As a result, this can aid with things like character choices, plot, storylines, settings, and much more.

A story of sorts

Furthermore, great works of creative writing will always include a story of sorts. This is obvious for works such as novels, short stories, scripts, etc. However, even for things like poems, songs or speeches, a story helps make it creative. It gives the audience something to follow, helping them make sense of the work. Even if you’re giving a speech, setting a story can help you create a scene in people’s minds that makes them connect to what you’re saying. It’s a very effective way of persuading others and presenting different views for people to consider.

Moreover, consider the definition of a story/narrative arc. One definition describes it as a term that describes a story’s full progression. It visually evokes the idea that every story has a relatively calm beginning, a middle where tension, character conflict and narrative momentum builds to a peak and an end where the conflict is resolved. [10]

Simplifying this, we can say that all works of creative writing need a general beginning, middle and end. It’s a way of bringing some sort of structure to your writing so you know where you are going, rather than filling it with fluff or waffle.

A good imagination

Imagination is a buzzword that we’ve used plenty of times throughout this deep dive into creative writing. Every creative writing course you go on will spend a lot of time focusing on the idea of using your imagination. The human brain is a marvellously powerful thing that holds the key to creative freedom and expressing yourself in new and unique ways. If you want to make something creative, you need to tap into your imagination.

People use their imagination in different ways; some will be able to conjure up ideas for stories or worlds that exist beyond our own. Others will use theirs to think of ways of describing things in a more creative and imaginative way. Ultimately, a good imagination is what sets your work apart from others within your genre. This doesn’t mean you need to come up with the most fantastical novel of all time to have something classified as creative writing. No, using your imagination and creativity can extend to something as simple as your writing style.

Ultimately, it’s more about using your imagination to find your own personal flair and creative style. You will then be able to write unique pieces that stand out from the others and keep audiences engaged.

How can creative writing skills benefit you?

When most individuals or students consider creative writing, they imagine a world where they are writing stories for a living. There’s a common misconception that creative writing skills are only beneficial for people pursuing careers in scriptwriting, storytelling, etc. Realistically, enhancing ones creative writing skills can open up many windows of opportunity throughout your education and career.

  • Improve essay writing – Naturally, creative writing forms a core part of essays and other written assignments in school and university. Improving your skills in this department can help a student get better at writing powerful essays and achieving top marks. In turn, this can impact your career by helping you get better grades to access better jobs in the future.
  • Become a journalist – Journalists depend on creative writing to make stories that capture audiences and have people hanging on their every word. You need high levels of creativity to turn a news story into something people are keen to read or watch.
  • Start a blog – In modern times, blogging is a useful tool that can help people find profitable and successful careers. The whole purpose of a blog is to provide your opinions to the masses while also entertaining, informing and educating. Again, having a firm grasp of creative writing skills will aid you in building your blog audience.
  • Write marketing content – From advert scripts to content on websites, marketing is fuelled by creative writing. The best marketers will have creative writing skills to draw an audience in and convince them to buy products. If you can learn to get people hanging on your every word, you can make it in this industry.

These points all demonstrate the different ways in which creative writing can impact your life and alter your career. In terms of general career skills, this is one that you simply cannot go without.

How to improve your creative writing

One final part of this analysis of creative writing is to look at how students can improve. It begins by reading as much as you can and taking in lots of different content. Read books, poems, scripts, articles, blogs – anything you can find. Listen to music and pay attention to the words people use and the structure of their writing. It can help you pick up on things like metaphors, similes, and how to use your imagination. Of course, writing is the key to improving; the more you write, the more creative you can get as you will start unlocking the powers of your brain.

Conclusion: What is creative writing

In conclusion, creative writing uses a mixture of different types of writing to create stories that stray from traditional structures and norms. It revolves around the idea of using your imagination to find a writing style that suits you and gets your points across to an audience, keeping them engaged in everything you say. From novels to speeches, there are many forms of creative writing that can help you in numerous career paths throughout your life.

To really unlock your writing potential, try one of our creative writing courses . As mentioned right at the beginning, we have a range of courses for students of different ages, all built around creativity and creative writing.

[1] SkillShare: The 5 Types of Writing Styles with Examples

[2] Elements of Good Story Telling – UX Planet

[3] Simile vs Metaphor: What’s the Difference? – ProWritingAid

[4] Definition of Exposure by Merriam-Webster

[5] The Higher Purpose of Creative Writing | by Terveen Gill

[6] Essay purpose – Western Sydney University

[7] FICTION | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

[8] ‘Not fear, but hope’ – Attenborough speech in full – BBC News

[9] Writer’s Digest: Who Is Your Target Reader?

[10] What is a Narrative Arc? • A Guide to Storytelling Structure

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  • What is Imagination? Elements of Creative Writing.
  • Literary Devices

What is Imagination? Elements of Creative Writing.

Imagination  is a boundless realm where ideas come to life, stories take shape, and worlds are crafted. It’s the driving force behind every captivating narrative, and it holds the key to unlocking the magic of  creative writing . In this blog, we delve into the elements of creative writing that are fueled by imagination, exploring how to harness its power to craft  compelling stories

Understanding imagination and its role in writing

Imagination  is the canvas upon which writers paint their stories. It’s the ability to conjure vivid images, emotions, and scenarios in our minds, transcending the limits of reality. In the realm of creative writing, imagination serves as the foundation for storytelling, allowing writers to transport readers to new dimensions and experiences.

Imagination and Writing: A Symbiotic Relationship

Imagination and writing share an intricate symbiotic relationship, each enhancing the other’s potential to craft captivating narratives that capture readers’ hearts and minds. Writing acts as the vessel that channels the boundless energy of imagination, transforming abstract ideas into concrete, relatable stories that readers can immerse themselves in. Imagination, on the other hand, supplies the raw materials, infusing the writing process with creativity, depth, and the power to evoke emotions.

Read:  How to Become a Travel Writer – A Complete Guide on Travelogue Writing

Imagine a scenario where the writer envisions an enchanting forest illuminated by the soft glow of fireflies. This mental image is a product of their imagination. However, it’s through the act of writing that this imagery takes shape and becomes accessible to others. As the words flow onto the page, the scene materialises, and readers can envision the magical forest just as vividly as the writer did. Here, imagination laid the foundation, and writing built the bridge to share it with others.

Consider a fictional story where a young  protagonist  embarks on a daring adventure to save their kingdom. The twists and turns of the plot, the vivid landscapes, and the complex characters are all fruits of the  writer’s imagination . However, without skillful writing to weave these elements together, the story might remain a jumble of disconnected thoughts. Writing provides the structure that allows imagination’s creations to be expressed coherently, drawing readers into a world they can explore.

Elements of Creative Writing Nurtured by Imagination

  • Narrative Paragraphs : Imagination breathes life into narrative paragraphs, where characters, plots, and settings intermingle to create a cohesive story. It enables writers to craft dynamic characters with distinct personalities and motivations, driving the plot forward with unexpected twists and turns. The magic of imagination transforms mundane scenarios into exciting adventures that captivate readers. For example , consider a mundane situation where a character is walking to work. With imagination, this simple act can turn into an adventure. Perhaps the character stumbles upon a hidden portal that leads to a fantastical realm, setting the stage for an unexpected journey filled with challenges and discoveries.
  • Descriptive Paragraphs : Imagination adds depth and colour to descriptive paragraphs, allowing readers to visualise scenes and settings as if they were standing amidst them. Writers use imaginative language to evoke sensory experiences, painting a sensory-rich tapestry that readers can immerse themselves in. Whether it’s the scent of blooming flowers or the rustling of leaves, imagination fuels descriptive writing. Imagine describing a forest scene with a touch of imagination. Instead of just stating “the trees were tall,” you could evoke a vivid image with “towering trees whispered secrets to the sky, their branches reaching out like ancient storytellers sharing tales with the clouds.”
  • Exploring Essay Formats : Even in essays, imagination plays a crucial role. It guides writers in generating unique perspectives and insightful analyses. Imagination encourages writers to think outside the box, infusing essays with creative interpretations that engage readers and stand out in a sea of conventional approaches. For instance, in an analytical essay about a historical event, you could imagine being a fly on the wall during a pivotal moment. This imaginative approach could offer fresh insights into the emotions, motivations, and unspoken dynamics of the event, enriching your analysis.

