What Creative Writing exactly is?
Creative writing is meant to amuse the readers and leave them feeling intrigued at the artistic quotient of the write-up. It is a culmination of imagination, innovation, and vision. When you put your thoughts and views into words giving them an expression of their own, you begin writing creatively. What a painter does with paint in a canvas, a creative writer does with a pen in a piece of paper!
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart”- Maya Angelou
Did you read a novel recently or even a simple humble poem and wondered at how beautifully it is crafted? Even after you have read the book or the piece it might have lingered a bit long around you. It might have left you in awe and even stirred your soul. Well, this is what creative writing is all about.
Any piece of imaginative work that goes beyond the normal realms of academic, journalistic, technical, or professional writing is considered to be creative writing. Imaginative writing is not simply conveying information, it involves the senses and emotions of both the writer and the reader. This is the reason why it is so profound and manages to connect the reader to either a memory or feeling, or transports one to a new place.
Innovative writing is not an easy task, but with continuous and repeated efforts it can easily be achieved. The ultimate result derived from such type creation gives immense satisfaction to the creator.
Types of Creative Writing
I personally feel that there is a writer within each one of us. It is just a matter of bringing the artist to the forefront. Anything other than a write up consisting of facts or information is innovative writing. Novels and poetry are not the only two aspects of writing creatively, as conceived generally. There lies a whole array of other kinds too. Let’s take a glance at what all of these actually are.
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”
These are the lines of the famous poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, which almost all of us have unintentionally memorized. Well, that is the power of well-composed poetry.
The beauty of poetry lies in the fact that it is undefinable. Poetry has a different meaning to different poets. There are as many definitions of poetry as the poets themselves. In simple words, and going by different dictionary meanings- Poetry is a work of literature, which has a certain kind of rhythm and sound to itself. With a set of rules or no rules at all, poetry- writing gives voice to emotions like happiness, anger, agony, and fear.
In a poem, the words are woven in a particular fashion to give them different meanings according to different contexts. Owing to such rules of rhyme and sound there are various kinds of poetry forms viz. ballad, haiku, sonnet, limerick, villanelle, terza rima, and sestina.
On the other hand, in kinds of poetry like blank verse poetry and free verse poetry, the entire rhyme scheme is absent.
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” says one of my favourite novelist Jhumpa Lahiri.
It is true indeed. I travelled to the USA from Kolkata, India with Gogol her protagonist, page by page, and was with him the entire time I was reading the book and also a few days after.
You will not disagree with me in this that the magic of a novel lies in it’s ability to transfer it’s soul into you. Then, you begin to search and find yourself in the characters’ shoes. It makes you a part of itself and keeps you there till the end.
Novels are work of fiction written in long narrative form. They are generally developed around a plot by giving voices to different characters. They are purely based on the imagination of the writer and describe elaborate human experiences. The choice of genre for the novel depends upon the writer and may vary among romance, crime, sci-fi, and fantasy, historical, crime, contemporary and western. They are the most read versions of imaginative writing.
“A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film,” says Lorrie Moore, an American fiction writer speaking of short stories.
Short stories are work of prose fiction too, but are generally shorter than novels and can be read in a single sitting. They almost follow the same set of rules for being written like a novel except for the word count. The word count generally ranges from 1000-7500 words with an exception of a few ranging from 10000-15000 words. The roots of the origin of a short story lie in ancient folklore, mythology, fables, and legends.
They also come in almost all the genres as novels and are really a good choice for first-time fiction readers.
It is a fictional narrative longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. Novellas trace their origin to Italy, the word ‘novella’ means new in Italian. The word count of a novella generally ranges between 17000-40000 words and the genres are typically similar to that of novels. It is often satirical or realistic in its tone. It is generally written with a single setting and comprises of fewer characters than a novel.
Non-Fictional writing is quite comprehensive and includes almost everything that is not fictional. It is a narrative prose generally based on facts rather than imagination. The description of the facts might or might not be accurate at all times. Although, the writers essentially believe those to be true in the context of the time they are written. Non-fiction comprises books written in vivid topics of travel, science, humour, home improvement, food, health, history, pets, art and music, and many more.
You might be wondering as to wherein lies the creativity in arranging of facts! There is indeed a lot of creativity involved in making true facts presentable to the reader in a form that interests and engages them. Therefore, writing non-fiction also needs a lot of innovation.
