Definitions for creative writing
Art of writing texts such as novels, short stories and poems which fall outside the bounds of professional, journalistic, academic and technical discourse.
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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 looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered creative writing, even though they fall under journalism, because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development. Both fictional and non-fictional works fall into this category, including such forms as novels, biographies, short stories, and poems. In the 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—screenwriting and playwriting—are often taught separately, but fit under the creative writing category as well. Creative writing can technically be considered any writing of original composition. In this sense, creative writing is a more contemporary and process-oriented name for what has been traditionally called literature, including the variety of its genres. In her work, Foundations of Creativity, Mary Lee Marksberry references Paul Witty and Lou LaBrant’s Teaching the People’s Language to define creative writing. Marksberry notes:
Freebase (4.67 / 3 votes) Rate this 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. Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered creative writing, even though they fall under journalism, because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development. Both fictional and non-fictional works fall into this category, including such forms as novels, biographies, short stories, and poems. In the 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—screenwriting and playwriting—are taught separately, but fit under the creative writing category as well. Creative writing can technically be considered any writing of original composition. In this sense, creative writing is a more contemporary and process-oriented name for what has been traditionally called literature, including the variety of its genres. In her work, Foundations of Creativity, Mary Lee Marksberry references Paul Witty and Lou LaBrant’s Teaching the People’s Language to define creative writing. Marksberry notes:
How to pronounce creative writing?
How to say creative writing in sign language?
The numerical value of creative writing in Chaldean Numerology is: 4
The numerical value of creative writing in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3
Examples of creative writing in a Sentence
Creative writing is very similar to pooping. Can’t write till there is enough pressure!
I hope that this award will remind everyone of how vital and important arts education is to our kids. Drama, music, art, creative writing — that’s how you make good citizens. these kids are so close to adulthood they can taste it, but they don’t have all the responsibilities of adulthood yet. So it’s important to give them a safe place where they can fail or experiment and it doesn’t matter.
Notes To Self: 1.The falling of autumn leaves is not your fault. 2.Stop piling candles for decoration. They are meant to be burnt. 3.Silence has a voice of its own. Listen to your own silence. 4.A piece of advice from a divorced and a formerly political prisoner: “to be successful, avoid two things: women and politics!” 5.A semi-colon is the middle finger in a sentence when writing fiction. 6.Be sadist when you write. Good things come out of your character only when bad things happen to them. 7.A comedian once said: if you are looking for sympathy in life, you will only find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis. 8.No expectations. Just instincts. 9.Undergraduate degrees of creative writing are rubbish. They are vehicles of producing mass ignorance. Because if undergraduates want to become writers, they have to spend their twenties reading excessively first. 10.Every time you get rejected by a publisher, be thankful. It is a boost for your ego to keep going forward. It is a second chance to reflect, write, and edit. It is a rebirth. It is similar to being given the question-sheet in an exam to revisit your answers before you submit your paper. 11.You are fake and hypocritical when you write for fame or political purpose. These are exterior. Honest and free writing is interior: that is when you write for yourself. 12.Mark things in green. It is the colour of grace, hope and nature. Red is bloody and fascist. 13.Reason, not need. – King Lear 14.Your body is roughly 72 per cent water. Keep hydrated. 15.Read alone. Write alone. Eat accompanied. 16.Do not drive all the time. Cycle when possible. 17.More radio. Less TV. 18.Read more. Write less. Writing comes later. 19.Sing to a mirror. 20.Re-paint your walls. 21.Read an article or summarise a short story a day. 22.Learn a new word a day too. 23.Become drunk with poetry. 24.Watch foreign films. 25.Buy mother a piece of jewellery with first salary. 26.Publish a book before you are 30. 27.Practice poetry. For fun. 28.Have a tattoo you will regret. 29.Put that bloody mobile phone down! Do not become a machine driven by machines! 30.Speak less. Listen more.
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.
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?
Whether you are reading a novel or watching a play, you’ll notice that the elements of creative writing contain universal storytelling elements. The following are elements that Marcella Prokop, MFA, an adjunct faculty member in the creative writing and English program at SNHU, explores with her students.
