Become a Writer Today

Creative Writing for Beginners: 10 Top Tips

These creative writing for beginners tips can help with a short story, poem or novel .

Writing is a great pursuit, but many first-time writers find that it’s not as easy as they think. If you are dabbling in creative writing activities or fiction writing for the first time, you will likely discover that writing courses and writing exercises fall short in helping you truly develop characters and overcome writer’s block.

Thankfully, you can take some steps to embrace your inner author and write your first short story or novel. Whether you have an end product in mind or are simply looking to start your writing journey, these writing tips will help you get started.

1. Dig Deep to Choose Your Topic

2. spend time reading, 3. write daily, 4. tackle writing exercises, 5. consider a writing course, 6. keep it unique, 7. practice, practice, practice, 8. try a different medium, 9. embrace your critics, 10. write first, perfect later, the final word on creative writing for beginners.

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First, determine what you will write about. Your starting point will guide character development and your overall plot. If you’re having trouble finding a topic, consider using these starting points:

  • Start with a story — If you have a compelling storyline or main character in mind, start there.
  • Use personal experiences — Something that happened in your life can help you start a story. Taking our own stories and transforming them into fiction writing can create true masterpieces because the feeling in the writing is personal.
  • Consider a hot topic — Is there a political or social issue that is important to you? Weave that into compelling prose to start your story.

Starting with these ideas, you should be able to settle on a basic idea for your story.

Creative writers are usually readers. Reading helps you learn about the nuances of written language, storytelling and character development.

Read a wide range of genres too. While novels are always helpful, non-fiction writing and short stories will teach you as well.

Set aside time every day to write . Make it part of your daily routine, and protect that time as much as you can. By having it scheduled into your day, you can overcome the frustration and delays of writer’s block.

During your writing time, limit distractions. Let your housemates or family members know you aren’t available during that time. Write, even if you don’t think what you’re writing is high quality, just to keep the words flowing.

By having daily writing time, you will start to improve your writing skills . Soon you will see a quality piece of writing coming together as you work your way towards your next bestseller.

If you find that getting started with creative writing is hard for you, consider some basic writing exercises. Creative writing prompts to get your ideas flowing can be the start of compelling writing as you create your own writing style. Writing exercises can help you learn the importance of the first sentence of your story or the development of your characters.

Sometimes writing exercises do not lead to a final product that you would publish, and that’s fine. The goal isn’t always to create something to share. Sometimes the goal is simply to gain writing experience and hone your craft.

Writing courses can be a great jumping-off point for creative writers. Writing courses teach structure, character development and overall writing techniques.

In a writing course, you will have writing exercises to perform each week and accountability for those assignments. This combination can help many first time writers start writing. Over time the writing skills build up and the writing becomes more natural.

Creative writing for beginners

When it comes to creative writing, uniqueness is a key component. To capture readers, you need something that hasn’t been done before, or you need to approach a story from a new perspective.

To give you a source for creative ideas, take time to brainstorm . Keep a journal where you can jot down ideas as they come or explore storylines. Soon you will find a unique twist to take your characters on.

Writing is a creative process , but that does not mean that practice is futile. Practicing daily gets your creativity flowing. You will polish your writing skills and learn more about how brainstorming works for you.

Today’s writers rarely put pen to paper, but rather finger to keyboard. Sometimes, a different medium may make the creativity flow.

Ernest Hemingway knew this. He wrote all of his manuscripts on paper with pencil, only typing them for the final drafts. This gave him the chance to edit during the final typing, and he felt that writing longhand spurred his creativity.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block , channel your inner Ernest Hemingway and try writing with pencil and paper instead. It just might get you over that hump.

A good writer can make an interesting story out of nothing. A great writer can do the same thing, then learn from critics to make the writing even better. Whether in a writing class, on social media or in the proofreading stages, have people read and critique your writing.

Accept criticism and use it to grow. Sometimes, you will gain new insight into how you can make your writing better. Sometimes, you will ignore the critics and allow your writing to stand.

Either way, critics will help you polish your art and learn how to craft a story that you are proud to call your own.

When writing a book or short story, don’t focus on perfection at the start. Get your ideas down and polish your storylines and character development, not necessarily the writing and grammar. This comes later when you proofread your work.

Your first draft is the place to get the story going. After you complete that draft, go back and edit it. Make it more powerful, fix your shortcomings and try to perfect it, but only after the main ideas are complete.

Remember, striving for perfection with the first draft is sure to create writer’s block . Move past it by understanding you can perfect later.

Creative writing for beginners can feel daunting. You know you have good ideas, but getting those ideas on paper feels like an overwhelming task. By scheduling time to write every day, brainstorming your ideas and not striving for perfection at first, all while taking advantage of writing exercises and writing classes, you can succeed in becoming a creative writer.

Want more? Check out out list of writing tips .

easy steps in creative writing

Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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Writing Forward

How to Develop Your Creative Writing Process

by Melissa Donovan | Feb 7, 2023 | Creative Writing | 45 comments

easy steps in creative writing

What steps do you take in your creative writing process?

Writing experts often want us to believe that there is only one worthwhile creative writing process. It usually goes something like this:

  • Rough draft
  • Revise (repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat)
  • Edit, proof, and polish

This is a good system — it absolutely works. But does it work for everyone?

Examining the Creative Writing Process

I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative writing process. Lately I’ve found myself working on all types of projects: web pages, blog posts, a science-fiction series, and of course, books on the craft of writing .

I’ve thought about the steps I take to get a project completed and realized that the writing process I use varies from project to project and depends on the level of difficulty, the length and scope of the project, and even my state of mind. If I’m feeling inspired, a blog post will come flying out of my head. If I’m tired, hungry, or unmotivated, or if the project is complicated, then it’s a struggle, and I have to work a little harder. Brainstorming and outlining can help. A lot.

It occurred to me that I don’t have one creative writing process. I have several. And I always use the one that’s best suited for a particular project.

A Process for Every Project

I once wrote a novel with no plan whatsoever. I started with nothing more than a couple of characters. Thirty days and fifty thousand words later, I had completed the draft of a novel (thanks, NaNoWriMo!).

But usually, I need more structure than that. Whether I’m working on a blog post, a page of web copy, a nonfiction book, or a novel, I find that starting with a plan saves a lot of time and reduces the number of revisions that I have to work through later. It’s also more likely to result in a project getting completed and published.

But every plan is different. Sometimes I’ll jot down a quick list of points I want to make in a blog post. This can take just a minute or two, and it makes the writing flow fast and easy. Other times, I’ll spend weeks — even months — working out the intricate details of a story with everything from character sketches to outlines and heaps of research. On the other hand, when I wrote a book of creative writing prompts , I had a rough target for how many prompts I wanted to generate, and I did a little research, but I didn’t create an outline.

I’ve tried lots of different processes, and I continue to develop my processes over time. I also remain cognizant that whatever’s working for me right now might not work in five or ten years. I will keep revising and tweaking my process, depending on my goals.

Finding the Best Process

I’ve written a novel with no process, and I’ve written a novel by going through every step imaginable: brainstorming, character sketches, research, summarizing, outlines, and then multiple drafts, revisions, and edits.

These experiences were vastly different. I can’t say that one was more enjoyable than the other. But it’s probably worth noting that the book I wrote with no process is still sitting on my hard drive somewhere whereas the one I wrote with a methodical yet creative writing process got completed, polished, and published.

In fact, I have found that using a process generates better results if my goal is to complete and publish a project.

But not every piece of writing is destined for public consumption. Sometimes I write just for fun. No plan, no process, no pressure. I just let the words flow. Every once in a while, these projects find their way to completion and get sent out into the world.

It is only by experimenting with a variety of processes that you will find the creative writing process that works best for you. And you’ll also have to decide what “best” means. Is it the process that’s most enjoyable? Or is it the process that leads you to publication? Only you know the answer to that.

I encourage you to try different writing processes. Write a blog post on the fly. Make an outline for a novel. Do some in-depth research for an epic poem. Try the process at the top of this page, and then do some research to find other processes that you can experiment with. Keep trying new things, and when you find whatever helps you achieve your goals, stick with it, but remain open to new methods that you can bring into your process.

What’s Your Creative Writing Process?

Creative writing processes are good. The reason our predecessors developed these processes and shared them, along with a host of other writing tips, was to help us be more productive and produce better writing. Techniques and strategies can be helpful, but it’s our responsibility to know what works for us as individuals and as creative writers and to know what will cause us to infinitely spin our wheels.

What’s your creative writing process? Do you have one? Do you ever get stuck in the writing process? How do you get unstuck?

Ready Set Write a Guide to Creative Writing

45 Comments

Marelisa

Hi Melissa: I do a lot of research on the topic I’ve chosen to write about. As I do the research I take notes on a word perfect document. When I have a whole lot of information written down–in a jumble–I usually leave it and go do something else. Then I sit down and start to work with the information I’ve gathered and just start writing. The first draft I come up with is usually pretty bad, and then I revise and revise until I have something beautiful that I feel is fit to share with the rest of the world. That’s when I hit the “publish” button 🙂 I’m trying to implement Parkinson’s Law to focus my thinking a little more as I write so that I can get the articles out a bit faster.

joey

My favorite pre-writing process would have to be getting a nice big whiteboard and charting characters and plots down. I find that it really helps me anchor on to specific traits of a character, especially if the persona happens to be a dynamic one. Such charting helps me out dramatically in creating an evolving storyline by not allowing me to forget key twists and other storyline-intensive elements =)

That being said, my favorite pre-charting process is going out the on nights leading to it for a few rounds of beer with good friends!

Cath Lawson

Hi Melissa – I’m like you – I do different things depending on what I’m writing. With the novel I’m working on now – alot of stuff I write won’t even go into it.

Some of the stuff the gurus recommend are the kind of things I’d do if I was writing an essay – but nothing else.

Wendi Kelly

I don’t know if I have a set process. I start with morning pages and journaling. then whatever comes streaming from that gets written. As I go about my day I have a notebook that stays with me whereever I go and I am constantly writing in it, notes, ideas, themes, Sentances that begin with “I wonder…” and then then next monring the notebook is with me during quiet time and these thoughts are often carried right in to the process all over again. So…if that is a process, I guess…I never really thought about it. As I have said before, a lot of my writing also takes place in my jacuzzi..so…

I guess my process is that when its falling out of my head I try and catch it.

This will be the first year that I attempt NaNO so I will need to be more organized. This is good for thinking ahead. One of the reasons I started blogging in the first place was to get in the discipline of writing every day. That was the first step. Just creating the habit. This will be a good next step.

--Deb

These days, I feel so scattered, I feel like I’m not getting anything done at all! (grin)

Karen Swim

Melissa, I am really organized but my writing process has never followed the guidelines. I’ve tried them on for size and find that they don’t fit. Even in school, I never did outlines and drafts so I suppose I trained myself against the system! I always do research first and gather all of my notes, clips in one location. As for the writing process itself I let it rip, then go back and fine tune. It has worked for me thus far but I’m always open to trying new techniques on for size, hey if they fit I’m all on board!

Melissa Donovan

@Marelisa, that doesn’t surprise me. Your posts are comprehensive, detailed, and extremely informative. I can tell you care a lot about your topic and about your writing. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy your blog; your passion is palpable.

@Joey, I love the planning stage too. In fact, sometimes I get stuck there and never make it out. Ooh, and white boards. Yes. Those are good. Usually I just use drawing paper though. When I do NaNo, I’m going to try to do less planning. In fact, I’m going to plan in October and just write in November. I’m hoping this new strategy will result in winning my word count goal!

@Cath, I sort of pick and choose which tips from the gurus I use.

@Wendi, you write in the jacuzzi? That’s cool. Or hot. I guess it’s hot. Your process sounds really natural. I started blogging for the exact same reason — to write every day. I’m excited to hear you’re doing NaNo too. That will be fun, and we can offer each other moral support!

@Deb (Punctuality), it sounds like you have a lot going on! I get into that mode sometimes, where I’m so overwhelmed, I can’t get anything done. It’s really frustrating. Sometimes I have to shut down for a day to get my bearings and that’s the only way I can get back on track.

@Karen, that’s probably why your writing flows so well, because you just let it do its thing. I remember learning to do outlines back in 6th grade but it didn’t stick. Later, in college, we’d have to do them as assignments, so I didn’t have a choice. I realized that they sped up the writing process. Now I do them for some (but not all) projects. But I will say this: I actually enjoy outlining (weird?).

Milena

Melissa, I’m not a real writer but I do love reading how you, who are, go about the business of putting words to paper. As always, a great post. Thanks.

Deb

It is funny that you wrote about this today. I picked up an extra assignment with a today deadline. Let’s not talk about how long it’s been since I’ve written copy on that tight a deadline.

My mantra: “If it doesn’t make it I don’t get paid for it.” Rinse and repeat.

Also, I grew to enjoy outlining when I went back to university. Sometimes I’m happy just to outline; also known as a stall tactic.

Sam

Ah, my writing process?

1) Spit out mindgarbage! 2) Sort through mindgarbage. 3) Take out the handy scissors and glue (or rather, ctrl+c, ctrl+v…) 4) Revise Revise Revise 5) Edit, proof, polish… 6) Rewrite, revise rewrite, revise…

My prewriting is just writing. Writing trash. Then cleaning it up. 3 pages = 1 paragraph trash. Yeaaaaah.

@Milena, what do you mean you’re not a real writer? Of course you are. You write; therefore you are a writer!

@Deb, sometimes those crunch deadlines really light the fire. I’ve been amazed at what I can write in a day when there’s a client waiting for it with a nice big PayPal deposit!

@Sam, that’s a good way to get it done! Do you free-write your early drafts? I’ve been teased for editing too much, but it’s definitely worth it. You can get the good stuff early by just spattering it all over the page, and then refine it until it’s polished and sparkling!

Jenny

I never really liked the 5 step process when I wrote back in school, but I suppose that learning that did make me a better writer. I don’t have a set process, sometimes it’s just sitting at the computer and opening up my blog, or a blank page in Word. Sometimes things come from something that struck me during the day. I think I have to work on the discipline of actually sitting down to write more often! Practice makes perfect, or at least close enough, right?!?!

t.sterling

I’ve tried to figure out what my process is, but it’s different depending on what I’m writing.

Blogging – 90% of the time, there is no process at all and it shows. I’m usually writing as fast as I can think, and sometimes I can’t keep up and I may just jump to the next thought at random. I may go back and read and finish thoughts that were left incomplete. I try to write my blogs as if the reader is having a conversation with me, which makes it feel natural for me to write.

Poetry – Most times I don’t like editting unless I’m really unhappy with the first draft. Usually I’m only changing or adding punctuations. But overall, I’ll get my inspiration and after reciting a few lines in my head and an idea of where I want to go, that’s when I’ll pull out some paper (or cardboard or napkins or laptop) and write a potential masterpiece.

Story/scripts – I plan the entire story in my head. One might call it a brainstorm, but I’ll go farther and say it’s a hurricane. I won’t stop with just a story, I’ll create characters, scenes, even background music. A lot of times I’ll get the idea but I won’t be able to write anything down, like if I’m driving, rock climbing, sky diving or underwater. A lot of ideas come to me when I’m in the bathroom. Without sharing much details about that, I’ll just say I have time to think and let my imagination go to work. When I’m able to get to some paper or my laptop, I’ll write out the story and flesh it out a little until I’m done, or I’ll keep working on the story in my head and bounce it off some people to see how they would react of this happened or that happened.

I don’t like outlines, but when it comes to screenplays, they help out a lot and it’s the only time I MIGHT use one. I’ve been known to go without them though.

@Jenny, practice does make perfect! I believe that. I rarely use the five-step process on paper, but I think I often do some steps in my head, often without even realizing I’m doing them!

@t. sterling, I consistently get some of my best ideas in the shower. There must be something very inspiring about bathrooms or water. Like you, I have a bunch of different processes that I use depending on what I’m writing. And after reading all the comments, it seems like that’s how it works for a lot of writers.

J.D. Meier

I like the show me yours, show you mine tradezees.

It’s kind of long, but there’s a lot to it: http://blogs.msdn.com/jmeier/archive/2007/12/24/building-books-in-patterns-amp-practices.aspx

Thanks, J.D.

Kelvin Kao

That depends on the complexity. If it’s something simple like some of my blog posts, I just start writing without outlines. For tutorials, usually there are steps so I will write down all the steps first and re-arrange them to the order I want.

For stories, sometimes I write down the events that should happen, but sometimes I don’t. Even if I don’t explicitly write out an outline, I would still have some kind of structure in my head. And even if it’s written out, eventually I will get that into my head because it’s easier for me to sort through things that way. I think it might be a habit I developed from working as a computer programmer. I tend to rely a lot on short-term memory. I get all these details into my head, and then I try to sort things out in my mind.

Actually, you know what? I’ve just brainstormed for a story right before reading this. I already have most detailed sorted out in my head, so I will most likely write and post it tomorrow. I think I’ll post my writing process after that as well. For now I’ll sleep on it. (I think maybe that’s part of the process as well.)

Oh yes, sleeping on it is definitely part of the process. I like to insert that right between rough draft and revision. Then I do it again between revision and polish or proofread. Sounds like you do things similarly to the way I do — a little of everything with the steps varying depending on the project.

Positively Present

Great post! Thanks for sharing your insights on the writing process. As for me, I feel like I work in spurts of inspiration… Lots of writing, then editing, then writing again.

That is how I’ve always written poetry — with spurts of inspiration and freewrites. Then I will go through the pages and pull out lines and phrases to build a poem. I do use brainstorming, notes, outlines, research, etc. for other forms, but it really depends on the project.

Walter

Actually, I’m not that organize when it comes to creative writing. Most of the time I keep in tune with my thoughts. When something pop-ups (words, phrase, ideas, vocabulary) is immediately write it down on my black notebook.

