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Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing: All you Need to Know
Learn the art of storytelling with our comprehensive blog on the Elements of Creative Writing. Discover the vital components that transform ordinary words into extraordinary tales. Dive into character development, plot intricacies, and more as we cover the core aspects of crafting captivating narratives. Read more to find out!
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Whether you're an aspiring novelist, a poet, or simply someone who loves to pen down your ideas, understanding the key Elements of Creative Writing can significantly enhance your skills. In this blog, we will explore the top 10 Elements of Creative Writing that are essential for creating compelling and impactful written works, along with tips.
Table of Contents
1) The i mportance of Creative Writing elements
2) Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing
a) Imagery and descriptive language
b) Character development
c) Plot structure
d) Dialogue and conversations
e) Point of View (POV)
f) Setting and world-building
g) Tone and Style
h) Conflict and resolution
i) Theme and symbolism
j) Editing and revision
The importance of Creative Writing elements
Creative writing isn't confined to the pages of novels or the lines of poetry; it's a fundamental human expression that predates recorded history. It has been a conduit for cultural preservation, knowledge transfer, and emotional catharsis. But how exactly mastering these elements can improve your writing?
Every art has its tools, and Creative Writing is no different. The elements we'll delve into aren't just guidelines; they're the building blocks that transform your words from ordinary to extraordinary. By understanding and mastering these Creative Writing elements, you'll be equipped to craft narratives that draw readers in, keep them engaged, and leave an indelible mark on their minds and hearts.
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Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing
Generally, there are various Elements of Creative Writing, each possessing its own unique features. However, many forms of Creative Writing also share some common features. Here’s a detailed explanation of each element every Writer must follow:
1) Imagery and d escriptive l anguage
Imagery and descriptive language are the brushes with which writers paint vivid mental pictures for their readers. By skillfully weaving sensory details, you bring scenes to life and evoke emotions. The rustling leaves, the scent of freshly baked bread, the gritty texture of sand beneath one's feet—these details create a sensory symphony that immerses readers in your world.
Metaphors, similes, and analogies act as bridges, connecting the familiar with the unfamiliar. Through them, you can compare the indescribable to the known, enriching your narrative with layers of meaning. Mastery of imagery and descriptive language transforms passive reading into an active experience where readers can taste, smell, hear, see, and feel the world you've created.
a) When selecting details, focus on the ones that have the most impact and avoid including unnecessary clutter.
b) Use metaphors and similes sparingly, making them truly resonate.
c) T ailor your descriptions to the tone and mood of the scene or story.
2) Character d evelopment
Character development is the art of breathing life into your fictional personas. Well-crafted characters are not only relatable but also complex, with layers of personality, desires, flaws, and history. They drive the plot forward, compelling readers to invest emotionally in their journeys. Backstories provide context, explaining why characters behave the way they do.
Effective character development allows readers to understand, empathise, and even dislike characters. The key lies in making them authentic and evolving. Just as people change, so should your characters. They learn, grow, and adapt, making their arcs believable and satisfying. The beauty of character development is in its ability to mirror the human experience, forging connections between fictional worlds and real hearts.
a) Explore your characters' pasts to understand their motivations and fears.
b) Create a character profile detailing their appearance, background, and personality traits.
c) Show character development through actions and decisions rather than telling.
3) Plot s tructure
Plot structure is the architecture that holds your narrative together. Think of it as a roller coaster, with highs and lows that keep readers engaged. The introduction sets the stage, introducing characters, settings, and the initial conflict. Rising action builds tension, propelling the story forward. At its peak is the climax, the turning point that determines the characters' fate.
Falling action allows for a gradual untwisting of events, leading to the resolution. Effective plot structure balances pacing, ensuring readers remain intrigued without feeling rushed. Twists and turns add surprise, while cause-and-effect relationships maintain coherence. A well-structured plot keeps readers invested, eagerly flipping pages to discover what happens next.
a) Introduce the main conflict early to hook readers' curiosity.
b) Use cliffhangers and unexpected twists to maintain suspense.
c) Ensure each scene contributes to character development or plot progression.
4) Dialogue and c onversations
Dialogue and conversations are windows into your characters' minds and hearts. Natural and dynamic dialogue conveys information and reveals personalities and relationships. Each character's speech patterns, vocabulary, and tone should be distinct, reflecting their backgrounds and emotions .
