Creative writing

A comprehensive guide on creative writing

Creative Writing

The term “creative writing” may seem confusing at the first look. After all, every type of writing demands a certain amount of creativity, but not every piece of writing can be called a creative writing example. So, what is the definition of creative writing?

Creative writing is the writing that employs creative techniques to entertain the reader in addition to providing a message. Another creative writing definition is that it is the type of writing that aims at creating emotional response in the reader by using written visuals. In other words, a piece of creative writing does not simply tell a story, it helps the readers create a comprehensive picture in their minds. 

Why is Creative Writing special?

Creative writing occupies a special place in the spectrum of writing types and techniques. Any writing is a form of communication which means that its purpose is to send a particular message to the reader. In this regard, creative writing is similar to any other form of writing you have encountered or even attempted to perform. The key difference that makes creative writing stand out is the methods it uses to achieve its goal.

While academic writing and publicistic operate mostly on facts, creative writing employs imagination and experimentation to make the reader invested in the story it tells. It provides the author creative freedom in terms of language choice and narrative approach.

At the same time, it is the most demanding type of writing in the sense that not all the creative choices are bound to pay off. As evident from the name, successful creative writing demands talent. However, it does not mean that there is no way to improve your skills. Check our creative writing tips to clarify which aspects of your work need close attention and become a better author.

Elements of creative writing

Before we proceed to how to write, let us discuss in more detail what to write. There are several elements of creative writing that you need to consider before you begin working on your first draft.


As it has already been implied above, any type of creative writing (we will discuss the distinctions later in the article) boils down to storytelling. To be a proper story, any narrative needs a plot. If you want to attract the attention of the readers, you better make the plot original and interesting.

Character development

A story has characters by definition. However, the fact that there are characters does not make a piece of writing fall into the category of creative writing. The characters must be developed throughout the story.

Character development means letting the reader understand the way in which a character changes throughout the story. It is also commonly referred to as a character arc.

Presenting the character gradually to the readers does not comprise character development. As an author, you need to make it clear that the events of the story have impacted the characters and present the changes those impacts caused.

Underlying theme

An important thing to remember is that the story you are telling in your creative writing is not the message your piece conveys. It should serve as the vessel for the underlying message or theme you want to present. The choice of the theme impacts the formulation of the plot and even the creative writing type you will employ.


You need to have a clear idea concerning the time and space in which your story unfolds. Nobody says it must be real. The key requirement, however, is that the setting helps you to bring forward your characters and bring the underlying message to the audience. Setting must be an instrument rather than obstacle.

Descriptive language

Creative writing does not merely tell the story. It describes its elements as graphically as possible to enable the readers to apply their imagination and immerse in the story. 

Types of creative writing

The lyst of creative writing elements is not exhaustive and their application depends on the types of creative writing you are about to apply. Let’s have a look at the three most common forms creative writing may take.


Writing poetry is different from any other creative writing exercise. The reason for it is simple: nowadays poetry may take numerous forms and shapes. You may be interested in writing a classical onnet or a white (rhymeless) poem, but there is still general principles to follow if you want to create a good poem:

  1. Create a theme. While a poem does not need to narrate a story, it must have a topic. In other words, the reader of a good poem understands, at least instinctively, the purpose for which it was written.
  2. Use figurative language a lot. The key aspect of poetry that makes it stand out from other types of creative writing is the fact that it is written using metaphors, similes, hyperboles, personifications and so on. In fact, it is also the reason why some people do not like poetry and find it confusing.
  3. Pay attention to how it sounds. While poetry does not always involve rhymes, a clear rhythm is a must. You may also want to experiment with alliterations and onomatopoeia. Remember, poetry is supposed to be recited, not simply read.

Fiction writing

It is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “creative writing.” Indeed the list of the elements discussed above suits the purposes of fiction writing well. In addition to those building blocks, fiction writing usually depends heavily on dialogue. There are stories about a single character that do not presuppose any dialogue. However, to make such a story interesting, you need a really engaging plot and unusual setting. In other words, you may resort to more common compositions until you have developed your creative writing muscle.

Another issue that impacts the way you will write your fiction piece is point of view. Note that the second person narration is not commonly used in fiction writing. Yet, you may see this fact as an opportunity and be creative with it!

 Creative nonfiction

Creative nonfiction can be explained as a type of writing which is based on facts but allows creative freedom in the manner these facts are presented to the audience. An example of uch work is a biography or autobiography which presents a narrative of one’s life told using various literary devices meant to capture the interest of the readers.

Another example of creative nonfiction is memoir. The point of this type of writing is that it focuses on events that actually happened instead of being created in the author’s imagination. At the same time, the author approaches retelling those events with a high degree of creativity. 

Creative writing prompts

Creative writing ideas may be difficult to come by. However, if you struggle with deciding what to write about, you do not need to give up on creative writing activities. There is nothing wrong with searching for creative writing prompts online for training purposes. Look for a prompt you find interesting and/or challenging, and give it a try. As you will become better in addressing such prompts, you will gradually find yourself generating your own ideas. This approach is especially useful for people looking for creative writing jobs since they will be required to work with prewritten prompts.

How to start?

First of all, you need to do your thorough research on genres and subgenres of creative writing. Check numerous creative writing examples to realize which form you would like to create.

Then you need to pick one genre and focus on it. There is no need for you to feel obliged to stick to your first choice. Trial and error are constant companions of a writer.

Once you have settled on  genre. Start writing in it. Do not be discouraged by the fact that your first writings will be bad. You need time and practice to become a proficient writer and maybe even enter creative writing careers. Do not let failure stop you!

How to become better?

There are several creative writing exercises that will help you boost your creativity.

  • Do not edit while writing. There will be time for polishing grammar. Your initial task is to come up with an engaging story, so do not distract yourself.
  • Edit your old writings to add a pinch of creativity to them.
  • Experiment! Try writing the same story from the perspective of different characters or using different points of view.
  • Ask for an opinion. Let your friends or family provide feedback on your creative writing.

To sum it up

Creative writing is by far the most challenging type of writing. However, it is a misconception that proficient creative writers are born rather than made. You make create beautiful pieces of creative writing by following simple steps:

  • Learn about forms and types of creative writing.
  • Choose the one you are interested in/comfortable with.
  • Let your creativity flow, you will revise the piece later.
  • Practice your creative writing a lot to become fluent in it.


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