I go with my own style of writing because I believe my work will speak out only if it’s unique on its own. Being imperfect, I don’t put too much effort on the grammatical construction. I believe that what’s between the words are more important the the words itself. A distinctive writer possesses this quality. 🙂

Writing down your ideas, words, phrases, etc. in your notebook is an excellent habit! However, I have to disagree with you on the importance of grammar. I think it’s essential for writers to master grammar and then (and only then) can you start breaking the rules. Of course, this may depend on what you want to write (i.e. blog versus fiction). Grammar gives writers a common or shared framework in which to construct the language, and believe it or not, there are some astute writers and editors out there who will judge your work rather harshly if the grammar is not up to par. That doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, but if you’re missing the basics, it’s likely they won’t bother reading past the first paragraph. By the way, a fast and easy way to learn grammar is by listening to the Grammar Girl podcast. Just a few minutes of listening a couple times a week will teach you more than you can imagine!

Jay Tee

I separate first draft from editing, but I’m not particular about whether I finish the whole draft before I start editing. Sometimes going back and editing the first 3 chapters gets me moving on a better line.

When I edit, I do whole read-thrus until I’m happy with the story flow. Then I use the Autocrit Editing Wizard to really polish the manuscript. After that, I’m done!

I’ve never heard of the Autocrit Editing Wizard. Sounds interesting. I usually edit short pieces like web page copy or blog posts on the fly, i.e. I will stop every couple of paragraphs and go back to re-read and edit. However, with longer works, I feel like if I start editing midway, I might lose the project and get caught up in polishing before the rough draft is nailed down. All that matters, however, is that each writer finds his or her own best method. Sounds like you’ve got it down!

Annette

LOL! I think I’ve worked through every possible type of creative process possible. From outlining the whole darned thing to working with notecards, story boards and of course just winging it, which resulted in a story with a really flat ending – unforgivable:-) And while I firmly adhere to Anne Lamott’s *&^^%# first draft, I have finally settled into a process that works for me. I now use a plot worksheet and a character worksheet. It takes me a bit longer to actually start writing but what I write works and requires less editing.

I’ve tried all the methods too, and I’m glad I did. I’ve learned that each one works for me, but in a different capacity. With creative writing, such as fiction and poetry, I just jump right in and start writing. Right now I’m working on a nonfiction, educational project using detailed outlines and note cards. I think what you’ve done is brilliant — figuring out what advice works for you and what doesn’t work and then letting your own, personalized process unfold.

Meredith

I have used all the methods, too, and I agree that the method used depends mostly on the subject matter. For novels, it also seems to depend on the genre. I can rip out a romance novel without an outline (in fact that’s the most fun way to do it). I finished a Romance for NaNoWriMo last year in three weeks. For novels with a more complicated plot at least a general outline is helpful (keeping in mind I have to be flexible enough to let the characters take over and go off in some completely different direction).

For me the single most important thing is letting a certain amount of time go by between drafting and editing. It could be days, it could be weeks. For novels it’s even better for me to let months go by. It gives me the the opportunity to look at the material with “fresh eyes”.

Probably for that reason, I tend to work on multiple projects at once: drafting one (early mornings on the weekends when I’m at my best); editing one and polishing another (weekday evenings). That way everything keeps moving forward, I never get bored and I always have new material in the pipeline.

I’m with you, Meredith! I can see how it would be fun to write a romance novel on the fly, and I’ve heard that mystery writers often use outlines because they need to incorporate plot twists and must keep track of various story threads. Another method is to outline as you write, so you have notes that you can refer back to when necessary. Allowing time to pass between writing, editing, proofreading, and polishing is absolutely essential! We know the brain will read incorrect text correctly, plugging in words and proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. That time away really does give us fresh eyes! I love your strategy for working on multiple projects simultaneously.

Brad

There are good things to be said for the traditional formula, but as you say it isn’t the only method that works. I have written eight novels and dozens upon dozens of short stories and never once sat down to do a brainstorming session to come up with ideas. I do a lot of research, but most of it as I go along during the writing process. The last three steps I think are golden though.

I do have one new organization tip to share though. If your tech savvy enough to do a local install of wordpress on your computer it can become a great writing tool. Not only does it have a simple to use word processor in the form of the posting tool, it allows you to categorize your research and there are plenty of tagging plugins that will allow you to easily cross reference notes and text.

I LOVE the idea of using a local installation of WordPress for research and novel writing. I can imagine all the benefits with links and images, even video. Hmm. I don’t know how to do a local installation, but I’m thinking another option would be to load WP onto a live domain and simply put it in permanent maintenance mode (plugin) or set up some kind of password protection to block it from the public. I definitely need to think about this as a tool. Thanks for the tip, Brad!

Chris Smith

I use Scrivener ( https://www.literatureandlatte.com/ ) for all my writing. It’s great for research and saving web pages, building characters, plotting and planning, all in one place. And best of all you can break down a story into scenes (separate documents) within Scrivener itself – something you can’t do in Word or similar. Wordpress is all very well, but you can’t see all posts/pages at once in a sidebar – something you *can* do in Scrivener. You can download a free trial of Scrivener to see whether it’s for you. Don’t be put off by the complicated look of it – you can use as much or as little of it as you like and there are some very handy videos and tips on using it. I’ve found it’s the best thing for writing blog posts, short stories, novels, scripts, you name it. It can’t hurt to give it a go.

I agree, Chris. Scrivener is amazing. I use it for fiction and poetry, and it’s made the writing process so much smoother. I highly recommend it to all writers. Plus, it’s reasonably priced.

I’m loving reading all these, but I don’t really have a process … I sit at the keyboard and hope something comes out of my fingertips … and if it doesn’t I let myself get distracted by shiny things like Twitter.

(Okay, I never said it was a PRODUCTIVE method.)

Really? I would have guessed that you use outlines at least some of the time. I definitely have to use outlines for longer works of nonfiction, and I always outline website copy when I’m writing for clients. It’s such a good (and productive) way to organize your thoughts, but for fiction and poetry (and many blog posts) I often let it flow freely, and it turns out that method is productive too 😉

Kylee

Hello Melissa, My name is Kylee and I’m 15. Being naturally gifted in journalism, its a dream or fantasy of mine to become an author. For me to get into my ‘zone’ I have to be in a completely serene enviroment for hours. I’ve written short stories and essays but would like to complete the ultimate thrill of Mine: a novel. Its frustrating really, the difficulties of finding my creative writing process. I have difficulties in making a plot complex enough, and character development. I know they are major issues but I’m having trouble perfecting my writing. If you could help me in any way, I’d gladly appreciate it. Thank you.

You’re getting an early start. The best advice I have for you is to read a lot. If you want to be a novelist, then read as many novels as you can. Try keeping a reading journal where you can write down your thoughts and observations about how other authors handle plot and character development. You’ll find that you start to read differently. Instead of reading for enjoyment or entertainment, it also becomes a fun study in your craft. You can visit my Writing Resources section or Books page to check out my recommendations for books on the craft of writing. Good luck to you!

Linda Maye Adams, Soldier, Storyteller

Mine’s pretty simple:

1. Do background research. Mostly stuff for the setting like common plants and animals, names of places, photographs. I’ll also read books to familiarize myself with whatever topic of the book in involved.

2. Start writing.

3. Do spot research as I’m writing. Search for the name of something, looking at pictures of something to help me describe it; etc.

4. Move around the scenes as I write, which is sort of like shaking out the wrinkles in a sheet. I add new things that occur to me, correct typos, etc.

That’s excellent, Linda. It sounds like you’ve nailed your process!

Meghan Adona

I have no writing process, actually. I’m the type of person who thinks while I’m writing, or I think of an image and the story comes out suddenly. I also think before I write, and imagine how the scenes will turn out. I’m a very visual person when it comes to writing. In addition, I found out that when I do plan, my stories never get drafted at all, or they do but I don’t like it. Planning never really works for me. I need to let all my ideas be out of my mind, and not from pre-writing.

All that matters is that you’ve found the process that works for you, and it sounds like you have!

Rod Raglin

Here’s a trick (procedure, technique, system, gimmick) I use when I’m writing a novel. I don’t write linearly. Some parts of the story are more appealing to me than others so depending on my mood (perhaps that should be muse) I jump around. Admittedly, connecting the scenes may take a bit of of revision since I never know where the story will eventually take me, and on occasion I’ve had to trash a significant amount. That’s okay, since my goal is to enjoy myself every time I sit down to write – and I do.

This method works well for a lot of writers. I mostly try to write my own drafts linearly, but I skip around if I’m struck with inspiration.

Every writer experiences different levels of enjoyment during the process. In my experience, most writers encounter a lot of frustration at certain points in the process. So I have come to view writing as rewarding rather than enjoyable. A lot of the work is fun, but a lot of it is difficult, tedious, even maddening. But at the end, it’s all worth it if you can push through the hard parts.

Book suggestion: The Writer’s Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne H. Janzer.

This book explains the actual psychology behind the creative process and then suggests how to apply it to your work. Some good insights.

Thanks for the recommendation, Rod. I’m always looking for books on the craft of writing to add to my collection.

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Easy Steps in Creative Writing Book 3 BY CBSL

Easy Steps in Creative Writing Book 3 BY CBSL

Easy Steps in Creative Writing Book 3 is the fifth in a series of six books designed in alignment with the English Language Arts Writing and Literary Appreciation strands in the revised Curriculum (formerly referred to as ‘PCR’) and the English Language Arts Writing objectives for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA). Includes Engaging lessons that explore multiple types of writing (including reflective, expository and narrative writing). Provides authentic opportunities to practise the Writing Process through a wide range of appealing activities. Explores grammar and mechanics within the context of writing. Checklists and rubrics are included to assist with the assessment of writing activities. By using these techniques, we hope to unlock the creative potential of students and help produce great writers.

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easy steps in creative writing

  • Creativity Techniques

26+ Creative Writing Tips for Young Writers

So you want to be a writer? And not just any writer, you want to be a creative writer. The road to being a legendary storyteller won’t be easy, but with our creative writing tips for kids, you’ll be on the right track! Creative writing isn’t just about writing stories. You could write poems, graphic novels, song lyrics and even movie scripts. But there is one thing you’ll need and that is good creative writing skills. 

Here are over 26 tips to improve your creative writing skills :

Read a wide range of books

When it comes to creative writing, reading is essential. Reading allows you to explore the styles of other writers and gain inspiration to improve your own writing. But don’t just limit yourself to reading only popular books or your favourites. Read all sorts of books, everything from fairytales to scary stories. Take a look at comics, short stories, novels and poetry. Just fill your heads with the knowledge and wisdom of other writers and soon you’ll be just like them!

Write about real-life events

The hardest thing about creative writing is connecting emotionally with your audience. By focusing your writing on real-life events, you know that in some way or another your readers will be able to relate. And with creative writing you don’t need to use real names or details – There are certain things you can keep private while writing about the rare details. Using real-life events is also a good way to find inspiration for your stories. 

Be imaginative

Be as crazy and wild as you like with your imagination. Create your world, your own monsters , or even your own language! The more imaginative your story, the more exciting it will be to read. Remember that there are no rules on what makes a good idea in creative writing. So don’t be afraid to make stuff up!

Find your writing style

Thes best writers have a particular style about them. When you think of Roald Dahl , you know his books are going to have a sense of humour. While with Dr Seuss , you’re prepared to read some funny new words . Alternatively, when you look at R.L.Stine, you know that he is all about the horror. Think about your own writing style. Do you want to be a horror writer? Maybe someone who always writes in the first person? Will always focus your books on your culture or a particular character?

Stick to a routine

Routine is extremely important to writers. If you just write some stuff here and there, it’s likely that you’ll soon give up on writing altogether! A strict routine means that every day at a certain time you will make time to write about something, anything. Even if you’re bored or can’t think of anything, you’ll still pick up that pencil and write. Soon enough you’ll get into the habit of writing good stuff daily and this is definitely important for anyone who wants to be a professional creative writer!

Know your audience

Writing isn’t just about thinking about your own interests, it’s also about thinking about the interests of your audience. If you want to excite fellow classmates, know what they like. Do they like football , monsters or a particular video game? With that knowledge, you can create the most popular book for your target audience. A book that they can’t stop reading and will recommend to others! 

Daily Exercises

To keep your creative writing skills up to scratch it is important to keep practising every day. Even if you have no inspiration. At times when your mind is blank, you should try to use tools like writing prompts , video prompts or other ways of coming up with ideas . You could even take a look at these daily writing exercises as an example. We even created a whole list of over 100 creative writing exercises to try out when you need some inspiration or ideas. 

Work together with others

Everyone needs a little help now and then. We recommend joining a writing club or finding other classmates who are also interested in writing to improve your own creative writing skills. Together you can share ideas, tips and even write a story together! A good storytelling game to play in a group is the “ finish the story” game . 

Get feedback

Without feedback, you’ll never be able to improve your writing. Feedback, whether good or bad is important to all writers. Good feedback gives you the motivation to carry on. While bad feedback just gives you areas to improve and adapt your writing, so you can be the best! After every piece of writing always try to get feedback from it, whether it is from friends, family, teachers or an online writing community .

Enter writing competitions

The best way to improve your creative writing is by entering all sorts of writing competitions . Whether it’s a poetry competition or short story competition, competitions let you compete against other writers and even help you get useful feedback on your writing. Most competitions even have rules to structure your writing, these rules can help you prepare for the real world of writing and getting your work published. And not only that you might even win some cool prizes!

Keep a notebook

Every writer’s best friend is their notebook. Wherever you go make sure you have a notebook handy to jot down any ideas you get on the go. Inspiration can come from anywhere , so the next time you get an idea instead of forgetting about it, write it down. You never know, this idea could become a best-selling novel in the future. 

Research your ideas

So, you got a couple of ideas for short stories. The next step is to research these ideas deeper. 

Researching your ideas could involve reading books similar to your ideas or going online to learn more about a particular topic. For example, if you wanted to write a book on dragons, you would want to know everything about them in history to come up with a good, relatable storyline for your book.

Create Writing Goals

How do you know if your writing is improving over time? Simple – Just create writing goals for yourself. Examples of writing goals might include, to write 100 words every day or to write 600 words by the end of next week. Whatever your goals make sure you can measure them easily. That way you’ll know if you met them or not. You might want to take a look at these bullet journal layouts for writers to help you track the progress of your writing.

Follow your passions

Writing can be tedious and many people even give up after writing a few words. The only way you can keep that fire burning is by writing about your true passions. Whatever it is you enjoy doing or love, you could just write about those things. These are the types of things you’ll enjoy researching and already know so much about, making writing a whole lot more fun!

Don’t Settle for the first draft

You finally wrote your first story. But the writing process isn’t complete yet! Now it’s time to read your story and make the all-important edits. Editing your story is more than just fixing spelling or grammar mistakes. It’s also about criticising your own work and looking for areas of improvement. For example, is the conflict strong enough? Is your opening line exciting? How can you improve your ending?

Plan before writing

Never just jump into writing your story. Always plan first! Whether this means listing down the key scenes in your story or using a storyboard template to map out these scenes. You should have an outline of your story somewhere, which you can refer to when actually writing your story. This way you won’t make basic mistakes like not having a climax in your story which builds up to your main conflict or missing crucial characters out.

It’s strange the difference it makes to read your writing out aloud compared to reading it in your head. When reading aloud you tend to notice more mistakes in your sentences or discover paragraphs which make no sense at all. You might even want to read your story aloud to your family or a group of friends to get feedback on how your story sounds. 

Pace your story

Pacing is important. You don’t want to just start and then quickly jump into the main conflict because this will take all the excitement away from your conflict. And at the same time, you don’t want to give the solution away too early and this will make your conflict too easy for your characters to solve. The key is to gradually build up to your conflict by describing your characters and the many events that lead up to the main conflict. Then you might want to make the conflict more difficult for your characters by including more than one issue in your story to solve. 

Think about themes

Every story has a theme or moral. Some stories are about friendship, others are about the dangers of trusting strangers. And a story can even have more than one theme. The point of a theme is to give something valuable to your readers once they have finished reading your book. In other words, to give them a life lesson, they’ll never forget!

Use dialogue carefully

Dialogue is a tricky thing to get right. Your whole story should not be made up of dialogue unless you’re writing a script. Alternatively, it can be strange to include no dialogue at all in your story. The purpose of dialogue should be to move your story forward. It should also help your readers learn more about a particular character’s personality and their relationship with other characters in your book. 

One thing to avoid with dialogue is… small talk! There’s no point in writing dialogue, such as “How’s the weather?”, if your story has nothing to do with the weather. This is because it doesn’t move your story along.  For more information check out this guide on how to write dialogue in a story .

Write now, edit later

Writing is a magical process. Don’t lose that magic by focusing on editing your sentences while you’re still writing your story up. Not only could this make your story sound fragmented, but you might also forget some key ideas to include in your story or take away the imagination from your writing. When it comes to creative writing, just write and come back to editing your story later.

Ask yourself questions

Always question your writing. Once done, think about any holes in your story. Is there something the reader won’t understand or needs further describing? What if your character finds another solution to solving the conflict? How about adding a new character or removing a character from your story? There are so many questions to ask and keep asking them until you feel confident about your final piece.

Create a dedicated writing space

Some kids like writing on their beds, others at the kitchen table. While this is good for beginners, going pro with your writing might require having a dedicated writing space. Some of the basics you’ll need is a desk and comfy chair, along with writing materials like pens, pencils and notebooks. But to really create an inspiring place, you could also stick some beautiful pictures, some inspiring quotes from writers and anything else that will keep you motivated and prepared. 

Beware of flowery words

Vocabulary is good. It’s always exciting when you learn a new word that you have never heard before. But don’t go around plotting in complicated words into your story, unless it’s necessary to show a character’s personality. Most long words are not natural sounding, meaning your audience will have a hard time relating to your story if it’s full of complicated words from the dictionary like Xenophobia or Xylograph .

Create believable characters

Nobody’s perfect. And why should your story characters be any different? To create believable characters, you’ll need to give them some common flaws as well as some really cool strengths. Your character’s flaws can be used as a setback to why they can’t achieve their goals, while their strengths are the things that will help win over adversity. Just think about your own strengths and weaknesses and use them as inspirations for your storybook characters. You can use the Imagine Forest character creator to plan out your story characters. 