Through dialogue, conflicts can be ignited, alliances forged, and secrets unveiled. Subtext—the unspoken thoughts beneath the spoken words—adds depth and intrigue. Conversations can quicken the story's pace, providing relief from dense narrative passages. Dialogue-driven scenes foster engagement, inviting readers to eavesdrop on captivating interactions that fuel the narrative's fire.
a) Listen to real conversations to capture natural rhythms and speech patterns.
b) Use interruptions and nonverbal cues to make dialogue dynamic.
c) Balance dialogue with narrative to avoid overwhelming the reader.
5) Point of View (POV)
Point of view (POV) is the lens through which your story is perceived. The choice of POV shapes the reader's relationship with characters and events. First-person offers intimacy, allowing readers to see the world through a character's eyes. Second person immerses readers directly into the narrative. Third person limited provides insight into a character's thoughts, while third-person omniscient offers a broader perspective.
Consistency in POV is vital; changing viewpoints can confuse readers. The chosen POV influences what readers know and when they know it. It also affects emotional connection and empathy. Selecting the appropriate POV requires consideration of the story's needs and the desired reader experience.
a) Experiment with different POVs to find the best fit for your story.
b) Consider the level of intimacy and distance you want between characters and readers.
c) Be aware of the limitations and advantages of each POV.
6) Setting and w orld- b uilding
The setting isn't just a backdrop; it's a dynamic element that influences mood and plot. A well-defined setting isn't merely a stage but an active participant, influencing characters and events. You transport readers to a different reality through meticulous detail, allowing them to immerse themselves fully.
Effective world-building extends beyond the physical, encompassing societal norms, rules, and even magic systems in speculative fiction. The environment can reflect themes and impact mood. Whether in a fantasy realm or a contemporary city, the authenticity of the setting enhances the reader's experience.
a) Research settings thoroughly to ensure accuracy and authenticity.
b) Show how characters interact with their environment to convey their experiences.
c) Create a sense of place by using unique and specific details.
7) Tone and style
Tone and style are the fingerprints that make your writing uniquely yours. The tone is the distinctive way you express yourself through words—a combination of tone, diction, and syntax. It reflects your personality as an author. Style encompasses sentence structure, pacing, and word choice, influencing the overall feel of your work .
A comedic style might employ wordplay and witty dialogue, while a dramatic style could use evocative descriptions and emotional introspection. Finding your voice and style involves self-discovery and experimenting with different approaches until you uncover what feels authentic. A strong voice and style leave an indelible mark on readers, making your work instantly recognisable
a) Read more to familiarise yourself with different writing styles.
b) Practice writing in different tones to discover your preferred voice.
c) Revise with a focus on refining your voice; eliminate elements that don't align.
8) Conflict and r esolution
Conflict and resolution are the engine that drives your narrative forward. Conflict introduces challenges that characters must overcome, making their journeys compelling and relatable. There are various types of conflict—internal struggles within characters, external conflicts with other characters or nature, and interpersonal conflicts between characters. Conflict creates tension, propelling the story toward its climax.
The resolution, whether happy or bittersweet, provides closure and offers insights into the characters' growth. Well-crafted conflicts test characters' limits, forcing them to confront their fears, flaws, and desires. Through the resolution, readers witness the transformation and the culmination of the character's arcs.
a) Vary the types of conflict to maintain reader engagement.
b) Build tension gradually; escalate the stakes as the story progresses.
c) Avoid convenient solutions; resolutions should arise from the characters' choices and actions.
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9) Theme and symbolism
Theme and symbolism lend depth and layers to your writing. Themes are the underlying ideas, beliefs, or messages that resonate with readers. They can explore love, friendship, power, or mortality, connecting the narrative to universal human experiences. Symbolism employs objects, actions, or concepts to convey abstract ideas, often adding an element of intrigue.
A red rose might symbolize love or passion, while a broken mirror could represent self-perception. Themes and symbols intertwine, enriching the story's interpretation and emotional impact. Skilful use of theme and symbolism transforms a tale into an exploration of human nature and society.
a) Reflect on the themes that resonate with you and explore them in your writing.
b) Use recurring symbols to reinforce thematic elements.
c) Allow themes to emerge naturally from the characters' struggles and growth.
10) Editing and r evisi on
Editing and revising are the crucial phases that turn your initial draft into a polished masterpiece. Writing is rewriting; the initial draft is a raw exploration of ideas. Editing involves refining sentences for clarity, coherence, and flow. It ensures grammar and punctuation are correct. Revising delves deeper, examining plot holes, character consistency, and thematic resonance.
