Writing Forward

A Guide to Descriptive Writing

by Melissa Donovan | Jan 7, 2021 | Creative Writing | 8 comments

descriptive writing

What is descriptive writing?

Writing description is a necessary skill for most writers. Whether we’re writing an essay, a story, or a poem, we usually reach a point where we need to describe something. In fiction, we describe settings and characters. In poetry, we describe scenes, experiences, and emotions. In creative nonfiction, we describe reality. Descriptive writing is especially important for speculative fiction writers and poets. If you’ve created a fantasy world, then you’ll need to deftly describe it to readers; Lewis Carroll not only described Wonderland  (aff link); he also described the fantastical creatures that inhabited it.

But many writers are challenged by description writing, and many readers find it boring to read — when it’s not crafted skillfully.

However, I think it’s safe to say that technology has spoiled us. Thanks to photos and videos, we’ve become increasingly visual, which means it’s getting harder to use words to describe something, especially if it only exists in our imaginations.

What is Descriptive Writing?

One might say that descriptive writing is the art of painting a picture with words. But descriptive writing goes beyond visuals. Descriptive writing hits all the senses; we describe how things look, sound, smell, taste, and feel (their tactile quality).

The term descriptive writing can mean a few different things:

  • The act of writing description ( I’m doing some descriptive writing ).
  • A descriptive essay is short-form prose that is meant to describe something in detail; it can describe a person, place, event, object, or anything else.
  • Description as part of a larger work: This is the most common kind of descriptive writing. It is usually a sentence or paragraph (sometimes multiple paragraphs) that provide description, usually to help the reader visualize what’s happening, where it’s happening, or how it’s happening. It’s most commonly used to describe a setting or a character. An example would be a section of text within a novel that establishes the setting by describing a room or a passage that introduces a character with a physical description.
  • Writing that is descriptive (or vivid) — an author’s style: Some authors weave description throughout their prose and verse, interspersing it through the dialogue and action. It’s a style of writing that imparts description without using large blocks of text that are explicitly focused on description.
  • Description is integral in poetry writing. Poetry emphasizes imagery, and imagery is rendered in writing via description, so descriptive writing is a crucial skill for most poets.

Depending on what you write, you’ve probably experimented with one of more of these types of descriptive writing, maybe all of them.

Can you think of any other types of descriptive writing that aren’t listed here?

How Much Description is Too Much?

Classic literature was dense with description whereas modern literature usually keeps description to a minimum.

Compare the elaborate descriptions in J.R.R. Tolkien’s  Lord of the Rings  trilogy  with the descriptions in J.K. Rowling’s  Harry Potter series  (aff links). Both series relied on description to help readers visualize an imagined, fantastical world, but Rowling did not use her precious writing space to describe standard settings whereas Tolkien frequently paused all action and spent pages describing a single landscape.

This isn’t unique to Tolkien and Rowling; if you compare most literature from the beginning of of the 20th century and earlier to today’s written works, you’ll see that we just don’t dedicate much time and space to description anymore.

I think this radical change in how we approach description is directly tied to the wide availability of film, television, and photography. Let’s say you were living in the 19th century, writing a story about a tropical island for an audience of northern, urban readers. You would be fairly certain that most of your readers had never seen such an island and had no idea what it looked like. To give your audience a full sense of your story’s setting, you’d need pages of detail describing the lush jungle, sandy beaches, and warm waters.

Nowadays, we all know what a tropical island looks like, thanks to the wide availability of media. Even if you’ve never been to such an island, surely you’ve seen one on TV. This might explain why few books on the craft of writing address descriptive writing. The focus is usually on other elements, like language, character, plot, theme, and structure.

For contemporary writers, the trick is to make the description as precise and detailed as possible while keeping it to a minimum. Most readers want characters and action with just enough description so that they can imagine the story as it’s unfolding.

If you’ve ever encountered a story that paused to provide head-to-toe descriptions along with detailed backstories of every character upon their introduction into the narrative, you know just how grating description can be when executed poorly.

However, it’s worth noting that a skilled writer can roll out descriptions that are riveting to read. Sometimes they’re riveting because they’re integrated seamlessly with the action and dialogue; other times, the description is deftly crafted and engaging on its own. In fact, an expert descriptive writer can keep readers glued through multiple pages of description.

Descriptive Writing Tips

I’ve encountered descriptive writing so smooth and seamless that I easily visualized what was happening without even noticing that I was reading description. Some authors craft descriptions that are so lovely, I do notice — but in a good way. Some of them are so compelling that I pause to read them again.

On the other hand, poorly crafted descriptions can really impede a reader’s experience. Description doesn’t work if it’s unclear, verbose, or bland. Most readers prefer action and dialogue to lengthy descriptions, so while a paragraph here and there can certainly help readers better visualize what’s happening, pages and pages of description can increase the risk that they’ll set your work aside and never pick it up again. There are exceptions to every rule, so the real trick is to know when lengthy descriptions are warranted and when they’re just boring.

Here are some general tips for descriptive writing:

  • Use distinct descriptions that stand out and are memorable. For example, don’t write that a character is five foot two with brown hair and blue eyes. Give the reader something to remember. Say the character is short with mousy hair and sky-blue eyes.
  • Make description active: Consider the following description of a room: There was a bookshelf in the corner. A desk sat under the window. The walls were beige, and the floor was tiled. That’s boring. Try something like this: A massive oak desk sat below a large picture window and beside a shelf overflowing with books. Hardcovers, paperbacks, and binders were piled on the dingy tiled floor in messy stacks.  In the second example, words like  overflowing  and  piled are active.
  • Weave description through the narrative: Sometimes a character enters a room and looks around, so the narrative needs to pause to describe what the character sees. Other times, description can be threaded through the narrative. For example, instead of pausing to describe a character, engage that character in dialogue with another character. Use the characters’ thoughts and the dialogue tags to reveal description: He stared at her flowing, auburn curls, which reminded him of his mother’s hair. “Where were you?” he asked, shifting his green eyes across the restaurant to where a customer was hassling one of the servers.

Simple descriptions are surprisingly easy to execute. All you have to do is look at something (or imagine it) and write what you see. But well-crafted descriptions require writers to pay diligence to word choice, to describe only those elements that are most important, and to use engaging language to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Instead of spending several sentences describing a character’s height, weight, age, hair color, eye color, and clothing, a few, choice details will often render a more vivid image for the reader: Red hair framed her round, freckled face like a spray of flames. This only reveals three descriptive details: red hair, a round face, and freckles. Yet it paints more vivid picture than a statistical head-to-toe rundown:  She was five foot three and no more than a hundred and ten pounds with red hair, blue eyes, and a round, freckled face.

descriptive writing practice

10 descriptive writing practices.

How to Practice Writing Description

Here are some descriptive writing activities that will inspire you while providing opportunities to practice writing description. If you don’t have much experience with descriptive writing, you may find that your first few attempts are flat and boring. If you can’t keep readers engaged, they’ll wander off. Work at crafting descriptions that are compelling and mesmerizing.

  • Go to one of your favorite spots and write a description of the setting: it could be your bedroom, a favorite coffee shop, or a local park. Leave people, dialogue, and action out of it. Just focus on explaining what the space looks like.
  • Who is your favorite character from the movies? Describe the character from head to toe. Show the reader not only what the character looks like, but also how the character acts. Do this without including action or dialogue. Remember: description only!
  • Forty years ago we didn’t have cell phones or the internet. Now we have cell phones that can access the internet. Think of a device or gadget that we’ll have forty years from now and describe it.
  • Since modern fiction is light on description, many young and new writers often fail to include details, even when the reader needs them. Go through one of your writing projects and make sure elements that readers may not be familiar with are adequately described.
  • Sometimes in a narrative, a little description provides respite from all the action and dialogue. Make a list of things from a story you’re working on (gadgets, characters, settings, etc.), and for each one, write a short description of no more than a hundred words.
  • As mentioned, Tolkien often spent pages describing a single landscape. Choose one of your favorite pieces of classic literature, find a long passage of description, and rewrite it. Try to cut the descriptive word count in half.
  • When you read a book, use a highlighter to mark sentences and paragraphs that contain description. Don’t highlight every adjective and adverb. Look for longer passages that are dedicated to description.
  • Write a description for a child. Choose something reasonably difficult, like the solar system. How do you describe it in such a way that a child understands how he or she fits into it?
  • Most writers dream of someday writing a book. Describe your book cover.
  • Write a one-page description of yourself.