Show, don’t tell

You can say that someone is nice or you can show them how that person is nice. Take the following as an example, “Katie was a nice girl.” Now compare that sentence to this, “Katie spent her weekends at the retirement home, singing to the seniors and making them laugh.”. The difference between the two sentences is huge. The first one sounds boring and you don’t really know why Katie is nice. While in the second sentence, you get the sense that Katie is nice from her actions without even using the word nice in the sentence!

Make the conflict impossible

Imagine the following scenario, you are a championship boxer who has won many medals over the year and the conflict is…Well, you got a boxing match coming up. Now that doesn’t sound so exciting! In fact, most readers won’t even care about the boxer winning the match or not! 

Now imagine this scenario: You’re a poor kid from New Jersey, you barely have enough money to pay the bills. You never did any professional boxing, but you want to enter a boxing competition, so you can win and use the money to pay your bills. 

The second scenario has a bigger mountain to climb. In other words, a much harder challenge to face compared to the character in the first scenario. Giving your characters an almost impossible task or conflict is essential in good story-telling.

Write powerful scenes

Scenes help build a picture in your reader’s mind without even including any actual pictures in your story. Creating powerful scenes involves more than describing the appearance of a setting, it’s also about thinking about the smell, the sounds and what your characters are feeling while they are in a particular setting. By being descriptive with your scenes, your audience can imagine themselves being right there with characters through the hard times and good times!

There’s nothing worse than an ending which leaves the reader feeling underwhelmed. You read all the way through and then it just ends in the most typical, obvious way ever! Strong endings don’t always end on a happy ending. They can end with a sad ending or a cliff-hanger.  In fact, most stories actually leave the reader with more questions in their head, as they wonder what happens next. This then gives you the opportunity to create even more books to continue the story and keep your readers hooked for life (or at least for a very long time)! 

Over 25 creative writing tips later and you should now be ready to master the art of creative writing! The most important tip for all you creative writers out there is to be imaginative! Without a good imagination, you’ll struggle to wow your audience with your writing skills. Do you have any more creative writing tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Creative writing tips

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Writers' Treasure

Effective writing advice for aspiring writers

Creative Writing 101

Creative writing is any form of writing which is written with the creativity of mind: fiction writing, poetry writing, creative nonfiction writing and more. The purpose is to express something, whether it be feelings, thoughts, or emotions.

Rather than only giving information or inciting the reader to make an action beneficial to the writer, creative writing is written to entertain or educate someone, to spread awareness about something or someone, or to express one’s thoughts.

There are two kinds of creative writing: good and bad, effective and ineffective. Bad, ineffective creative writing cannot make any impression on the reader. It won’t achieve its purpose.

So whether you’re a novelist, a poet, a short-story writer, an essayist, a biographer or an aspiring beginner, you want to improve your craft. The question is: how?

When you write great fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, amazing things can happen. Readers can’t put it down. The work you wrote becomes a bestseller. It becomes famous. But you have to reach to that level… first .

The best way to increase your proficiency in creative writing is to write, write compulsively, but it doesn’t mean write whatever you want. There are certain things you should know first… it helps to start with the right foot.

To do exactly that, here we have a beginners’ guide from Writers’ Treasure on the subject:

  • An Introduction to Creative Writing
  • How to Get Started in Creative Writing in Just Three Steps
  • Creative Writing vs. Technical Writing
  • Fiction Writing 101: The Elements of Stories
  • Poetry Writing: Forms and Terms Galore
  • Creative Non-Fiction: What is it?
  • Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Creative Writing
  • Common Mistakes Made by Creative Writers

For novelists: do you want to write compelling opening chapters?

Are you an aspiring novelist? Will your novel see the light of day? For that, you will need to make the first chapter of your story as compelling as possible. Otherwise, readers won’t even pick up your novel. That chapter can be the make-or-break point that decides whether your novel is published or not. It’s because good editors know how you write from the first three pages… or sometimes even from the opening lines.

To solve this problem, I created a five-part tutorial on Writing Compelling Opening Chapters . It outlines why you need to write a compelling opening chapter, my personal favourite way of beginning it, what should be told and shown in it, general dos and don’ts, and what you need to do after having written it. Check it out for more.

Need more writing tips?

Sometimes you reach that stage when you outgrow the beginner stage of writing but feel that you’re not yet an expert. If I just described you, no worries– Writers’ Treasure’s writing tips are here. Whether you want to make your writing more readable, more irresistible, more professional, we’ve got you covered. So check out our writing tips , and be on your way to fast track your success.

I offer writing, editing and proofreading , as well as website creation services. I’ve been in this field for seven years, and I know the tools of the trade. I’ve seen the directions where the writing industry is going, the changes, the new platforms. Get your work done through me, and get fast and efficient service. Get a quote .

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How to Write Creatively

Last Updated: May 4, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Lucy V. Hay . Lucy V. Hay is a Professional Writer based in London, England. With over 20 years of industry experience, Lucy is an author, script editor, and award-winning blogger who helps other writers through writing workshops, courses, and her blog Bang2Write. Lucy is the producer of two British thrillers, and Bang2Write has appeared in the Top 100 round-ups for Writer’s Digest & The Write Life and is a UK Blog Awards Finalist and Feedspot’s #1 Screenwriting blog in the UK. She received a B.A. in Scriptwriting for Film & Television from Bournemouth University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 161,009 times.

Creative writing can be challenging but rewarding. You can use it as an escape or just to write something to call your own. Whatever the reason, creative writing is something that you can be proud of. Whether you want to write a short story, a novel, or jot down some poetry, creative writing is much more about sitting down and writing, learning as you go, than waiting for the perfect idea to strike.

Brainstorming Creative Writing Ideas

Step 1 Keep a small notebook to constantly record ideas, lines, and characters.

  • You can also use your phone to keep track of your ideas! You could type them in your notes, email them to yourself, or use an app, such as Google Docs.

Step 2 Try mixing and matching two ideas you've never seen before.

  • House was a brilliant, but simple combination of medical dramas with one-off "murder mystery" type shows, swapping medical diagnosis for detective work.
  • Star Wars is a typical hero's quest, with the plot ripped straight from the oldest known Greek stories. George Lucas's genius? Simply setting it in space.
  • The collected works of William Shakespeare are full of "artistic theft," as almost every one of his plays was a brilliant amalgamation of other plays, books, and historical records.
  • Try to read every day, even if it's just a few pages.
  • Reading books in the genre you write is an excellent idea, but it's also helpful to read books in other genres. This can help you broaden your understanding of the writing craft and gain new ideas for your own work.

Step 4 Get inspiration from non-fiction sources.

  • Try writing from the perspective of the people you see on the news. You understand the facts of a war or struggle, but try to actually imagine living it.
  • Creative writing doesn't have to be fiction. Use stories from your life that speak out to you as potentially exciting or compelling stories.

Step 5 Consider brainstorming with a close friend or group.

  • Almost all writers enjoy having at least one person to bounce ideas off. Frequently, just vocalizing your plots or ideas can make them much clearer and easier to write.

Step 6 Sit down at the computer and type something, anything, to get started.

  • Look online at collections of "free writing prompts." There are thousands of ideas out there to spark your creative juices and get the writing flowing, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Rewrite passages from your favorite books -- many famous authors, from Billy Collins to Cormac McCarthy, literally re-wrote favorite chapters to learn from the best. [1] X Research source

Writing Effectively and Creatively

Step 1 Write the story out linearly to give yourself a template.

  • There is no "right" way to start writing. Some people plan, storyboard, and plot, and others plow right into it and deal with the rest in revision. Experiment for what works for you. [2] X Research source

Step 2 Know that great characters drive great stories, not the other way around.

  • Well-rounded. Good characters are multi-dimensional, with both strengths and weaknesses. They are not just the "strong hero," "damsel in distress," or a million other simplified character types. They are people and have nuance and complexity
  • Desiring something, and fearing something else: Plots are driven by character's wants -- what do they need or desire to be happy or safe? Some characters are driven by fear, or the desire not to be something. But all characters are pushed by some desire, a desire that drives their plot. [3] X Research source This is your character's motivation.
  • Aware self-agents Good characters make decisions, for better or for worse, that they think will help them. Always ask yourself -- if I were in the same situation as the character, would I see that as a good decision? Sometimes, only one decision catapults the whole story, as the character deals with the fallout. Other times characters make decisions every minute. Just make sure they fit the character. [4] X Research source

Step 3 Set goals and timers to keep yourself writing.

  • Setting writing timers -- 1 hour of straight writing, 10-15 minutes of relaxing, then repeat.
  • Deciding on a daily writing time and place, building the habit.
  • Getting a writing buddy -- someone you trade 10 pages with each week at the same time.

Step 4 Think in terms...

  • Consider each scene, chapter, or segment a short story. How can you make it compelling if it was published all on its own?
  • Make sure you establish the setting, appealing to the reader's 5 senses. Additionally, set the mood of your scene. The reader should be able to clearly visualize your setting when they read your writing.
  • Scenes should have tension and rising action -- starting with a problem, making things more difficult or introducing new challenges, and resolving everything in some way at the end. It seems overly simplistic, but these three stages are the basis of 95% of all good plots. [5] X Research source

Step 5 Fight writer's block by just continuing to write.

  • This isn't to say some relaxing time isn't worth it when you're stuck, just get back to writing after you're done walking, reading, meditating, or enjoying a cup of writer's block coffee.
  • Never tell yourself that, "I can't write right now." All you have to do is sit down -- the words will flow if you give them the time and energy to do so.

Editing Your Work for Publication

Step 1 Understand that your first draft is just that -- a draft.

  • Looking for inspiration that you're not alone? Check out Raymond Chandler's writing process: “Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.” [6] X Research source

Step 2 Read your entire work and ask what the most important threads are.

  • Know that you'll likely need to keep writing, filling in holes you didn't notice on your first draft. Prioritize those areas that grip you the most already, or the characters that seem the most alluring to write.
  • It is not uncommon for the tone or main idea of a story to pivot at this point -- don't be afraid to forge a bold new direction if it is clearly more enjoyable than the original plot or perspective. [7] X Research source

Step 3 Cut as much away from the first draft as you can, ruthlessly erasing.

  • Make sure your dialogue actually adds something and doesn't simply regurgitate information for the audience. Reading dialogue out loud, with a friend, is the best way to make sure it is natural sounding and worth keeping. [8] X Research source
  • Save new copies of your work every day you open it up, allowing you to still keep copies of everything you erase in case you later change your mind.
  • Hemingway said it best in a letter to his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald: “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of s--t. I try to put the s--t in the wastebasket.” [9] X Research source

Step 4 Show your work to others and ask for feedback.

  • Pick your people wisely-- friends who love to read, and you know will be honest with you, are often the best picks.
  • Let your friends know that you're looking for constructive criticism. While being nice is great, it won't help you write any better. [10] X Research source

Step 5 Edit thoroughly multiple times checking that grammar and spelling are perfect.

Writing Help

easy steps in creative writing

Expert Q&A

Lucy V. Hay

  • Set aside a specific time each day to write and treat it like a commitment. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 9
  • If you become frustrated, try to take advantage of that emotion; let the frustration seep into the writing. Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 9
  • Confidence comes with a great idea. Ideas are easy to come by, there is a slush of them in your head this moment. When you sort through that slush, you will find an idea the brings you to life. You know that its the right idea when you think of it, and then can't wait to start writing. And when you start writing, you can't stop. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 3

easy steps in creative writing

  • Always think that you are not writing it for others but for yourself to make you even more confident. Thanks Helpful 14 Not Helpful 2
  • Ignore "yes" people, those who will tell you that your writing is amazing even if it's not. Sure, the ego boost feels good, but it will not make your writing better. Instead, seek out that blunt friend everyone hates. It might hurt at first, but if it helps improve your writing, it is well worth it. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Stay focused! After you write for a while, you may start to think about other things and write less and less. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Poem

  • ↑ http://thewritepractice.com/why-you-should-copy-other-writers/
  • ↑ http://www.writersbureau.com/writing/planning-a-novel.htm
  • ↑ https://www.writingclasses.com/toolbox/tips-masters/kurt-vonnegut-8-basics-of-creative-writing
  • ↑ http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/13/25-things-a-great-character-needs/
  • ↑ http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/writing-advice-and-tips-on-how-to-engage-the-reader.html
  • ↑ http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/revision
  • ↑ https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/feb/01/teaching-creative-writing-ideas-activities-primary-literacy
  • ↑ http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/shortstory/
  • ↑ http://www.copyblogger.com/ernest-hemingway-top-5-tips-for-writing-well/

About This Article

Lucy V. Hay

If you want to write creatively but you aren’t sure how to start, try “free writing” anything that comes to mind for 5 minutes to get your creative juices flowing. Also, since inspiration comes in many places, keep a small notebook with you to record ideas and lines you overhear that make you laugh. To generate unique ideas, try mixing and matching two unrelated concepts to come up with something new. For example, George Lucas took the typical hero’s quest but set it in space to create Star Wars. For more advice from our Writer reviewer, including how to edit for publishing, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Nicole Breit

3 Easy Steps to Inspired Creative Writing

by nicolebreit | creative writing

If you have a burning desire to share your stories with the world, but you don’t know the steps to inspired creative writing, this video is for you. 

Today, I’m pulling back the curtain on my EXACT step-by-step process for writing with more creativity and flow.

My process breaks out into three stages. I’ve learned it’s crucial that you fire up the right parts of your brain for each stage and task. 

When you know how to do that, writing is going to be so much easier…

The steps for inspired creative writing are:

  • Pre-writing

Listen in as I walk you through each step in this video.

In this episode, besides the 3 easy steps to inspired creative writing, you’ll learn:

  • My favourite tool for the pre-writing stage.
  • The step to start focusing and finish a solid draft.
  • How to avoid overwhelm when drafting your story.
  • Why we aren’t re-writing “Once upon a time”
  • Why it’s necessary to access the right mode at the right time for creative writing.

Resources Featured In This Episode:

  • Writer, meet your genius. 
  • Follow me on Instagram!
  • Free Training
  • Sign up for my email list!
  • Learn how to write about trauma, grief and loss. 

Your key takeaways from ‘3 easy steps to inspired creative writing’.

Let’s dive directly into what the three stages of inspired creative writing are and how you can use them to craft powerful stories to share with the world. 

Step #1: Pre-writing

This first step is all about generating and gathering all the pieces as starting points for your work. Your creative brain is great at finding links and patterns once you have some material to work with.

My favourite tool for the pre-writing stage is mind mapping. It’s like a creative brain dump but represented visually on a page. Check out the video resources on this page for an example in case you’ve never seen a mind map before.

I use mind maps to help me gather all my free-floating ideas connected to a story – important memories, phrases, songs, dreams, images, symbols. I also use mind mapping throughout the process if I feel stuck. Using a mind map actually helps you to see connections you haven’t made before. 

This next step is going to help you start to focus and finish a solid draft

Step #2: Drafting your story

At this stage you have some ideas that you can further develop and use as building blocks of your story. For me, the key is to choose some kind of structure for my story that works as a container, for the story fragments I want to work with from step 1.

For example, I might decide that my story can only be 1500 words and has to be written in two sections. Now I have to decide what two scenes are going to make up this story. I can make some decisions about what to include and what to leave out as material for another story. I’m starting to bring some shape to my story idea.

Some writers tell you not to worry about a story’s form until later in the drafting process, but I find it helps me get through a draft to make some decisions early on about the structure. It also helps me avoid overwhelm because the structure helps me focus my piece.

The final step to inspired creative writing: Shaping  

In this last stage, we’re going to start tapping into the logical part of the brain which is perfect for the task of revision.

If you’re working with a draft that has several sections in the shaping stage you’ll decide what order they belong in. It may not be chronological. You can start with a strong image, a moment of conflict. Start with impact! We aren’t re-writing “Once upon a time”. You can start your story wherever the energy is.

The writing process requires moving back and forth between the more logical brain and more creative intuitive brain; it’s all about accessing the right mode at the right time.

Ready to write powerful stories with 1:1 feedback on your work? Get on the waitlist for the Spark Your Story Intensive!

Recent Posts

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  • Another Shi**y First Draft? Try This!

15 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills Dramatically

Karen Hertzberg

Learning a variety of tricks to improve writing skills isn’t as difficult as you may think. We’ve put together a list of steps to help you make dramatic improvements to the quality of your writing in short order.

Becoming a better writer takes practice , and you’re already practicing. No, seriously—you write a lot. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you put thoughts into text more often than you realize. At the very least, you write emails —a lot of emails—post on social media, make updates to your résumé and LinkedIn profile , and message your friends. If your job requires it, you also create things like reports, presentations , newsletters . . . it’s a long list.

Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.

Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly

So, you’re already writing. Now, to improve writing is just a matter of becoming conscious of the things you can do to give your text more structure and make your copy crisp and readable with a conversational style.

Give your writing structure

It’s fine to rattle off a stream of consciousness when you’re writing in your journal, but if you actually want to communicate with others you’ll need to bring some order to those rambling thoughts. Here are some tips.

1 Make sure you’re clear on the concepts you’re writing about.

Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Before you start writing, take a moment to mentally explain the concept to the six-year-old who lives inside your head. (We all have one, don’t we?) If your writing goal is to achieve a specific result, ask yourself what that result should be. Before you dive into writing, have a clear purpose. Then stick to it.

2 If the message is complex, outline it.

It doesn’t take much thought-organizing to compose the average text message, but if you’re writing something more complex, with multiple angles, questions, or requests, get all that stuff sorted before you sit down to write. Making an outline , or even just some quick notes about the topics you want to cover, can save you time answering clarifying questions later. 

3 Anticipate your readers’ questions.

Improving writing involves putting yourself in your readers’ shoes (you could call it empathy ). Do they have enough context to understand what you’ve written for them? If not, fill in the blanks. But . . .

4 Don’t over-explain.

If you’ve taken the time to organize your thoughts in advance, you should be able to keep things simple. The idea is to give readers just enough to understand what you’re communicating without overwhelming them with trivial details. If you find yourself getting in the weeds with more details than you need, look at each piece of information and ask whether it’s essential to help your reader understand your message. If not, get rid of it.

Write with confidence. Real-time writing feedback, wherever you need it. Get Grammarly

Tighten your writing

We sometimes write like we talk, and that can be a good thing. It keeps our writing conversational (more on that in a moment.) But rambling, wordy writing makes your text hard to read, and it can make you sound as though you lack conviction. Start practicing these tips to improve your writing skills.