Steps to Channeling Imagination in Writing

  • Mindful Observation : Imagination thrives on observation. Pay attention to the world around you—the people, places, and experiences. Observe the nuances, emotions, and interactions that often go unnoticed. These observations can serve as seeds for imaginative stories. Suppose you observe a hushed conversation between two strangers at a train station. With imagination, you could speculate on their identities, motivations, and the secrets they’re sharing, weaving a tale of intrigue and suspense.
  • Dreaming Beyond Limits : Embrace the freedom of your imagination. Allow yourself to dream beyond the boundaries of reality. What if animals could talk? What if gravity didn’t exist? These fantastical scenarios can spark creative ideas that lead to innovative storytelling. Think about a world where humans communicate with animals. You could imagine a heartwarming story where a young girl forms an unlikely friendship with a talking squirrel, leading to adventures that bridge the gap between human and animal perspectives.
  • Embracing What-Ifs : Imagination is fueled by curiosity. Ask “what if” questions that challenge the norm. What if time travel were possible? What if superheroes were real? Exploring these hypothetical scenarios opens the door to imaginative narratives. Imagine a society where everyone possesses a unique superpower. How would this shape relationships, power dynamics, and the concept of heroism? By exploring these what-ifs, you create a world ripe for imaginative exploration.
  • Creating Connections : Imagination thrives when ideas collide. Combine seemingly unrelated concepts to create something new. Merge historical events with futuristic technology or blend cultural traditions with modern settings. These juxtapositions can lead to unique and compelling stories. Consider a story set in a Victorian steampunk world where advanced technology coexists with the elegance of the 19th century. This fusion of eras adds depth and intrigue to your narrative, sparking readers’ imaginations with the possibilities of a beautifully complex world.
  • Diving into Emotions : Imagination isn’t just about visuals; it’s about emotions too. Dive deep into the emotional landscapes of your characters. Explore their fears, hopes, and desires. Imagination empowers writers to tap into the universal emotions that resonate with readers. Imagine a  character  grappling with a profound loss. By delving into their emotional journey, you can create a story that resonates with readers who have experienced similar feelings. Imagination allows you to convey the depth of these emotions in a way that makes them tangible and relatable.

Crafting Your Imagination-Infused Writing

Imagination and writing are inseparable partners in the world of creative expression. They collaborate to create narratives that inspire, entertain, and transport readers. By nurturing your imagination and honing your writing skills, you’ll craft stories that leave a lasting impact.

Read:  Get to Know What are the Main Elements in Creative Writing.

Immerse readers in worlds they’ve never experienced, challenge their perspectives, and ignite their own imaginative sparks. Whether you’re writing a narrative paragraph, a descriptive passage, or an analytical essay, remember that imagination is your greatest ally. As you embark on your writing journey, let your imagination soar and watch your stories come to life in ways you’ve never imagined before.

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Characteristics of a Creative Writer

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on May 14, 2022

Categories Writing , Creativity , Storytelling

Do you want to be a creative writer? There are certain qualities that all successful creative writers have in common. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most important of these. So, if you want to improve your creative writing skills and become successful as a creative writer, read on!

Creative Writers Are Often Curious

Creative writers are often curious. As creative individuals, they notice the world around them and are always on the lookout for new things.

This curiosity helps them create well-rounded and believable characters. By observing the world around them, creative writers can pick up on small details that others might miss. They can then use these details to bring their characters to life.

  • For example, an author might notice the way a stranger speaks or moves and use those mannerisms to create a character.
  • Or they might overhear an interesting conversation and use it as a template for a scene in their story.

By paying close attention to the world around them, creative writers can find inspiration for their work.

Observation is Critical

A creative writer is observant. She pays attention to the world around her, taking in details about people’s personalities and relationships, as well as the way their surroundings affect their feelings. She notices everything from the opening of a new restaurant down the street to how a friend is feeling that day or their favorite music.

Creative writers are also curious about things they don’t know. They’re interested in learning from the experiences of others so they can better understand themselves and the world around them.

Creative writers aren’t only curious, they also like to learn new things. They know that the more they know, the better they’ll master their craft.

That’s why they’re always looking for opportunities to learn new skills and expand their knowledge. Whether they take a class or read a how-to book, creative writers are always working to improve their skills.

Because of their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, creative writers are able to create rich and compelling characters that readers will love.

Creative Writers Are Good at Thinking Outside of the Box

Creative writers are often able to see things from a different angle or make connections between otherwise unrelated ideas and concepts.

This ability to think outside the box is one of the most important qualities of creative writers. It’s a hallmark of creativity.

When writing, creative writers use their imaginations and create new worlds, characters, and situations. This ability to use the creative mind to see things from a different perspective allows them to develop new ideas and concepts.

Creative writers not only think outside the box but often have a strong intuition. They trust their instincts and aren’t afraid to take risks. This willingness to experiment and take risks is another important characteristic of a creative writer.

Passion Matters

Creative writers are usually very passionate about their work. They’re very committed to their craft and are always striving to improve. This passion drives them to write their best work. If you’ve ever been blown away by a piece of work, it was likely the result of a creative writer who thought outside the box, followed their intuition, and was passionate about their work.

  • Creative writers are imaginative . They invent stories, characters, and situations that aren’t real.
  • Creative writers are resourceful – they use many different resources to get their work done (other people, books, magazines, etc.).
  • Creative writers are inventive – they’ve new ideas or ways of doing things that have never been done before.

Many creative writers have these qualities because they enjoy solving problems in new ways or coming up with ideas that others haven’t thought of yet!

Creative Writers Are Good Listeners

Creative writers are often good listeners because they need to be able to understand and empathize with their characters.

They understand that listening is an essential writing skill; together with its sibling – patience.

To write believable and compelling characters, creative writers must be able to see the world from their point of view. This can only be done if the writer pays close attention to what the character is saying, both verbally and through their actions.

In addition, creative writers often have a deep understanding of human psychology that allows them to understand the motivations behind why people do what they do. This insight can be invaluable in creating three-dimensional characters that reflect the personal experience of the characters, rather than merely a trope in the writer’s mind.

Being a good listener is one of the most important skills that enable creative writers to create believable characters.

Creative Writers Are Flexible

One of the most important qualities of a creative writer is flexibility. If an idea for a story doesn’t work out as planned, a flexible writer is able to quickly adapt and find a new way to tell it.

This ability to think with your feet is very important because it allows the writer to maintain the flow of the story even when things don’t go according to plan.

If an idea for a story doesn’t work as planned, a creative writer is able to quickly adapt and find a new way to tell it. This can be done by changing the point of view, altering the sequence of events, or adding new characters or subplots. Their flexibility allows creative writers to make the most of their ideas and write stories that are both entertaining and original.

Creative writers mustn’t only be flexible, but also open-minded. A good writer is willing to consider all sorts of ideas and possibilities, even those that seem far-fetched at first glance.

This openness allows the writer to come up with original and innovative ideas that can lead to a truly unique story. It can also heavily influence one’s writing process.