If you have any descriptive writing practices to add to this list, feel free to share them in the comments.

Descriptive Writing

Does descriptive writing come easily to you, or do you struggle with it? Do you put much thought into how you write description? What types of descriptive writing have you tackled — descriptive essays, blocks of description within larger texts, or descriptions woven throughout a narrative? Share your tips for descriptive writing by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Further Reading: Abolish the Adverbs , Making the Right Word Choices for Better Writing , and Writing Description in Fiction .

Ready Set Write a Guide to Creative Writing

I find descriptions easier when first beginning a scene. Other ones I struggle with. Yes, intertwining them with dialogue does help a lot.

Melissa Donovan

I have the opposite experience. I tend to dive right into action and dialogue when I first start a scene.

R.G. Ramsey

I came across this article at just the right time. I am just starting to write a short story. This will change the way I describe characters in my story.

Thank you for this. R.G. Ramsey

You’re welcome!

Bella

Great tips and how to practise and improve our descriptive writing skills. Thank you for sharing.

You’re welcome, Bella.

Stanley Johnson

Hello Melissa

I have read many of your articles about different aspects of writing and have enjoyed all of them. What you said here, I agree with, with the exception of #7. That is one point that I dispute and don’t understand the reason why anyone would do this, though I’ve seen books that had things like that done to them.

To me, a book is something to be treasured, loved and taken care of. It deserves my respect because I’m sure the author poured their heart and soul into its creation. Marking it up that way is nothing short of defacing it. A book or story is a form of art, so should a person mark over a picture by Rembrandt or any other famous painter? You’re a very talented author, so why would you want someone to mark through the words you had spent considerable time and effort agonizing over, while searching for the best words to convey your thoughts?

If I want to remember some section or point the author is making, then I’ll take a pen and paper and record the page number and perhaps the first few words of that particular section. I’ve found that writing a note this way helps me remember it better. This is then placed inside the cover for future reference. If someone did what you’ve suggested to a book of mine, I’d be madder than a ‘wet hen’, and that person would certainly be told what I thought of them.

In any of the previous articles you’ve written, you’ve brought up some excellent points which I’ve tried to incorporate in my writing. Keep up the good work as I know your efforts have helped me, and I’m sure other authors as well.

Hi Stanley. Thanks so much for sharing your point of view. I appreciate and value it.

Marking up a book is a common practice, especially in academia. Putting notes in margins, underlining, highlighting, and tagging pages with bookmarks is standard. Personally, I mark up nonfiction paperbacks, but I never mark up fiction paperbacks or any hardcovers (not since college).

I completely respect your right to keep your books in pristine condition. And years ago, when I started college, I felt exactly the same way. I was horrified that people (instructors and professors!) would fill their books with ugly yellow highlighting and other markips. But I quickly realized that this was shortsighted.

Consider an old paperback that is worn and dog-eared. With one look, you know this book has been read many times and it’s probably loved. It’s like the Velveteen Rabbit of books. I see markups as the same — that someone was engaging with the book and trying to understand it on a deeper level, which is not disrespectful. It’s something to be celebrated.

Sometimes we place too much value on the book as a physical object rather than what’s inside. I appreciate a beautiful book as much as anyone but what really matters to me is the information or experience that it contains. I often read on a Kindle. Sometimes I listen to audio books. There is no physical book. The experience is not lessened.

I understand where you’re coming from. I used to feel the same way, but my mind was changed. I’m not trying to change yours, but I hope you’ll understand.

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Creative Primer

What is Creative Writing? A Key Piece of the Writer’s Toolbox

Brooks Manley

As we delve into the world of writing, it becomes apparent that not all writing is the same. One form that stands out due to its unique approach and focus on imagination is creative writing. This section will explore the question, “ what is creative writing ” and highlight its key characteristics.

Definition of Creative Writing

Creative writing is a form of writing that extends beyond the bounds of regular professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature. It is characterized by its emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or poetic techniques to express ideas in an original and imaginative way.

Creative writing can take on various forms such as poetry, novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, and more. It’s a way for writers to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a creative, often symbolic, way. It’s about using the power of words to transport readers into a world created by the writer.

Key Characteristics of Creative Writing

Creative writing is marked by several defining characteristics, each working to create a distinct form of expression:

1. Imagination and Creativity: Creative writing is all about harnessing one’s creativity and imagination to create an engaging and compelling piece of work. It allows writers to explore different scenarios, characters, and worlds that may not exist in reality.

2. Emotional Engagement: Creative writing often evokes strong emotions in the reader. It aims to make the reader feel something — whether it’s happiness, sorrow, excitement, or fear.

3. Originality: Creative writing values originality. It’s about presenting familiar things in new ways or exploring ideas that are less conventional.

4. Use of Literary Devices: Creative writing frequently employs literary devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, and others to enrich the text and convey meanings in a more subtle, layered manner.

5. Focus on Aesthetics: The beauty of language and the way words flow together is important in creative writing. The aim is to create a piece that’s not just interesting to read, but also beautiful to hear when read aloud.

Remember, creative writing is not just about producing a work of art. It’s also a means of self-expression and a way to share one’s perspective with the world. Whether you’re considering it as a hobby or contemplating a career in it, understanding the nature and characteristics of creative writing can help you hone your skills and create more engaging pieces. For more insights into creative writing, check out our articles on creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree and is a degree in creative writing worth it .

Styles of Creative Writing

To fully understand creative writing , one must be aware of the various styles involved. Creative writing explores a multitude of genres, each with its own unique characteristics and techniques. The styles we’ll explore in this section are poetry , short stories , novels , screenplays , and plays .

Poetry is a form of creative writing that uses expressive language to evoke emotions and ideas. Poets often employ rhythm, rhyme, and other poetic devices to create pieces that are deeply personal and impactful. Poems can vary greatly in length, style, and subject matter, making this a versatile and dynamic form of creative writing.

Short Stories

Short stories are another common style of creative writing. These are brief narratives that typically revolve around a single event or idea. Despite their length, short stories can provide a powerful punch, using precise language and tight narrative structures to convey a complete story in a limited space.

Novels represent a longer form of narrative creative writing. They usually involve complex plots, multiple characters, and various themes. Writing a novel requires a significant investment of time and effort; however, the result can be a rich and immersive reading experience.

Screenplays

Screenplays are written works intended for the screen, be it television, film, or online platforms. They require a specific format, incorporating dialogue and visual descriptions to guide the production process. Screenwriters must also consider the practical aspects of filmmaking, making this an intricate and specialized form of creative writing. For those interested in this style, understanding creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree can provide useful insights.

Writing for the theater is another specialized form of creative writing. Plays, like screenplays, combine dialogue and action, but they also require an understanding of the unique dynamics of the theatrical stage. Playwrights must think about the live audience and the physical space of the theater when crafting their works.

Each of these styles offers unique opportunities for creativity and expression. Whether you’re drawn to the concise power of poetry, the detailed storytelling of novels, or the visual language of screenplays and plays, there’s a form of creative writing that will suit your artistic voice. The key is to explore, experiment, and find the style that resonates with you. For those looking to spark their creativity, our article on creative writing prompts offers a wealth of ideas to get you started.

Importance of Creative Writing

Understanding what is creative writing involves recognizing its value and significance. Engaging in creative writing can provide numerous benefits, including developing creativity and imagination , enhancing communication skills , and exploring emotions and ideas .

Developing Creativity and Imagination

Creative writing serves as a fertile ground for nurturing creativity and imagination. It encourages individuals to think outside the box, explore different perspectives, and create unique and original content. This can lead to improved problem-solving skills and a broader worldview, both of which can be beneficial in various aspects of life.

Through creative writing, one can build entire worlds, create characters, and weave complex narratives, all of which are products of a creative mind and vivid imagination. This can be especially beneficial for those seeking creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree .

Enhancing Communication Skills

Creative writing can also play a crucial role in honing communication skills. It demands clarity, precision, and a strong command of language. This helps to improve vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, making it easier to express thoughts and ideas effectively.

Moreover, creative writing encourages empathy as writers often need to portray a variety of characters from different backgrounds and perspectives. This can lead to a better understanding of people and improved interpersonal communication skills.