Seeking feedback from peers or professionals is invaluable, offering fresh perspectives. The revision process is where your story truly comes to life. It's an opportunity to tighten narrative threads, enhance descriptions, and amplify emotions. Embrace the iterative nature of editing and revising; each pass brings your writing closer to its full potential.
a) Revise in multiple passes, focusing on different aspects in each round.
b) Cut unnecessary details or scenes that don't contribute to the narrative.
c) Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling to ensure a polished final product.
Creative Writing is a journey of discovery, both for the Writer and the reader. In this blog post, we've explored the essential elements that constitute effective Creative Writing. From the foundation of imagination to the nuances of dialogue, style, and conflict, each element plays a pivotal role in crafting a compelling narrative. By mastering these top 10 Elements of Creative Writing, you'll be equipped to create stories that resonate, inspire, and captivate audiences.
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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.
1. Use writing prompts every week
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.
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
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
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.
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.
4. Find an old photo and tell its story
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?
5. Create a character from a random name
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.
Reedsy’s Character Questionnaire
40 questions to help you develop memorable characters.
6. Construct a character by people-watching
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
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
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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A Look Into Creative Writing | Oxford Summer Courses
Exploring the magic of creative writing with oxford summer courses.
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive helpful tips, tutorials, and thought-provoking articles that can inform and inspire your professional development. Sign up here .
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:
- Fiction: novels, novellas, short stories, etc.
- Poetry and Spoken word
- 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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What is Creative Writing? A Key Piece of the Writer’s Toolbox
Unpacking Creative Writing
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 understand fully what is 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 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 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 .
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.
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 , creative writing activities for kids , and is a degree in creative writing worth it .
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 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!
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!
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What is Creative Writing?
Creative writing is any form of writing that exists outside of journalism, business writing, or academic writing. It expresses an author's unique voice, writing style, thoughts, and ideas in an engaging and imaginative manner, said Christopher Sullivan , MFA, an adjunct instructor in the creative writing and English program at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
“Creative writing has no boundaries. It gives the writer permission to flex his or her creative muscles and utilize infinite amounts of imagery and imagination within their writing," he said.
What Makes a Good Piece of Creative Writing?
- Theme – The main idea or moral of a story.
- Setting – The time and geographic location within a narrative.
- Character and plot development – Usually intertwined, the author’s ability to grow a character’s ability to take action, which leads to conflict and the rising progression of the plot.
- Point-of-view – Told in the first, second, or third person, this is the way in which authors express the views of themselves or their characters.
- Voice – The way in which the author tells the story; for example, anxious, sparse in detail, looking back through time, etc.
- Tone and style – Style refers to the author's choice of diction, sentence structure, literary techniques, and use of rhythm, while style refers to the author’s attitude toward the story and the reader.
Within each of these areas of craft, authors use tools such as figurative language, dialogue, description, and conflict to give color and dimension to their characters and plot, she said.
What is Creative Writing and its Types?
In addition to fiction writing, creative writing includes the genres of poetry, creative nonfiction (such as memoir, autobiography, or personal essay), screenwriting, plays, and/ or graphic novels. Blogs and other digital media could also be considered forms of creative writing.
- Fiction – This type of prose is based on imaginary events and people, usually in the form of a novel or short story. Good novels appeal to the senses, embrace idiosyncrasies, and make people laugh or cry, wrote author Elizabeth Sims in a recent Writer's Digest blog post .
- Poetry – Much more than rhyming stanzas, poetry aims to “tell a story, enact a drama, convey ideas, offer vivid, unique description or express our inward spiritual, emotional, or psychological states,” according to poet Dan Rifenburgh, who wrote about the definition of poetry in an article published on the National Endowment for the Arts website.
- Memoirs – Memoirs not only recount the actual events of an author’s life from his or her perspective, they often serve as inspirational pieces that challenge readers to take action or make change. Jeff Goins, author of Wrecked and The In-Between, shares three basic rules for writing a good memoir on the blog, The Write Practice. Authors should also be prepared to show vulnerability and aspire to move the reader to a new way of thinking in search of the truth, he said.
- Screenwriting – Without a strong script, actors in our favorite movies would not follow a plot, engage in conflict, or participate in any kind of dialogue. Unlike other types of writing, a screenplay has to perform two jobs: it must be entertaining to the viewer and provide instructions to actors and directors, according to Ant Jackson, a blogger for The Writing Cooperative .