Creative Writers Can Connect Their Personal Experiences With Larger Themes or Ideas

To be a creative writer, you must be able to connect your personal experiences to larger issues or ideas in society.

For example, if you’ve experienced a lot of suffering in your life, you can use that experience to write about the human condition. Or if you were affected by a current event, you can use that event to address larger issues such as justice or inequality.

After all, personal experiences are one of the most powerful tools a writer has for understanding and empathizing with others. By drawing on their own life experiences, creative writers can connect with their readers on a much deeper level, making their stories more believable and relatable.

In addition, personal experiences can also provide a unique perspective on social issues. By telling their own stories, creative writers can help shed light on issues that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Giving Hope to Others

The themes can include issues in history or politics. In this way, creative writers can write works that feel relevant while being entertaining enough to appeal to audiences from diverse populations (e.g., age groups).

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever for creative writers to find a way to connect their work to the world. With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the world, good writing can help provide understanding and hope.

No matter what experiences you write about, remember that your words have the power to make a difference. By connecting your personal experiences to bigger ideas, you can write stories and poems that are both personal and universal.

They Can Create Vivid Images in Their Readers’ Minds

As any good creative writer knows, one of the challenges of writing is to create vivid images in the reader’s mind. This is especially true when you’re writing about character traits because it can be difficult to convey an accurate picture of a person’s appearance, mannerisms, and behavior without resorting to clichéd adjectives or long-winded descriptions.

However, there are a few tricks creative writers can use to create more realistic and nuanced characters.

One approach is to focus on the senses. When describing a character, try to paint a picture that appeals to all five senses.

  • What does the person look like?
  • What’s he or she wearing?
  • What does she smell like?
  • What does she sound like when she speaks?

Answering these questions helps create a three-dimensional image in the reader’s mind. By using descriptive language and vivid imagery, you can help your readers see the characters in your story as if they were standing right in front of them.

Show the Inner World

Another helpful tip to be an effective writer is to show rather than tell. Instead of listing a person’s characteristics, try to illustrate them through their actions and dialog. For example, instead of saying that a person is “lazy,” show them lounging on the couch or taking a nap.

It’s also important to consider a character’s personality and inner life if you want to create a vivid image in your readers’ minds.

  • What’re their likes and dislikes?
  • What drives them?
  • What fears do they’ve?

By delving into a character’s psyche, you can create a three-dimensional person who lives on in the minds of your readers long after they’ve finished reading your story.

Using these techniques, a successful writer can create vivid images of their characters that readers will remember long after the story is over.

They Have a Unique Voice and Aren’t Afraid to Experiment With Their Writing Style

Good writers have a unique voice that sets them apart from other writers. They aren’t afraid to experiment with their writing style, and this allows them to create characters and stories that are truly original.

When you write, are you a minimalist? A word twister? Do you use metaphors and similes as much as possible? Or do you prefer to be straightforward with your writing style?

Creative writers have the opportunity to experiment with their writing style. They aren’t afraid to use techniques that may seem unconventional or even strange to others.

Some creative writers even use humor in their writing because it helps them capture the audience’s attention. Humor can also help lighten the mood when dealing with serious topics that may be difficult for some readers – such as death or depression – and make these topics easier to understand and accept on an emotional level.

Creative writers also relish engaging in wordplay as a way to broaden their word choice in their writing.

They Are Supportive of Other Writers and Are Always Happy to Offer Helpful Feedback

Creative writers support other writers to become good writers and are always willing to provide helpful feedback.

They know that the creative process can be a lonely affair and that writer’s block can occur. When another creative writer is struggling with their work, these writers are happy to offer suggestions, share resources, or simply listen.

Creative writers are good at giving constructive criticism without being overly critical. They know that every writer is different and that everyone has their own style and voice. Therefore, they’re able to offer suggestions and advice that are tailored to each writer.

They also know that the best way to improve as creative people is to get feedback from others, so they always listen to what others have to say. They also know that no two people see the world in exactly the same way, so they’re always willing to consider other perspectives.

Ultimately, creative writers support other writers because they know that every creative person has something valuable to contribute to the discussion.

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11 Creative Writing Techniques

Learn how to add pizzazz to any type of writing.

The articles below show you how to use creative writing tools in fiction or non-fiction. Each article features a series of examples so it becomes easier to apply the technique.

List of creative writing techniques

Click the links below to go to a specific section:

Personification

Show don’t tell

Repetition in writing

Contrast in writing

The rule of three in writing

Parallelism

1. Metaphors

creative writing techniques - metaphors

Learn how to use metaphors and get inspired by these examples …

Learn how to use metaphors >>

Metaphor examples >>

creative writing techniques - simile

Get inspired by over 10 simile examples by various authors …

Simile examples >>

3. Analogies

creative writing technique #3

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Analogy examples >>

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creative writing technique #4

Get inspired by these imagery examples …

Imagery examples >>

5. Personification

creative writing technique #5

Learn how to use personification to make your writing sparkle …

Personification examples >>

6. Show don’t tell

creative writing technique #6

Get inspired by these examples of “show, don’t tell” …

Show don’t tell examples >>

7. Repetition in writing

creative writing technique #7

Get inspired by these examples of word repetition …

Examples of repetition in writing >>

8. Contrast in writing

creative writing technique #8

Discover how to use contrast in your writing …

Examples of contrast in writing >>

9. The rule of 3 in writing

creative writing technique #9

Get inspired by these examples of the rule of 3 …

The rule of 3 in writing >>

10. Parallelism in writing

features of a creative writing

Get inspired by these examples of the parallelism …

Parallelism examples >>

11. Switch the point of view (POV)

creative writing technique #10

Discover how to switch the point of view …

Point of view examples >>

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Table of Contents

What are the characteristics of writing?

Writing takes dedication, and if you want to make something work, you need to develop a love of writing. Writing can seem tough for everyone, and if you’re someone who doesn’t want to do it, you won’t enjoy the process, and you won’t put a lot of the necessary work into developing your craft and continual development as a writer.

As a writer, you have to be disciplined and dedicated to your work, and if you don’t want to write, then it will certainly be impossible to stay one step ahead. It takes discipline and dedication to be a good writer, and if you don’t want to write, it’s almost impossible.

But nothing stops non-fiction writers from exercising their imaginations and skills, writing creatively if they choose to. They do this using only their brain and some kind of writing instrument, be it an old-school laptop or a more modern laptop. Through this creativity, they can create unique and original content.

Video – Creative Writing Characteristics Lecture

This means that they have the necessary knowledge to work with topics in their field. While some would argue that the qualities of a good writer and writing skills are something you either have or you don’t, the point is that it can be taught. You will know if you are a good writer if you approach writing professionally.

In order to write well, a writer must be able to recognize the quality of writing . The author must be able to clarify the reason for the success or failure of the work, and the author must also be able to identify the quality in the work, even if it is not suitable for personal taste. Good writing includes precise and accurate word selection and well-written sentences.

What are the characteristics of creative writing and technical writing?

As a writer, you must discover your style and your writing, and feel free to experiment with different forms of writing. While the technical characteristics of creative writing and the definition of “good” creative writing are subjective – as evidenced by different opinions about the same piece – there are some common traits of great writers that can increase your chances of success and be considered a good writer.

These qualities are important to an effective writer because they emphasize a certain dedication and openness that are necessary to achieve greatness as a writer.

They argue that creative writing hones students’ ability to express themselves clearly and that creative writing involves careful study of literary terms and mechanisms so that they can be applied to the work of writers to promote improvement. In seminars, students usually submit original work to criticism from colleagues.

What are the 8 elements of creative writing?

Students also format the writing method as they write and rewrite. Unlike the academic equivalent of written courses, which teach students to compose works based on the rules of the language, creative writing is believed to focus on the students’ self-expression.