- 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.
Creative Writing 101: Everything You Need to Get Started
Creative writing: You can take classes in it, you can earn a degree in it, but the only things you really need to do it are your creative thinking and writing tools. Creative writing is the act of putting your imagination on a page. It’s artistic expression in words; it’s writing without the constraints that come with other kinds of writing like persuasive or expository.
What is creative writing?
Creative writing is writing meant to evoke emotion in a reader by communicating a theme. In storytelling (including literature, movies, graphic novels, creative nonfiction, and many video games), the theme is the central meaning the work communicates.
Take the movie (and the novel upon which it’s based) Jaws , for instance. The story is about a shark that terrorizes a beach community and the men tasked with killing the shark. But the film’s themes include humanity’s desire to control nature, tradition vs. innovation, and how potential profit can drive people in power to make dangerous, even fatal, decisions.
A theme isn’t the only factor that defines creative writing. Here are other components usually found in creative writing:
- Connecting, or at least attempting to connect, with the reader’s emotions
- Writing from a specific point of view
- Organizing the text around a narrative structure
- A narrative structure can be complex or simple and serves to shape how the reader interacts with the content.
Creative writing typically uses literary devices like metaphors and foreshadowing to build a narrative and express the theme, but this isn’t a requirement. Neither is dialogue, though you’ll find it used in most works of fiction. Creative writing doesn’t have to be fictional, either. Dramatized presentations of true stories, memoirs, and observational humor pieces are all types of creative writing.
What isn’t creative writing?
In contrast, research papers aren’t creative writing. Neither are analytical essays, persuasive essays , or other kinds of academic writing . Similarly, personal and professional communications aren’t considered creative writing—so your emails, social media posts, and official company statements are all firmly in the realm of non-creative writing. These kinds of writing convey messages, but they don’t express themes. Their goals are to inform and educate, and in some cases collect information from, readers. But even though they can evoke emotion in readers, that isn’t their primary goal.
But what about things like blog posts? Or personal essays? These are broad categories, and specific pieces in these categories can be considered creative writing if they meet the criteria listed above. This blog post, for example, is not a piece of creative writing as it aims to inform, but a blog post that walks its reader through a first-person narrative of an event could be deemed creative writing.
Types of creative writing
Creative writing comes in many forms. These are the most common:
Novels originated in the eighteenth century . Today, when people think of books, most think of novels.
A novel is a fictional story that’s generally told in 60,000 to 100,000 words, though they can be as short as 40,000 words or go beyond 100,000.
Stories that are too short to be novels, but can’t accurately be called short stories, are often referred to as novellas. Generally, a story between 10,000 and 40,000 words is considered a novella. You might also run into the term “ novelette ,” which is used to refer to stories that clock in between 7,500 and 19,000 words.
Short stories are fictional stories that fall generally between 5,000 and 10,000 words. Like novels, they tell complete stories and have at least one character, some sort of conflict, and at least one theme.
When a story is less than 1,000 words, it’s categorized as a work of flash fiction.
Poetry can be hard to define because as a genre, it’s so open-ended. A poem doesn’t have to be any specific length. It doesn’t have to rhyme. There are many different kinds of poems from cultures all over the world, like sonnets, haikus, sestinas, blank verse, limericks, and free verse.
The rules of poetry are generally flexible . . . unless you’re writing a specific type of poem, like a haiku, that has specific rules around the number of lines or structure. But while a poem isn’t required to conform to a specific length or formatting, or use perfect grammar, it does need to evoke its reader’s emotions, come from a specific point of view, and express a theme.
And when you set a poem to music, you’ve got a song.
Plays, TV scripts, and screenplays
Plays are meant to be performed on stage. Screenplays are meant to be made into films, and TV scripts are meant to be made into television programs. Scripts for videos produced for other platforms fit into this category as well.
