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Creative Writing

Author: Rebecca Oberg

Beginning Writers of Poetry and Fiction

This slide show presentation offers great basic advice for beginning writers of poetry and fiction from a noted and respected source. It includes common mistakes that new writers make as well as helpful suggestions for improving the content of a writer's work.

Source: See slide show for citation.

Top 10 Advice for Creative Writers

This informative slide show presentation offers ten helpful tips, complete with definitions and examples, to help creative writers improve the quality of their work.

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What are the genres of creative writing?

Creative Writing is a style where you focus on thoughts and emotions instead of just passing along knowledge (that's called non-fiction). Here are some types of creative writing that you might run into:
  • Autobiography or Memoir - writing about your own life
  • Biography - writing about someone else's life
  • Children's Literature - very short works written in simple language
  • Creative Nonfiction - essays (either personal or journalistic)
  • Derivative Fiction - also called fanfiction - writing about characters and settings to which you do not own the copyright
  • Journal - writing about your thoughts and feelings; an online journal is usually called a blog (short for web-log)
  • Novellas and Novels - the typical works of fiction. Novellas are between 17,500 and 40,000 words; novels are over 40,000 words.
  • Novelisation - converting the story from a movie or television show into a novel
  • Playwriting - writing for the stage
  • Poetry - rigidly structured writing which may rhyme but always has a specific rhythm or meter
  • Screenwriting - writing for movies or television
  • Short Stories - works of fiction that are less than 7,500 words
  • Travelogue - writing about your travels and adventures 
  • Young Adult Literature - writing about the concerns of teenagers. YA literature usually deals with coming of age, romance, learning skills needed in adult life, becoming independent, and specific emotions that all teenagers experience 

How to Write a Memoir

This video clip offers insight on how to write a memoir, a popular form of creative writing.

The Writing Process

Gardner and Johnson (1997) describe the stages of the writing process:

"Writing is a fluid process created by writers as they work. Accomplished writers move back and forth between the stages of the process, both consciously and unconsciously. Young writers, however, benefit from the structure and security of following the writing process in their writing.

    • Prewriting. Students generate ideas for writing: brainstorming; reading literature; creating life maps, webs, and story charts; developing word banks; deciding on form, audience, voice, and purpose as well as through teacher motivation.
    • Rough Draft. Students get their ideas on paper. They write without concern for conventions. Written work does not have to be neat; it is a 'sloppy copy.'
    • Reread. Students proof their own work by reading aloud and reading for sensibility.
    • Share with a Peer Revisor. Students share and make suggestions for improvement: asking who, what, when, where, why, and how questions about parts of the story the peer does not understand; looking for better words; and talking about how to make the work better.
    • Revise. Improve what the narrative says and how it says it: write additions, imagery, and details. Take out unnecessary work. Use peer suggestions to improve. Clarify.
    • Editing. Work together on editing for mechanics and spelling. Make sure the work is 'goof proof.'
    • Final Draft. Students produce their final copy to discuss with the teacher and write a final draft.
    • Publishing. Students publish their written pieces: sending their work to publishers; reading their finished story aloud, making books. This is a time to celebrate!

In actuality, the writing process is not a highly organized linear process, but rather a continual movement between the different steps of the writing model."

Getting Started: Creative Writing Prompts

Not sure what to write about? Simply search the internet for "Creative Writing Prompts" or visit this helpful website to get yourself started:

Source: Rebecca Oberg

Creative Writing vs Academic Writing

Read the following article to get one writer's definition of academic writing vs. creative writing.

Academic Writing vs. Creative Writing

One kind of writing – academic writing – is rigid, procedural, purposed purely to convey knowledge, data and information. It’s orderly, organized and follows a formula. It is necessary. It can be dull. Anyone can master it. Everyone should master it.

The other kind of writing – creative writing – is inspired, artistic and entertains with word pictures, concepts and deep meaning. It is enjoyable to read. It touches us while teaching us. It’s an art form. It’s not necessary to learn, but a joy to those who do.

Academic writing will earn you A’s, creative writing may get you published. Academic writing must be taught, but rarely is; creative writing is optional, but is almost always the focus of writing curricula.

Creative writing focuses on story telling, recounting personal experiences, authoring fiction, poetry, using style, voice and techniques for making writing entertaining, smart, and packed with panache. Most curricula on the market seek to encourage this kind of creativity and style in our students, drawing out the reluctant writer, cultivating a future author, columnist, reporter, and novelist, someone who is confident and comfortable with the pen. The truth? We really do want to produce fabulous writers of our children. Thus, the kind of writing we encourage and value is creative, expressive writing. We even endorse the use of creative writing with the all-important essay. Herein lies the professor problem. College professors just want the facts, not the flair.