While they have their own film and theater curricula, scripts and screenplays have become more popular in creative writing programs as creative writing programs seek to work more closely with film and theater programs, as well as English-language programs.

Writers can do exercises that strengthen their imaginative powers, but having a pre-existing ability to write, imagine, and invent is a beneficial quality for those starting to write seasons of creative writing.

By using interesting and unusual words in their writing, this skill helps them keep readers interested and allows them to communicate more effectively by finding the right word for every situation.

What are the characteristics of good academic writing?

What are the features of creative writing?

A good writer can also take you into the creative world and describe it in detail. Interestingly, such creative writers can help you understand and experience this world. You will learn the words, structures, tone and style that you can use in your writing.

The reader’s reaction to your work will ultimately determine your success as a writer. There is always something that can be improved in some way. A good writer understands this and is willing to work hard to improve his writing . A great creative writer must be able to overcome this rejection and continue to write, with the goal of improving in every draft.

Creative writing often involves putting your heart and soul into paper, and you can feel very vulnerable when you let others read what you have written. You are motivated because you know that everything you write will depend on your voice.

You don’t need a boss who analyzes every little thing you do. You will finish your work and everything will be fine, because writing is the outlet of your creativity .

What are the key characteristics of academic writing?

Hence, a good writer will spend ample time writing, rewriting, and editing their work. Writers often have to write the same content over and over again. For example, if writing characterizes fiction, writers need to create time periods in which they customize their writing in order to accurately characterize all the details.

For example, when writing historical novels , writers need to research the time periods in which they set their stories in order to accurately convey all the details.

Moreover, after these original creative literary periods made history, other new artistic literary forms, genres , and writing styles evolved from those used by early modern novelists.

As just noted, a creative literary work is any type of writing that develops from the thought or imagination of the author, original ideas or ideas, types of topics, modes of expression, points of view or other literary characteristics or methods that are substantially new, different and important; it is a departure from the mundane and mundane.

What are characteristics of non academic text?

Creative writing is a piece that focuses on figurative and symbolic content, and creative documents are published to entertain, provoke, and inspire the user.

Creative writing is any writing that transcends the usual professional, journalistic, academic, or technical literary forms, usually defined by an emphasis on storytelling, character development, and the use of literary tropes, or with different traditions of poetry and poetry.

This is literature written with a capital letter . Many readers and writers realize that non-fiction is not uncreative just because it is not fictional. Writing does not become popular until it is written, so it is important to express yourself and get your ideas down on paper.

Creative Writing – Essential Elements

Creative writing  essential elements

Every story has characters. These characters may be human or animate and play a significant role in the plot. They allow readers to suspend disbelief and identify with the story.

Authentic characters prevent readers from questioning the authenticity of the story and keep them engaged. A well-developed character is an essential component of any story.

4 types of creative writing

Creative writing comes in many forms and is both fun and artistic. Poems are great examples, as they are almost entirely imaginative and emotional.

Another form of creative writing is limericks, which are shorter versions of a poem. While a limerick can be funny, it will most likely use a lot of imagination to tell a story. These pieces can be very effective for practicing your creative writing skills , and can be a great way to express your feelings.

The most popular form of creative writing is the novel. Novels have become a popular form of entertainment for centuries, and are perfect for escaping reality.

Novels are comprised of several parts, such as characters, settings, and central conflict. They can also be categorized based on the theme of the story .

All of these components work together to create a unique experience for the reader. If you’re looking for ways to express your creativity, consider these 4 types of creative writing .

Creative writing skills you need

For any writer, knowing the basics of grammar and spelling is essential. Every writer should have a copy of “The Elements of Style” or another book on the subject.

Online resources are available such as Grammar Girl and Merriam Webster. Practice makes perfect! Writers need to have a habit of revising, especially in challenging areas. However, they can also take advice from their peers to improve their writing. Listed below are some creative writing skills you need to master.

A strong imagination is an important element in creative writing . It can help you write about new situations, relationships, events, and different historical periods. It also allows you to think differently and creatively.

In order to learn more about creativity, you should read more, write more, and practice writing. Writing is an art, not a science; it takes time and patience! There are no shortcuts to creativity. So, get started today!

The importance of creative writing

The importance of creative writing is often understated. Writing helps a person express himself in a unique voice. It allows a writer to explore his feelings and opinions.

Creative writing improves one’s leadership qualities. Often, it is an essential part of an individual’s career. It can even be used to develop one’s personal brand. Developing one’s writing skills helps a person to become more memorable to peers and management.

The art of writing requires thought, and strong thinking is often the basis of strong writing. Learning to use language is essential for giving meaning to abstract ideas and choosing the appropriate words to express them.

Learning to write creatively will help you channel your thoughts and reproduce them in the most effective way possible. As a result, creative writing will boost your self-esteem and productivity in a number of ways. Listed below are some benefits of creative writing .

Resources relating to creative writing:

What qualities make a good creative writer – career trend, what are the characteristics of creative writing – quora, what is creative writing – definition, types & examples.

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The Basic Characteristics of Effective Writing

Why Good Grammar Alone Does Not Make a Good Writer

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  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Experiences in school leave some people with the impression that good writing simply means writing that contains no bad mistakes—that is, no errors of grammar , punctuation  or spelling . However, good writing is much more than just correct writing. Good writing responds to the interests and needs of its intended audience and at the same time, reflects the writer's personality and individuality (the author's voice).

Good writing is often as much the result of practice and hard work as it is talent. You may be encouraged to know that the ability to write well is not necessarily a gift that some people are born with, nor a privilege extended to only a few. If you're willing to put in the effort, you can improve your writing.

Rules for Professional and Academic Writing

When writing term papers or essays for school, or should you go on to a career as a professional writer—be it as a technical writer, journalist, copywriter, or speechwriter—if follow you these established rules for effective writing, you should be able to excel, or at least perform competently for any given assignment:

  • Good writing has a clearly defined purpose .
  • It makes a definite point .
  • It supports that point with specific information.
  • The information is clearly connected and arranged .
  • The words are appropriate, and the sentences are concise , emphatic , and correct .

Use Good Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation

While having a grasp on proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation won't make you a good writer, these basics are more essential to academic and professional writing than most other genres (although advertising is often a curious hybrid of creative and non-fiction writing).

Your Part in a Conversation

The trick to creating academic or professional writing that someone will actually want to read is to balance the aforementioned essentials with your own voice. Think of your writing, no matter how academic as your part in a conversation . Your job is to explain the information you're trying to convey in a way that's clear and easily understood. (Sometimes, it helps to imagine you're talking rather than writing.)

Creative and Nonfiction Writing

Of course, if there were only one kind of writing, it would be easier to come up with an overarching set of conventions to define what good writing is, however, non-fiction alone encompasses a wide array of genres and formats and what works for one doesn't necessarily fly with another. Now, when you add poetry , fiction (in its myriad genres and subgenres), personal essays , playwriting, blogging, podcasting, and screenwriting (to name but a few) to the mix, it's almost impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all umbrella that covers what makes writing good—or bad.

Separating Good Writing From Bad

One of the main reasons it's so hard to separate good writing from bad writing when it comes to disciplines such as fiction, poetry, or plays, is that the definition of what's "good" is often subjective, and that subjectivity is a matter of personal taste. People generally know what they like and what they don't like—but that doesn't necessarily mean the writing we don't like is "bad" writing.