A very short evocative that describes a quick scene in the mind of the reader is a vignette. A vignette can occur in a screenplay, novel, poetry, and a short story. More or less in any form of literature involving fiction.
It defines in detail a character, setting, or any other element of a story. The importance of a vignette lies in providing depth to the elements comprising the large work.
It cannot stand alone. It is an integral part of the whole work. Writers use them to shed light on topics which are otherwise ignored. They for once make us forget about the story and zoom in to provide a closer look at one particular element of the story. Web series’ too have found the use of many vignettes, in the present scenario.
It derives its meaning from the French word meaning ‘vignette’meaning a little vine. The context being a sketch of a little vine on the title of the first chapter of Nineteenth Century French Novels.
A biography is a description of a person’s life written by someone else. It includes all aspects viz. early life, education, career, relationships, and death of the protagonist. It is a work of non-fiction documenting all experiences occurring in protagonist’s life in a chronological fashion.
Biographies are generally written after the subject’s death and includes personal intimate experiences. They may sometimes include an analysis of the subject’s character too.
Writers give biographies a creative touch by presenting it in an entertaining way using a proper setting, conflict, and climax.
Other kinds or forms of biographies include-
Autobiography– An account of one’s life written by self is called an auto-biography. It is a form of biography and is almost the same in all aspects with a biography apart from it’s completeness since it is written by the author himself/herself.
Memoir- A memoir is a non-fictional autobiographical anecdote of a subject’s/ person’s life. It can be a reminiscence of a small event or experience of own life or a subjective narration of a historical event. Memoirs are generally very brief.
A blog is a type of content writing often written from a creative perspective and shared on the web. It is a platform where writers typically discuss common topics through their writing. Topics can be anything ranging from art and craft to technology. It basically is a journal where records appear in the reverse chronological order. It is generally written like a personal ordeal.
Blogging is a powerful tool used by content marketers to gain better SERP ranking and bring visibility to businesses. It is quite in trend currently as the entire world is going digital.
Scripts (Movies and Plays)
Scriptwriting is writing for the screen. It is the story writing done for movies, plays, feature films, video games, and also web-series. It is quite different than the other types of creative writing because here the ultimate audience views the writing as scenes rather than reading them. Dialogues form the most important and major part of screenwriting.
This is a very rewarding genre of writing indeed but extremely tedious too. It involves breaking up each scene and writing all the nitty-gritty of the same.
A letter is a form of written communication that dates back to centuries. Letter writing is a lost art now. Short messaging has replaced Emails. Emails have replaced handwritten letters. I feel letter writing should be the first step to climb the ladder of creative writing.
Letters make you express and present your opinions and feelings in an intimate personal conversation.
Let’s find the lost art of writing letters and begin writing them again as an exercise for the intuitive writing to follow.
Writing it down sequentially keep in mind the audience, is a stepping stone for a successful speech delivery. It is indeed a culmination of oratory skills and artistic writing abilities. Speeches may vary from informative to inspirational or personal owing to the situation and context they are delivered.
A lot of creativity is involved in writing them as they require to be written keeping in mind a host of factors, per-minute speaking limit being the most important among them all.
Journals and Dairies
Jotting down the activities of one’s daily life also amounts to writing creatively. It comprises writing in detail about the emotional experience in each particular event that occurred during a span of time.
Journal or Diary writing is the basis that can later be shaped into a biography, autobiography or even a memoir.
This kind of writing is very similar to writing poetry. The only difference being in the fact that it is written keeping in mind the musical aspects viz. tune, rhythm, and sequence too. Lyrics give voice to the song and is the medium to speak to the listeners.
Business writing involves a lot of innovative writing too specially in marketing and advertising campaigns. Be it flyers for a product or service or an advertisement everything comprises of a creative text.
The types of creative writing is an exhaustive list and I have mentioned only a few to give you a general idea of the topic.
Everything that involves text in it and is creative has imaginative writing as its crux.
How to write creatively: Tips and Hacks!
You can neither teach nor learn imaginative writing. Saying that, I would like to clarify that what can be learned or taught in and around the topic is the finer nuances of writing.