Exploring Emotions and Ideas

One of the most profound aspects of creative writing is its ability to provide a safe space for exploring emotions and ideas. It serves as an outlet for thoughts and feelings, allowing writers to express themselves in ways that might not be possible in everyday conversation.

Writing can be therapeutic, helping individuals process complex emotions, navigate difficult life events, and gain insight into their own experiences and perceptions. It can also be a means of self-discovery, helping writers to understand themselves and the world around them better.

In conclusion, the importance of creative writing extends beyond the realm of literature and academia. It fosters creativity, enhances communication skills, and provides a platform for self-expression and exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, the benefits of creative writing are vast and varied. For those interested in developing their creative writing skills, check out our articles on creative writing prompts and how to teach creative writing . If you’re considering a career in this field, you might find our article on is a degree in creative writing worth it helpful.

Steps to Start Creative Writing

Creative writing can seem daunting to beginners, but with the right approach, anyone can start their journey into this creative field. Here are some steps to help you start with creative writing .

Finding Inspiration

The first step in creative writing is finding inspiration . Inspiration can come from anywhere and anything. Observe the world around you, listen to conversations, explore different cultures, and delve into various topics of interest.

Reading widely can also be a significant source of inspiration. Read different types of books, articles, and blogs. Discover what resonates with you and sparks your imagination.

For structured creative prompts, visit our list of creative writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing.

Planning Your Piece

Once you have an idea, the next step is to plan your piece . Start by outlining the main points, characters, settings, and plot. This can serve as a roadmap to guide your writing process.

Remember, a plan doesn’t have to be rigid. It’s a flexible guideline that can be adjusted as you delve deeper into your writing. The primary purpose is to provide direction and prevent writer’s block.

Writing Your First Draft

After planning your piece, you can start writing your first draft . This is where you give life to your ideas and breathe life into your characters.

Don’t worry about making it perfect in the first go. The first draft is about getting your ideas down on paper. You can always refine and polish your work later.

And if you don’t have a great place to write that first draft, consider a journal for writing .

Editing and Revising Your Work

The final step in the creative writing process is editing and revising your work . This is where you fine-tune your piece, correct grammatical errors, and improve sentence structure and flow.

Editing is also an opportunity to enhance your storytelling. You can add more descriptive details, develop your characters further, and make sure your plot is engaging and coherent.

Remember, writing is a craft that improves with practice. Don’t be discouraged if your first few pieces don’t meet your expectations. Keep writing, keep learning, and most importantly, enjoy the creative process.

For more insights on creative writing, check out our articles on how to teach creative writing or creative writing activities for kids.

Tips to Improve Creative Writing Skills

Understanding what is creative writing is the first step. But how can one improve their creative writing skills? Here are some tips that can help.

Reading Widely

Reading is a vital part of becoming a better writer. By immersing oneself in a variety of genres, styles, and authors, one can gain a richer understanding of language and storytelling techniques. Different authors have unique voices and methods of telling stories, which can serve as inspiration for your own work. So, read widely and frequently!

Practicing Regularly

Like any skill, creative writing improves with practice. Consistently writing — whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly — helps develop your writing style and voice. Using creative writing prompts can be a fun way to stimulate your imagination and get the words flowing.

Attending Writing Workshops and Courses

Formal education such as workshops and courses can offer structured learning and expert guidance. These can provide invaluable insights into the world of creative writing, from understanding plot development to character creation. If you’re wondering is a degree in creative writing worth it, these classes can also give you a taste of what studying creative writing at a higher level might look like.

Joining Writing Groups and Communities

Being part of a writing community can provide motivation, constructive feedback, and a sense of camaraderie. These groups often hold regular meetings where members share their work and give each other feedback. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with others who share your passion for writing.

Seeking Feedback on Your Work

Feedback is a crucial part of improving as a writer. It offers a fresh perspective on your work, highlighting areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Whether it’s from a writing group, a mentor, or even friends and family, constructive criticism can help refine your writing.

Remember, becoming a proficient writer takes time and patience. So, don’t be discouraged by initial challenges. Keep writing, keep learning, and most importantly, keep enjoying the process. Who knows, your passion for creative writing might even lead to creative writing jobs and what you can do with a creative writing degree . Happy writing!

Brooks Manley

Brooks Manley

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Creative Primer  is a resource on all things journaling, creativity, and productivity. We’ll help you produce better ideas, get more done, and live a more effective life.

My name is Brooks. I do a ton of journaling, like to think I’m a creative (jury’s out), and spend a lot of time thinking about productivity. I hope these resources and product recommendations serve you well. Reach out if you ever want to chat or let me know about a journal I need to check out!

Here’s my favorite journal for 2024: 

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Inspiring Ink: Expert Tips on How to Teach Creative Writing

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A Look Into Creative Writing | Oxford Summer Courses

Exploring the magic of creative writing with oxford summer courses.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive helpful tips, tutorials, and thought-provoking articles that can inform and inspire your professional development. Sign up here .

Defining Creative Writing

Creative writing , as taught at Oxford Summer Courses, is the process of crafting original and imaginative works of literature, poetry, prose, or scripts. It transcends conventional writing, encouraging individuals to explore language, structure, and narrative. Whether it's a heartfelt poem, a captivating short story, or a thought-provoking novel, creative writing allows us to communicate our unique perspectives and experiences with the world.

The Magic of Imagination

Creative Writing is a catalyst that sparks our creativity and empowers us to breathe life into our ideas on the page. With Oxford Summer Courses, aspiring writers aged 16-24 can embark on an extraordinary journey of creative expression and growth. Immerse yourself in the captivating realms of Oxford and Cambridge as you explore our inspiring creative writing programs. Teleport readers to distant lands, realms of fantasy and creation, introduce them to captivating characters, and craft new worlds through the transformative art of storytelling. Discover more about our creative writing course here . Unleash your imagination and unlock the writer within.

What Are the Different Types of Creative Writing?

Creative Writing comes in many forms, encompassing a range of genres and styles. There are lots of different types of Creative Writing, which can be categorised as fiction or non-fiction. Some of the most popular being:

  • Biographies
  • Fiction: novels, novellas, short stories, etc.
  • Poetry and Spoken word
  • Playwriting/Scriptwriting
  • Personal essays

At Oxford Summer Courses, students have the opportunity to delve into these various types of Creative Writing during the Summer School.

The Benefits of Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses

Engaging in Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses offers numerous benefits beyond self-expression. By joining our dedicated Creative Writing summer school programme, you would:

  • Foster self-discovery and gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and personal experiences.
  • Improve your communication skills, honing your ability to express yourself effectively and engage readers through refined language and storytelling abilities.
  • Enhance empathy by exploring diverse perspectives and stepping into the shoes of different characters, broadening your understanding of the world around you.
  • Gain new skills for further education or work, expanding your repertoire of writing techniques and abilities to enhance your academic or professional pursuits.
  • Nurture your creativity, encouraging you to think outside the box, embrace unconventional ideas, and challenge the status quo, fostering a life-long mindset of innovation and originality.

Embracing the Journey

To embark on a journey of creative writing, embrace curiosity, take risks, and surrender to the flow of imagination. Write regularly, read widely, embrace feedback from tutors and peers at Oxford Summer Courses. Begin to experiment with styles and genres, and stay persistent in your course of action. The path of creative writing requires dedication, practice, and an open mind. Join us as we provide tips to help you start your creative writing journey and unleash your full creative potential under the guidance of industry professionals.

Creative Writing is a remarkable voyage that invites us to unleash our imagination, share our stories, and inspire others. It offers countless personal and professional benefits, nurturing self-expression, empathy, and creativity. So, grab a pen, open your mind, and embark on this enchanting journey of creative writing with Oxford Summer Courses. Let your words paint a vivid tapestry that captivates hearts and minds under the guidance of experienced tutors from Oxford and Cambridge. Join us as we explore the magic of creative writing and discover the transformative power it holds within through the renowned Oxford Summer Courses summer school.

Ready to study Creative Writing? Apply now to Oxford Summer Courses and join a community of motivated learners from around the world. Apply here .

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  • What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!

Creative Writing Summer School in Yale - students discussing

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a range of writing courses that have become extremely popular amongst students of all ages. The subject of creative writing continues to intrigue many academics as it can help to develop a range of skills that will benefit you throughout your career and life.

