- 1 What is creative writing?
- 2 How can you improve your creative writing skills?
- 3 Become an exceptional writer
- 4 More reading
What is creative writing?
Creative writing entails harnessing the power of your imagination as you sail over the creative clouds to paint the big, blue canvas with rich, vivid colors. In simple terms, it is defined as any writing that is original, and imaginatively expresses thoughts and ideas. In creative writing, aesthetic and emotional values take center stage as we discard the apathetic representation of cold, hard facts and figures. Thus, this novel class of writing stretches the boundaries of imagination and escapes the confined domain of academic, journalistic, or technical writing.
The essence of creative writing lies in the portrayal of compelling visuals tailored to elicit an emotional response from the reader. Thus, the narrative necessitates the use of literary tropes or motifs and the development of interesting characters to create a realm outside the bounded reality of every day. Creative writing manifests in both fictions and non-fictions. Some of the genres include poetry, short stories, screenplay writing, novels, lyrics, biographies, etc.
How can you improve your creative writing skills?
Unlike layered science, creative writing has no pre-sets or metrics, which it strictly needs to adhere to as per the rule book. Creativity comes from within, but you can learn the techniques to expand the wings of your imagination. There are several ways that you can adopt to enhance your creative writing skills. By broadening the horizons of your imagination, learning the art of aesthetics and literary discourse, strengthening your vocabulary, and shedding off your writing inhibitions, you can limn a world of your own. Let us look at the five simple but effective ways of improving creative writing.
Read classics or acclaimed novels
You surely must have heard of this several times before. You might not have paid heed to it, as it sounds like a piece of very generic advice. But, in reality, reading is the best habit that you can develop in your life. It will enrich you in multiple directions, one of them being the improvement of writing skills.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” This 300-year-old quote by English poet and dramatist Joseph Addison is an axiom, especially after scientists proved that reading increased the blood flow to the brain and helped you break the barriers of imagination.
Reading books is a simple and effective method of gaining insights into the nitty-gritty of writing styles, techniques, articulation, and the use of vocabulary. It is the oldest recipe but also tried and tested. The greatest of writers were avid readers. E.g., Ayn Rand was influenced by Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky, in turn, was inspired by the father of Dark Romanticism, Edgar Allan Poe. And Edgar Allan Poe took inspiration from the strange and supernatural tales of E.T.A. Hoffman.
Reading materials on the internet, however, might be a risky affair. Most of these online blogs or social media posts are riddled with grammatical mistakes and are poorly edited, with misplaced punctuation marks running haywire throughout the piece.
So, grab a novel, deconstruct the piece, and make notes on the usage of words and the different techniques on display. It will help you formulate your writing style. Another way is to learn by osmosis. Osmosis means to unconsciously imbibe and absorb the elements through constant and thorough reading. Without consciously realizing it, you will learn the significant techniques, phrases, words, and much more.
Brush up on the basic principles – SPaG
When the base is weak, the structure will eventually fall. First, let’s ensure that your fundamentals are strong. If they are not, then any sort of writing – creative, technical, or academic will not be up to the mark. In creative writing, you can color your text with all the vivid descriptions and literary tropes you want. But if it is saturated with spelling mistakes and basic punctuation errors, then the piece will lose its value. It doesn’t have to be riddled with such SPaG mistakes either. Even one or two rudimentary errors will take the shine off the entire text.
Practising these elementary skills is a must to avoid such embarrassing mistakes. Pick up the knack of writing daily. Then proofread the text yourself. Proofreading is a valuable technique that helps you refresh the fundamentals. It is a proven method to learn which words you are having trouble with and what are those repetitive grammatical mistakes plaguing your writing.
Hook your readers with rhetorical and literary devices
Let us first understand the meaning of rhetorical and literary devices. Rhetoric is defined as the art of persuasive speaking or writing using figurative language and other innovative literary techniques. Thus, the main purpose of rhetorical devices is to effectively convey the message and present a convincing argument to your audience. They also have a secondary objective of enriching the aesthetic quality of your text. These stylistic devices aim to trigger emotional responses in the readers by employing effectual articulation.