Whale of a Tale

Let's just choose one famous piece of literature as an example: Herman Melville's 1851 novel "Moby Dick," a cautionary allegory of obsession and revenge that pits man against nature. While there's no arguing that the novel is considered a classic of American literature and is filled with its fair share of fascinating characters, Melville's narrative clocks in at over 200,000 words and nearly 600 pages (depending on the edition). When you consider that the average novel runs between 60,000 and 90,000 words, in terms of length alone, Melville's tale of the whale is a whopper.

But Not for Everyone

Unfortunately for many reading the book, the experience is much akin to being a sailor during a whaling-era sea voyage in which you went for days on end going through the routine, tedious, mundane, redundant tasks required to keep the ship going, with the exciting parts of the journey few and far between. Unless you're fascinated by page after page relating to all things whaling, reading "Moby Dick" can be a chore. Does that make it a "bad" book? Obviously not, it's just not a good book for everyone.

Famous Writers on Writing

Most professional writers—those gifted people who make writing look easy—will be the first ones to tell you that often it's not easy at all, nor is there a right way or wrong way to go about it:

Ernest Hemingway: "There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges."

Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

Paddy Chayefsky: "If I have anything to say to young writers, it's stop thinking of writing as art. Think of it as work. It's hard physical work. You keep saying, 'No, that's wrong, I can do it better.' "

Isaac Bashevis Singer: "One is never happy. If a writer is too happy with his writing, something is wrong with him. A real writer always feels as if he hasn't done enough. This is the reason he has the ambition to rewrite, to publish things, and so on. The bad writers are very happy with what they do. They always seem surprised about how good they are. I would say that a real writer sees that he missed a lot of opportunities."

Sinclair Lewis: "Writing is just work—there's no secret. If you dictate or use a pen or type or write with your toes—it's still just work."

Ray Bradbury: "Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer."

Harlan Ellison: "People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it."

Writing Rarely Comes Easily

As you can see, writing rarely comes easily to anyone—even the most accomplished writers. Don't lose heart. If you want to be a better writer, you're going to have to put in the work. Not everything you write is going to be great or even good, but the more you write the better your skills will become. Learning the basics and continuing to practice will help you gain confidence.

Master the Basics, and Learn to Enjoy It

Eventually, you'll not only be a better writer—you might actually enjoy writing. Just as a musician cannot deliver an inspired performance without first learning the rudiments of the craft and studying technique, once you've mastered the basics of writing, you'll be ready to let inspiration and imagination take you almost anywhere you wish to go.

  • Guides for Students and Instructors in English 101
  • 14 Ways to Write Better in High School
  • Writers on Reading
  • 12 Writers Discuss Writing
  • The Writer's Voice in Literature and Rhetoric
  • Doris Lessing
  • What Literature Can Teach Us
  • Explore and Evaluate Your Writing Process
  • Best Practices for the Most Effective Use of Paragraphs
  • 6 Traits of Writing
  • What E.B. White Has to Say About Writing
  • Defining Nonfiction Writing
  • What Is Style in Writing?
  • Writers on Writing: The Art of Paragraphing
  • What is The Author's Purpose?
  • Details to Give Recommendation Letter Writers

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Writing Forward

Eight Characteristics of Good Writing

by Melissa Donovan | Dec 2, 2021 | Better Writing | 31 comments

good writing

What’s the difference between bad and good writing?

How important is it for a writer to be able to discern the difference between good writing and bad writing?

Pretty important, if you ask me.

I know some writers aren’t concerned with quality. In today’s do-it-yourself and get-it-done-fast world, quality plays second fiddle to quantity. Who cares if your books are full of typos, bad grammar, and poor logic as long as you have published lots and made a bunch of money?

The Characteristics of Good Writing

So, what constitutes good writing? Opinions on the matter vary widely. There will be different traits that make good fiction versus good poetry or good nonfiction. However, we can cull together a general list of the characteristics of good writing (in no particular order):

  • Clarity and focus: In good writing, everything makes sense and readers don’t get lost or have to reread passages to figure out what’s going on. Focused writing sticks with the plot or core idea without running off on too many tangents.
  • Organization: A well organized piece of writing is not only clear, it’s presented in a way that is logical and aesthetically pleasing. You can tell non-linear stories or place your thesis at the end of an essay and get away with it as long as your scenes or ideas are well ordered.
  • Ideas and themes: Is the topic of your paper relevant? Does your story come complete with themes? Can the reader visualize your poem? For a piece of writing to be considered well crafted, it has to contain clearly identifiable ideas and themes.
  • Voice: This is what sets you apart from all other writers. It’s your unique way of stringing words together, formulating ideas, and relating scenes or images to the reader. In any piece of writing, the voice should be consistent and identifiable.
  • Language (word choice): We writers can never underestimate or fail to appreciate our most valuable tools: words. Good writing includes precise and accurate word choices and well crafted sentences.
  • Grammar and style: Many writers would wish this one away, but for a piece of writing to be considered good (let alone great), it has to follow the rules of grammar (and break those rules only when there’s a good reason). Style is also important in ensuring that a piece of writing is clear and consistent. Make sure you keep a grammar book and style guide handy.
  • Credibility or believability: Nothing says bad writing like getting the facts wrong or misrepresenting oneself. In fiction, the story must be believable (even if it’s impossible), and in nonfiction, accurate research can make or break a writer.
  • Thought-provoking or emotionally inspiring: Perhaps the most important quality of good writing is how the reader responds to it. Does she come away with a fresh perspective and new ideas? Does he close the cover with tears in his eyes or a sense of victory? How readers react to your work will fully determine your success as a writer.

I want to add an honorable mention for originality. Everything has been done before, so originality is somewhat arbitrary. However, putting old ideas together in new ways and creating remixes of the best that literature has to offer is a skill worth developing.

Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Good and Bad Writing

To write well, a writer must be able to recognize quality in a piece of writing. How can you assess or improve your own work if you can’t tell the difference between mediocre and better writing in others’ work? This is why it’s so important for writers to be dedicated readers!

Writing is also an art form and therefore subject to personal taste. Can you read a book and dislike it but acknowledge that the writing was good? Have you ever read a book and loved the story but felt that the writing was weak?

A writer should be able to articulate why a piece of writing succeeds or fails, and a writer should also be able to recognize the qualities in a piece of writing even when it doesn’t appeal to their personal taste. These skills are especially necessary when writers are reviewing or critiquing other writers’ work and when revising, editing, and proofreading their own work.

Where do you stand? Do you rate other people’s writing? Do you worry about whether your own writing is any good? Would you add or remove any characteristics of good writing from this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing.

10 Core Practices for Better Writing

31 Comments

Michelle

I have had work published. I have even won a competition and still I lack the courage to really commit to it. It’s like I heard a character in a ‘soap’ once saying: ” If I dream of doing it I can always hold onto the dream and live on the’ I could have done it if I tried’, whereas if I go ahead and do it I just might not be ‘good’ and then everything will be gone then, dream and all ! ” Everything you say makes sense but it’s courage I now seek to acquire as well as certain’ devil may care attitude . Courage and self belief and wee bit of discipline. 2012 might just be the year ! Michelle

Melissa Donovan

Michelle, I actually think it’s healthy to have dreams that we don’t fully intend on pursuing. It’s good for the imagination! A person might be interested or passionate about dozens of things and cannot possibly make careers out of them all. But courage is something else… and I don’t think anyone can give you courage. You have to find it within yourself. The first step is to decide that you are going to brave the writing career. After that, you muster up the courage. It’s there inside you, and if you really want it, you’ll find it 🙂 Good luck to you!

Bill Polm

Good one, Michelle, and needed too.

So many blog posts on how to drum up business or write enticing posts or articles, or even how to avoid embarrassing grammatical errors (not that those are not important).