5 Go easy on the prepositional phrases

When I was a neophyte writer, someone showed me how prepositional phrases made my writing unnecessarily wordy and complex. It was an epiphany!

Prepositions aren’t difficult to understand, but the concept does require some explanation. Get smart about prepositions here , and then try to simplify them whenever it makes sense. Your writing will get a much-needed clarity boost.

6 Eliminate the filler words and phrases

Some words show up in our writing all the time, and yet they don’t contribute much of anything. Although these filler words and phrases sometimes add color or even meaning, most of the time they contribute nothing but clutter. Here are thirty-one of them you can eliminate right now.

>> READ MORE: How to Ensure Your Writing Is Concise and Clear

7 Don’t pad weak words with adverbs.

Adverbs —those words that often end in -ly—modify verbs and sometimes adjectives. They’re okay once in a while, but when you find yourself using them all the time, you’re probably making weak word choices. Instead of “ran really fast” write “sprinted.” Was something “extremely funny”? Nah, it was “hilarious.” The scenery may have been “very beautiful,” but your writing’s going to shine if you refer to it as “gorgeous,” “lush,” “verdant,” or “bucolic.”

Make your writing more conversational

8 stick with simple words..

Bestselling author John Grisham said, “There are three types of words: (1) words we know; (2) words we should know; (3) words nobody knows. Forget those in the third category and use restraint with those in the second.” There’s a difference between having a rich vocabulary and dropping million-dollar words into your writing just to show off. Unless it’s your intent to be poetic, keep your language simple and direct.

I’m certain sure you are able to can deliver the quality of work we’re looking for. Let’s discuss talk about it in our meeting next week.

9 Use contractions.

English speakers use contractions —you’re, I’m, we’re, they’re, can’t, didn’t. Your writing will sound stiff and formal without them. For example:

I am sure you are able to deliver the quality of work we are looking for. Let us discuss it in our meeting next week.

Now, let’s add some contractions. Doesn’t this sound less stuffy?

I’m sure you can deliver the quality of work we’re looking for. Let’s talk about it in our meeting next week.

10 Try transcribing yourself.

Record yourself talking. You can learn a lot about conversational writing using this one weird trick! (Sorry, Buzzfeed, we tease because we care.)

Try transcribing a conversation you’ve recorded (with the other person’s permission, of course). Transcribe a couple of minutes of the conversation word-for-word. Then, fix or remove any false starts and remove filler (um, uh, like, you know)— et voila! —you’ve got yourself some conversational writing. The process of transcribing and editing will help you learn what to do and what not to.

11 Throw away the grammar rule book . . . within reason.

We, the Grammarly team, give you permission to start sentences with conjunctions . And (see what we did there?) unless you’re writing something formal, we’re perfectly okay with you ending some sentences with prepositions. 

12 Keep your sentences simple.

Literary greats can write long, complex sentences with flair. Why not you? Well, for starters you’re probably not trying to write like Tolstoy, Nabokov, or Faulkner. Short, less complicated sentences are easier to read. Keep it simple, silly! But do vary your sentence length so your writing has a nice flow.

13 Read it out loud.

Speaking of flow, reading your writing aloud can help you determine whether it flows smoothly. If it sounds choppy and clipped, add a few longer sentences to break up that steady, monotonous beat. If you find yourself stumbling over parts, you’ve probably found an overly complex sentence that needs rewriting. 

14 Infuse your personality into your writing

Letting your personality shine through is the best way to develop a writing style. Use the phrases and slang that you would normally use (within reason). When it’s appropriate, throw in a relevant personal anecdote. In all but the most formal or professional writing settings, be yourself when you write.

15 Practice, practice, practice!

The ultimate way to improving writing is to learn what weakens it in the first place, and then set your mind to fixing (and eventually preventing) the glitches. The more you write, edit , and proofread, the better you get at it.

Here’s a tip: You don’t have to guess whether you’re using certain words correctly or breaking  grammar rules in your writing. Just  copy and paste your writing  into our Grammar Checker and get instant feedback on whether your sentences have misspellings, punctuation errors, or any structural mistakes.

easy steps in creative writing

Creative Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

Creative Writing - Easy Tips For Beginners

By: Cordon J.

10 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Aug 24, 2021

Creative Writing

If you have been assigned creative writing, then it is a great chance for you to polish your learning and writing skills.

Even if you are bad at writing, working on creative writing major tasks can help you alot during bachelors of art.

If you are a starter and have no idea how to get done with the task of creative writing, this blog has everything you need to master this art.

Dive in and learn everything about how to become a successful creative writer.

Creative Writing

On this Page

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is the art of presenting ideas and imagination in words. It is a form of writing that expresses and presents something different and in the form of art.

Literature is a classic example of what creative writing is, and students usually get to work on this skill through their school and high school.

It is different from other forms of writing like professional, report, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of writing. Like them, creative writing has its own conventions, and it follows a different path.

Who is A Creative Writer?

A creative writer is one who presents the story in a creative manner. Usually, they imply storytelling techniques to express and state his or her views. The main aim of the writer is to keep the readers, or the spectators, engaged and provide special emphasis on work.

It may sound easy, but, believe us when we say it, it is not only difficult but, at times, impossible when you lack the right writing skills and genius to keep the audience engaged and interested in your work.

Types of Creative Writing

Many of us think that creative writing prompts include novels and poetry only. Interestingly, this genre of writing is quite vast and includes a number of different forms of creative writing and literary magazines.

How to Write Creatively?

It is said that creative writing comes naturally, and it is not something that can be learned 9or mastered. However, we dare to differ. Just like any other skill, creative writing can also be learned and mastered with hard work, dedication and practice.

If you are new to creative writing, then this may seem like something that you cannot do but worry not. We are here, and we are not alone. We have brought some great and functional writing tips for beginners as well as for the people who are looking to up their writing game.

  • Understand the Difference of Writing

Most of the students are not familiar with the concept of good and bad writing.

The term “bad writing” does not only mean that the piece of writing is full of grammatical, sentence structure, punctuation, or formatting mistakes.

If your tone is not appropriate and according to the form of writing, it will still be considered as bad writing.

For instance, if you are writing poetry or a story, your tone, choice of words, and styling of sentences should be interesting and compelling.

In this case, if you mistakenly keep your tone flat, just like you are writing one of your academic tasks (research paper, thesis, dissertation, etc.), your readers will get bored very soon. And they will find it very hard to engage themselves with your piece of writing.

  • The Reader is the Judge

Keep that in mind that the reader is always going to be the judge of your writing. It possesses the power to either accept or reject your creative work.

To impress your reader and to grab and hold their attention, presenting an impressive and engaging work is a must. Therefore, it is important that you make your creative writing piece interesting and engaging for them.

What is the best way to impress the reader, then?

That's where things get tricky.

Character development is a key factor when it comes to creative writing. Mention the background of the character. It is important when you are developing the story of the character.

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  • Uniqueness is the Key

If you write a creative piece on an already written material, the chances are that the readers already know quite enough about it and are not interested anymore.

You need to come up with a unique idea to captivate your readers. Even if you are writing on a common topic, you need to discuss its unique side, which was not enlightened before, or at least discuss it from a novel perspective.

Make sure you always look to extract uniqueness from your mind. It is the only place where inspiring, exciting, and mind-blowing ideas are born. So look out for such creative writing ideas.

How can you find that spectacular idea to impress the readers? How to be more creative in writing?

If you are thinking about it, that's a good thing, and it means you are on the right track.

You can become a novelist, story writer, creative nonfiction writer, and even a poet. But first, you need to invoke your inner creativity and inventiveness through writing exercises.

However, there are students whose native language isn’t English, but they have strong and unique ideas. Unfortunately, such English department students have difficulty expressing their ideas on paper.

If that is the case with you, then you can take help from our  essay writing services  and hire one of our professional essay writers to write your paper.

  • Brainstorming Makes you Creative and Unique

Before writing anything on paper, brainstorm the possible ideas. It is a good creative writing degree to think and then pen down all the possible ideas. It is like making a short story in your mind and using it as a foundation for your writing piece.

Every now and then, a remarkable idea pops in mind. If you fail to extract it, you’ll miss the trip. Explore the wild section inside your mind and make it a habit to practice the ‘thinking and writing’ technique.

  • Practice makes a Writer Perfect

People have made false assumptions related to creative writing. For instance, “One doesn’t need to practice anything”, or “It is the voice of the soul”.

These are all myths, so never get carried away or demotivated by these lines. Instead, advance to practice daily to polish skills and learn the techniques of brainstorming with a wide variety of writing. If you want to learn how to become a more creative writer, practice is the only key.

Once you begin to practice every day, your mind will produce ideas in a creative manner.

Pen them down, continue practicing, and you will definitely see improvement. It is guaranteed that you will even surprise yourself.

  • Make the Pen ‘Bleed’

And we mean it figuratively, of course. Never restrict yourself to a specific object. The word creative means to ponder each and everything that comes to your mind.

Keep a journal or an online document to write persistently. For example, write what you did throughout the day or what is going on in your mind, or anything you desire to write.

The purpose of the activity is to let the mind wander in different directions and stay active.

It is your mind where creativity is cooked. So allow it to wander to the places where it has never been before.

The mind becomes creative, mostly late at night.

Instead of staring at the walls lying in bed, get up and write some more.

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  • Embrace the Criticism

The creative work is often criticized in comparison to other pieces of writing.

Always be prepared to face the backlash. Unfortunately, many writers give up in this phase and never accept the harsh facts. As a result, they do not grow.

Do not be like them, or your efforts will go in vain.

While doing so, many beginners prefer not to reveal their work.

If you do the same, you are being horribly unjust to yourself. Attending creative writing workshops and classes, witnessing how people present their work will inspire you.

When you accept criticism with a big heart and improve your writing, then you grow and improve your writing skills. Embracing criticism will help you learn how to become a great creative writer.

Fusion of learning from your mistakes and your experience will polish your art, and it can make you a tremendous writer.

How to Start Writing a Book for Beginners?

Book writing is different from writing an essay or an article. Talking about creativity, it is much more profound and can be lengthier than a play or a drama.

It is a long literary form and something that could be published or presented in parts. This is why planning and writing a book is different from other types of writing.

For a beginner, writing a book is something that is next to impossible. However, you can make this task easier and doable by following the easy steps given below.

1. Setup the writing environment by decluttering your writing space. No matter if it is your home office setup, your couch, or any other place, make it organized and free from anything that could distract you.

2. Instead of delving right into the book writing, plan it months ahead and start working on developing the writing habit. Book writing is like a commitment, and you won't be able to do it without having a strong writing habit.

3. Build a functional book outline before starting with the writing process. An outline will help you stay focused on the main theme of the book. Without an outline, you will be distracted, and soon enough, you will not know what to do.

4. Make a writing schedule and stick to it. One of the gravest mistakes that many new writers make is not having a strict writing schedule. Make it a point to write every day and keep track of the progress.

5. Write one book at a time. We know that your mind is bubbling with ideas, but if you do not work on them one by one, you will not be able to complete any of the books. Therefore, work on one book and idea at a time.

6. For a smooth writing process, deal with the distractions first. Do not wait for them to bother you but get away with them first. Few distractions could be the bills lying on your work table and too many things around. Get rid of them before writing.

Creative Writing Example

Creative Writing Sample

Story Writing Tips for Beginners

To write a great book, you need to have strong and engaging storytelling elements in it. Creative writing stories are interesting and this is why we are so much drawn to stories and narratives.

To plan and build a strong story, follow the following steps:

1. Instead of trying to make your draft perfect, just write the first draft. Then you will know what is wrong with it and how to fix it. If you try to make it perfect the first time, you will only get stuck on the first page.

2. The most important part of your story is the main character. Make sure they are dynamic and strong. They should be responsible for their decisions.

3. Add things that are exciting and entertaining to your origin story. If it's not exciting, people won't read it. Make sure you ask questions that make people think about what might happen next.

4. Instead of telling about the events, use visual details to make it more interesting. Books are better when they have pictures too.

5. Emotional appeal is powerful. When you write, use words that make people feel something. When you do this in a play, it can make the play great.

6. After you are done writing, make sure that you edit it carefully. You might not have time to do this, but it is important to make sure that there are no mistakes.

7. To improve your writing, ask a friend to read it and give feedback. Your friends might see an error that you can't see.

Once you follow these guidelines, you will be on your way to writing a great book and story.

Unlike other boring and dull tasks, creative writing is one that is fun and exciting. It is the best way to show the entire world what your thoughts and feelings are on certain events.

Just follow the above-mentioned creative writing tips next time you are assigned a task regarding creative writing.

These are the effective tips that great creative writers have used and still use. They know that as a human we all are the products of our habits. This is why they have made it their habit to write daily and read extensively.

Practice as much as you can as it sharpens a person’s writing skills and prepares him or her for great writing.

The creative writers at  5StarEssays.com  have life experiences in writing different types of academic papers.

Regardless of your academic level, you will get a  custom paper  according to your instructions. You can always step up in every creative writing task with their help.

They will be there to assist your work in every possible way.

If you are a high school student looking for someone to write your essay, you can contact our  write my essay  service.

If you want your paper to be revised, we can help you with that also. We will provide free revision for your paper until you get the paper you want.

We have made the ordering process simple and convenient with our 24/7 support team.

Place your  order  now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four forms of creative writing.

Following are the four forms of creative writing:

  • Descriptive

What is creative thinking?

Creative thinking is the ability to use your skills. It means seeing things from different angles and using tools to solve problems.

What are the main elements of creative writing?

Below you will find a summary of these five elements. These are what you should know about creative writing:

  • Point-of-view
  • Literary devices.

Cordon J.

Literature, Marketing

Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.

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Guides • Perfecting your Craft

Last updated on Oct 29, 2023

How to Write a Short Story in 9 Simple Steps

This post is written by UK writer Robert Grossmith. His short stories have been widely anthologized, including in The Time Out Book of London Short Stories , The Best of Best Short Stories , and The Penguin Book of First World War Stories . You  can collaborate with him on your own short stories here on Reedsy .  

The joy of writing short stories is, in many ways, tied to its limitations.  Developing characters, conflict, and a premise within a few pages is a thrilling challenge that many writers relish — even after they've "graduated" to long-form fiction.

In this article, I’ll take you through the process of writing a short story, from idea conception to the final draft.

How to write a short story:

1. Know what a short story is versus a novel

2. pick a simple, central premise, 3. build a small but distinct cast of characters, 4. begin writing close to the end, 5. shut out your internal editor, 6. finish the first draft, 7. edit the short story, 8. share the story with beta readers, 9. submit the short story to publications.

But first, let’s talk about what makes a short story different from a novel. 

The simple answer to this question, of course, is that the short story is shorter than the novel, usually coming in at between, say, 1,000-15,000 words. Any shorter and you’re into flash fiction territory. Any longer and you’re approaching novella length . 

As far as other features are concerned, it’s easier to define the short story by what it lacks compared to the novel . For example, the short story usually has:

  • fewer characters than a novel
  • a single point of view, either first person or third person
  • a single storyline without subplots
  • less in the way of back story or exposition than a novel

If backstory is needed at all, it should come late in the story and be kept to a minimum.

It’s worth remembering too that some of the best short stories consist of a single dramatic episode in the form of a vignette or epiphany.

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A short story can begin life in all sorts of ways.

It may be suggested by a simple but powerful image that imprints itself on the mind. It may derive from the contemplation of a particular character type — someone you know perhaps — that you’re keen to understand and explore. It may arise out of a memorable incident in your own life.

easy steps in creative writing

For example:

  • Kafka began “The Metamorphosis” with the intuition that a premise in which the protagonist wakes one morning to find he’s been transformed into a giant insect would allow him to explore questions about human relationships and the human condition.
  • Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” takes the basic idea of a lowly clerk who decides he will no longer do anything he doesn’t personally wish to do, and turns it into a multi-layered tale capable of a variety of interpretations.

When I look back on some of my own short stories, I find a similar dynamic at work: a simple originating idea slowly expands to become something more nuanced and less formulaic. 

So how do you find this “first heartbeat” of your own short story? Here are several ways to do so. 

Experiment with writing prompts

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the story premises mentioned above actually have a great deal in common with writing prompts like the ones put forward each week in Reedsy’s short story competition . Try it out! These prompts are often themed in a way that’s designed to narrow the focus for the writer so that one isn’t confronted with a completely blank canvas.

easy steps in creative writing

Turn to the originals

Take a story or novel you admire and think about how you might rework it, changing a key element. (“Pride and Prejudice and Vampires” is perhaps an extreme product of this exercise.) It doesn’t matter that your proposed reworking will probably never amount to more than a skimpy mental reimagining — it may well throw up collateral narrative possibilities along the way.

Keep a notebook

Finally, keep a notebook in which to jot down stray observations and story ideas whenever they occur to you. Again, most of what you write will be stuff you never return to, and it may even fail to make sense when you reread it. But lurking among the dross may be that one rough diamond that makes all the rest worthwhile. 

Like I mentioned earlier, short stories usually contain far fewer characters than novels. Readers also need to know far less about the characters in a short story than we do in a novel (sometimes it’s the lack of information about a particular character in a story that adds to the mystery surrounding them, making them more compelling).

easy steps in creative writing

Yet it remains the case that creating memorable characters should be one of your principal goals. Think of your own family, friends and colleagues. Do you ever get them confused with one another? Probably not. 

Your dramatis personae should be just as easily distinguishable from one another, either through their appearance, behavior, speech patterns, or some other unique trait. If you find yourself struggling, a character profile template like the one you can download for free below is particularly helpful in this stage of writing.   

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Reedsy’s Character Profile Template

A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours.

  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman features a cast of two: the narrator and her husband. How does Gilman give her narrator uniquely identifying features?
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe features a cast of three: the narrator, the old man, and the police. How does Poe use speech patterns in dialogue and within the text itself to convey important information about the narrator?
  • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor is perhaps an exception: its cast of characters amounts to a whopping (for a short story) nine. How does she introduce each character? In what way does she make each character, in particular The Misfit, distinct?

easy steps in creative writing

He’s right: avoid the preliminary exposition or extended scene-setting. Begin your story by plunging straight into the heart of the action. What most readers want from a story is drama and conflict, and this is often best achieved by beginning in media res . You have no time to waste in a short story. The first sentence of your story is crucial, and needs to grab the reader’s attention to make them want to read on. 