Literary devices are similar to rhetorical devices, but there are subtle differences between the two. The scope of rhetorical devices is broader than their literary counterpart. Unlike rhetorical devices, the essence of which lies in the art of persuasion, literary devices are intrinsically artistic. Their usage is primarily focused on enhancing the aesthetic quality of your writing through the innovative expression of ideas. They are found only in literature, whereas rhetorical devices are found both in speech and writing. The confusion occurs because many of these commonly used literary devices double as rhetorical devices. Here are a few common examples of such techniques that can act both as literary and rhetorical devices.
In literature, authors employ these stylistic or poetic devices often to embellish the text and lend a different flavour that heightens the aesthetic aspect of the entire piece. It is crucial for anyone who wants to write to know about these devices and learn how to implement them as well. The second part is more difficult as nothing wrecks your text like a bad metaphor or a shoddy simile. Therefore, hook your readers with dazzling use of figures of speech, poetic meters, etc., and rid of the blandness in your writing.
Knowing how to use these devices effectively will make you feel empowered. These techniques are potent weapons in the hands of a writer or a poet. Indeed, the pen is mightier than the sword.
Structures, narrative elements, and characterization
The essence of creative writing lies in adopting unfamiliar routes and breaking the barriers of imagination to create a unique realm of your own that appeals to the readers by invigorating their senses. That’s why using sensory details in your piece that flirts with your five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, is crucial. But it’s also important for a writer to learn about the varied models and structures that different philosophers, writers, and playwrights have formulated and adopted over the years.
Aristotle’s Poetics, the fundamental treatise for any writer or screenwriter, first talked about a story having a beginning, a middle, and an end. German playwright Gustav Freytag’s five-act dramatic structure, which is also known as Freytag’s pyramid or Syd Field’s three-act structure that divides a story into three segments, are a few models that a writer should be aware of. The history of experimenting with different structures is crucial to understanding how these ideas were formed in the first place and why these models are so popular among the connoisseurs and the masses alike.
When we talk about improving writing skills, we first need to understand what the audience wants. While a writer needs to have a decent understanding of all the narrative elements like plot, pace, tone, etc., there is one literary element that he/she can effectively utilize to create a compelling account. We are talking about conflict! The readers love nothing more than a conflict. A conflict generates the drama and the ensuing tension that keeps the readers hooked to the text. There are different types of conflicts that your characters can face. They can be pitted against each other, against nature, against man-made order or society. Conflict can also be internal, the struggle against self.
A writer must portray compelling characters that readers can identify with when they immerse themselves in your writing. But, not just an interesting character arc, the evolution of a character must also entail logical development by revealing vital information about it to the reader and the overall change that happens to the character at the end. To help move the plot forward with an amazing set of characters, writers often employ several intriguing plot devices to create a dramatic or humorous effect or mislead the audience until the big reveal. A few of the favorite plot devices that you can use in your writing are –
- Love triangle
- Red herring
- Deus ex machina
- Chekov’s gun
Get an expert’s help
An expert can guide you on how to channel your thoughts and boost your imagination to become a brilliant creative writer. Creative writing courses offer valuable guidance to help you identify your writing style and find faults in your techniques. We make silly mistakes all the time. Sometimes, we make mistakes of principle while being completely unaware of them.
It’s necessary to seek help as creative writing involves a lot of study and practice. While you are your own boss and nobody has control over your creativity, the tips, hints, pointers, and the general counsel will prove to be priceless in the long run. There is no better way to improve your creative writing in a more comprehensive manner than this.
Thankfully, KidSmart is one such expert that you can turn to for anything related to creative writing. It is offering a detailed assignment evaluation, free of cost, to get you started. The creative writing expert team will examine and analyse your work and offer the most suitable tailor-made solution for you.
Become an exceptional writer
Try out our creative writing plans and improve your writing skills
Guided Writing Course
We will send you one writing assignment every week and you send us back your writing. We will then evaluate your writing and revert back with detailed analysis of how you can do it better.
5-Day Writing Course
This course is delivered online over Zoom by our exceptional creative writing tutor. In five days we will take you through from the fundamentals of writing to the advanced concepts on how to make your writing exceptional.
If you need 1-to-1 lessons and know exactly what you want to improve on or you have a specific need like preparing for a specific exam, need help with a specific type of writing or you are writing a book. We can provide private lessons to cover every writing needs.
Write to us if you have any specific questions at firstname.lastname@example.org