So little on just plain old good writing. Writing that is unusually good, that delights, that informs with impact,

I love the freedom an informal style of modern English. But sometimes I worry a bit that contemporary readers are being fed to many tiny sentences to appeal to an ever-diminishing attention span.

A good list you have there. Maybe I would add that I value fluency. That adroit facility of the accomplished writer who’s covered miles of (digital) paper and now can write not only accurate and clear words and sentences but also compelling and memorable prose.

Ah, fluency is definitely necessary to good writing, although I think it comes with experience, so it might only apply to older or more advanced writers. Great food for thought, Bill. Thanks!

Michael White

Loved this blog post. It actually reminded me of a quote by Oscar Wilde, “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.”

That quote could spur a debate, I’m sure! Thanks for sharing it, Michael. I’m going to give Oscar Wilde’s idea some serious consideration.

PlumaDame

“A writer should be able to articulate why a piece of writing succeeds or fails, and a writer should also be able to recognize the qualities in a piece of writing even when it doesn’t appeal to personal taste”

I’m reading a book right now with a story line that I don’t particularly care for. Eight chapters into it, I’m not fully invested into the story. BUT, the author’s grasp of human emotion/interaction and her ability to explicate the nuances with clarity is brilliant. That fact alone keeps interested and pulls me forward.

Ah! I’ve been there too!

Sierra

This is a very well written blog, and the advice is good for teaching people how to get their points across. However, my problem is not that I can’t tell good from bad; apparently I’m quite good at assessing the quality of other authors’ writing and helping them iprove it. My problem is that though I love writing and am proud of my plot lines and characters, I don’t have a way with words and I just can’t write. Does anyone have any advice on how to make things WORK once you have everything planned out, or am I doomed to the life of an author who can’t write? That sounded really dismal.

Beckie

How do really know your writing is bad? If you’ve got a plot that you love, characters that are filled with layers and truth, set them free! Turn off those negative thoughts and just run with it. Write your story through to the end. If you believe in what you’ve got so far then let it lead you. You will surprise yourself. You proved with your post above that you can convey feeling, let your characters have their voice. Take a deep breath and jump/write!! Best of luck and courageous hugs!

Thanks, Beckie. Well said!

My guess is that your way with words isn’t as bad as you think. I didn’t have any trouble understanding what you wrote. However, if you want to strengthen your skills in vocabulary, word choice, and sentence structure, there are two things you can do: read as much as possible and engage with poetry. Pick up an introductory book on poetry and you’ll learn tons of techniques in this area (which you can apply to fiction and nonfiction). This one can be expensive but it’s worth every penny: Perrine’s Sound and Sense . Good luck to you!

Thank you, both you and Beckie. That’s really good advice. 🙂 I’ll try to be more positive.

Yes! Keep your chin up and stick with it.

Tina Ridgway

In my estimation, for what it’s worth, you write very well. You were clear and concise. I understood the points you were trying to convey. You even allowed a bit of your personality to shine through with self deprecation. Don’t be so hard on yourself, if you wish to be a writer then you should write. I am learning that for one to write compelling characters , one must be well acquainted with the characters they are creating. I am working on fleshing out some characters who are too one dimensional. Life is not black and white. I am trying to write in between the lines in gray. Good luck with your writing.

Paul Atreides

I’ve been perusing your site all morning. I’ve found some terrific tips, some very well-thought common sense approaches to working through difficulties in writing. And as soon as I push the submit button on this I’ll be subscribing!

Though I’ve been published and produced, I find myself in an almost constant state of questioning even the most basic ability to write. On the one hand, a local critic stated “proves he can write” and “there’s a simplicity in the writing that is quite refreshing.” On the other hand, I face a writer’s group (all women) each week who continually tell me my writing is sorely lacking because there aren’t enough issues (conflicts) in any given piece and therefore the characters do not exhibit enough “emotional levels.” Facing this type of weekly demolition has made me think I need to go back to doing what I used to do (before I became unemployed!): write for my own enjoyment and forget about any further publishing.

Where can one go to determine if there is even the slightest bit of talent worth further pursuit? I don’t mean a full-on critique of a piece, but a simple “I’d give it up if I were you.” or “This [writing] shows promise, keep learning and keep writing.”

Melissa McCann

Hmmm, Paul, possibly find a few dudes for your critiques? Also, are the women published? Have good reviews themselves? Read widely in your genre? Men and women do sometimes have widely varying ideas of what makes a good story. You may be writing good, solid, plot-driven adventures (I don’t know–maybe you’re into steamy historical romance) that don’t rely on a lot of emotional nuance. I’d look for beta-readers who understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Or take the girls with a big grain of salt and use what seems to deepen your own writing while recognizing that women’s brains are different. We have bizarre and incomprehensible ideas about relationships and whatnot. I read an interesting theory from the creators of the Dramatica Pro story outlining software about how a “masculine” character (or story) is about getting from point A to Point Z while overcoming every obstacle in between whereas a feminine character (or story) is about getting everything into balance and restoring chaos to equilibrium. Both perfectly fine stories. (I prefer the masculine-type storylines myself).

Post those good reviews and read ’em every day. I have some really nice rejections that I savor whenever I’m feeling inadequate.

Thanks, Melissa!

Two of the ladies have been published but have no reviews of their work. All have complimented the basic plot lines. Their big complaint would seem to fall into the theory from Dramatica Pro you mention; they are looking for every female character to make absolute sense to them strictly within their belief structure of how the characters should/must react to a particular situation. Otherwise, they give solid line-edit critiques and they do point out the occassional hole in content.

None of them read within my genre – if I even have one, that is. I’d classify my novels as “budscapades” (you like my mash-up moniker?) – in other words the main characters are male (female characters do show up along the way) and they are definitely plot driven stories. In entering the Amazon Breakout Book Award Contest, I classified the novel as “bromantic comedy” (plenty of action for guys with a hint of romance for women).

Both your suggestions are solid. I’m sticking with the ladies but will weigh their critiques carefully before implementation and I’ll have to find some men who can show the same amount of weekly dedication to the process.

Thanks, Paul! I think that critique groups can be immensely beneficial, but I also think that each writer has to decide which feedback to apply and which to discard. Objectively, there’s good writing and bad writing, but subjectively, we all have our opinions and preferences. I guess you have to decide whether you want to step up the emotional levels in your characters and add more conflict or if you want to keep your work minimalist.

Here’s what matters: once you do publish, unless you are looking for awards and accolades, the trick is really to find your audience. And there is an audience for everything (as popular culture demonstrates). You might also take a hard look at what the others in your writing group are producing and ask whether this group is a good match to your writing style and needs. You can also ask one of the women in the group to work more closely with you to bring those emotional levels up, if you think you’d like to stretch yourself and experiment a little.

Final word of advice: do not give up on writing or publishing. Forge ahead! You might even look for a creative writing class or workshop — you’ll get a broader range of feedback.

And thank you, Melissa (not Melissa-me, Melissa-you) for putting some analysis into the question of what makes good writing. I get so frustrated with the “Good writing is subjective; it’s just what you like or don’t like,” crowd. The more you study writing, the more you begin to see the difference between good vs bad.

The difficulty, I suppose, is because writing is as complex as any other language. It’s too complex to learn by having the rules explained to us by helpful parents, “Now dear, this is a verb. It always goes after the subject. Is it time to make a poo-poo?” We learn the rules of spoken language by hearing it at a time when our brains are primed and programmed to take it in. Many people don’t start learning to read or write until after that language window is closed. Those of us who learned to read at the same time we were learning to talk have an advantage.

Yes, I’d have to agree that the younger we are when we are taught to read and write, the more naturally it comes. There is much about writing that is subjective, but I believe there is plenty that can be assessed critically and objectively: grammar, spelling, and punctuation, for starters.