Nevertheless, that initial question is one that continues to linger and be asked time and time again: what is creative writing? More specifically, what does it mean or encompass? How does creative writing differ from other styles of writing?

During our Oxford Summer School programme , we will provide you with in-depth information on creative writing and how you can hone your skills. However, in this guide, we want to provide a detailed analysis of everything to do with creative writing, helping you understand more about what it is and why it could benefit you to become a creative writer.

The best place to start is with a definition.

What is creative writing?

The dictionary definition of creative writing is that it is original writing that expresses ideas and thoughts in an imaginative way. [1] Some academics will also define it as the art of making things up, but both of these definitions are too simplistic in the grand scheme of things.

It’s challenging to settle on a concrete definition as creative writing can relate to so many different things and formats. Naturally, as the name suggests, it is all built around the idea of being creative or imaginative. It’s to do with using your brain and your own thoughts to create writing that goes outside the realms of what’s expected. This type of writing tends to be more unique as it comes from a personal place. Each individual has their own level of creativity, combined with their own thoughts and views on different things. Therefore, you can conjure up your own text and stories that could be completely different from others.

Understanding creative writing can be challenging when viewed on its own. Consequently, the best way to truly understand this medium is by exploring the other main forms of writing. From here, we can compare and contrast them with the art of creative writing, making it easier to find a definition or separate this form of writing from others.

What are the main forms of writing?

In modern society, we can identify five main types of writing styles [1] that will be used throughout daily life and a plethora of careers:

  • Narrative Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Expository Writing
  • Creative Writing

Narrative writing refers to storytelling in its most basic form. Traditionally, this involves telling a story about a character and walking the readers through the journey they go on. It can be a long novel or a short story that’s only a few hundred words long. There are no rules on length, and it can be completely true or a work of fiction.

A fundamental aspect of narrative writing that makes it different from other forms is that it should includes the key elements of storytelling. As per UX Planet, there are seven core elements of a good story or narrative [2] : the plot, characters, theme, dialogue, melody, decor and spectacle. Narrative writing will include all of these elements to take the ready on a journey that starts at the beginning, has a middle point, but always comes to a conclusion. This style of writing is typically used when writing stories, presenting anecdotes about your life, creating presentations or speeches and for some academic essays.

Descriptive writing, on the other hand, is more focused on the details. When this type of writing is used, it’s focused on capturing the reader’s attention and making them feel like they are part of the story. You want them to live and feel every element of a scene, so they can close their eyes and be whisked away to whatever place or setting you describe.

In many ways, descriptive writing is writing as an art form. Good writers can be given a blank canvas, using their words to paint a picture for the audience. There’s a firm focus on the five senses all humans have; sight, smell, touch, sound and taste. Descriptive writing touches on all of these senses to tell the reader everything they need to know and imagine about a particular scene.

This is also a style of writing that makes good use of both similes and metaphors. A simile is used to describe something as something else, while a metaphor is used to show that something is something else. There’s a subtle difference between the two, but they both aid descriptive writing immensely. According to many writing experts, similes and metaphors allow an author to emphasise, exaggerate, and add interest to a story to create a more vivid picture for the reader [3] .

Looking at persuasive writing and we have a form of writing that’s all about making yourself heard. You have an opinion that you want to get across to the reader, convincing them of it. The key is to persuade others to think differently, often helping them broaden their mind or see things from another point of view. This is often confused with something called opinionative writing, which is all about providing your opinions. While the two seem similar, the key difference is that persuasive writing is built around the idea of submitting evidence and backing your thoughts up. It’s not as simple as stating your opinion for other to read; no, you want to persuade them that your thoughts are worth listening to and perhaps worth acting on.

This style of writing is commonly used journalistically in news articles and other pieces designed to shine a light on certain issues or opinions. It is also typically backed up with statistical evidence to give more weight to your opinions and can be a very technical form of writing that’s not overly emotional.

Expository writing is more focused on teaching readers new things. If we look at its name, we can take the word exposure from it. According to Merriam-Webster [4] , one of the many definitions of exposure is to reveal something to others or present them with something they otherwise didn’t know. In terms of writing, it can refer to the act of revealing new information to others or exposing them to new ideas.

Effectively, expository writing focuses on the goal of leaving the reader with new knowledge of a certain topic or subject. Again, it is predominately seen in journalistic formats, such as explainer articles or ‘how-to’ blogs. Furthermore, you also come across it in academic textbooks or business writing.

This brings us back to the centre of attention for this guide: what is creative writing?

Interestingly, creative writing is often seen as the style of writing that combines many of these forms together in one go. Narrative writing can be seen as creative writing as you are coming up with a story to keep readers engaged, telling a tale for them to enjoy or learn from. Descriptive writing is very much a key part of creative writing as you are using your imagination and creative skills to come up with detailed descriptions that transport the reader out of their home and into a different place.

Creative writing can even use persuasive writing styles in some formats. Many writers will combine persuasive writing with a narrative structure to come up with a creative way of telling a story to educate readers and provide new opinions for them to view or be convinced of. Expository writing can also be involved here, using creativity and your imagination to answer questions or provide advice to the reader.

Essentially, creative writing can combine other writing types to create a unique and new way of telling a story or producing content. At the same time, it can include absolutely none of the other forms at all. The whole purpose of creative writing is to think outside the box and stray from traditional structures and norms. Fundamentally, we can say there are no real rules when it comes to creative writing, which is what makes it different from the other writing styles discussed above.

What is the purpose of creative writing?

Another way to understand and explore the idea of creative writing is to look at its purpose. What is the aim of most creative works of writing? What do they hope to provide the reader with?

We can look at the words of Bryanna Licciardi, an experienced creative writing tutor, to understand the purpose of creative writing. She writes that the primary purpose is to entertain and share human experiences, like love or loss. Writers attempt to reveal the truth with regard to humanity through poetics and storytelling. [5] She also goes on to add that the first step of creative writing is to use one’s imagination.

When students sign up to our creative writing courses, we will teach them how to write with this purpose. Your goal is to create stories or writing for readers that entertain them while also providing information that can have an impact on their lives. It’s about influencing readers through creative storytelling that calls upon your imagination and uses the thoughts inside your head. The deeper you dive into the art of creative writing, the more complex it can be. This is largely because it can be expressed in so many different formats. When you think of creative writing, your instinct takes you to stories and novels. Indeed, these are both key forms of creative writing that we see all the time. However, there are many other forms of creative writing that are expressed throughout the world.

What are the different forms of creative writing?

Looking back at the original and simple definition of creative writing, it relates to original writing in a creative and imaginative way. Consequently, this can span across so many genres and types of writing that differ greatly from one another. This section will explore and analyse the different types of creative writing, displaying just how diverse this writing style can be – while also showcasing just what you’re capable of when you learn how to be a creative writer.

The majority of students will first come across creative writing in the form of essays . The point of an essay is to present a coherent argument in response to a stimulus or question. [6] In essence, you are persuading the reader that your answer to the question is correct. Thus, creative writing is required to get your point across as coherently as possible, while also using great descriptive writing skills to paint the right message for the reader.

Moreover, essays can include personal essays – such as writing a cover letter for work or a university application. Here, great creativity is needed to almost write a story about yourself that captivates the reader and takes them on a journey with you. Excellent imagination and persuasive writing skills can help you tell your story and persuade those reading that you are the right person for the job or university place.

Arguably, this is the most common way in which creative writing is expressed. Fictional work includes novels, novellas, short stories – and anything else that is made up. The very definition of fiction by the Cambridge Dictionary states that it is the type of book or story that is written about imaginary characters and events not based on real people and facts. [7] As such, it means that your imagination is called upon to create something out of nothing. It is a quintessential test of your creative writing skills, meaning you need to come up with characters, settings, plots, descriptions and so much more.

Fictional creative writing in itself takes on many different forms and can be completely different depending on the writer. That is the real beauty of creative writing; you can have entirely different stories and characters from two different writers. Just look at the vast collection of fictional work around you today; it’s the perfect way to see just how versatile creative writing can be depending on the writer.