One way to do this is to write an opening sentence that makes the reader ask questions. For example, Kingsley Amis once said, tongue-in-cheek, that in the future he would only read novels that began with the words: “A shot rang out.”

This simple sentence is actually quite telling. It introduces the stakes: there’s an immediate element of physical danger, and therefore jeopardy for someone. But it also raises questions that the reader will want answered. Who fired the shot? Who or what were they aiming at, and why? Where is this happening?

We read fiction for the most part to get answers to questions. For example, if you begin your story with a character who behaves in an unexpected way, the reader will want to know why he or she is behaving like this. What motivates their unusual behavior? Do they know that what they’re doing or saying is odd? Do they perhaps have something to hide? Can we trust this character? 

As the author, you can answer these questions later (that is, answer them dramatically rather than through exposition). But since we’re speaking of the beginning of a story, at the moment it’s enough simply to deliver an opening sentence that piques the reader’s curiosity, raises questions, and keeps them reading.

“Anything goes” should be your maxim when embarking on your first draft. 

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How to Craft a Killer Short Story

From pacing to character development, master the elements of short fiction.

By that, I mean: kill the editor in your head and give your imagination free rein. Remember, you’re beginning with a blank page. Anything you put down will be an improvement on what’s currently there, which is nothing. And there’s a prescription for any obstacle you might encounter at this stage of writing. 

  • Worried that you’re overwriting? Don’t worry. It’s easier to cut material in later drafts once you’ve sketched out the whole story. 
  • Got stuck, but know what happens later? Leave a gap. There’s no necessity to write the story sequentially. You can always come back and fill in the gap once the rest of the story is complete. 
  • Have a half-developed scene that’s hard for you to get onto the page? Write it in note form for the time being. You might find that it relieves the pressure of having to write in complete sentences from the get-go.

Most of my stories were begun with no idea of their eventual destination, but merely an approximate direction of travel. To put it another way, I’m a ‘pantser’ (flying by the seat of my pants, making it up as I go along) rather than a planner. There is, of course, no right way to write your first draft. What matters is that you have a first draft on your hands at the end of the day. 

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the ending of a short story : it can rescue an inferior story or ruin an otherwise superior one. 

If you’re a planner, you will already know the broad outlines of the ending. If you’re a pantser like me, you won’t — though you’ll hope that a number of possible endings will have occurred to you in the course of writing and rewriting the story! 

In both cases, keep in mind that what you’re after is an ending that’s true to the internal logic of the story without being obvious or predictable. What you want to avoid is an ending that evokes one of two reactions:

  • “Is that it?” aka “The author has failed to resolve the questions raised by the story.”
  • “WTF!” aka “This ending is simply confusing.”

Like Truman Capote said, “Good writing is rewriting.”

Once you have a first draft, the real work begins. This is when you move things around, tightening the nuts and bolts of the piece to make sure it holds together and resembles the shape it took in your mind when you first conceived it. 

In most cases, this means reading through your first draft again (and again). In this stage of editing , think to yourself:

  • Which narrative threads are already in place?
  • Which may need to be added or developed further?
  • Which need to perhaps be eliminated altogether?

easy steps in creative writing

All that’s left afterward is the final polish . Here’s where you interrogate every word, every sentence, to make sure it’s earned its place in the story:

  • Is that really what I mean?
  • Could I have said that better?
  • Have I used that word correctly?
  • Is that sentence too long?
  • Have I removed any clichés? 

Trust me: this can be the most satisfying part of the writing process. The heavy lifting is done, the walls have been painted, the furniture is in place. All you have to do now is hang a few pictures, plump the cushions and put some flowers in a vase.

Eventually, you may reach a point where you’ve reread and rewritten your story so many times that you simply can’t bear to look at it again. If this happens, put the story aside and try to forget about it.

When you do finally return to it, weeks or even months later, you’ll probably be surprised at how the intervening period has allowed you to see the story with a fresh pair of eyes. And whereas it might have felt like removing one of your own internal organs to cut such a sentence or paragraph before, now it feels like a liberation. 

The story, you can see, is better as a result. It was only your bloated appendix you removed, not a vital organ.

It’s at this point that you should call on the services of beta readers if you have them. This can be a daunting prospect: what if the response is less enthusiastic than you’re hoping for? But think about it this way: if you’re expecting complete strangers to read and enjoy your story, then you shouldn’t be afraid of trying it out first on a more sympathetic audience. 

This is also why I’d suggest delaying this stage of the writing process until you feel sure your story is complete. It’s one thing to ask a friend to read and comment on your new story. It’s quite another thing to return to them sometime later with, “I’ve made some changes to the story — would you mind reading it again?”

easy steps in creative writing

So how do you know your story’s really finished? This is a question that people have put to me. My reply tends to be: I know the story’s finished when I can’t see how to make it any better.

This is when you can finally put down your pencil (or keyboard), rest content with your work for a few days, then submit it so that people can read your work. And you can start with this directory of literary magazines once you're at this step. 

The truth is, in my experience, there’s actually no such thing as a final draft. Even after you’ve submitted your story somewhere — and even if you’re lucky enough to have it accepted — there will probably be the odd word here or there that you’d like to change. 

Don’t worry about this. Large-scale changes are probably out of the question at this stage, but a sympathetic editor should be willing to implement any small changes right up to the time of publication. 

easy steps in creative writing

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7 Creative Writing Steps to Improve Your Craft

7 Creative Writing Steps to Improve Your Craft

by Simon Townley

As a writer, having ideas is one of the most important parts of your craft. But finding the right creative writing steps often it seems like one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the whole process.

How do you keep ideas flowing? How do you create a wealth of ideas to choose from? How do you make sure you get to the one killer idea that will make your advert, novel, article or blog post really stand out from the rest?

Some people like to wait for inspiration to strike. Most professional writers, however, don’t have that luxury. You need ideas every working day, not just every now and then.

Luckily, there is a formula for producing ideas on a consistent basis. Of course, like all formulas, it has its limits. You can’t constrain creativity , and to only ever use one method for coming up with ideas would be utter madness.

But if you need to produce strong and creative ideas regularly as part of your writing career, then it pays to know the formula, and how to use it.

First of all, what is an idea? Well, according to James Webb Young in his book ‘A Technique for Producing Ideas’, first published in the 1940s:

“An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.”

So how do you combine old elements into new? Luckily, Young tells us:

“The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships.”

Young says the ability to see relationships between facts is the most important factor in coming up with ideas. This, he says, is a habit of mind “which can be cultivated.”

How do you cultivate it? By reading widely, taking an active interest in life, the world, people around you, a wide variety of subjects and areas of study.

There is also a formula, however, a five step plan which Young outlined in his book. By adding two more steps, you can complete a virtuous circle with a feedback loop that refines and extends your creativity.

So, the seven creative writing steps to generate ideas are:

Step 1 – gather your information.

Information is the raw material from which ideas are born. There are two types of relevant information, specific and general.

General information includes just about anything and everything, and gathering it is a lifelong exercise. It basically comes down to general knowledge and education, and can be cultivated through the usual channels: reading widely and having an active interest in life and the world around you, and in particular in people, how they live, what they think and how they behave.

Specific information is directly relevant to the topic in hand. You clearly need to get all the specific information you can lay your hands on. If you’re writing an advert for a product or service, you would expect the client to come up with most of it, although you’ll probably want to do some of you own research as well. If you’re writing a blog post on a topic, you’ll need to gather your information from far and wide.

These days, gathering information is a much faster process thanks to the internet. The down side to that is you’ll need to be judicious, and discard that which isn’t really relevant. Otherwise, you’re likely to get overwhelmed during step 2, where you have to sift the information.

Step 2 – Sift the information

Work over the information, turning it over and around until you see how it all fits together. A direct pursuit of ‘meaning’ might be counterproductive. You may need to try a subtle approach, and sneak up on the topic, looking at things from various angles.

If small snippets of ideas start coming to you at this stage, write them down, even if they seem crazy.

The more you turn and sift the information, the better you understand it, the easier it will be to see and really understand the relationships. And the more ideas you will have.

Step 3 – Let the information bubble

The next stage is to let the information bubble away for a while, keep it on simmer in your mind. You need to let your unconscious mind work on it for a time. It’s a good idea to do something else for a while, to stimulate your imagination and emotions. Try reading, listening to music, meditate, go for a walk, while your mind digests the facts.

Or you could try the traditional approach – take a warm bath and wait for the eureka moment.

Step 4 – Eureka! Let the ideas flow

It’s at this stage that ideas should start to appear, as if from ‘nowhere’. This is where you hope for a ‘Eureka’ moment. The answer to your problem may appear to leap into your mind for no apparent reason.

But what if it doesn’t come? You keep going, writing down the best ideas you can come up with. If your ideas aren’t strong enough yet, don’t panic, because you’ll get to have another go at this part of the process. So take the very best ideas you can come up with, and move on to step five.

Step 5 – Shape and develop your idea

Now your idea needs to be shaped and molded, turned into something real. This where your writing skills come to the fore.

Step 6 – Share your idea

Now show your idea to others and see what they think. They may be able to add to it and make it better. That may spark new ideas, and so the process becomes ever more creative.

Step 7 – Rinse and repeat

If necessary, use the feedback you got in step 6, and add that to the information you gathered in step 1. Now repeat step 2, sifting the new information with the existing facts. Then repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Keep it going, until you have the best idea you can come up with, or you hit the deadline, and have to go with what you have developed so far.

So, the good news is that you can learn to be more creative and have stronger ideas. You:

  • Gather the information
  • Let it percolate
  • Let the ideas flow
  • Shape and mold the ideas
  • Share them with others
  • Put the feedback into the loop; and repeat the process to strengthen your ideas.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, despite what I said at the start about the importance of ideas – and don’t get me wrong they are important – despite that, the truth is that having ideas is the easy part of writing.

Yes, ideas are easy. It’s the execution that is truly difficult, that’s where the real genius lies. And you can only master the craft of writing through hard work and long, steady perseverance.

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How to Teach Creative Writing | 7 Steps to Get Students Wordsmithing

easy steps in creative writing

“I don’t have any ideas!”

“I can’t think of anything!”

While we see creative writing as a world of limitless imagination, our students often see an overwhelming desert of “no idea.”

But when you teach creative writing effectively, you’ll notice that  every  student is brimming over with ideas that just have to get out.

So what does teaching creative writing effectively look like?

We’ve outlined a  seven-step method  that will  scaffold your students through each phase of the creative process  from idea generation through to final edits.

7. Create inspiring and original prompts

Use the following formats to generate prompts that get students inspired:

  • personal memories (“Write about a person who taught you an important lesson”)
  • imaginative scenarios
  • prompts based on a familiar mentor text (e.g. “Write an alternative ending to your favorite book”). These are especially useful for giving struggling students an easy starting point.
  • lead-in sentences (“I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somehow overnight I…”).
  • fascinating or thought-provoking images with a directive (“Who do you think lives in this mountain cabin? Tell their story”).

student writing prompts for kids

Don’t have the time or stuck for ideas? Check out our list of 100 student writing prompts

6. unpack the prompts together.

Explicitly teach your students how to dig deeper into the prompt for engaging and original ideas.

Probing questions are an effective strategy for digging into a prompt. Take this one for example:

“I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somehow overnight I…”

Ask “What questions need answering here?” The first thing students will want to know is:

What happened overnight?

No doubt they’ll be able to come up with plenty of zany answers to that question, but there’s another one they could ask to make things much more interesting:

Who might “I” be?

In this way, you subtly push students to go beyond the obvious and into more original and thoughtful territory. It’s even more useful with a deep prompt:

“Write a story where the main character starts to question something they’ve always believed.”

Here students could ask:

  • What sorts of beliefs do people take for granted?
  • What might make us question those beliefs?
  • What happens when we question something we’ve always thought is true?
  • How do we feel when we discover that something isn’t true?

Try splitting students into groups, having each group come up with probing questions for a prompt, and then discussing potential “answers” to these questions as a class.

The most important lesson at this point should be that good ideas take time to generate. So don’t rush this step!

5. Warm-up for writing

A quick warm-up activity will:

  • allow students to see what their discussed ideas look like on paper
  • help fix the “I don’t know how to start” problem
  • warm up writing muscles quite literally (especially important for young learners who are still developing handwriting and fine motor skills).

Freewriting  is a particularly effective warm-up. Give students 5–10 minutes to “dump” all their ideas for a prompt onto the page for without worrying about structure, spelling, or grammar.

After about five minutes you’ll notice them starting to get into the groove, and when you call time, they’ll have a better idea of what captures their interest.

Did you know? The Story Factory in Reading Eggs allows your students to write and publish their own storybooks using an easy step-by-step guide.

The Story factory in Reading Eggs

4. Start planning

Now it’s time for students to piece all these raw ideas together and generate a plan. This will synthesize disjointed ideas and give them a roadmap for the writing process.

Note:  at this stage your strong writers might be more than ready to get started on a creative piece. If so, let them go for it – use planning for students who are still puzzling things out.

Here are four ideas for planning:

Graphic organisers

A graphic organiser will allow your students to plan out the overall structure of their writing. They’re also particularly useful in “chunking” the writing process, so students don’t see it as one big wall of text.

Storyboards and illustrations

These will engage your artistically-minded students and give greater depth to settings and characters. Just make sure that drawing doesn’t overshadow the writing process.

Voice recordings

If you have students who are hesitant to commit words to paper, tell them to think out loud and record it on their device. Often they’ll be surprised at how well their spoken words translate to the page.

Write a blurb

This takes a bit more explicit teaching, but it gets students to concisely summarize all their main ideas (without giving away spoilers). Look at some blurbs on the back of published books before getting them to write their own. Afterward they could test it out on a friend – based on the blurb, would they borrow it from the library?

3. Produce rough drafts

Warmed up and with a plan at the ready, your students are now ready to start wordsmithing. But before they start on a draft, remind them of what a draft is supposed to be:

  • a work in progress.

Remind them that  if they wait for the perfect words to come, they’ll end up with blank pages .

Instead, it’s time to take some writing risks and get messy. Encourage this by:

  • demonstrating the writing process to students yourself
  • taking the focus off spelling and grammar (during the drafting stage)
  • providing meaningful and in-depth feedback (using words, not ticks!).

Reading Eggs Library New Books

Reading Eggs also gives you access to an ever-expanding collection of over 3,500 online books!

2. share drafts for peer feedback.

Don’t saddle yourself with 30 drafts for marking. Peer assessment is a better (and less exhausting) way to ensure everyone receives the feedback they need.

Why? Because for something as personal as creative writing, feedback often translates better when it’s in the familiar and friendly language that only a peer can produce. Looking at each other’s work will also give students more ideas about how they can improve their own.

Scaffold peer feedback to ensure it’s constructive. The following methods work well:

Student rubrics

A simple rubric allows students to deliver more in-depth feedback than “It was pretty good.” The criteria will depend on what you are ultimately looking for, but students could assess each other’s:

  • use of language.

Whatever you opt for, just make sure the language you use in the rubric is student-friendly.

Two positives and a focus area

Have students identify two things their peer did well, and one area that they could focus on further, then turn this into written feedback. Model the process for creating specific comments so you get something more constructive than “It was pretty good.” It helps to use stems such as:

I really liked this character because…

I found this idea interesting because it made me think…

I was a bit confused by…

I wonder why you… Maybe you could… instead.

1. The editing stage

Now that students have a draft and feedback, here’s where we teachers often tell them to “go over it” or “give it some final touches.”

But our students don’t always know how to edit.

Scaffold the process with questions that encourage students to think critically about their writing, such as:

  • Are there any parts that would be confusing if I wasn’t there to explain them?
  • Are there any parts that seem irrelevant to the rest?
  • Which parts am I most uncertain about?
  • Does the whole thing flow together, or are there parts that seem out of place?
  • Are there places where I could have used a better word?
  • Are there any grammatical or spelling errors I notice?

Key to this process is getting students to  read their creative writing from start to finish .

Important note:  if your students are using a word processor, show them where the spell-check is and how to use it. Sounds obvious, but in the age of autocorrect, many students simply don’t know.

A final word on teaching creative writing

Remember that the best writers write regularly.

Incorporate them into your lessons as often as possible, and soon enough, you’ll have just as much fun  marking  your students’ creative writing as they do producing it.

Need more help supporting your students’ writing?

Read up on  how to get reluctant writers writing , strategies for  supporting struggling secondary writers , or check out our huge list of writing prompts for kids .

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Creative Writing Techniques: 39 Tips for Crafting Compelling Stories (Fully Explained)

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on Published: June 20, 2023  - Last updated: July 10, 2023

Categories Writing

Creative writing is a form of self-expression that allows you to communicate your thoughts, emotions, and ideas uniquely and engagingly. Whether you’re writing a novel, a short story, a poem, or a screenplay, there are many techniques you can use to make your writing more exciting and impactful. These techniques can help you create vivid imagery, develop compelling characters, and convey complex ideas clearly and concisely.

One of the most popular creative writing techniques is the use of metaphors, which compare a characteristic of something unknown to something known. This technique adds fun and personality to your writing and can help you create vivid and memorable descriptions. Another technique is using similes, which make comparisons using “like” or “as.” Similes can be used to create visual images that help readers understand complex ideas or emotions.

Creative writing is a powerful tool that can help you connect with others, explore your thoughts and feelings, and share your unique perspective. By mastering these techniques and experimenting with different styles and forms of writing, you can unlock your full creative potential and create works of art that inspire and entertain others.

Key Takeaways

  • Creative writing is a form of self-expression that allows you to communicate your thoughts, emotions, and ideas uniquely and engagingly.
  • Metaphors and similes are popular creative writing techniques that can help you create vivid imagery and convey complex ideas clearly and concisely.
  • By mastering different styles and forms of writing, you can unlock your full creative potential and create works of art that inspire and entertain others.