David L Scurlock

i tell every mother about my baby can read…they agree and then dont get it for their child..

Matt S.

I have to admit, I share a lot of the insecurities that I have read in the comments here. I’m pretty young and new to the game, and I’m worried that even if I somehow finish this idea that I have (non-fiction) I wont be taken seriously given my lack of a college degree. I have this internal conflict raging in my subconscious, so much so that I’m starting to have dreams about it. Do I go ahead and share my thoughts with others or should I keep them to myself?

It doesn’t help that I have a fear of failure, I suppose. Writing is where I clarify my ideas and feelings, and I’m afraid that my work will be ripped apart by people that dislike it or dismiss my thoughts, mostly because I’ll take it as them dismantling my soul. Does anyone else feel this way?

As I’m writing this I’m slowly realizing that I think that what I need is a little encouragement from people that don’t know me. Man, writing is awesome!

Even if you have a degree, people can still rip your ideas apart. I believe strongly in the value of higher education, but I also know (for a fact) there are plenty of folks with degrees who lack common sense or good hearts. And there are plenty of bright people with good hearts and common sense who do not have degrees. Then again, if you’re that torn up about not having a degree, why not just go get one?

Having said all that, I think you can simply shift your focus. Most of the best writers in the literary canon did not have degrees. Many did not even finish high school. Of your favorite authors, how many have BAs or MAs? Do you know? Do you care? (I don’t.)

As for failure, everyone’s afraid of it. I don’t think we’re meant to eliminate the fear. It’s more a matter of moving forward even though we are afraid. I would say that if you publish a book, some people are not going to like it. That’s just the way it is. So what? Focus your attention and energy on all the people who do like it. If you work hard and write, and put it out there (and do your marketing), you’ll find your audience. Embrace them, and don’t worry so much about everybody else. Good luck to you!

never worry about what anyone says…if someone takes the time for a a scathing review instead of just chucking it in the trash, then you must have struck a chord with that person…all publicity is good publicity…people will want to find out what made this reviewer so angry/….if they are intelligent…

Tony Vanderwarker

Writing well is the price of admission. But beyond the basics is where it gets squishy. Eudora Welty said something like “You’re only writing when you surprise yourself”. What does that mean? You write until you discover.

I don’t know–I would say you’re only writing when you’re putting words on the page. Surprises and discoveries are bonuses in the writing process for me. Maybe it’s because I write a lot of nonfiction, which isn’t full of discovery or surprise the way fiction is.

Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Great article. I’m going to link to it on Reddit!

i think another goal of writing is to use the fewest words possible to convey an idea…similies and metaphors fill this bill…but simple truth sticks with people especially when it is a parable for something much more meaningful.

I think that’s a good goal, although it’s not every writer’s goal. I love clear, simple language, but there are exceptions when I come across a poem or story that is dripping with rich language.

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Feature Writing

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  • Updated on  
  • Jan 28, 2022

Learn All About Feature Writing

Feature Writing is a literary and critically recognised form of writing in Journalism . It involves writing featured articles on trending topics, great personalities and relevant issues. This form of writing is generally longer than a specific news story and more informative in nature. Feature writings are used extensively in magazines, newspapers and online media. It covers a story in great depth and is intended to captivate the audience’s attention to a specific cause by looking at the story from a different angle. Did you know there is a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing? Keep reading to know more about feature writing and how to craft the best feature!

This Blog Includes:

What is the difference between a news story and a feature story, feature writing – the applause formula, different types of feature writing, style and objective of feature writing.

People are often confused between a news story and a feature. Here are some basic differences between the two –

  • While a news story usually covers recent or breaking news, feature writing can be issue specific that might not be recent. 
  • A news story summarises the story whereas a feature focuses on anecdotal references.
  • A feature contains a number of angles and sources whereas on the contrary a news story general is from a single source or angle.
  • If we compare the structure of the forms of writing, the news story follows an inverted pyramid structure while feature writing has a flexible structure and can take a linear/non linear scale. Conclusion forms a very important part of the feature.

For instance, recent news can be covered in a news feature and it can abandon the inverted pyramid structure to cover a human interest story using more detail and emotion.

Related Read: How to Write Dialogues?

According to journalistic theories, a feature writing story must follow the APPLAUSE Formula, each letter representing –

  • A – Appeal
  • P – Plain Facts
  • P – Personalities
  • L – Logic
  • A – Action
  • U – Universal
  • S – Significance
  • E – Energy

Must Read: How to Become a Ghostwriter?

According to The Universal Journalist written by the British journalist David Randall and a critically acknowledged masterpiece on Journalism elaborates on the following different types of feature stories:

  • Colour Piece: A feature story that essentially tries to inform readers regarding a particular theme or subject.
  • Fly on the Wall: A feature story that is conceived and narrated unobtrusively and mostly without the explicit permission of the subjects.
  • Behind the Scenes: A feature story that shifts its focus from the principal event to the background and narrates an interesting tale.
  • In Disguise: A feature story that is told while the storyteller is a part of the event.
  • Interview: A feature story that develops itself around questions asked to a respondent, who is usually in a place of prominence.
  • Profile: A feature story that is based on the exploits of a particular eminent person with or without his/ her interview.
  • How-To: A feature story that is dependent on research and helps readers in solving a problem or deciphering a scenario.
  • Fact Box/ Chronology: A feature story that provides plain and simple facts mostly in a chronological order.
  • Backgrounder/ A History of: A feature story that provides detailed information.
  • Full Texts: A feature story that is nothing but extracts from a book or transcripts of an interview.
  • Testimony: A feature story that is the first-person account of an individual. 
  • Analysis: A feature story that scholarly analyzes an event.
  • Vox Pop/ Expert Roundup: A feature story that accumulates opinions from the general citizenry and thought leaders concerning a subject.
  • Opinion Poll: A feature story that conducts a research of opinions and presents a generalized summary of the accumulated opinions.
  • Review: A feature story that reviews a work of art and presents a generalized opinion.

There is no set format for feature writing. It generally involves stories that play an extremely critical role in building opinions and inciting actions. Features are extensively used for the purpose of advocacy, knowledge generation and raising awareness on issues.

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As discussed, a feature story generally represents a new item through a narrative story and uses plot and story characters. The content used in feature writing is not fictional, It heavily relies on realism, subjectivity and creativity. The purpose of Feature Writing is to make an attempt to connect emotionally with the readers. It serves the purpose of entertaining the readers while informing them. They are however less objective than straight news.

Feature stories are also not time-sensitive and written in an active style emphasising mainly on entertaining prose. A feature story normally presents newsworthy events or takes a relevant cause that has been in the media for a while. For instance, the award-winning feature writing piece- “When can we really rest?” by Nadja Drost talks about the dangerous journey undertaken by migrants crossing the Colombia-Panama border to reach the US

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Reece Rogers

How to Use OpenAI’s ChatGPT to Create Your Own Custom GPT

3D illustration of a brain made of needles

I was never afraid to train an AI chatbot on my writing, because OpenAI had already broken the seal. CEO Sam Altman announced the “ GPT ” feature at OpenAI’s first developer day in November, prior to the company’s five days of leadership chaos . Before the release of custom GPTs, ChatGPT with web browsing was already able to plunder my writing for answers to questions about everything, from using better prompts to understanding niche creepypastas .

So, what the hell! Why not wrestle around with the chatbot and see if it can mimic me tout à fait? Together, let’s see how far we can trek into the uncanny valley with AI and learn how to make one of these so-called GPTs using OpenAI’s tools .

Like most of OpenAI’s newest drops, only those with a $20-a-month subscription to ChatGPT Plus are allowed to experiment with the GPT builder. (GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer .)