Similarly, scripts can be a type of creative writing that appeals to many. Technically, a script can be considered a work of fiction. Nevertheless, it depends on the script in question. Scripts for fictional television shows, plays or movies are obviously works of fiction. You, the writer, has come up with the characters and story of the show/play/movie, bringing it all to life through the script. But, scripts can also be non-fictional. Creating a play or movie that adapts real-life events will mean you need to write a script based on something that genuinely happened.

Here, it’s a perfect test of creative writing skills as you take a real event and use your creative talents to make it more interesting. The plot and narrative may already be there for you, so it’s a case of using your descriptive writing skills to really sell it to others and keep readers – or viewers – on the edge of their seats.

A speech is definitely a work of creative writing. The aim of a speech can vary depending on what type of speech it is. A politician delivering a speech in the House of Commons will want to get a point across to persuade others in the room. They’ll need to use creative writing to captivate their audience and have them hanging on their every word. A recent example of a great speech was the one by Sir David Attenborough at the recent COP26 global climate summit. [8] Listening to the speech is a brilliant way of understanding how creative writing can help get points across. His speech went viral around the world because of how electrifying and enthralling it is. The use of many descriptive and persuasive words had people hanging onto everything he said. He really created a picture and an image for people to see, convincing them that the time is now to work on stopping and reversing climate change.

From this speech to a completely different one, you can see creative writing at play for speeches at weddings and other jovial events. Here, the purpose is more to entertain guests and make them laugh. At the same time, someone giving a wedding speech will hope to create a lovely story for the guests to enjoy, displaying the true love that the married couple share for one another. Regardless of what type of speech an individual is giving, creative writing skills are required for it to be good and captivating.

Poetry & Songs

The final example of creative writing is twofold; poetry and songs. Both of these formats are similar to one another, relying on creativity to deliver a combination of things. Poetry can take so many forms and styles, but it aims to inspire readers and get them thinking. Poems often have hidden meanings behind them, and it takes a great deal of imagination and creativity to come up with these meanings while also creating a powerful poem. Some argue that poetry is the most creative of all creative writing forms.

Songwriting is similar in that you use creativity to come up with lyrics that can have powerful meanings while also conjuring up a story for people. The best songwriters will use lyrics that stay in people’s minds and get them thinking about the meaning behind the song. If you lack imagination and creativity, you will never be a good songwriter.

In truth, there are so many other types and examples of creative writing that you can explore. The ones listed above are the most common and powerful, and they all do a great job of demonstrating how diverse creative writing can be. If you can hone your skills in creative writing, it opens up many opportunities for you in life. Primarily, creative writing focuses on fictional pieces of work, but as you can see, non-fiction also requires a good deal of creativity.

What’s needed to make a piece of creative writing?

Our in-depth analysis of creative writing has led to a point where you’re aware of this style of writing and its purpose, along with some examples of it in the real world. The next question to delve into is what do you need to do to make a piece of creative writing. To phrase this another way; how do you write something that comes under the creative heading rather than another form of writing?

There is an element of difficulty in answering this question as creative writing has so many different types and genres. Consequently, there isn’t a set recipe for the perfect piece of creative writing, and that’s what makes this format so enjoyable and unique. Nevertheless, we can discover some crucial elements or principles that will help make a piece of writing as creative and imaginative as possible:

A target audience

All creative works will begin by defining a target audience. There are many ways to define a target audience, with some writers suggesting that you think about who is most likely to read your work. However, this can still be challenging as you’re unsure of the correct demographic to target. Writer’s Digest makes a good point of defining your target audience by considering your main motivation for writing in the first place. [9] It’s a case of considering what made you want to start writing – whether it’s a blog post, novel, song, poem, speech, etc. Figuring out your motivation behind it will help you zero in on your target audience.

Defining your audience is vital for creative writing as it helps you know exactly what to write and how to write it. All of your work should appeal to this audience and be written in a way that they can engage with. As a simple example, authors that write children’s stories will adapt their writing to appeal to the younger audience. Their stories include lots of descriptions and words that children understand, rather than being full of long words and overly academic writing.

Establishing the audience lets the writer know which direction to take things in. As a result, this can aid with things like character choices, plot, storylines, settings, and much more.

A story of sorts

Furthermore, great works of creative writing will always include a story of sorts. This is obvious for works such as novels, short stories, scripts, etc. However, even for things like poems, songs or speeches, a story helps make it creative. It gives the audience something to follow, helping them make sense of the work. Even if you’re giving a speech, setting a story can help you create a scene in people’s minds that makes them connect to what you’re saying. It’s a very effective way of persuading others and presenting different views for people to consider.

Moreover, consider the definition of a story/narrative arc. One definition describes it as a term that describes a story’s full progression. It visually evokes the idea that every story has a relatively calm beginning, a middle where tension, character conflict and narrative momentum builds to a peak and an end where the conflict is resolved. [10]

Simplifying this, we can say that all works of creative writing need a general beginning, middle and end. It’s a way of bringing some sort of structure to your writing so you know where you are going, rather than filling it with fluff or waffle.

A good imagination

Imagination is a buzzword that we’ve used plenty of times throughout this deep dive into creative writing. Every creative writing course you go on will spend a lot of time focusing on the idea of using your imagination. The human brain is a marvellously powerful thing that holds the key to creative freedom and expressing yourself in new and unique ways. If you want to make something creative, you need to tap into your imagination.

People use their imagination in different ways; some will be able to conjure up ideas for stories or worlds that exist beyond our own. Others will use theirs to think of ways of describing things in a more creative and imaginative way. Ultimately, a good imagination is what sets your work apart from others within your genre. This doesn’t mean you need to come up with the most fantastical novel of all time to have something classified as creative writing. No, using your imagination and creativity can extend to something as simple as your writing style.

Ultimately, it’s more about using your imagination to find your own personal flair and creative style. You will then be able to write unique pieces that stand out from the others and keep audiences engaged.

How can creative writing skills benefit you?

When most individuals or students consider creative writing, they imagine a world where they are writing stories for a living. There’s a common misconception that creative writing skills are only beneficial for people pursuing careers in scriptwriting, storytelling, etc. Realistically, enhancing ones creative writing skills can open up many windows of opportunity throughout your education and career.

  • Improve essay writing – Naturally, creative writing forms a core part of essays and other written assignments in school and university. Improving your skills in this department can help a student get better at writing powerful essays and achieving top marks. In turn, this can impact your career by helping you get better grades to access better jobs in the future.
  • Become a journalist – Journalists depend on creative writing to make stories that capture audiences and have people hanging on their every word. You need high levels of creativity to turn a news story into something people are keen to read or watch.
  • Start a blog – In modern times, blogging is a useful tool that can help people find profitable and successful careers. The whole purpose of a blog is to provide your opinions to the masses while also entertaining, informing and educating. Again, having a firm grasp of creative writing skills will aid you in building your blog audience.
  • Write marketing content – From advert scripts to content on websites, marketing is fuelled by creative writing. The best marketers will have creative writing skills to draw an audience in and convince them to buy products. If you can learn to get people hanging on your every word, you can make it in this industry.

These points all demonstrate the different ways in which creative writing can impact your life and alter your career. In terms of general career skills, this is one that you simply cannot go without.

How to improve your creative writing

One final part of this analysis of creative writing is to look at how students can improve. It begins by reading as much as you can and taking in lots of different content. Read books, poems, scripts, articles, blogs – anything you can find. Listen to music and pay attention to the words people use and the structure of their writing. It can help you pick up on things like metaphors, similes, and how to use your imagination. Of course, writing is the key to improving; the more you write, the more creative you can get as you will start unlocking the powers of your brain.

Conclusion: What is creative writing

In conclusion, creative writing uses a mixture of different types of writing to create stories that stray from traditional structures and norms. It revolves around the idea of using your imagination to find a writing style that suits you and gets your points across to an audience, keeping them engaged in everything you say. From novels to speeches, there are many forms of creative writing that can help you in numerous career paths throughout your life.

[1] SkillShare: The 5 Types of Writing Styles with Examples

[2] Elements of Good Story Telling – UX Planet

[3] Simile vs Metaphor: What’s the Difference? – ProWritingAid

[4] Definition of Exposure by Merriam-Webster

[5] The Higher Purpose of Creative Writing | by Terveen Gill

[6] Essay purpose – Western Sydney University

[7] FICTION | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

[8] ‘Not fear, but hope’ – Attenborough speech in full – BBC News

[9] Writer’s Digest: Who Is Your Target Reader?