Plays, TV scripts, and screenplays have a lot in common with novels and short stories. They tell stories that evoke emotion and express themes. The difference is that they’re meant to be performed rather than read and as such, they tend to rely much more on dialogue because they don’t have the luxury of lengthy descriptive passages. But scriptwriters have more than just dialogue to work with; writing a play or script also involves writing stage or scene directions.
Each type of script has its own specific formatting requirements.
Creative nonfiction covers all the kinds of creative writing that aren’t fiction. Here are some examples:
- Personal essays: A personal essay is a true story told through a narrative framework. Often, recollections of events are interspersed with insights about those events and your personal interpretations and feelings about them in this kind of essay.
- Literary journalism: Think of literary journalism as journalism enhanced by creative writing techniques. These are the kinds of stories often published in outlets like The New Yorker and Salon. Literary journalism pieces report on factual events but do so in a way that makes them feel like personal essays and short stories.
- Memoirs: Memoirs are to personal essays what novels are to short stories. In other words, a memoir is a book-length collection of personal memories, often centering around a specific story, that often works opinions, epiphanies, and emotional insights into the narrative.
- Autobiographies: An autobiography is a book you write about yourself and your life. Often, autobiographies highlight key events and may focus on one particular aspect of the author’s life, like her role as a tech innovator or his career as a professional athlete. Autobiographies are often similar in style to memoirs, but instead of being a collection of memories anchored to specific events, they tend to tell the author’s entire life story in a linear narrative.
- Humor writing: Humor writing comes in many forms, like standup comedy routines, political cartoons, and humorous essays.
- Lyric essays: In a lyric essay, the writer breaks conventional grammar and stylistic rules when writing about a concept, event, place, or feeling. In this way, lyric essays are like essay-length poems. The reason they’re considered essays, and not long poems, is that they generally provide more direct analysis of the subject matter than a poem would.
Tips for writing creatively
Give yourself time and space for creative writing
It’s hard to write a poem during your lunch break or work on your memoir between calls. Don’t make writing more difficult for yourself by trying to squeeze it into your day. Instead, block off time to focus solely on creative writing, ideally in a distraction-free environment like your bedroom or a coffee shop.
Get to know yourself as a writer
The more you write, the more in tune you’ll become with your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. You’ll identify the kinds of characters, scenes, language, and pieces you like writing best and determine where you struggle the most. Understanding what kind of writer you are can help you decide which kinds of projects to pursue.
Once you know which kinds of writing you struggle with, do those kinds of writing. If you only focus on what you’re good at, you’ll never grow as a writer. Challenge yourself to write in a different genre or try a completely new type of writing. For example, if you’re a short story writer, give poetry or personal essays a try.
Need help getting started? Give one (or all!) of these 20 fun writing prompts a try .
Learn from other writers
There are lots of resources out there about creative writing. Read and watch them. If there’s a particular writer whose work you enjoy, seek out interviews with them and personal essays they’ve written about their creative processes.
Don’t limit yourself to big-name writers, either. Get involved in online forums, social media groups, and if possible, in-person groups for creative writers. By doing this, you’re positioning yourself to learn from writers from all different walks of life . . . and help other writers, too.
I wrote something. Where do I go from here?
Give yourself a pat on the back: You did it! You finished a piece of creative writing—something many attempt, but not quite as many achieve.
What comes next is up to you. You can share it with your friends and family, but you don’t have to. You can post it online or bring it to an in-person writing group for constructive critique. You can even submit it to a literary journal or an agent to potentially have it published, but if you decide to take this route, we recommend working with an editor first to make it as polished as possible.
Some writers are initially hesitant to share their work with others because they’re afraid their work will be stolen. Although this is a possibility, keep in mind that you automatically hold the copyright for any piece you write. If you’d like, you can apply for copyright protection to give yourself additional legal protection against plagiarizers, but this is by no means a requirement.
Write with originality
Grammarly can’t help you be more creative, but we can help you hone your writing so your creativity shines as brightly as possible. Once you’ve written your piece, Grammarly can catch any mistakes you made and suggest strong word choices that accurately express your message.