A Beginner’s Guide to Creative Writing

Creative writing is an art that is attempted by many but succeeded at by few. There are a number of reasons for this, so before you venture into the world of creative writing know the following points:

It is time and labor intensive

It continues to be a work in progress until completed

Your original idea will undergo many changes in the writing process

Many people limit creative writing to only novels, but there are other literary forms. Whatever form you choose to pursue, remember that the underlying purpose of all creative writing is to tell a story in one form or another. Once you establish this as a mindset, your writing process will be much smoother and organized – but not necessarily easier.

Here are the basic ideas that define any work of creative writing. Keep in mind these are only the broad strokes of the actual process, but they will give you a sense of how to get organized and proceed.

Character creation

Since every creative work is a story, it will have at least one character who is either telling a story or who the story is about. Whether you analyze the character in a book or a movie that is based on a book, you will always have a central character that is the focus for the reader. Usually there is a protagonist (the person who is advocating or pursuing a cause) and the antagonist (someone who opposes the protagonist’s cause), requiring the creation of a minimum of two characters.

As a creative writer, a large part of your job is to give each character a set of clearly defined yet unique characteristics. A Vulcan in “Star Trek” always has pointed ears and has quashed the innate emotional part of his personality. Wonder Woman is clearly a wonder with her superpowers and training, but one of the best characterizations of her can be seen in the 2018 movie where she is also clearly a woman. So you don’t have to get really weird when thinking of the specific and unique qualities of your character’s personality. But they must have a personality.

Dialogue creation

In creative writing the characters speak to one another – or to the reader. One of the simplest ways you can understand the difficulty of this dialogue creation process is to think about how many ways there are to simply say “Hello.”

Hi!

Good morning/afternoon/evening

What’s up?

Good day

Dialogue creationYou can come up with your own, likely very long list, but what is important is how the words are used when being spoken from your characters. For example, if your character is a wealthy elitist who comes from an influential background, you are not likely to have them saying, “What’s up?” The dialogue you create will make a major impact on your reader as to what each character’s personality is about. A great character with poor dialogue will find your creative worked unceremoniously trashed.

Storyline/plot

Every creative work tells a story, so the story must have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. This seems simple, but many beginning creative writers get so excited about their idea and general storyline they forget it must come to an end. The storyline is the glue that holds everything together. Starting out, you don’t want to try ideas such as flashbacks (which generally fail in movies and television programs) so keep your writing simple and direct. This will reduce the chances of there being what are called “plot holes” where there is a huge gap or error in the storyline the reader can easily detect.