[10] What is a Narrative Arc? • A Guide to Storytelling Structure

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  • Knowledge Base
  • How to write a descriptive essay | Example & tips

How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.

A descriptive essay gives a vivid, detailed description of something—generally a place or object, but possibly something more abstract like an emotion. This type of essay , like the narrative essay , is more creative than most academic writing .

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Table of contents

Descriptive essay topics, tips for writing descriptively, descriptive essay example, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about descriptive essays.

When you are assigned a descriptive essay, you’ll normally be given a specific prompt or choice of prompts. They will often ask you to describe something from your own experience.

  • Describe a place you love to spend time in.
  • Describe an object that has sentimental value for you.

You might also be asked to describe something outside your own experience, in which case you’ll have to use your imagination.

  • Describe the experience of a soldier in the trenches of World War I.
  • Describe what it might be like to live on another planet.

Sometimes you’ll be asked to describe something more abstract, like an emotion.

If you’re not given a specific prompt, try to think of something you feel confident describing in detail. Think of objects and places you know well, that provoke specific feelings or sensations, and that you can describe in an interesting way.

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The key to writing an effective descriptive essay is to find ways of bringing your subject to life for the reader. You’re not limited to providing a literal description as you would be in more formal essay types.

Make use of figurative language, sensory details, and strong word choices to create a memorable description.

Use figurative language

Figurative language consists of devices like metaphor and simile that use words in non-literal ways to create a memorable effect. This is essential in a descriptive essay; it’s what gives your writing its creative edge and makes your description unique.

Take the following description of a park.

This tells us something about the place, but it’s a bit too literal and not likely to be memorable.

If we want to make the description more likely to stick in the reader’s mind, we can use some figurative language.

Here we have used a simile to compare the park to a face and the trees to facial hair. This is memorable because it’s not what the reader expects; it makes them look at the park from a different angle.

You don’t have to fill every sentence with figurative language, but using these devices in an original way at various points throughout your essay will keep the reader engaged and convey your unique perspective on your subject.

Use your senses

Another key aspect of descriptive writing is the use of sensory details. This means referring not only to what something looks like, but also to smell, sound, touch, and taste.

Obviously not all senses will apply to every subject, but it’s always a good idea to explore what’s interesting about your subject beyond just what it looks like.

Even when your subject is more abstract, you might find a way to incorporate the senses more metaphorically, as in this descriptive essay about fear.

Choose the right words

Writing descriptively involves choosing your words carefully. The use of effective adjectives is important, but so is your choice of adverbs , verbs , and even nouns.

It’s easy to end up using clichéd phrases—“cold as ice,” “free as a bird”—but try to reflect further and make more precise, original word choices. Clichés provide conventional ways of describing things, but they don’t tell the reader anything about your unique perspective on what you’re describing.

Try looking over your sentences to find places where a different word would convey your impression more precisely or vividly. Using a thesaurus can help you find alternative word choices.

  • My cat runs across the garden quickly and jumps onto the fence to watch it from above.
  • My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above.

However, exercise care in your choices; don’t just look for the most impressive-looking synonym you can find for every word. Overuse of a thesaurus can result in ridiculous sentences like this one:

  • My feline perambulates the allotment proficiently and capers atop the palisade to regard it from aloft.

An example of a short descriptive essay, written in response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how a descriptive essay works.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

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writing creative writing description

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.

The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.

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Caulfield, J. (2023, August 14). How to Write a Descriptive Essay | Example & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/descriptive-essay/

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Guides • Perfecting your Craft

Last updated on Dec 23, 2022

Creative Writing: 8 Fun Ways to Get Started

Creative writing is a written art form that uses the imagination to tell stories and compose essays, poetry, screenplays, novels, lyrics, and more. It can be defined in opposition to the dry and factual types of writing found in academic, technical, or journalistic texts.

Characterized by its ability to evoke emotion and engage readers, creative writing can tackle themes and ideas that one might struggle to discuss in cold, factual terms.

If you’re interested in the world of creative writing, we have eight fantastic exercises and activities to get you started.

6S7yB12Gjxs Video Thumb

1. Use writing prompts every week

Illustration of a writer getting ready for a creative writing contest

Coming up with ideas for short stories can be challenging, which is why we created a directory of 1700+ creative writing prompts covering a wide range of genres and topics. Writing prompts are flexible in nature, they are meant to inspire you without being too constrictive. Overall, they are a great way to keep your creative muscles limber.

Example of Reedsy's Creative Writing Prompts

If you’re struggling for motivation, how does a hard deadline and a little prize money sound? Prompts-based writing contests are a fantastic way to dive into creative writing: the combination of due dates, friendly rivalries, prize money, and the potential to have your work published is often just what’s needed to propel you over the finish line. 

We run a weekly writing contest over on Reedsy Prompts, where hundreds of writers from all around the world challenge themselves weekly to write a short story between 1,000 and 3,000 words for a chance to win the $250 prize. Furthermore, the community is very active in providing constructive feedback, support, and accountability to each other 一 something that will make your efforts even more worthwhile.

Take a peek at our directory of writing contests which features some of the most prestigious open writing competitions in the world. 

2. Start journaling your days

Illustration of a writer journaling in autumn

Another easy way to get started with creative writing is to keep a journal. We’re not talking about an hour-by-hour account of your day, but journaling as a way to express yourself without filters and find your ‘voice in writing’. If you’re unsure what to journal about, think of any daily experiences that have had an impact on you, such as… 

Special moments . Did you lock yourself out of your house? Or did you catch a beautiful sunset on your way back from groceries? Capture those moments, and how you felt about them.

People . Did you have an unusual exchange with a stranger at the bar? Or did you reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in years? Share your thoughts about it.

World events . Is there something happening in the world right now that is triggering you? That’s understandable. You can reflect on it (and let some steam off) while journaling.

Memories . Did you go down memory lane after a glass of wine? Great, honor those memories by trying to recollect them in detail on paper so that they will always stay vivid in your mind.

Life decisions . Are you having an existential crisis about what to do with your life? Write down your thought process, and the pros and cons of the possible decisions in front of you. You’ll be surprised to discover that, not only is it a great creative writing exercise, but it can also actually help you sort your life out! 

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3. Create an anonymous social media account

Illustration of a writer thinking

Like anonymous blogging, an incognito Twitter account sidesteps the pressure that comes with attaching your name to your work. Anonymously putting tiny stories out into the ether gives you the freedom to create without worrying about the consequences — which is great, so long as you don’t use it as an opportunity to troll people or spread conspiracy theories. 

You could use the anonymous account in different ways. For example, you could…

  • Tweet from unique points of view (e.g. a dog observing human behavior );
  • Create a parody account of real or fictional people (e.g. an English poet from the Middle Ages );
  • Challenge yourself to write tiny flash fiction stories that fit into Twitter threads.

Just remember, you’re not doing this to fool anyone into thinking that your account is real: be a good citizen and mark yourself a fiction account in your bio. 

How to Start Creative Writing | Screenshot of a tweet by the Twitter account

But if you’re not really a social media kinda person, you may enjoy our next tip, which is a bit more on the analog side.

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4. Find an old photo and tell its story

Illustration of a photo-inspired journaling exercise

Find a random old photo — maybe on the web, maybe from a photo album in a yard sale — and see what catches your attention. Look closely at it and try to imagine the story behind it. What was happening? Who are the people in it and how are they really feeling? Do they share a relationship, and of what kind? What are their goals and dreams?

In other words, bring the photo to life with your imagination. Don't be afraid to take artistic license with your story, as the goal is to be creative and have fun while writing. 

How do you know it’s creative writing?

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5. Create a character from a random name

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Just as our universe started from a few simple elements, you can create a character from a few basic information, like their name, culture, and gender. Reedsy’s handy character name generator can help you with that, offering random names based on archetypes, Medieval roots, fantasy traits and more. A few examples? A Celtic heroine named Fíona O'Keefe, a hero’s sidekick named Aderine, or a Korean track star named Park Kang-Dae.

Once you've chosen their name, begin to develop their personality. Set a timer for 5–10 minutes and write anything that comes to mind about them. It could be a page from their FBI dossier, a childhood diary entry, or simply a scene about them boiling an egg.