1. Metaphors: Compare a Characteristic of Something Unknown to Something Known

Metaphors are a powerful tool in creative writing that can add depth and meaning to your work. They are an analogy that compares a characteristic of something unknown to something known. They help readers understand complex ideas by relating them to something familiar.

Metaphors can describe abstract concepts, emotions, and sensory experiences. For example, you might use a metaphor to describe the feeling of falling in love as “a rollercoaster ride.” This comparison helps readers understand the ups and downs of love by relating it to something they are familiar with.

When using metaphors, it’s important to choose accurate and interesting comparisons. Avoid cliches and overused comparisons, as these can make your writing stale and unoriginal. Instead, try to create unique and unexpected comparisons to surprise and delight your readers.

To create effective metaphors, it’s also important to consider the context of your writing. Think about the tone and mood you want to convey and the themes and ideas you want to explore. You can create a more cohesive and impactful piece by choosing appropriate metaphors for your writing.

2. Similes: Make Comparisons Using ‘Like’ or ‘As’

Similes are figurative language that compare two things using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. They are often used in creative writing to make descriptions more vivid and interesting. Here are some examples:

  • The clouds were like fluffy pillows in the sky.
  • Her hair was as black as coal.
  • The water shimmered like diamonds in the sunlight.

As you can see, similes help create a picture in the reader’s mind by comparing something familiar to something unfamiliar. This makes your writing more engaging and memorable.

It’s important to choose appropriate comparisons that make sense when using similes. Avoid using cliches or overused comparisons, as they make your writing seem unoriginal. Instead, develop unique and creative similes that capture the essence of what you’re describing.

Here are some tips for using similes effectively in your writing:

  • Use similes sparingly. While similes can be effective, overusing them can make your writing seem forced or contrived.
  • Make sure your similes are accurate. Don’t use a simile that doesn’t make sense or is factually incorrect.
  • Use similes to create a specific mood or tone. For example, you might use a dark or ominous simile to create foreboding in your writing.
  • Experiment with different types of similes. You can use similes to compare anything from emotions to objects to natural phenomena.

3. Analogies: Draw Parallels Between Two Seemingly Unrelated Things

One of the most effective creative writing techniques is the use of analogies. Analogies allow you to draw parallels between two seemingly unrelated things, which can help your readers understand complex ideas and emotions more easily.

Analogies can be used in many different ways in creative writing. For example, you can use analogies to describe a character’s personality, explain a difficult concept, or add depth and richness to your descriptions.

To create an analogy, start by identifying two things that seem unrelated but share some common qualities. For example, you might compare a person to a tree, noting that both grow and change over time. Or you might compare a difficult situation to a storm, noting that both can be unpredictable and overwhelming.

Once you have identified your two objects, think about the qualities they share and how you can use those qualities to create a comparison. For example, if you compare a person to a tree, you might write something like: “Like a tree, she stood tall and strong, weathering the storms of life with grace and resilience.”

Analogies can be a powerful tool in creative writing, but it’s important to use them sparingly and effectively. Too many analogies can make your writing feel forced or contrived, so choose your comparisons carefully and use them only when they add something meaningful to your work.

4. Imagery: Use Vivid and Descriptive Language to Create Mental Pictures for Readers

Imagery is a powerful tool writers use to create mental pictures in the minds of their readers. Using vivid and descriptive language can transport your readers to different places, times, and emotions. Here are some tips on how to use imagery effectively in your writing:

  • Use sensory details: Sensory details are descriptions that appeal to the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By using sensory details, you can help your readers experience the story in a more immersive way. For example, instead of saying, “The flower looked pretty,” you could say, “The bright red petals of the rose glistened in the sun, emitting a sweet fragrance that filled the air.”
  • Be specific: The more specific your descriptions, the more vivid the mental picture you create in your readers’ minds. Instead of saying, “The car drove down the street,” you could say, “The sleek, silver sports car zoomed down the winding road, its engine roaring like a lion.”
  • Use metaphors and similes: Metaphors and similes are comparisons that help readers understand complex ideas by relating them to something familiar. For example, instead of saying, “She was sad,” you could say, “Her heart felt heavy like a stone sinking to the bottom of a lake.”
  • Use personification: Personification is a literary device that gives human qualities to non-human things. By using personification, you can make your descriptions more engaging and memorable. For example, instead of saying, “The wind blew through the trees,” you could say, “The wind whispered secrets to the leaves, causing them to dance and rustle in the breeze.”

5. Personification: Assign Human Qualities to Non-Human Entities

Personification is a powerful literary device that can add depth and emotion to your writing. It involves assigning human qualities to non-human entities, such as animals, objects, or abstract concepts. Doing this can create a more relatable and engaging story that resonates with your readers.

When using personification, you should carefully choose the right characteristics to assign to your non-human entities. For example, you might describe a tree as “strong and steadfast” to emphasize its resilience or a river as “wild and untamed” to highlight its power and unpredictability. The key is to choose appropriate and meaningful qualities for the story you are trying to tell.

One of the benefits of using personification in your writing is that it can help you create a more vivid and memorable image in your reader’s mind. By giving non-human entities human qualities, you can help your readers understand and connect with them on a deeper level. This can make your story more engaging and enjoyable to read.

However, it’s important to use personification sparingly and appropriately. Overusing this technique can make your writing feel forced or contrived and can distract from the story you are trying to tell. Instead, strategically use personification to enhance your storytelling and create a more powerful emotional impact.

6. Show, Don’t Tell: Describe Actions, Thoughts, and Feelings Rather Than Simply Stating Them

Creative writing is all about immersing your readers in the story and making them feel like they are a part of it. One of the best ways to achieve this is by using the “Show, Don’t Tell” technique. This technique encourages you to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings rather than simply stating them. Doing so can create a more engaging and vivid story that draws readers in and keeps them hooked.

When you “show” rather than “tell,” you allow your readers to experience the story for themselves. Instead of telling them that a character is angry, for example, you can show them by describing how the character clenches their fists, grits their teeth, and scowls. This creates a more vivid image in the reader’s mind, allowing them to empathize with the character and deeply feel their emotions.

To effectively use the “Show, Don’t Tell” technique, it’s important to use descriptive language that appeals to the senses. Use vivid imagery to describe what characters see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. This will help readers feel like they are in the story and allow them to experience it more fully.

Another key aspect of this technique is to use actions to convey emotions. Instead of telling your readers that a character is sad, for example, you can show them by describing how the character slumps their shoulders, avoids eye contact, and speaks quietly. This creates a more powerful emotional impact and makes the story more engaging and interesting.

7. Repetition: Reinforce a Point or Create Emphasis by Repeating Words or Phrases

Repetition is a powerful tool in creative writing that can reinforce a point or create emphasis. Repeating words or phrases can help to drive home a message, create a sense of rhythm, and make your writing more memorable. Here are some ways to use repetition in your writing:

1. Repetition of Words

Repeating a word can be a simple yet effective way to create emphasis. It can be used to highlight a key point or to create a sense of urgency. For example, “You must study, study, study to succeed.” The repetition of “study” emphasizes the importance of studying.

2. Repetition of Phrases

Repeating a phrase can create a sense of rhythm in your writing. It can also reinforce a point or create a memorable image. For example, “The night was dark, dark as coal, dark as the inside of a coffin.” The repetition of “dark” creates a vivid image in the reader’s mind.

3. Repetition of Structure

Repeating a structure can be used to create a sense of order or to emphasize a point. For example, “First, you must study. Then, you must practice. Finally, you must perform.” The repetition of “you must” creates a sense of order and emphasizes the importance of each step.

4. Repetition of Sound

Repeating a sound can be used to create a sense of rhythm or to emphasize a point. For example, “The rain pattered on the roof, splattered on the windows, and chattered on the pavement.” The repetition of the “at” sound creates a sense of rhythm and emphasizes the sound of the rain.

8. Alliteration: Use the Repetition of Consonant Sounds at the Beginning of Words

One creative writing technique that can add a musical quality to your writing is alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words close to each other. By using alliteration, you can create a rhythmic and memorable effect that can enhance the overall impact of your writing.

One common use of alliteration is in poetry, where it can help create a certain mood or tone. For example, consider the famous line from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.” The repetition of the “w” sound in “weak” and “weary” creates a sense of weariness and melancholy that fits the mood of the poem.

Alliteration can also be used in prose to create emphasis or to draw attention to certain words or phrases. For example, you might use alliteration to highlight the importance of a particular character or object. Consider this sentence: “The shimmering sword sliced through the darkness, sending sparks flying.” The repetition of the “s” sound in “shimmering,” “sword,” and “sparks” draws attention to the sword and its action, making it stand out in the sentence.

When using alliteration, it’s important to avoid overdoing it. Too much alliteration can become distracting or even annoying to the reader. Instead, use alliteration sparingly and strategically, focusing on the words and sounds most impacting your writing.

9. Assonance: Repeat Vowel Sounds Within Words

Assonance is a powerful tool to add rhythm and melody to your writing. It is a literary technique that involves repeating vowel sounds within words. The repetition of these sounds creates a musical effect that can add emphasis, mood, and tone to your writing.

Assonance is not the same as rhyme, which involves repeating the same sound at the end of words. Instead, assonance focuses on repeating vowel sounds within words, regardless of whether the words rhyme. For example, “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” is an example of assonance, as the “ai” sound is repeated throughout the sentence.

Assonance can be used in a variety of ways to enhance your writing. Here are a few examples:

  • Create a musical effect: By repeating vowel sounds, you can create a musical effect that can add rhythm and melody to your writing. This can help your writing flow more smoothly and make it more engaging to read.
  • Emphasize certain words or phrases: By repeating vowel sounds in certain words or phrases, you can draw attention to them and make them stand out. This can help you emphasize important points or create a mood or tone in your writing.
  • Add depth and complexity: By using assonance, you can add depth and complexity to your writing. This can help you create more nuanced and layered, more satisfying writing .

10. Onomatopoeia: Use Words That Imitate the Sounds They Represent

You should consider using onomatopoeia to make your writing more vivid and engaging. Onomatopoeia is the use of words that imitate the sounds they represent. This literary device can help you create a more immersive experience for your readers by allowing them to hear the sounds in their minds as they read.

Onomatopoeia can be used in a variety of ways. You can use it to describe nature’s sounds, like birds chirping or leaves rustling. You can also use it to describe the sounds of objects, like the beep of a car horn or the clanging of pots and pans in the kitchen. Onomatopoeia can even be used to describe the sounds of emotions, like the thumping of a heart or the sigh of relief.

One of the advantages of using onomatopoeia is that it can help you create a more sensory experience for your readers. Using words that imitate the sounds they represent, you can help your readers hear the sounds in their minds as they read. This can make your writing more engaging and memorable.

Another advantage of using onomatopoeia is that it can help you create a more realistic and authentic experience for your readers. Using words that imitate the sounds they represent can help your readers feel like they are in the scene with your characters. This can help you create a stronger emotional connection with your readers and make your writing more impactful.

Here are a few examples of onomatopoeia that you can use in your writing:

  • Sizzle: This word imitates the sound of something cooking on a hot surface, like a steak on a grill.
  • Buzz: This word imitates the sound of a bee or other insect flying around.
  • Hiss: This word imitates the sound of air escaping from a tire or a snake slithering through the grass.
  • Thump: This word imitates the sound of something heavy hitting the ground, like a book falling off a shelf.

11. Anaphora: Repeat the Same Word or Phrase at the Beginning of Successive Clauses

Anaphora is a rhetorical device that can create a powerful effect in your writing. It involves repeating the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences. This repetition can help to emphasize an idea, create a rhythm, and make your writing more memorable.

When you use anaphora, you start each sentence or clause with the same word or phrase. This repetition can help to create a sense of unity and cohesion in your writing. It can also help emphasize a particular point or idea you want to convey to your reader.

Anaphora is often used in speeches and other forms of persuasive writing. For example, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is full of examples of anaphora. In this speech, King repeatedly repeats the phrase “I have a dream” to emphasize his vision of a better future.

Using anaphora in your writing can help to create a similar effect. Repeating a word or phrase can create a sense of anticipation in your reader. They will be waiting for the next instance of that word or phrase, which can help to keep them engaged with your writing.

Here are some tips for using anaphora effectively in your writing:

  • Choose a word or phrase that is important to your message.
  • Use anaphora sparingly. Too much repetition can become tedious for your reader.
  • Vary the length and structure of your sentences to keep your writing interesting.
  • Experiment with different words and phrases to see which ones work best for your message.

12. Epistrophe: Repeat the Same Word or Phrase at the End of Successive Clauses

Epistrophe is a creative writing technique where the writer repeats the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses or sentences. This technique is also known as epiphora. Epistrophe is used in poetry, speeches, and prose to create emphasis and rhythm.

Epistrophe is similar to anaphora when the writer repeats the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences. The difference between the two is that epistrophe repeats the word or phrase at the end of the sentence, while anaphora repeats it at the beginning.

One famous example of epistrophe is from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” In this example, Lincoln repeats the phrase “of the people, by the people, for the people” at the end of each clause, creating a powerful and memorable effect.

Epistrophe can be used to create a sense of finality or to emphasize a particular point. It can also create a sense of rhythm or musicality in the writing. When using epistrophe, it’s important to choose a word or phrase that is meaningful and impactful, as repetition can quickly become tedious if it’s not used effectively.

13. Anadiplosis: Repeat the Last Word of One Clause at the Beginning of the Next Clause

Anadiplosis is a powerful literary device used in creative writing to create a sense of rhythm and repetition. In Anadiplosis, you repeat the last word of one clause at the beginning of the next clause. This technique is often used to emphasize a particular word or phrase and to create a sense of continuity in the text.

Anadiplosis is commonly used in poetry, speeches, and other forms of creative writing. It is a versatile technique that can be used to create various effects. For example, Anadiplosis can create a sense of urgency or build momentum in a narrative.

Anadiplosis can also create a sense of symmetry or balance in a text. By repeating a word or phrase, you can create a sense of harmony and order in your writing. This technique can be especially effective with literary devices like alliteration or rhyme.

Here are some examples of Anadiplosis in action:

  • “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda, Star Wars.
  • “The love of wicked men converts to fear; That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both To worthy danger and deserved death.” – William Shakespeare, Richard II.
  • “When I give, I give myself.” – Walt Whitman, Song of Myself.

14. Chiasmus: Reverse the Order of Words in Two Parallel Phrases

Chiasmus is a literary device that reverses word order in two parallel phrases. It is a rhetorical device commonly used in literature, speeches, and other forms of creative writing. The word “chiasmus” comes from the Greek word “Kiasmos,” which means “crossing” or “x-shaped.”

Chiasmus is a powerful tool for writers because it can create a sense of balance and symmetry in a sentence. It can also help to emphasize a particular point or idea. By reversing the order of words, writers can create a memorable and impactful phrase that sticks with the reader.

Here are a few examples of chiasmus in action:

  • “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
  • “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” – Cormac McCarthy, The Road
  • “It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.” – Adlai E. Stevenson

Notice how each of these examples has a similar structure. The first phrase sets up an idea, and the second phrase reverses the order of words to create a memorable and impactful statement.

When using chiasmus in your writing, it’s important to ensure that the reversed phrases make sense and flow well. It’s also important to use chiasmus sparingly, as overusing it can make your writing seem contrived or forced.

15. Adnomination: Repeat Words with the Same Root, Differing in One Sound or Letter

Adnomination is a literary device that involves repeating words with the same root but differing in one sound or letter. This technique can create a particular sound and effect in text. It can also be used to describe the repetition of a word but in a different sense. Adnomination is used frequently for emphatic contrast or punning.

Using adnomination can add emphasis and depth to your writing. It can help to create a poetic effect, making your writing more memorable and engaging for your readers. Adnomination can also help to create a sense of rhythm and flow in your writing.

Here are a few examples of adnomination:

  • “She was the light of his life, the fire in his soul, and the wind in his sails.”
  • “The city was a maze of streets, alleys, and avenues.”
  • “The cat sat on the mat, looking fat and happy.”

As you can see from these examples, adnomination can create a sense of repetition and rhythm in your writing. It can also create a sense of contrast or comparison between different words.

When using adnomination in your writing, it’s important to use it sparingly. Overusing this technique can make your writing feel forced and contrived. Instead, try to use adnomination naturally and organically to your writing style.

16. Flashbacks: Reveal Past Events to Provide Context or Deepen Characterization

Flashbacks are a powerful tool that can reveal past events and provide context to your story. By taking the reader back in time, you can deepen the characterization of your protagonist, reveal important backstories, and create a more complex and nuanced narrative.

When using flashbacks, it’s important to be strategic. You don’t want to disrupt the flow of your story or confuse your reader. Here are some tips to help you use flashbacks effectively:

  • Use flashbacks sparingly. Too many flashbacks can be disorienting and disrupt the flow of your story. Use them only when necessary to provide context or deepen characterization.
  • Make sure your flashbacks are relevant. Your flashbacks should directly relate to the main story and help move the plot forward.
  • Use clear transitions. Make it clear to your reader when moving into a flashback and returning to the present. You can use formatting, such as italics or a change in tense, to help differentiate between the two.
  • Don’t rely on flashbacks to provide exposition. While flashbacks can be a great way to reveal important backstories, they shouldn’t be used as a crutch to provide exposition. Make sure your story is strong enough to stand on its own.

17. Dialogue: Use Conversations Between Characters to Convey Information and Develop Relationships

Dialogue is essential for creative writers to convey information and develop relationships between characters. You can reveal their personalities, motivations, and conflicts by writing conversations between characters. Dialogue can also move the plot forward and create tension in the story.

When writing dialogue, it is important to make it sound natural and believable. People do not always speak in complete sentences and often interrupt each other. Use contractions, slang, and regional dialects to make the dialogue more authentic. However, avoid using too much jargon or technical language that may confuse the reader.

To make the dialogue more engaging, use body language and gestures to show how the characters feel. For example, if a character is nervous, they may fidget or avoid eye contact. They may clench their fists or raise their voice if they are angry. These nonverbal cues can add depth and complexity to the conversation.

