Lesson 1: What is Creative Writing?
- To know the basics of Creative Writing and what it is
- To get an idea of what skills writers need to write creatively
- To understand the basic structure of Creative Writing
- To find the common problems that come with creative writing
- To know how to avoid these problems
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 1:
- Creative Writing
- Creative Writing Basics
- Creative Writing Skills
- Basic Structure of Creative Writing
- Common Problems with Creative Writing
- Basic Structure of Creative Writing
Creative writing is defined as a way for a writer to express his/her imaginative thoughts and feelings. When a writer tackles creative writing he/she has personal freedom on choosing from a wide range of topics and ideas. The writer is not limited when writing creatively; he/she can stretch the boundaries of their imagination to the best of its abilities.
Creative Writing Basics
Kurt Vonnegut, a well known writer, has listed 8 basics for creative writing. As much as possible, always remember these points when writing creatively.
- Always think of the readers when creating a story. Try to make the most out of the readers time without them feeling like it was a total waste.
- There should be at least one character that a reader can relate to in the story. Give them someone to root for.
- Create characters that are trying to get or achieve something. The characters should have a goal to attain.
- Sentences that make up a story should only do two things; it either prompts an action or reveals something about the character.
- A story should start rather close to its end. Make a connection between the beginning parts of the story with the possible ending.
- Try to add problems or conflict in the story. A writer must try to be a sadist and give the characters trials and hurdles to be able to keep the interest of the readers.
- A writer will not be able to please all readers when creating a story. Different people have different likes and dislikes, if the writer tries to please all types of readers the main point or theme of the story will be lost or confusing.
- Keep nothing from the readers. A writer must share all the details that are embedded in the story, with the readers, to help them fully understand what is going on.
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Skills needed when writing Creatively
- Stretch those writing muscles. By taking short writing exercises the writer develops the skill to write a better first draft.
- Always carry a notebook everywhere. A writer can jot down ideas anytime when he/she carries a notebook. Whether the writer has too much or too little thoughts it is better to have something to write it down on.
- Find the time of day you are most creative at. Whether if it is in the morning or at night, a writer must know when he/she is at their writing best to make better use of that time.
- Most writers do not get it right the first time. A writer needs to change things in the story more often than not. Editing and revising is a staple in the story writing world.
- Just have fun. When a writer starts to create a story he/she must always remember to incorporate fun into the process. Fun is a positive motivation for a writer when creating a story.
Basic Structure of Creative Writing
The basic structure of a creative story has four elements the exposition, conflict, climax and the resolution. Other readings add a few more elements to the basic structure like point of view, characters etc. But for all kinds of stories this structure or these four elements are always the main themes.
- Exposition – this is how the writer begins the story. It gives the reader a glimpse of what the whole story is about.
- Conflict – this is the problem in the story. The writer creates conflict for his/her characters to give the story life and depth.
- Climax – means the peak of the story or the turning point.
- Resolution – is the ending or conclusion. This is the part of the story where the realizations and morals are culminated.
Nigel Watts, a writer of “How to Write” books, devised a way to help writers construct a story in a more organized way. He developed the eight-point arc.
- The Statsis – simply means that this is what the main character does every day. This is the prominent theme in the main characters life.
- The trigger – means that the writer adds an element of veering off from the everyday routine of the main character. It is something uncontrollable, something out of the ordinary, which pushes the protagonist to act on it.
- The Quest – this one is self explanatory. A quest would be the journey the protagonist would go on to meet his/her goal.
- Surprise – this is something unexpected. When the main character goes out on his/her quest the writer should create hurdles and trials for him/her. The protagonist shouldn’t just be able to go straight to the finish line; it would be too easy a task leaving not much room to generate interest for the readers.
- Critical Choice – this is a choice whether the protagonist goes on to join the good side or the dark side of the story. When the main character decides on this, the choice will have an impact on his/her fate in the end of the story.
- Climax – a climax is the most crucial part of the story. A part where it somehow hinders the main character to stop and asses what is happening around him/her. And the choices that will emerge from the realization of his/her situation are present here.
- Reversal – this is where the protagonist makes a choice for the betterment or not of his/her status in the story.
- Resolution – the resolution is the ending. This would be the final details of the main characters life. This is where the writer compiles the changes that had happened to the protagonist or all the characters and gets a moral out of it.
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Common Problems with Creative Writing
- Shift in character point of view
The writer must not change point of views randomly this will only confuse the reader.
- Misuse of Tenses
If the writer uses past tense he/she must stick to it so as not to disrupt the setting and time of the story.
- Change in tone
There should be a smooth transition when the writer switches the story’s tone.
- Taking up time with Internet use
Sometimes writers need the help of the internet to get an idea of something they are not familiar with. Research can take up too much time if not given a schedule.
This is a state where the writer is at a standstill. He/she is stuck at a point of the story and cannot move on.
- Getting tired of revising the story
It is a part of a writer’s life to edit and revise. And sometimes the more revising one does the more he/she gets tired of the story.
How to avoid Problems in Creative Writing
- Collect and organize your thoughts
Write down all your thoughts and then try to decipher what are the main points and your supporting points to give you a more organized process.
- Develop a solid story
Write about what you know so that you can develop more dynamic characters and a well structured plot and theme.
- Do more studying on the writing craft
Read books about writing, talk to people who have a passion for writing, attend conferences and workshops and join writing groups. All these can help enrich your knowledge on writing and develop your skills as well.
- Read like a Writer
Try to understand the deeper message behind the story you are reading or have read. Try to make sense of what the writer wants to really point out.
- Finish your Story
Always try to finish a story, no matter how hard it may be. Finishing a story is a very rewarding experience for you as a writer and for your reader as well.
In summary, this lesson aims to help you understand what creative writing is. It gives you an insight on what you need to have to create a good story or piece. It helps you understand the different parts of creating a good story and how these parts are important to help you create your own.
In the next lesson you will get an overview on how creative writing can be very beneficial to you and your life. You will get to understand the importance of creative writing and hopefully make you want to write more. If you want to know why you should write or keep writing just head on to the next lesson and you’ll get an answer or two from there.