- Graphic novels – Similar to comic books, graphic novels combine words and images to tell a longer story. A blend of text and art, authors can provide visual punch to their dialogue in this format. Popular with both children and adults, graphic novels can better convey complex subject matter, thanks to a blend of both literary devices and pictures, according to Gal Beckerman , an editor for the New York Times Book Review.
- Blogs – Blogging itself isn’t a literary genre—it’s a platform that allows writers to share a variety of creative writing—poetry, short stories, or multimedia projects that combine words and images – with audiences on the internet.
Writers often spend years practicing their craft, and learned the basics in degree programs specifically focused on creative writing.
Explore Creative Writing Programs
Pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing and English can help you hone your craft and experiment with different genres and forms, while you also focus on a specific type of writing, said Prokop.
Undergraduate creative writing programs typically include a mix of general education classes and courses in the humanities, in addition to creative writing classes. Introductory writing classes typically cover genre basics and explore some of the tools writers use to craft an engaging story.
"This is a perfect class for beginners or those looking to hone a basic skill, such as developing a plot," Prokop said.
Such programs also help writers build upon their foundational skills, too. For example, most students take English composition classes that utilize a variety of rhetorical modes (narration, description, cause and effect, and persuasion and argument, to name a few) that help them perfect their skills before they focus on a specific genre, Sullivan said.
“Most students interested in applying to the creative writing program typically have a solid foundation with writing mechanics. However, that doesn’t mean their mechanics have to be perfect—they are here to learn,” he said.
Some programs also allow students to concentrate on a specific genre (fiction writing, nonfiction writing, poetry, or screenwriting) and develop portfolios of work that can help them apply for MFA programs or promote themselves as writers.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Creative Writing Degree?
If you decide to major in creative writing, it doesn't automatically mean you'll become a published author—but it will give you the tools you need for job roles that require strong writing and communication skills.
Graduates who are serious about pursuing writing careers are encouraged to practice their craft, obtain feedback, and submit their work to publishers, Sullivan said.
“Throughout the creative writing program, students are given tools, resources, and lots of valuable feedback to strengthen their writing skills,” he said. “However, writing is a process. It takes a lot of hard work, networking, humility, and dedication to become a published author.”
Here are some jobs creative writing and English majors might also consider pursuing.
Writer or Author
Use your storytelling skills to pen children’s books, novels, biographies, essays, or memoirs. A bachelor’s degree is generally required for a full-time position as a writer or author, and additional experience gained through internships or any writing that improves skill--such as blogging—can help, too. Although it’s a highly competitive field, successful authors earned a median annual salary of $62,170 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Editors aren’t just grammar experts who correct mistakes. Publications rely on them to plan, review, and evaluate publications. Whether they work in a corporate environment or for print or digital publications, editors must be imaginative, curious, and knowledgeable in a broad range of topics in order to add value. Most editors have a bachelor’s degree and gain experience through internships, according to BLS. In 2018, editors earned a median annual salary of $59,480 , BLS reports.
Reporters, news correspondents, and broadcast news analysts use their research and storytelling skills to inform the public about news and events. They can work for news publications, digital publications, TV, or radio stations. Journalists typically hold a bachelor’s degree and gain work experience through college internships. The average annual wage for broadcast news analysts in 2018 was $66,880, while the average annual wage for reporters and correspondents in 2018 was $41,260, according to BLS .
Advertising, Promotions and/or Marketing Managers
Whether they are creating ad campaigns, promotional events, or looking at pricing strategies, professionals in advertising and marketing roles use their creativity and communication skills to generate interest in their organization’s products or services. A bachelor’s degree is required for most advertising, promotions, and marketing management positions. A creative writing degree can be particularly helpful to media directors who use radio, television, newspapers, magazines, the internet, or outdoor signs to create messages that effectively reach customers. The average annual salary for advertising and promotions managers was $117,130 in 2018; while the average annual salary for marketing managers was $134,290, according to BLS .
With a bachelor's degree in creative writing and English, you can polish your storytelling skills and position yourself for a variety of jobs that require imagination and solid communication skills.
Krysten Godfrey Maddocks ’11 is a writer and marketing/communication professional. Connect with her on LinkedIn .
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About southern new hampshire university.
SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs . Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.
