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Writing

8 Tips for Getting Started With Creative Writing

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Feb 4, 2020 • 4 min read

Outside the world of business writing and hard journalism lies an entire realm of creative writing. Whether you’re brand new to the craft, a nonfiction writer looking to experiment, or a casual creative writer wanting to turn into a published author, honing your creative writing skills is key to your success.

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What Is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is a form of writing that encompasses a number of different genres and styles outside the more formal scope of technical writing or academic writing. Creative writing focuses on elements such as character development, narrative, and plot, infusing its structure with imagination and story.

5 Forms of Creative Writing

Creative writing comes in many forms and is widely accessible to all kinds of writers. Some writers dabble in creative writing throughout high school, while others join creative writing programs to earn certifications like a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Some do it for fun, while others want to write the next New York Times bestseller. Regardless of the reason, there are many avenues you can explore when it comes to writing creatively.

  1. Fiction writing: Withing their many genres and subgenres, both short story- and novel-writing involve a wide breadth of themes, styles, and details created by authors to build worlds that feel like real life. Writing fiction can provide a writer with plenty of freedom to craft an imaginative original story populated with fictional characters who are relatable and three-dimensional.
  2. Creative nonfiction writing: This genre incorporates different creative writing techniques and literary styles to convey truthful, non-fictional narratives. Creative nonfiction works, like memoirs and personal essays, use more emotion and tend to emphasize story and tone over more traditional subgenres of nonfiction.
  3. Screenwriting: Screenwriting weaves a narrative into its blocks of action and dialogue text, setting up whole scenes and often following a three-act structure to tell a story. Traditionally, scripts were written exclusively for either television shows or films, but the introduction of new technology and streaming devices has made it possible for a variety of formats to exist.
  4. Playwriting: Playwriting is a form of creative writing that is meant to be performed live on stage. Plays can be one-act long or several—but due to limitations on space, effects, and live capabilities, plays often must utilize creativity in order to properly tell a complete and immersive story.
  5. Poetry writing: Poetry is rhythmic prose that expresses ideas with musicality. It can be written or performed. It can be short or contain multiple verses. It can have no rhyme scheme or an intricate and repetitive one. Poetry, like songwriting, is a versatile writing form that allows the author to use cadence and meter to enhance their expressiveness.
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8 Tips for Creative Writers

If you’re looking to get those creative juices flowing and improve the way you write, read some of the following writing tips below:

  1. Read, read, read. It’s a lot harder to get the hang of creative writing if you don’t have any references to draw from. Notable writers throughout history have penned excellent examples of well-written creative work that should be required reading for any budding creative writer. Read famous works by great writers in plenty of genres to get a feel for where your interests may lie.
  2. Always be writing. Don’t ignore the random ideas that pop into your head. Even bad ideas can inspire good ones, and you never know what will trigger inspiration for a better idea later on. Keep a notepad or download a notes app for a handy way to jot down or record any content you may think of—it may come in handy in an unexpected way.
  3. Have a point of view. Fiction writing often has a story, message, or lesson to share. A narrative without a drive behind it will feel flat, and your audience won’t understand what the point of your story is or why they should care. Use your own unique voice to tell a story that resonates with your audience and connect with them in a way that leaves a lasting impression.
  4. Use literary devices. Literary devices help you write vividly and create imaginative scenes, which are integral to good writing. Metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech create impactful images that can boost creativity and paint powerful pictures. Alliterations, consonance, and assonance can enhance the sound and rhythm of your words.
  5. Know your audience. Is this story just for your fellow creative writing students? Or are you an academic writer trying to break into the young adult market? There is rarely a piece of writing that can appeal to all demographics, so knowing your audience can help you narrow its tone and scope in a way that appeals to your target audience.
  6. Start writing. This is important especially for beginning writers. Many beginners can feel intimidated or embarrassed by their creative work and where their imagination takes them. However, through freewriting, creative writing exercises, writing prompts, and practice, you can improve your own writing skills and become a better writer in no time.
  7. Embrace rewriting. A writer rarely ever gets it right in the first draft. You may have flexibility with your content, but don’t be afraid to strip away the fluff, eliminate what doesn’t work, or in some cases, completely start over. Storytelling and worldbuilding take a lot of time and thinking, and only through rewriting will you be able to craft a version that works best.
  8. Try a writing workshop. Writing classes expose you to a community of writers who can all aid in your creative writing process by offering feedback and constructive criticism on a variety of elements in your writing, like story, main characters, setting, and word choice. Whether you’re writing your first book or you’re an experienced writer suffering from writer’s block, writing groups can offer helpful suggestions or inspiration.

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