When writing dialogue, it is important to remember that every character has a voice and personality. Each character should have a unique way of speaking, with their vocabulary, tone, and syntax. This can help the reader distinguish between characters and make them more memorable.

18. Monologue: Allow a Character to Express Their Thoughts or Feelings in an Extended Speech

Monologues are an effective tool in creative writing that allows characters to express their thoughts or feelings in an extended speech. This technique is often used in theater but can also be used in books, movies, and other mediums. Monologues can be addressed to other characters in the scene, or they can be one character talking to themselves or the audience.

To write a compelling monologue, you must first understand your character’s motivations, fears, and desires. This will help you create a speech that is authentic and believable. You should also consider the setting and tone of the scene. Is the character angry, sad, or happy? Is the scene serious or humorous?

A good monologue will have a clear beginning, middle, and end. It should also be concise and to the point. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents. Use descriptive language and vivid imagery to engage the reader and bring the scene to life.

When writing a monologue, it’s important to remember that it should reveal something about the character. It should provide insight into their personality, beliefs, and values. It should also advance the plot or reveal something important about the story.

19. Symbolism: Use Objects, Characters, or Events to Represent Abstract Ideas or Concepts

Symbolism is a powerful literary device that can add depth and meaning to your writing. It uses objects, characters, or events to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Doing so can create a richer and more complex narrative that engages your readers on multiple levels.

One of the most important things to remember when using symbolism is that the symbol should be closely related to what it represents. A strong symbol usually shares key characteristics with whatever it is meant to symbolize or is related to it in some other way. For example, a dove symbolizes peace because of its gentle nature and association with religious stories.

Characters can also be symbolic. They can represent specific ideas or concepts or embody broader themes or motifs. For example, in “The Great Gatsby,” the character of Jay Gatsby represents the American Dream, while the character of Daisy Buchanan represents the corruption and superficiality of the wealthy elite.

Events can also be symbolic. They can represent larger societal issues or personal struggles. For example, in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the trial of Tom Robinson represents the racial inequality and injustice prevalent in the American South during the 1930s.

When using symbolism, it’s important to remember that it should enhance your story rather than detract from it. Don’t use symbols just to use them; make sure they serve a purpose and add meaning to your narrative.

20. Irony: Create a Contrast Between What Is Expected and What Actually Occurs

Irony is a useful tool in creative writing that can help you create a contrast between what is expected and what actually occurs. Using irony, you can create a sense of surprise, humor, or even tragedy in your writing. There are three types of irony: verbal, situational, and dramatic.

Verbal Irony

Verbal irony is when a character says one thing but means the opposite. This type of irony is often used for comedic effect. For example, if a character says, “I just love being stuck in traffic for hours,” when they don’t enjoy it, that’s verbal irony.

Situational Irony

Situational irony is when the opposite of what is expected happens. This type of irony can create a sense of surprise or even tragedy. For example, if a firefighter’s house burns down, that’s situational irony.

Dramatic Irony

Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the characters do not. This type of irony can create tension and suspense in your writing. For example, if the audience knows that a character is about to be betrayed, but the character does not, that’s dramatic irony.

21. Hyperbole: Use Exaggeration for Emphasis or Effect

When it comes to creative writing, one technique that can be particularly effective is hyperbole. Hyperbole is a figure of speech that exaggerates something for emphasis or effect. Using hyperbole, you can create vivid images, convey strong emotions, and add humor to your writing.

Hyperbole can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you might use it to describe a character in your story. Instead of saying that your protagonist is “tall,” you might exaggerate and say they are “towering over everyone in the room.” This helps to create a stronger image in the reader’s mind and emphasizes the character’s physical presence.

Another way to use hyperbole is to add humor to your writing. For example, you might describe a character’s reaction to a situation exaggeratedly, such as saying they “nearly died of shock” when they received unexpected news. This can add a lighthearted touch to your writing and make it more engaging for readers.

When using hyperbole, it’s important to balance exaggeration and believability. While hyperbole is meant to be an exaggeration, it shouldn’t be so extreme that it becomes unbelievable or ridiculous. It’s also important to use hyperbole sparingly, as too much can make your writing feel over-the-top and tiresome.

22. Understatement: Minimize the Importance of Something for Emphasis or Humor

Understatement is a creative writing technique that involves intentionally representing something as less significant than it is. It is the opposite of hyperbole, which exaggerates the importance of something. Understatement is used to downplay the value or importance of something, often to create emphasis or humor.

Using understatement can be an effective way to make a point without being too direct or confrontational. It can also create a sense of irony or humor in your writing. For example, if you are writing a story about a character who has just won the lottery, you might use understatement to describe their reaction to the news. Instead of saying they were ecstatic, you could say they were “moderately pleased” or “mildly surprised.”

One of the benefits of using understatement is that it can create a sense of humility in your writing. It can show that you know the limitations of your knowledge or perspective. For example, if you write an opinion piece on a controversial topic, you might use understatement to acknowledge other valid viewpoints. You could say, “While it is true that some people believe X, others might argue Y.”

Another benefit of understatement is that it can create a sense of surprise or shock in your writing. By downplaying the importance of something, you can create a sudden shift in tone that catches the reader off guard. For example, if you are writing a horror story, you might use understatement to describe a gruesome scene. Instead of describing the blood and gore in graphic detail, you might say “there was a small amount of blood on the floor.”

23. Juxtaposition: Place Contrasting Elements Side by Side to Highlight Their Differences

Juxtaposition is a powerful tool in creative writing that involves placing two contrasting elements side by side to highlight their differences. This technique can create tension, irony, humor, or convey social or political commentary. By juxtaposing, you can draw attention to the differences between the two elements and create a more vivid and compelling narrative.

Juxtaposition can be used in various ways in creative writing. For example, you can use it to compare and contrast characters, settings, themes, or ideas. This technique can effectively highlight the differences between two characters or settings and create a sense of conflict or tension.

Another way to use juxtaposition is to create irony. By placing two seemingly unrelated elements, you can create a sense of irony that can be both humorous and thought-provoking.

For example, in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the pigs who lead the revolution and establish a new social order are eventually revealed to be just as corrupt and oppressive as the humans they overthrew. This juxtaposition creates a powerful irony and underscores the novel’s social and political commentary.

Juxtaposition can also be used to create mood and atmosphere. By placing two contrasting elements side by side, you can create a sense of tension or unease that can add depth and complexity to your writing.

For example, in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” the opulent and decadent party that the protagonist attends is juxtaposed with the looming presence of the Red Death, creating a sense of dread and foreboding that adds to the story’s horror and suspense.

24. Parallelism: Use Similar Grammatical Structures to Create Balance and Rhythm

Parallelism is a writing technique that uses similar grammatical structures to create balance and rhythm within a sentence. Using parallelism, you repeat a specific grammatical pattern throughout a sentence or paragraph. This repetition creates a sense of rhythm and balance, making your writing more engaging and memorable.

Parallelism can be used in many different ways, including:

  • Creating lists: When you list items in your writing, you can use parallelism to make the list more readable and memorable. For example: “She loved to dance, sing, and act.”
  • Emphasizing important points: Parallelism can be used to emphasize important ideas or concepts in your writing. For example: “You must work hard, study diligently, and never give up if you want to succeed.”
  • Comparing and contrasting: Parallelism can also be used to compare and contrast ideas in your writing. For example: “He was both kind and cruel, generous and selfish, all at the same time.”

When using parallelism, it’s important to ensure that your repeating structures are truly parallel. This means that they should have the same grammatical form and structure. For example, if you use parallelism to create a list, each item should be structured similarly. This will make your writing more clear and compelling.

In addition to creating balance and rhythm, parallelism can help you convey your ideas more effectively. Repeating a specific grammatical pattern can draw attention to important ideas and make them more memorable. This can be especially useful when trying to persuade or convince your readers.

25. Oxymoron: Combine Contradictory Terms to Create a Striking Effect

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two contradictory terms to create a striking effect. This literary device is often used in creative writing to add depth and complexity to a text. Oxymorons can create a sense of irony or humor or emphasize a point.

Oxymorons consist of two words that have opposite meanings. For example, “bittersweet,” “jumbo shrimp,” and “living dead” are all examples of oxymorons. These terms may seem contradictory, but when used together, they create a unique and memorable image in the reader’s mind.

When using oxymorons in your writing, it’s important to consider the context in which they are used. An oxymoron can be used to create a sense of irony or humor, but it can also be used to emphasize a point. For example, “cruel kindness” can highlight the negative impact of well-intentioned actions.

Oxymorons can also be used to create memorable and impactful descriptions. For example, the phrase “silent scream” creates a vivid image of a person expressing intense emotion without making a sound. Similarly, the phrase “dark light” can describe a situation where light and darkness are present.

26. Paradox: Present a Seemingly Contradictory Statement That Reveals a Deeper Truth

Paradox is a literary device that involves presenting a statement that appears contradictory but, upon further examination, reveals a deeper truth or meaning. It’s a powerful technique that can add depth and complexity to your writing.

One classic example of a paradox is the statement, “Less is more.” At first glance, this statement seems to contradict itself. How can less be more? But upon closer inspection, we can see that the statement reveals a more profound truth: that sometimes, simplicity is more effective than complexity.

Another example of a paradox is the statement, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This statement appears contradictory because how can someone who is also an enemy be considered a friend? But upon closer examination, we can see that this statement reveals a deeper truth: sometimes, people with a common enemy can work together towards a common goal.

Paradoxes can be used in a variety of ways in creative writing. They can add depth and complexity to characters, reveal hidden meanings and truths, and create a sense of mystery and intrigue. When using paradoxes in your writing, it’s vital to ensure they are relevant to the story and add value to the reader’s understanding.

To create a paradox, consider the theme or message you want to convey in your writing. Think about how you can present a statement that appears contradictory but reveals a deeper truth. Consider using contrasting words or phrases, such as “love and hate” or “life and death,” to create a sense of tension and intrigue.

27. Pun: Use a Play on Words for Humor or Emphasis

Puns are a popular literary device that can add humor and emphasis to your writing. A pun is a play on words involving words with similar sounds but different meanings. Puns can be used for comedic effect, to create irony, or to add depth to your writing.

To use a pun in your writing, you need to identify words or phrases that have multiple meanings or that sound similar to other words. For example, you could use a pun by saying, “I’m reading a book on anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down!” This pun relies on the double meaning of “put down,” which can mean physically placing something down and losing interest.

Puns can also be used to create irony or to add depth to your writing. For example, you could use a pun in a serious piece of writing to draw attention to a particular point. This can be an effective way to add emphasis to your message without being too heavy-handed.

When using puns, it’s important not to overdo them. Too many puns can be distracting and can take away from the overall message of your writing. Instead, use puns sparingly and strategically to add humor or emphasis where needed.

28. Foreshadowing: Hint at Future Events in the Story

Foreshadowing is a literary technique that hints at future events in a story. It is a powerful tool that builds suspense, creates tension, and keeps readers engaged. By foreshadowing, you can prepare your readers for what’s to come and make the story more satisfying when the events finally unfold.

There are several ways to use foreshadowing in your writing. One common method is to use symbolism. For example, you might use a recurring image or object to hint at something that will happen later in the story. This can help create a sense of continuity and add depth to your writing.

Another way to use foreshadowing is through dialogue. You can use your characters’ conversations to hint at future events or big reveals. This can be a joke, an offhand comment, or even something unsaid that adds personality to your characters while planting the seed for later revelations.

Foreshadowing can also be used to create dramatic irony. This is when the reader knows something that the characters do not, which can create tension and anticipation. For example, if a character is planning a surprise party, but the reader knows that the guest of honor hates surprises, the reader will be on the edge of their seat waiting for the reveal.

When using foreshadowing, it’s essential to strike a balance. You don’t want to give away too much information too soon, but you also don’t want to be so subtle that your readers miss the hints altogether. It’s a delicate dance, but foreshadowing can be a powerful tool in your creative writing toolbox.

29. Euphemism: Use a Mild or Indirect Expression to Replace a Harsh or Blunt One

In creative writing, euphemism is a technique used to substitute a harsh or blunt expression with a mild or indirect one. It helps to convey a message without being offensive or unpleasant. Euphemism is often used in literature to add depth and subtlety to a character’s dialogue or to describe sensitive subjects.

For example, instead of saying, “he died,” a writer might use the euphemism “he passed away,” which conveys the same meaning but more gently and respectfully. Similarly, instead of saying, “She’s fat,” a writer might use the euphemism “She’s curvy” or “She’s full-figured,” which are less harsh and more positive.

Euphemism can also be used to create irony or humor. For instance, in George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm,” the pigs use euphemisms to manipulate the other animals and justify their actions. They refer to stealing food as the “readjustment of rations” and executions as “sending to the knacker.”

However, it’s important to use euphemisms carefully and appropriately. Overuse can make writing sound insincere or cliché. It’s also important to consider the context and audience. What may be an appropriate euphemism in one situation may not be in another.

30. Stream of Consciousness: Write from the Perspective of a Character’s Thoughts and Feelings

Stream of consciousness is a writing technique that captures the natural flow of a character’s extended thought process. This technique is often used to convey the character’s thoughts and feelings realistically, and it can be a powerful tool for immersing the reader in the story.

To write from the perspective of a character’s thoughts and feelings using the stream-of-consciousness technique, you need to incorporate sensory impressions, vague ideas, unusual syntax, and rough grammar. Your writing may not flow logically, but it will be more authentic and reflect the character’s inner world.

One way to get started with stream-of-consciousness writing is to imagine that you are the character and try to write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation at first; focus on capturing the character’s thoughts and feelings as they come. You can always go back and edit later.

Another technique is to use a prompt or trigger to get the character’s thoughts flowing. For example, you could write about a specific event or memory important to the character or use a sensory detail like a smell or sound to evoke a particular emotion.

Remember that stream-of-consciousness writing can be challenging for readers who are used to more traditional storytelling techniques. To make your writing more accessible, you can use formatting tools like italics or bold text to indicate when the character is thinking versus speaking or paragraph breaks to signal a shift in the character’s thoughts.

31, Epistolary: Tell a Story Through Letters, Diary Entries, or Other Documents

Epistolary writing is a technique that involves telling a story through letters, diary entries, or other documents. This technique can create a sense of intimacy between the reader and the characters and provide a unique perspective on the story.

To write an epistolary story, you should first develop a narrative arc. This means you should clearly understand your story’s beginning, middle, and end before you start writing. Once you have this in mind, you can start thinking about the letters or other documents that will make up your story.

One of the advantages of epistolary writing is that it allows you to create a sense of immediacy and intimacy that is difficult to achieve with other techniques. By using letters or diary entries , you can give the reader a direct insight into the thoughts and feelings of your characters. This can be particularly effective if you write a story dealing with complex emotions or relationships.

Another advantage of epistolary writing is that it allows you to experiment with different voices and styles. Because a different character writes each letter or diary entry, you can use this technique to create a sense of diversity and variety in your story. This can be particularly effective if you are writing a story that deals with multiple perspectives or points of view.

32. Magic Realism: Blend Elements of the Fantastical with the Everyday

Magic realism is a literary genre that combines fantastical elements with the everyday. It is a unique and fascinating technique that allows writers to create a world that is both familiar and strange, where magical and supernatural events are presented as a regular part of everyday life.

In magic realism, the fantastic is not presented as something extraordinary or unknown but as a part of the world. This creates a sense of wonder, enchantment, and connection to the world around us.

To write in the magic realism genre, you need to blend the fantastical with the everyday seamlessly and believably. This can be achieved by using a variety of techniques, such as:

  • Subtle Magic: In magic realism, magic is often presented subtly , with small, everyday events taking on a magical quality. For example, a character might be able to see the future, or a tree might have the power to heal the sick.
  • Symbolism and Metaphor: Magic realism often uses symbolism and metaphor to convey its message. For example, a character might be represented by an animal, or a magical event might represent a larger theme or idea.
  • Mixing Genres: Magic realism often blends different genres, such as fantasy, horror, and romance, to create a unique and compelling story.
  • Magical Realism vs. Fantasy: It is important to note that magical realism differs from fantasy. In fantasy, the magical elements are presented as something separate from the real world, while in magic realism, they are presented as an integral part of it.

33. Anthropomorphism: Give Human Traits to Animals or Objects

Anthropomorphism is a literary device attributing human traits to non-human things, such as animals or objects. This technique can add depth and complexity to your writing, allowing you to explore human emotions and experiences through the lens of non-human characters.

When using anthropomorphism, it’s important to balance realism and fantasy. While you want your non-human characters to be relatable and engaging, you also want them to be believable within the context of your story. Consider the following tips when incorporating anthropomorphism into your writing:

  • Use specific details to create a vivid and realistic portrayal of your non-human characters. Think about their physical appearance, mannerisms, and behaviors and how they might differ from those of humans.
  • Avoid relying too heavily on stereotypes or clichés when creating your non-human characters. Instead, draw on real-life observations and experiences to create unique and nuanced personalities.
  • Consider the implications of giving human traits to non-human characters. How might this affect the themes and messages of your story? What commentary might you be making on human nature and society?

34. Allegory: Use a Story or Characters to Represent Abstract Ideas or Moral Lessons

Allegory is a powerful technique in creative writing that allows you to convey complex or abstract ideas through characters, events, or symbols. An allegory is a narrative in which the characters and events represent abstract ideas or moral lessons. This literary device is often used to convey political or social commentary or to explore philosophical or religious themes.

The use of symbolism is key to creating a compelling allegory. Symbols are objects, characters, or events that represent something beyond their literal meaning. When used in an allegory, symbols can represent abstract concepts or ideas in a way that is more accessible to the reader.

For example, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegory in which the animals represent different factions of society, and the story’s events represent the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism. Using animal characters and events that mirror real-world historical events allows the reader to connect with the story deeper and understand the underlying message.

Allegories can be used to explore a wide range of themes and ideas, from political and social commentary to personal growth and spiritual enlightenment. Some common themes explored through allegory include the struggle between good and evil, the nature of humanity, the search for truth and meaning, and the consequences of greed and corruption.