Just ‘go with the flow’ and don’t stop writing until your time is up. Repeat the process a few times to further hone the personality. If you like what you end up with, you can always go deeper later with our character profile template . 

If a stream-of-consciousness exercise is not your thing, you can try to imagine your character in a specific situation and write down how’d they respond to it. For example, what if they were betrayed by a friend? Or if they were elected in power? To help you imagine situations to put your character in, we made a free template that you can download below. 

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Reedsy’s Character Questionnaire

40 questions to help you develop memorable characters.

6. Construct a character by people-watching

A writer observing a person and taking notes

People watching is “the action of spending time idly observing people in a public place.” In a non-creepy way, ideally. Sit on a bench on a public square or on a road-side table at your favorite café, and start observing the people around you. Pay attention to any interesting quirks or behaviors, and write it down. Then put on your detective’s hat and try to figure out what that tells you about them.

For example, the man at the table next to you at the restaurant is reading the newspaper. His jacket and hat are neatly arranged next to him. The pages make a whipping sound as he briskly turns them, and he grimaces every time he reads a new article. Try to imagine what he’s reading, and why he’s reacting the way he is. Then, try to build a character with the information you have. It’s a fun creative exercise that will also, hopefully, help you better empathize with strangers. 

7. “Map” something you feel strongly about into a new context

Illustration of a young romance writer

Placing your feelings into new contexts can be a powerful creative writing exercise. The idea is to start from something you feel strongly about, and frame it into a completely different context. 

For example, suppose your heart is torn apart after you divorce your life-long partner: instead of journaling or writing a novel about it, you could tell a story about a legendary trapeze duo whose partnership has come to an end. If you’re struggling with politicking and petty power dynamics at the office: what if you “mapped” your feelings onto an ant who resents being part of a colony? Directing your frustration at a queen ant can be a fun and cathartic writing experience (that won’t get you in trouble if your co-workers end up reading your story).   

8. Capture the moment with a haiku

Illustration of a haiku poet inspired by the four seasons

Haikus are poems from the Japanese tradition that aim to capture, in a few words, daily moments of insight (usually inspired by nature). In a nutshell, it’s about becoming mindful of your surroundings, and notice if you can see something in a new or deeper way 一 then use contrasting imagery to express whatever you noticed. 

Here’s an example:

Bright orange bicycle

Speeding through the autumn leaves

A burst of color waves

It may sound a bit complicated, but it shouldn’t be 一 at least not for the purpose of this exercise. Learn the basics of haiku-writing , then challenge yourself to write one per day for a week or month. At the end, you’ll be able to look back at your collection of poems and 一 in the worst case scenario 一 revisit small but significant moments that you would have otherwise forgot about.   

Creative writing can be any writing you put your heart and soul into. It could be made for the purpose of expressing your feelings, exploring an idea, or simply entertaining your readers. As you can see there’s many paths to get involved with it, and hundreds of exercises you can use as a starting point. In the next post, we’ll look more in detail at some creative writing examples from some fellow authors. 

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What is Creative Writing?

Discover What Is Creative Writing as we unravel the art of self-expression through words. In this blog, learn the meaning and techniques of creative writing, igniting your imagination and honing your storytelling skills. Unlock the world of literary creativity and learn how to craft compelling narratives that captivate readers.

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Creative Writing is a form of art that allows people to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions through the written word. It is a mode of self-expression that combines imagination with linguistic skills to create compelling narratives, poems, and other forms of literature. A Statista survey found that 76,300 Authors, Writers and Translators work in the United Kingdom alone in 2023. This shows Creative Writing is a demanding career worldwide.To know more about it, read this blog, to learn What is Creative Writing, how to write captivating narratives, and discover the essence of expressive writing.

Table of Contents  

1) Understanding What is Creative Writing   

2) Key elements of Creative Writing   

3) Types of Creative Writing  

4)  Importance of Creative Writing

5) The Creative Writing process  

6) Tips for effective Content Writing  

7) Conclusion  

Understanding What is Creative Writing

Creative Writing is the art of crafting original content that elicits readers' emotions, thoughts, and imagination. Unlike Academic or Technical Writing, Creative Writing allows for more personal expression and imaginative exploration. It encompasses various forms such as fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and drama, all of which share the common thread of artistic storytelling.    

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Key elements of Creative Writing  

Key Elements of Creative Writing

2) Character development: Compelling characters are the heart of any great story. Through careful development, characters become relatable, complex, and capable of driving the plot forward.    

3) Setting and atmosphere: The setting and atmosphere create the backdrop for the story. By skilfully crafting these elements, Writers can enhance the overall mood and tone, allowing readers to feel like they're living within the story's world.    

4) Plot and storytelling: A well-crafted story keeps readers engaged and invested in the narrative's progression. This includes introducing conflicts, building tension, and crafting satisfying resolutions .    

5) Dialogue and voice: Dialogue adds authenticity to characters and provides insight into their personalities. A distinctive narrative voice also contributes to the story's uniqueness and captivates readers.   

Types of Creative Writing  

Creative Writing encompasses various genres and forms, each offering a unique platform for expressing creativity, storytelling, and emotion. As you delve into the world of Creative Writing, it's essential to explore the various types and discover which resonates with you the most. Here are some of the prominent types of Creative Writing:   

Types of Creative Writing

1) Fiction  

Fiction is perhaps the most well-known type of Creative Writing. It involves inventing characters, settings, and plotlines from scratch. Writers have the freedom to create entire worlds and realities, whether they're set in the past, present, future, or even in alternate dimensions.

Novels, short stories, novellas, and flash fiction are all forms of fiction that engage readers through compelling characters, intriguing conflicts, and imaginative settings. From fantasy realms to gritty crime dramas, fiction transports readers to new and exciting places.

2) Poetry  

Poetry is the art of condensing language to evoke emotions, provoke thoughts, and communicate complex ideas using rhythm, rhyme, and vivid imagery. Poems' conciseness requires Writers to choose their words carefully, often crafting multiple layers of meaning within a few lines.

Poetry can take various forms, including sonnets, haikus, free verse, and slam poetry. Each form carries its own rules and conventions, allowing Poets to experiment with structure and sound to create impactful compositions. Moreover, poetry delves into the depth of emotions, exploring themes ranging from love and nature to social issues and personal reflections.

3) Creative non-fiction

Non-fiction writing draws from real-life experiences, observations, and research to convey information, insights, and personal perspectives. This form includes genres such as essays, memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, and journalistic pieces.

Non-fiction Writers blend storytelling with factual accuracy, presenting their ideas in a compelling and informative manner. Personal essays offer a glimpse into the writer's thoughts and experiences. At the same time, memoirs and autobiographies share personal journeys and reflections, connecting readers with the author's life story.    

4) Drama and playwriting  

Playwriting is the creation of scripts for theatrical performances. The challenge lies in crafting engaging dialogue and constructing scenes that captivate both the audience and the performers.

Dramatic Writing requires an understanding of pacing, character motivations, and the visual aspects of storytelling. While Theatrical Writing requires a keen sense of the following:    

a) Character dynamics: Building relationships between characters and exploring their motivations and conflicts. 

b)  Stage directions: Providing clear instructions for actors, directors, and stage designers to bring the play to life.

c) Dramatic structure: Crafting acts and scenes that build tension and engage the audience.  

5) Satire and humour  

Satire and humour utilise wit, sarcasm, and clever wordplay to critique and mock societal norms, institutions, and human behaviour. This form of Creative Writing often challenges readers to view the world from a different perspective.

Moreover, it encourages them to question established conventions. Satirical works, whether in literature, essays, or satirical news articles, aim to entertain while also prompting reflection on serious topics. 

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Importance of Creative Writing  

Creative Writing holds a profound significance beyond its role as a literary pursuit. It bridges imagination and reality, fostering personal growth, communication skills, and cultural preservation. Here's a closer look at why Creative Writing is of paramount importance:   

1) Personal expression and catharsis  

Creative Writing is a sanctuary for self-expression. Individuals can voice their innermost thoughts, emotions, and experiences through poetry, stories, and essays. This act of sharing vulnerabilities and joy brings about a cathartic release, offering a therapeutic outlet for emotional expression. Moreover, it cultivates a deeper understanding of oneself, promoting self-awareness and self-acceptance.   

