According to the most accepted definition, creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics.

Due to the flexible and vast nature of the definition of creative writing, it is possible for varied genres of writing to be considered as creative writing, such as feature writing in a newspaper, fictional and non-fictional works, including such forms as novels, biographies, short stories, and poems.

Creative writing can technically be considered any writing of original composition, in which sense, it is a more contemporary and process-oriented name for what has been traditionally called literature, including the variety of its genres.

In an academic setting, creative writing is typically separated into fiction and poetry classes, with a focus on writing in an original style, as opposed to imitating pre-existing genres such as crime or horror. Writing for the screen and stage, such as screenwriting and playwriting, are often taught separately, although they fall under the vast umbrella of creative writing as well.

Creative writing is, at the same time, a form of artistic expression, which draws on the human imagination to convey meaning through the use of imagery, narrative, and drama. This is in contrast to analytic or pragmatic forms of writing. Creative writing can include but is not limited to poetry, fiction (novels, short stories), scripts, screenplays, and creative non-fiction.

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Career Prospects for Creative Writers

Contrary to popular belief, creative writing presents several exciting job prospects for an artist (the writer). While some of these jobs require the professional to be a certified writer (diploma in creative writing), there are many career avenues that do not require such formal degrees as a writer.

fiction wiritng
It's never too early (or late) to start writing. Just pick up a pen and paper and write down your thoughts. | Image source: Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay

Job Prospects With a Degree in Creative Writing

  • Advertising copywriter
  • Arts administrator
  • Creative director
  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Web content manager
  • Writer

Job Prospects Without a Degree in Creative Writing

  • Academic librarian
  • Film director
  • Information officer
  • Marketing executive
  • Primary school teacher
  • Public librarian
  • Public relations officer
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Social media manager

Elements of Creative Writing

When we say, 'creative writing', what usually comes to your mind? There are several elements and genres to creative writing. You needn't be an all-rounder in all the genres but you do need to know the basic elements of creative writing to become a successful writer.

Some of the popular elements of creative writing could be suspense and conflict, figures of speech and points of view, rhyme and rhythm, setting and scene, form and structure, diction and dialogue, exposition and narration, plot and theme, assonance and consonance, induction and deduction, line breaks and stanzas, and so on.

However, there are certain basic elements that you must learn and master to begin your writing journey. These elements are taught in detail across all the best creative writing courses in India. Here is a brief introduction for you.

The Author's Voice

Every writer has a unique style and technique of saying things. Try to identify your own author’s written voice the way you recognize a person’s spoken voice. In creative writing, perhaps, the first goal is to develop your written voice. This voice should come across naturally, clearly, and consistently, throughout your writing.

The writer's perspective on the characters and occurrences must come through in their own piece of writing.

We call it the author's writing footprint. One way of reaching this inner voice is to avoid wordiness, awkward use of language, awkward syntax, and lack of clarity in your writing. Most fiction is written in the first person, an eyewitness account, or in the third person, where the narrator describes things that happened to other people.

Characters

A character is a person in a narrative work of art, such as a novel, play, television series, or film. Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr, the English word dates from the Restoration. In writing, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and themes. Character development involves the act of imagining and portraying characters in such detail that they appear to be real, both to the author and the reader.

Types of characters

  1. Round vs. flat: Flat characters are two-dimensional, in that they are relatively uncomplicated. Round characters are complex figures with many different characteristics that undergo development, sometimes with the aim of surprising the reader.
  2. Dynamic vs. static: Dynamic characters are those who change over the course of a story, while static characters remain the same throughout the narrative.
characters in a story
In your writing, use believable characters in a relatable setting. | image source: NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Setting

In creative writing, the element of setting includes the historical moment in time and geographic location in which a story takes place. The setting helps introduce the main premise and mood of the story.

The setting, in creative writing, has been referred to as a story world or milieu that includes a context (usually, social) beyond the immediate surroundings of the story. Sub-elements of setting include culture, historical period, geography, and hour. Alongside plot, character, theme, and style, the setting is one of the fundamental components of creative writing.

Types of Settings

Settings may take various forms in different types of creative writing:

  • Alternate history
  • Campaign setting
  • Constructed world
  • Dystopia
  • Fantasy world
  • Fictional city
  • Fictional country
  • Fictional crossover
  • Fictional location
  • Fictional universe
  • Future history
  • Imaginary world
  • Mythical place
  • Parallel universe
  • Planets in science fiction
  • Simulated reality
  • Virtual reality
  • Utopia

Creative Writing Ideas

Practice can help you improve any skill, including creative writing. Use writing prompts to complete your practice exercises. You can build a personal repository of writing prompts or use writing prompts created by other authors to start writing faster.

Much like taking the first line from a great book, a writing prompt offers confines within which to write.

Writing prompts act as story starters for when you need a push or a moment of inspiration as a writer. Here is a few writing prompts to help you get started on your path to achieving your writing goals.

  • Write about a time you felt out of place, awkward, and uncomfortable. Take your focus away from your own feelings and project them feelings onto the things around you. Write about a time you felt awkward and uncomfortable.
  • Write about longing and how it feels to force yourself to go about a normal day when your character wants something else.
  • Write about yourself. Make your writing relatable and believable!
  • Write about a ghost. Ever wondered about the perspective of ghosts on the world of the living? Imagine what they might see and hear. Write their story of becoming a ghost.
  • Write about a road trip. Was your character trying to escape his/her reality? Or, was it a journey of self-discovery? Drop subtle hints throughout the narrative without fully revealing the motive. Make your reader want to turn the page for more.
  • Write about the beach, the water. Is your character reflecting on something important? Describe the memory by interweaving the sights, sounds, and smells of the setting of the story.

Creative Writing Skills

Creative writing techniques and skills are the basic and simplest tools that you need to learn to ingrain in your personality as a writer. Without these skills, it will be that much more challenging to succeed as a creative writer. So, what are these fundamental skills that make you a creative writer? Let's find out!

Talent

Talent is something every human being is born with. It is what we do with that talent that makes all the difference! Talent is nothing but passion for one’s art or craft. Talent is both naturally present in us as well as acquired. Do you have a passion for writing? Great! But passion alone cannot guarantee success. Hard work is needed to improve your writing. Just keep writing. Practice makes one perfect!

writing prompts
Creative writing gives you the freedom to write about anything and everything under the sun. | Image source: Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Persistence

Persistence is a skill, not a talent. However, talent can go to waste if the talented person does not persist with it. Persistence. Determination. Desire to succeed. Call it anything you like. A creative writer must be prepared to persist in his art. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again. Try a million times till writing becomes second nature to you and success can no longer elude you.

Patience

Patience is a key virtue of a good writer. You cannot last long in creative writing if publishing is all you can think of! One has to be patient for creative writing to bear fruit for them.

Take Criticism in Your Stride

Criticism isn’t a great feeling. We all agree. Who doesn't like to be praised? But criticism can actually be great for writers, especially if it is constructive criticism.

Imagination

A vivid imagination is the hallmark of a great creative writer. Ever heard of the phrase, think outside the box? Well, we say the time to put that thinking into practice is NOW!

Technical Skills

Technical skills are perhaps the easiest ones to pick up for a creative writer. Yes, I agree most of us would want to stick to good old pen and paper and, maybe, the exotic typewriter, once in a while. But, we live in a world driven by digital technology. So, creative writers must also learn the basics of typing on a computer, phone, or tablet, the basics of web publishing, and related skills.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.