“We know that people want AI that is smarter, more personal, more customizable, and can do more on your behalf,” Altman said at the developer day. “Eventually, you’ll just ask a computer for what you need, and it’ll do all of these tasks for you.” He described GPTs as a fine-tuned version of ChatGPT that’s crafted with a specific purpose in mind. The customizable chatbot can be fed unique instructions to guide its answers and additional data for further context.

It’s not just beefed up context for the chatbot; GPTs can interact with software in winsome ways. “We’ve evolved our plug-ins to be custom actions for GPTs,” said Altman. Jessica Shay, an OpenAI staff member, demonstrated how one of the tools built by Zapier could spot conflicts in your calendar and send Slack messages to coworkers on your behalf.

As complicated as it may sound, you don’t need an advanced degree in computer science to create one of these—just a loose grasp of the English language and little free time. To get started, log in to OpenAI’s website and visit the main page for ChatGPT . Click on Explore in the top-left corner of your screen. Then, scroll down to see a few examples of GPTs, like a chatbot that explains complicated board games, one that helps you do data analysis, and one that can teach you how to make wicked mocktails.

Play around a little with these examples to see how it differs from the typical ChatGPT experience. Whenever you’re ready to embark on your own creative adventure, return to this page and click Create a GPT . Your screen will split in half: the left side is where you’re building the tool, and the ride side displays an interactive preview of your GPT.

Before toggling over to the Configure tab, make sure to start your build in the Create section where you can prompt the chatbot with some information about your goals for the novel GPT and how it should react. I introduced myself to the AI and shared that I was looking for a chatbot that could mimic my writing—and potentially even replace me. At first, it suggested two names for the GPT that seemed a little dry, Tech Scribe and Wired Wordsmith, but the third option it threw out, Reece’s Replica, felt perfect, even if it made me a little uneasy.

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Next, it generates a profile picture for the chatbot using Dall-E 3 . The first two it whipped up were a futuristic looking quill pen and a holographic laptop. Alright, but not really cool enough. When I asked for something a little better and for the magazine logo to be added, it created a neon keyboard with the classic WIRED magazine block letters floating overhead.

At this point, I switched over to the Configure section, where almost everything is already filled out. The name of the GPT as well as its description, instructions, and conversation starters were crafted in alignment with what I requested. Here’s an unedited draft of what the chatbot wrote as its custom instructions, based on my quick, initial prompts:

Reece's Replica is designed to mimic the writing style of Reece Rogers, a service writer at Wired Magazine. It will produce articles, reports, and other written content that closely align with Reece's tone, style, and thematic preferences, especially in the realm of technology and innovation journalism. The GPT will prioritize clarity, accuracy, and engaging storytelling, just like a seasoned journalist. It will avoid creating content that deviates significantly from Reece's known writing style or journalistic standards. The GPT should request clarification if a topic or style request seems out of scope for Reece's typical writing. Reece's Replica should use a professional and insightful tone, mirroring Reece's approach to tech journalism.

Well, that’s all good and dandy, but the chatbot claims at the same time not to have access to specific information about my writing style. So, here’s where the ability to upload more data comes into play. Under Knowledge , you can choose Upload files . I saved a bunch of my WIRED articles as PDFs to feed into the machine. Be careful not to upload any sensitive or private information to your custom chatbot. It might be possible for users to access this information via prompt injection attacks .

I had to pivot a bit at this point, since the GPT spit out an error message and refused to save the changes when I tried to upload more than 10 documents. Back to the drawing board! Based on this limitation, I decided to create two mega-documents that contain 50 articles I’ve written during my tenure at the magazine and upload them to ChatGPT.

Another important feature in the Configure section is the ability to turn on different capabilities, like web browsing and image generation. At the bottom of the page, click Additional Settings and uncheck the box if you don’t want the conversation data from your GPT to be used for OpenAI’s model improvement.

Whenever you’re ready to publish your GPT, go up into the top-right corner and click Update . The custom chatbot can be for your private use, for use by those with a direct link, or by the general public. Click Confirm to finish the project.

Here’s where I want to say that the chatbot trained on my writing was absolute shit and could never replace my incisive perspective as a journalist, but I’m not sure how true it feels. Sure, the chatbot relied on plenty of lazy writing gimmicks. For example, multiple AI drafts during my tests started the last paragraph with “in conclusion.” Also, Reece’s Replica verged on hagiography when asked to write about Altman’s potential legacy as a leader at OpenAI.

But the more detailed I got with the prompt requests for my replicant, the better it mimicked my tone and perspective as a journalist. The more I think about it and experiment with the custom GPT trained on my writing, the more I believe this innovation could be quite disruptive as it continues to improve.

At the dev day, Altman also spoke about plans to release an Apple-style GPT store late in 2023 where creators could make money by selling customizations for OpenAI’s chatbot. After the firing and rehiring of Altman, the company pushed back the release of this marketplace. “While we had expected to release it this month, a few unexpected things have been keeping us busy!” said the company’s emailed announcement to those who built GPTs. OpenAI now plans to release it sometime in 2024.

Although the custom chatbot sure sounds like me at times, my sources can know for certain that it’s the real me performing research, conducting interviews, and curating quotes—at least for now. If you’re a ChatGPT Plus subscriber, follow this link to try Reece’s Replica for yourself .

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    Key Characteristics of Creative Writing. Creative writing is marked by several defining characteristics, each working to create a distinct form of expression: 1. Imagination and Creativity: Creative writing is all about harnessing one's creativity and imagination to create an engaging and compelling piece of work. It allows writers to explore ...

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    • Plays • Vignettes But creative writing doesn't have to be limited to fictitious content. It can also include: • Personal essays • Memoirs • Journals and diaries • Letters As we can see from this list, some works of nonfiction can also constitute creative writing. After all, many books and films tell stories of real people and real events.

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    • Understanding Publishing Last updated on Feb 14, 2023 10 Types of Creative Writing (with Examples You'll Love) A lot falls under the term 'creative writing': poetry, short fiction, plays, novels, personal essays, and songs, to name just a few. By virtue of the creativity that characterizes it, creative writing is an extremely versatile art.

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    If you're interested in the world of creative writing, we have eight fantastic exercises and activities to get you started. ️🤩 Don't miss on the joy of Creative Writing: here are 8 ways to get started. Click to tweet! 1. Use writing prompts every week. Coming up with ideas for short stories can be challenging, which is why we created a ...

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    The dictionary definition of creative writing is that it is original writing that expresses ideas and thoughts in an imaginative way.[1] Some academics will also define it as the art of making things up, but both of these definitions are too simplistic in the grand scheme of things.

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    Understanding imagination and its role in writing. Imagination is the canvas upon which writers paint their stories. It's the ability to conjure vivid images, emotions, and scenarios in our minds, transcending the limits of reality. In the realm of creative writing, imagination serves as the foundation for storytelling, allowing writers to ...

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    It's a hallmark of creativity. When writing, creative writers use their imaginations and create new worlds, characters, and situations. This ability to use the creative mind to see things from a different perspective allows them to develop new ideas and concepts. Creative writers not only think outside the box but often have a strong intuition.

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    Creative writing and creative writing techniques are, as you might expect, the art of writing creatively! Also known as artistic writing, it can focus on narrative, character development and literary tropes, but it can also focus on poetics. Check out this great wiki page full of information about teaching.

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  23. Feature Writing: Tips, Types & Importance

    4 minute read. Feature Writing is a literary and critically recognised form of writing in Journalism. It involves writing featured articles on trending topics, great personalities and relevant issues. This form of writing is generally longer than a specific news story and more informative in nature. Feature writings are used extensively in ...

  24. How to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT to Create Your Own Custom GPT

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