Workshops or courses deliver guidelines to adhere while writing. They teach you the basic rules of literature. You are to then don the cap of imagination and innovation while writing, as that can’t be taught.
Let’s now explore a few such hacks around creative writing.
Be a voracious reader
Being a good writer ideally involves a lot of reading. This the first step to begin with if your career choice involves writing.
What to read? How to read? How often to read?
Well, the answer to these questions basically depends on you. The only point to be kept in mind is that you need to be a regular reader and try to read as much as possible. The topic you want to read about essentially depends on your personal choice and liking.
The more you read the more knowledge and information you gather. Being a keen observer while reading and keeping all of your senses open, you can learn the finer nuances of the trade.
If you have already figured about your niche then read books of that particular genre. If not, then read anything and everything to help you in deciding what interests you.
The habit of reading not only helps you to focus and improve your writing but also provides you an inspiration to keep moving on till you reach your goal.
All writers read more often than they write.
Make a note of ideas as and when they occur
An idea may occur to you at any given point of time. It is not necessary to have the best ideas come to you only when you sit with a laptop and begin thinking. It is of utmost importance to capture an idea the moment it strikes you. Make a note of it wherever you are comfortable- dairy, notepad, notes in the mobile or laptop. Just anywhere. Storing the idea for using it later is important.
Practice a routine
People generally conceive that writers operate according to their whims and fancies. They write whenever they feel like. The reality however is a bit different. It is indeed true that you cannot write sometimes when you sit to write and might face a writer’s block. Almost all the writers go through it. But, that doesn’t mean they stop writing. You need to be regular enough to write something everyday.
To become successful it is of great importance that you practice a routine. Set a time for yourself to brainstorm and write. Keep writing whatever comes to you. Don’t just keep waiting for the masterpiece, strive for it! And it will surely happen someday!
Participate in workshops or take a course
Taking a workshop will provide you a like-minded platform and you can benefit from it to a tremendous extent. On the other hand, taking a course around your niche or simply on creative writing can give you the much-needed boost to begin writing, providing you an insight on how to and where to begin.
Being unique is rewarding in writing. You can always take inspiration from the writers and poets you admire but finding your calling and then sticking to it is what will make you successful in this field.
Take critique from experienced ones
A writer should always be all ears to a critic. Taking feedback from the experienced ones will help you in finding your flaws and deliver better.
It is completely up to you to take a piece of advice from a fellow writer or reject it. You need to keep an open mind and listen.
I know it is extremely difficult to scrap what you have created and begin again. But trust me, it is also the key to writing better.
Sometimes a piece you have created might need improvement and re-writing would exactly do the same. It can simply be editing some portion of it or changing it completely. It will equip you with the art of self-critiquing.
Find a niche and stick to it
Creative writing embraces so many different kinds of writing styles and techniques. You need to hear the inner voice in terms of deciding what you want to pursue.
One can very rarely be a Jack of all trades in this case scenario. If you move ahead without deciding on a niche you will be like a traveller lost in a desert.
Reading as mentioned before will help you choose, then all you need to do is stick to your choice and start practising to write in that genre.
Of course, sometimes the very first choice might betray you! Then, try try again is the key, my friend.
Researching around the topic of your choice is the first step to innovative writing. It will equip you with much needed knowledge to begin with. It also involves keeping a track of the latest trends in the writing world. This helps you in updating yourself and produce better.
Whenever you produce a piece apart from history it should be relevant to the current world because therein lies your audience.
Take a break from writing to tackle writer’s block
Writers don’t only write. They have their share of fun too. When not writing, do what you love the most. Sometimes, eating your favourite meal can also help you think better and tackle the writer’s block.
You need to do what inspires you to write better.
Writing is an art, writing is a skill. Any skill needs to cultivated gradually and may take years to bloom fully. Similar is the case in writing, it needs time, effort, patience, and motivation. It is not something that happens overnight. Being consistent and striving for it will definitely help you to nail it.
Creativity is something that comes naturally but can also be derived from exploring yourself deeply.
Do you have a firm belief that you can’t write and aren’t creative? If yes, then you must try writing once. Your opinion might change. You might discover and re-discover yourself.
I find writing to be as good as meditation owing to the immense satisfaction and happiness I derive from my creation.
Let’s put our imagination into paper and paint the world with happiness!
Happy Reading and Happy Writing too!