8 Creative Writing Examples That Will Spark Your Writing Genius
Jane Ng • 05 Sep 2023 • 6 min read
Looking for some creative writing examples to ignite your imagination? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re an aspiring writer searching for inspiration, or a student aiming to enhance your creative writing skills, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll provide creative writing examples, explore different styles, and techniques, and showcase some truly inspiring pieces.
So, let’s begin our adventure into the world of creativity and expression.
Table Of Contents
What is creative writing.
- Types of Creative Writing Styles
- FAQs About Creative Writing Examples
Creative writing is the art of using words to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions in imaginative and unique ways. It’s a writing form that goes beyond the technical and conventional aspects of writing like grammar and structure, focusing instead on capturing the essence of storytelling and personal expression.
In creative writing, writers have the freedom to invent characters, settings, and plots, allowing their creativity to flow without the constraints of strict rules or guidelines. This form of writing can take various forms, including short stories, poetry, novels, plays, and more which we’ll explore in the next section.
Types Of Creative Writing Styles
Creative writing encompasses a variety of styles, each with its unique characteristics and purposes. Here are some common types of creative writing styles:
- Fiction: Storytelling with invented characters, plots, and settings across genres like mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, flash fiction and literary fiction.
- Poetry: Expressive writing using rhyme, meter, and figurative language to convey emotions and imagery, including forms like sonnets, haikus, and free verse.
- Drama/Playwriting: Crafting scripts for theatrical performances, incorporating dialogue, stage directions, and character development for stage productions.
- Creative Nonfiction: Merging facts with narrative storytelling techniques to create engaging personal essays, memoirs, and travel writing.
- Screenwriting: Developing scripts for movies and television, adhering to a specific format, and including scenes, dialogues, and camera directions.
- Short Stories: Concise narratives exploring single themes with well-developed characters and plots within a limited word count.
- Blogging: Creating conversational and relatable content, combining personal experiences, opinions, and information, covering a wide range of topics and formats.
- Songwriting: Crafting lyrics and melodies to convey emotions and stories through music, blending language with melody in a unique creative form.
1/ Flash Fiction – Short Creative Writing Examples:
Ernest Hemingway’s Six-Word Story:
“ For sale: baby shoes, never worn. “
This poignant six-word story is often attributed to Hemingway, although its true authorship is debated. Regardless, it showcases the power of flash fiction to convey a complete narrative with just a handful of words. In this case, it tells a heartbreaking story of loss and unfulfilled hopes in a remarkably concise manner.
2/ GCSE Creative Writing Examples:
Here’s a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) creative writing example. GCSE creative writing tasks often require students to demonstrate their ability to craft engaging narratives.
Task: The Unexpected Visitor
“Imagine you are at home alone on a rainy evening. Your parents are out, and you’re engrossed in a book. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. You weren’t expecting anyone, and the hour is late. Write a short story (around 300-400 words) about what happens next.”
3/ Haiku Poetry – Creative Writing Examples:
Haikus are a traditional form of Japanese poetry known for their brevity and focus on nature and the changing seasons. Each haiku typically consists of three lines with a syllable pattern of 5-7-5, making them a concise yet evocative form of creative expression.
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694):
“An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond—
Splash! Silence again.”
4/ Screen Writing – Creative Writing Examples:
Screenwriting is a unique form of creative writing that brings stories to life on big and small screens. Here are a few famous examples of screenwriting from iconic films and TV series:
1/ Movie – “Get Out” (2017) Script – Written by Jordan Peele:
Jordan Peele’s screenplay combines horror and social commentary, making “Get Out” a thought-provoking and chilling cinematic experience.
2/ TV Series – “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013) – Created by Vince Gilligan:
Vince Gilligan’s screenplay for “Breaking Bad” masterfully portrays the transformation of a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, into a drug lord. The series is celebrated for its character development and moral ambiguity.
5/ Playwriting – Creative Writing Examples:
These plays represent a diverse range of styles and themes within the world of playwriting. They have had a significant impact on the theater and continue to be performed and studied worldwide.
1/ “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare:
This timeless tragedy explores themes of love and conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets. It’s one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, known for its poetic language and unforgettable characters.
2/ “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller:
Arthur Miller’s classic play delves into the American Dream and the disillusionment of a traveling salesman named Willy Loman. It’s celebrated for its exploration of the human condition and the pursuit of success.
6/ Personal Essay – Creative Writing Examples:
Personal essay examples showcase how writers can draw from their own life experiences to create engaging narratives that resonate with readers.