35. In Medias Res: Begin the Story in the Middle of the Action

One of the most effective ways to hook your readers is to start your story in media res, Latin for “in the middle of things.” This technique involves beginning your story during action rather than with exposition or background information. By plunging your readers into the middle of the story, you can immediately capture their attention and keep them engaged.

To use in media res effectively, you need to start with a scene that is both interesting and relevant to the story. This scene should raise questions in the reader’s mind and create a sense of urgency. For example, you might start a mystery novel with the detective already on the killer’s trail or a romance novel with the couple amid a heated argument.

One advantage of starting in media res is that it allows you to avoid the pitfalls of exposition. You can reveal this information through action and dialogue rather than telling your readers about the characters and their backgrounds. This not only makes your story more engaging but also helps to create a more immersive reading experience.

However, it’s important to remember that in media res is not appropriate for every story. If your story requires a lot of exposition or background information, starting in media res may confuse your readers and make it difficult for them to follow the plot. Additionally, if you start your story too far into the action, you may miss important opportunities to establish character and setting.

36. Frame Narrative: Use a Story Within a Story to Provide Context or Commentary

A frame narrative, also known as a frame story or framing device, is a literary technique that uses a story within a story to provide context or commentary. It is a powerful tool for writers who want to tell a complex story with multiple layers of meaning. Using a frame narrative, you can create a rich, immersive world that draws readers in and keeps them engaged.

In a frame narrative, the outer story serves as a frame or container for the inner story. The outer story provides context and commentary on the inner story, and the inner story provides depth and complexity to the outer story. This technique can create various effects, from suspense and mystery to humor and satire.

One of the most famous examples of a frame narrative is “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. In this work, a group of pilgrims travels to Canterbury and decides to pass the time by telling stories. Each pilgrim tells a story, resulting in a collection of stories within a story. This technique allows Chaucer to explore various themes and ideas, from love and marriage to religion and politics.

Another example of a frame narrative is “One Thousand and One Nights,” also known as the Arabian Nights. This work is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. The frame story is about a Persian king who marries a new bride every day and executes her the next morning.

To avoid this fate, the clever Scheherazade tells the king a story every night but leaves it unfinished, promising to finish it the next night. This goes on for 1,001 nights, and by the end, the king has fallen in love with Scheherazade and spares her life.

37. Unreliable Narrator: Use a Narrator Whose Credibility Is in Question

When it comes to creative writing, one technique that can be used to add depth and complexity to a story is the use of an unreliable narrator. An unreliable narrator is a character who tells the story but whose credibility is in question. This can be achieved through deliberate deception or unintentional misguidedness, forcing the reader to question the narrator’s reliability.

Using an unreliable narrator can add intrigue to a story, as the reader is forced to question the truthfulness of what they are being told. This can create a sense of tension and uncertainty that can keep the reader engaged throughout the story. Additionally, an unreliable narrator can explore themes of perception, truth, and memory as the reader is forced to consider what is real and imagined.

There are several ways to create an unreliable narrator in your writing. One way is to use a first-person point of view, as this allows the reader to see the story through the eyes of the narrator. This can make it easier to create a sense of intimacy with the character but also make it harder to trust their version of events.

Another way to create an unreliable narrator is to use a mentally unstable or emotionally compromised character. This can make it harder for the reader to separate truth from fiction, as the character’s perception of reality may be skewed. Villains, insane people, fools, liars, or hypocrites can all be examples of unreliable narrators.

38. Multiple Narrators: Tell the Story from the Perspectives of Different Characters

If you want to add depth and complexity to your story, consider using multiple narrators. This technique allows you to tell the story from different characters’ perspectives, providing a more nuanced view of the events and allowing the reader to see the story from different angles.

To use multiple narrators effectively, it’s important to choose characters whose perspectives are compelling and distinct. You want to avoid confusing the reader, so make sure each character has a distinct voice and point of view. Consider the following tips:

  • Choose characters who have different backgrounds, experiences, and goals. This will allow you to explore different aspects of the story and add complexity to the plot .
  • Use chapter headings or other markers to indicate when the perspective is changing. This will help the reader track who narrates the story and prevent confusion.
  • Be consistent with the point of view. If you use first-person narration for one character, stick with that for the entire chapter or section. This will help maintain consistency and clarity.
  • Use multiple narrators to reveal different aspects of the story. For example, one character might have access to information that the others do not, or they might interpret events differently based on their own experiences and biases.

39. Cliffhanger: End a Chapter or Scene with Suspense to Keep Readers Engaged

One of the most effective techniques to keep readers engaged is to end a chapter or scene with a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger is a writing device that creates suspense and leaves the reader wanting more. It can be a sudden twist in the plot, a revelation, or a question left unanswered.

You must build tension and anticipation throughout the chapter or scene to create a cliffhanger. You can do this by introducing a problem or challenge the protagonist must overcome. As tension builds, you can escalate the stakes and introduce new obstacles that complicate the situation.

When you reach the end of the chapter or scene, you should leave the reader with a sense of uncertainty or anticipation. You can do this by ending with a question, a revelation, or a sudden twist in the plot. The key is creating a sense of urgency that makes the reader want to turn the page and discover what happens next.

Here are some tips for creating effective cliffhangers:

  • Keep it short and sweet: A cliffhanger should be no more than a few sentences long. It should be concise and to the point, leaving the reader with a clear sense of what is at stake.
  • Use strong verbs: To create a sense of urgency, use strong verbs that convey action and movement. Avoid weak or passive language that slows down the pace of the story.
  • Leave the reader with a question: A cliffhanger should leave the reader with a question that needs to be answered. This can be a question about the plot, the characters, or the setting.
  • Escalate the stakes: As the tension builds, you should escalate the stakes and make the situation more difficult for the protagonist. This will create a sense of urgency and keep the reader engaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common creative writing techniques used in literature.

Many creative writing techniques are used in literature, but some of the most common ones include imagery, symbolism, foreshadowing, and flashbacks.

Imagery uses vivid descriptions and sensory details to create a mental picture in the reader’s mind. Symbolism represents abstract ideas or concepts using objects, characters, or actions. Foreshadowing uses hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in the story. Flashbacks are scenes that occur in the past and are used to provide background information or reveal something important about a character or event.

How can descriptive writing techniques be used to enhance storytelling?

Descriptive writing techniques can enhance storytelling by creating a vivid and immersive experience for the reader. By using sensory details such as sights, sounds, smells, and textures, you can transport your reader to the world you’ve created and make them feel like they’re a part of the story. Descriptive writing can also create mood and atmosphere, reveal character traits, and set the tone for the story.

What are some examples of persuasive writing techniques?

Persuasive writing techniques convince the reader to take a particular action or adopt a particular point of view. Some standard techniques include emotional appeals, such as fear or desire, to get the reader to act. Another technique is using logic and reasoning to present a strong argument for your point of view. You can also use rhetorical questions, repetition, and other persuasive devices to make your argument more compelling.

How can identifying different writing techniques improve my writing?

Identifying different writing techniques can improve your writing by giving you a better understanding of how to use them effectively. By studying the techniques used by other writers, you can learn how to create more engaging characters, build tension and suspense, and create a more immersive world for your readers. You can also learn different techniques to achieve different effects, such as creating a sense of mystery or building empathy for your characters.

What are some of the most important elements when using creative writing techniques?

When using creative writing techniques, it’s important to consider the audience you’re writing for, the genre you’re writing in, and the purpose of your writing. It would help if you also considered the tone and style of your writing and the pacing and structure of your story. It’s important to use techniques appropriate for your story and help you achieve your desired effect.

What are some examples of different types of creative writing beyond fiction and poetry?

Creative writing encompasses various genres and styles, including memoirs, personal essays, screenplays, and even video game scripts. Some writers also use creative writing techniques in non-fiction, such as journalism and academic writing. The key to using creative writing techniques effectively is to adapt them to the specific genre and style of writing you’re working in.

easy steps in creative writing

5 Steps To Creativity In Writing

Creativity is essential for writers. We define creativity, look at the importance of creativity in writing , and give you 5 steps to become more creative .

‘In a time of destruction, create something.’ ~ Maxine Hong Kingston

What Is Creativity?

Creativity is an act where we create something new – something that did not exist until we put it together.

According to Psychology Today : ‘Creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, which is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing oneself to new experiences and to learning.’

Creativity is a process.

Being creative means that we take two or more things and we put them together. We create something that was not there before. If it’s any good, our creation will have made something more valuable and better than what came before.

Creativity In Writing

When we write we are performing a creative act. We are quite literally creating a novel idea. Our words make up people and places that did not exist until we gave them life.

We take an idea, dream up a set of characters, build a world for them, and create.

There are no new plots and most genres are set, but we take this framework of fiction and we make something of our own.

James Clear says: ‘The creative process is the act of making new connections between old ideas or recognising relationships between concepts. Creative thinking is not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way that has not been done previously.’

Creative writers and great business writers do this every day.

Creativity Is A Solution To A Problem

The writer’s favourite question: ‘ What if? ‘ is the ultimate creative question. When writers get stuck or when they are plotting a novel, one of the best ways to employ creativity in writing is by asking this question.

What if my protagonist loses their job? What if my villain is arrested on an unrelated charge? What if the setting becomes uninhabitable? What if my character loses one of their senses? What if a stranger comes to town?

Questions like these create a new reality that has to be navigated.

How To Be Creative When You Write

James Webb Young, author of A Technique for Producing Ideas , suggested that there were five steps to being creative : They are “1) gathering material, 2) intensely working over the material in your mind, 3) stepping away from the problem, 4) allowing the idea to come back to you naturally, and 5) testing your idea in the real world and adjusting it based on feedback.” ( source )

Writers can adapt this method for their own work to develop their creativity skills. I have adapted it to create a ‘5 Steps To Creativity In Writing’ process.

Step 1: Gather Material

(Tip: You don’t need to do everything listed below, but the more you do the easier it will be.)

  • Find an idea for a plot .
  • Decide on your four main characters .
  • Complete detailed character questionnaires .
  • Write a synopsis for your story.
  • Create an outline .
  • Use a timeline .
  • Make lists of your characters’ traits and flaws .
  • Research the setting .

Step 2: Work It Over

Think about everything you’ve learned along the way. Ask as many ‘What ifs’ as you can. Think about what happens when you put characters together.

Examine the various ways the plot could develop. Imagine using the antagonist as a protagonist . Perhaps you could start the story at a different point. Perhaps you could tell it from another character’s viewpoint. Maybe it would be better in present tense instead of past tense.

Try some visual techniques (including creating patterns, doodling , drawing, and pinning) when you do this. Read: 5 Visual Techniques To Bring Your Story To Life . Do some synaesthesia exercises.

Step 3: Step Away

Step away from what you have been working on. Stop thinking about what you’ve been writing. Try to do something that has nothing to do with it at all. (This is the most important step in the process, but it only works if you have done the work in the first two steps.)

Step 4: Wait For It

Your ideas will come back to you on their own, often in a better shape than the original ones you had. You may want to write the story from a different viewpoint – maybe first person instead of third person, or write in another genre, or set it in another universe.

Step 5: Write The Story

Test the idea by writing the story. You will be bursting with energy and creativity because you have so much material in reserve. The response you get to the finished product will be the ultimate test.

Top Tip : This is not just for creative writing. Use this five step process to help you in your business writing, blogging, or for creativity in your business. The importance of creativity in writing cannot be overstated.

Top Tip : Find out more about our  online courses  and  workbooks  in our  shop .

easy steps in creative writing

© Amanda Patterson

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2 thoughts on “5 Steps To Creativity In Writing”

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Great concise tips

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Thank you, Dan.

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  • A step-by-step guide to the writing process

The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips

Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 8, 2023.

The writing process steps

Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.

The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.

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Table of contents

Step 1: prewriting, step 2: planning and outlining, step 3: writing a first draft, step 4: redrafting and revising, step 5: editing and proofreading, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the writing process.

Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.

Coming up with a topic

If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class— is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.

The scope depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay or a research paper will be less in-depth than a dissertation topic . Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.

Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:

Doing the research

Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:

  • Searching for primary and secondary sources .
  • Reading the relevant texts closely (e.g. for literary analysis ).
  • Collecting data using relevant research methods (e.g. experiments , interviews or surveys )

From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.

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Especially in academic writing , it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.

Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.

Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.

An outline for a literary analysis essay might look something like this:

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question: How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it’s time to produce a full first draft.

This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it’s reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you’re introducing.

To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear central focus that relates to your overall argument.

Hover over the parts of the example, from a literary analysis essay on Mansfield Park , to see how a paragraph is constructed.

The character of Mrs. Norris provides another example of the performance of morals in Mansfield Park . Early in the novel, she is described in scathing terms as one who knows “how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing” (p. 7). This hypocrisy does not interfere with her self-conceit as “the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world” (p. 7). Mrs. Norris is strongly concerned with appearing charitable, but unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to accomplish this. Instead, she stage-manages the charitable actions of others, never acknowledging that her schemes do not put her own time or money on the line. In this way, Austen again shows us a character whose morally upright behavior is fundamentally a performance—for whom the goal of doing good is less important than the goal of seeming good.

When you move onto a different topic, start a new paragraph. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas.

The goal at this stage is to get a draft completed, not to make everything perfect as you go along. Once you have a full draft in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of where improvement is needed.

Give yourself a first draft deadline that leaves you a reasonable length of time to revise, edit, and proofread before the final deadline. For a longer text like a dissertation, you and your supervisor might agree on deadlines for individual chapters.

Now it’s time to look critically at your first draft and find potential areas for improvement. Redrafting means substantially adding or removing content, while revising involves making changes to structure and reformulating arguments.

Evaluating the first draft

It can be difficult to look objectively at your own writing. Your perspective might be positively or negatively biased—especially if you try to assess your work shortly after finishing it.

It’s best to leave your work alone for at least a day or two after completing the first draft. Come back after a break to evaluate it with fresh eyes; you’ll spot things you wouldn’t have otherwise.

When evaluating your writing at this stage, you’re mainly looking for larger issues such as changes to your arguments or structure. Starting with bigger concerns saves you time—there’s no point perfecting the grammar of something you end up cutting out anyway.

Right now, you’re looking for:

  • Arguments that are unclear or illogical.
  • Areas where information would be better presented in a different order.
  • Passages where additional information or explanation is needed.
  • Passages that are irrelevant to your overall argument.

For example, in our paper on Mansfield Park , we might realize the argument would be stronger with more direct consideration of the protagonist Fanny Price, and decide to try to find space for this in paragraph IV.

For some assignments, you’ll receive feedback on your first draft from a supervisor or peer. Be sure to pay close attention to what they tell you, as their advice will usually give you a clearer sense of which aspects of your text need improvement.

Redrafting and revising

Once you’ve decided where changes are needed, make the big changes first, as these are likely to have knock-on effects on the rest. Depending on what your text needs, this step might involve:

  • Making changes to your overall argument.
  • Reordering the text.
  • Cutting parts of the text.
  • Adding new text.

You can go back and forth between writing, redrafting and revising several times until you have a final draft that you’re happy with.

Think about what changes you can realistically accomplish in the time you have. If you are running low on time, you don’t want to leave your text in a messy state halfway through redrafting, so make sure to prioritize the most important changes.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Editing focuses on local concerns like clarity and sentence structure. Proofreading involves reading the text closely to remove typos and ensure stylistic consistency. You can check all your drafts and texts in minutes with an AI proofreader .

Editing for grammar and clarity

When editing, you want to ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You’re looking out for:

  • Grammatical errors.
  • Ambiguous phrasings.
  • Redundancy and repetition .

In your initial draft, it’s common to end up with a lot of sentences that are poorly formulated. Look critically at where your meaning could be conveyed in a more effective way or in fewer words, and watch out for common sentence structure mistakes like run-on sentences and sentence fragments:

  • Austen’s style is frequently humorous, her characters are often described as “witty.” Although this is less true of Mansfield Park .
  • Austen’s style is frequently humorous. Her characters are often described as “witty,” although this is less true of Mansfield Park .

To make your sentences run smoothly, you can always use a paraphrasing tool to rewrite them in a clearer way.

Proofreading for small mistakes and typos

When proofreading, first look out for typos in your text:

  • Spelling errors.
  • Missing words.
  • Confused word choices .
  • Punctuation errors .
  • Missing or excess spaces.

Use a grammar checker , but be sure to do another manual check after. Read through your text line by line, watching out for problem areas highlighted by the software but also for any other issues it might have missed.

For example, in the following phrase we notice several errors:

  • Mary Crawfords character is a complicate one and her relationships with Fanny and Edmund undergoes several transformations through out the novel.
  • Mary Crawford’s character is a complicated one, and her relationships with both Fanny and Edmund undergo several transformations throughout the novel.

Proofreading for stylistic consistency

There are several issues in academic writing where you can choose between multiple different standards. For example:

  • Whether you use the serial comma .
  • Whether you use American or British spellings and punctuation (you can use a punctuation checker for this).
  • Where you use numerals vs. words for numbers.
  • How you capitalize your titles and headings.

Unless you’re given specific guidance on these issues, it’s your choice which standards you follow. The important thing is to consistently follow one standard for each issue. For example, don’t use a mixture of American and British spellings in your paper.

Additionally, you will probably be provided with specific guidelines for issues related to format (how your text is presented on the page) and citations (how you acknowledge your sources). Always follow these instructions carefully.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .

  • Revising is making structural and logical changes to your text—reformulating arguments and reordering information.
  • Editing refers to making more local changes to things like sentence structure and phrasing to make sure your meaning is conveyed clearly and concisely.
  • Proofreading involves looking at the text closely, line by line, to spot any typos and issues with consistency and correct them.

Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:

  • Take a break : Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
  • Proofread a printout : Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen and paper to check the final version.
  • Use digital shortcuts : Take note of any recurring mistakes (for example, misspelling a particular word, switching between US and UK English , or inconsistently capitalizing a term), and use Find and Replace to fix it throughout the document.

If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.

If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.

If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.

To make this process easier and faster, you can use a paraphrasing tool . With this tool, you can rewrite your text to make it simpler and shorter. If that’s not enough, you can copy-paste your paraphrased text into the summarizer . This tool will distill your text to its core message.

Cite this Scribbr article

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Caulfield, J. (2023, December 08). The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-writing/writing-process/

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