1/ “A Journey to Self-Discovery”
In this personal essay, the author reflects on a transformative backpacking trip through the mountains. They recount the physical and emotional challenges faced during the journey and how these challenges ultimately led to profound self-discovery and growth. The essay explores themes of resilience, introspection, and the power of nature to inspire personal change.
2/ “Lessons from My Grandmother’s Kitchen”
This personal essay takes readers into the author’s childhood memories of spending time with their grandmother in the kitchen. Through vivid descriptions of cooking rituals and family gatherings, the author reflects on the valuable life lessons and cultural heritage passed down through generations. The essay touches on themes of family, tradition, and the importance of preserving cultural identity.
7/ Blogging – Creative Writing Examples:
Here are a few famous examples of blogs known for their creative and engaging writing styles:
1/ Wait But Why by Tim Urban:
Wait But Why is known for its in-depth articles and entertaining infographics that explore a wide range of topics, from science and technology to philosophy and human behavior.
2/ Cup of Jo by Joanna Goddard:
Cup of Jo is a lifestyle blog that features thoughtful and relatable content on relationships, parenting, travel, and more. Joanna Goddard’s writing style is warm and inviting.
8/ Songwriting – Creative Writing Examples:
Here are three famous examples of songwriting known for their creative and impactful lyrics:
1/ “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen:
Queen’s epic and operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody” features intricate lyrics that tell a complex narrative and create a timeless rock masterpiece.
2/ “Yesterday” by The Beatles:
“Yesterday” by The Beatles is a classic ballad with introspective lyrics that explore themes of nostalgia and lost love.
3/ “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye:
Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is a socially conscious song with lyrics that address issues like war, racism, and environmental concerns.
Through the power of words, writers can transport readers to distant worlds, evoke deep emotions, and share profound insights. Throughout this exploration of creative writing examples, we’ve witnessed the diverse tapestry of possibilities, from captivating personal essays to timeless poetry, from gripping screenplays to enchanting song lyrics.
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting your creative journey, the key lies in unlocking your imagination and letting your ideas flow freely. So don’t forget that AhaSlides provides a dynamic platform for creative writing, offering interactive features that can enhance your storytelling. Whether you’re crafting a captivating presentation, conducting a workshop, or seeking feedback on your work, AhaSlides empowers you to engage with your audience in new and exciting ways.
FAQs About Creative Writing Examples
What is a good example of creative writing.
One famous example of creative writing is the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ novel “ A Tale of Two Cities “:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Is a verse example of creative writing?
Yes, a verse can be a good example of creative writing. Creative writing encompasses a wide range of forms and styles, and poetry or verse is certainly one of them.
A writer who wants to create practical and valuable content for the audience
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- by Derek Bruce
- December 5, 2021 June 10, 2022
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?
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
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.
- WRITING SKILLS
- A - Z List of Writing Skills
The Essentials of Writing
- Common Mistakes in Writing
- Introduction to Grammar
- Improving Your Grammar
- Active and Passive Voice
- Clarity in Writing
- Writing Concisely
- Coherence in Writing
- Gender Neutral Language
- Figurative Language
- When to Use Capital Letters
- Using Plain English
- Writing in UK and US English
- Understanding (and Avoiding) Clichés
- The Importance of Structure
- Know Your Audience
- Know Your Medium
- Formal and Informal Writing Styles
- Note-Taking from Reading
- Note-Taking for Verbal Exchanges
- Top Tips for Writing Fiction
- Writer's Voice
- Writing for Children
- Writing for Pleasure
- Writing for the Internet
- Journalistic Writing
- Technical Writing
- Academic Writing
- Editing and Proofreading
Writing Specific Documents
- Writing a CV or Résumé
- Writing a Covering Letter
- Writing a Personal Statement
- Writing Reviews
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- Study Skills
- Writing Your Dissertation or Thesis
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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
- What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!
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.  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  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  : 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  .
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  , 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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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. 
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.
 SkillShare: The 5 Types of Writing Styles with Examples
 Elements of Good Story Telling – UX Planet
 Simile vs Metaphor: What’s the Difference? – ProWritingAid
 Definition of Exposure by Merriam-Webster
 The Higher Purpose of Creative Writing | by Terveen Gill
 Essay purpose – Western Sydney University
 FICTION | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
 ‘Not fear, but hope’ – Attenborough speech in full – BBC News
 Writer’s Digest: Who Is Your Target Reader?
 What is a Narrative Arc? • A Guide to Storytelling Structure
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