2) Cultivation of communication skills  

The art of Creative Writing cultivates effective Communication Skills that transcend the written word. Writers learn to convey ideas, concepts, and feelings coherently and captivatingly.

This proficiency extends to verbal communication, enabling Writers to articulate their thoughts with clarity and eloquence. As a result, it enriches interpersonal relationships and professional endeavours.   

3) Nurturing empathy and perspective  

Writers develop a heightened sense of empathy as they craft diverse characters and explore multifaceted narratives. Immersing oneself in the shoes of different characters fosters understanding and tolerance for various viewpoints and backgrounds. Readers, in turn, experience this empathy, gaining insight into the complexities of human nature and the diverse tapestry of human experience.    

4) Exploration of social issues  

Writers wield the power to effect change through their words. They can shed light on societal issues, challenge norms, and provoke critical conversations. By addressing topics such as social justice, equality, and environmental concerns, Creative Writing becomes a catalyst for positive transformation and advocacy.   

5) Connection and impact  

Creative Writing builds bridges between individuals by establishing connections on emotional and intellectual levels. Stories resonate across cultures, transcending geographical and temporal boundaries. The impact of a well-crafted story can be enduring, leaving a mark on readers' hearts and minds.

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The Creative Writing process 

The Creative Writing Process

Creating a compelling piece of Creative Writing is a journey that involves a series of steps, each contributing to the evolution of your story. Whether you're crafting a short story, a novel, or a poem, here's a breakdown of the Creative Writing process in eight essential steps:  

1) Finding inspiration  

The process begins with a moment of inspiration—a fleeting thought, an intriguing image, or a powerful emotion. Inspiration can strike anywhere—nature, experiences, dreams, or simple observation.

Keep a journal or digital note-taking app to capture these sparks of inspiration as they occur. Explore your interests, passions, and emotions to identify themes and ideas that resonate with you.  

2) Exploring ideas and brainstorming   

Once you've identified an inspiring concept, delve deeper. Brainstorm ideas related to characters, settings, conflicts, and themes. Jot down all possibilities, allowing your imagination to roam freely. This stage is about generating a wealth of creative options that will serve as building blocks for your story. 

3) Planning and outlining  

Organise your thoughts by creating an outline. Outline your story's major plot points, character arcs, and pivotal moments. This outline acts as a roadmap, guiding you through the narrative's progression while providing flexibility for creative surprises.   

4) Writing the first draft  

Once you are done with your outline, start writing your first draft. Don't worry about perfection—focus on getting your ideas onto paper. Let your creativity flow and allow your characters to surprise you. The goal is to have a complete manuscript, even if it's messy and imperfect.  

5) Revising for content  

Once the first draft is complete, take a step back before revisiting your work. During this stage, focus on revising for content. Analyse the structure of your plot, the development of your characters, and the coherence of your themes. Make necessary changes, add details, and refine dialogue. Ensure that your story's foundation is solid before moving on.  

6) Editing and polishing  

Edit your Manuscript for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style. Pay attention to clarity and consistency. Also, focus on enhancing the flow of your writing and creating a polished narrative that engages readers. 

7) Feedback and peer review 

Share your revised work with others—friends, writing groups, or beta readers—to gather feedback. Constructive criticism can highlight blind spots and offer perspectives you might have missed. Use this feedback to refine your work further.  

8) Finalising and proofreading  

Incorporate the feedback you've received and make final revisions. Proofread meticulously for any remaining errors. Ensure that your work is formatted correctly and adheres to any submission guidelines if you plan to publish or share it.  

Tips for effective Creative Writing  

Here are some of the useful tips you should consider incorporating in your process of writing :  

1) Show, don't tell: Instead of directly stating emotions or details, "showing" involves using actions, thoughts, and dialogue to convey information. This technique allows readers to draw their own conclusions and become more immersed in the story.  

2) Use of metaphors and similes: Metaphors and similes offer creative ways to describe complex concepts by comparing them to something familiar. These literary devices add depth and creativity to your writing.  

3) Building suspense and tension: By strategically withholding information and creating unanswered questions, Writers can build suspense and keep readers eagerly turning pages.  

4) Crafting memorable beginnings and endings: A strong opening captures readers' attention, while a satisfying conclusion leaves a lasting impact. These elements bookend your story and influence readers' overall impression.  

5) Experimenting with point of view: The choice of point of view (first person, third person, etc.) shapes how readers experience the story. Experimenting with different perspectives can lead to unique narrative opportunities.  

Conclusion   

We hope this blog gave you a clear idea of What is Creative Writing, along with its process and useful tips. The Creative Writing process is not linear; you might find yourself revisiting earlier steps as your story evolves. Embrace the journey, allowing your writing to develop and transform through each phase. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

a) Literary Agent

b) Screenwriter

c) Video Game Story Writer

d) Copywriter

e) Website Editor

f) Creative Director

There are several resources or recommended readings which can help you to hone your Creative Writing skills. Here we have discussed some of such resources:

a) “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King

b) "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" by Anne Lamott

c) "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg

d) Joining book clubs

e) Reading a variety of authors and genre

f) Practicing writing regular prompts and exercises.

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The Knowledge Academy offers various Personal Development courses , including Organisational skills training, Emotional Intelligence Training, and Report Writing Course. These courses cater to different skill levels, providing comprehensive insights into Journalism .    Our Business Skills blogs covers a range of topics related to Sports Journalism, offering valuable resources, best practices, and industry insights. Whether you are a beginner or looking to advance your Creative Writing skills, The Knowledge Academy's diverse courses and informative blogs have you covered.

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What is Creative Writing?

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Written by Scott Wilson

what is creative writing

Creative writing is any kind of writing that employs creative literary or poetic techniques in the service of either fiction or non-fiction writing. It involves original composition and expressiveness of the individual author.

Ask ten creative writing professors what creative writing is, and you’ll get eleven different answers. Turn to the dictionary and the definition invokes invention and incorporation of imagination. But what are the limits of imagination? Where does invention begin?

Every sentence in every work ever written began as an act of creation in the mind of the writer.

Creative writing may be most easily defined by what it is not…

  • Technical writing
  • Professional or business writing
  • Scholarly or academic writing

Creative writing is the entire body of the writer’s craft that falls outside the boundaries of the ordinary.

Yet you will find many entries in the canon of those fields that might also be considered creative writing. No one would consign Truman Capote’s groundbreaking In Cold Blood to the sterile cells of mere journalism. But that haunting novel is unquestionably also an important work of investigative reporting.

So, what is creative writing, if a non-fiction novel of a horrific quadruple murder falls into the same scope as a classic of American literature like To Kill a Mockingbird ?

It has to do with style and art. Creative writing goes to the heart of the individual expressiveness of the writer. It breaks the boundaries of the typical. That’s an exercise of artistic skill that can happen in any topic, toward almost any goal. And it’s the heart of what it is to be a writer, no matter what you write about.

Defining creative writing isn’t easy. Rooms full of the best authorities routinely disagree. But what is creative writing , isn’t the most interesting question to ask here. Instead, we would be best served by asking another:

Why Is Creative Writing Important?

at peace writing

Storytellers were plying their craft thousands of years before the written word was invented. The creative spark doesn’t belong to words. It may not even depend on language. It draws instead on a deep part of what it is to be human. Invention, imagination, the urge to create… these are all deep and vital parts of the human experience.

Creative writing is important because it is evocative.

That well of creativity flows forth in many arts and forms of expression. But in creative writing it has found a medium where it can be both preserved and shared. It’s a method of human connection that has no expiration date, no geographical or even cultural limit.

Writers touch the souls of their contemporaries first. But like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Lady Murasaki, their reach may also span generations.

Creative Writing Fuels Communication in All Forms of Writing

Although fiction is the first refuge of creative writing, that expressiveness serves the purposes of just about any kind of author.

The goals of most other forms of writing are focused on various kinds of literal communication. A journalist seeks to convey the facts and the context of important news stories. Technical writers need to communicate the details of operating programs and machinery, clearly describing all kinds of minute details with zero ambiguity. Business communications are created with a view toward clarity and concision—helping readers get the main points of the piece quickly and without confusion.

Creative writing can also help to serve these purposes.

Creative writing taps into a different level of communication. While it may, and often does, aspire to other goals like offering clarity and detail, it also goes toward developing emotional connection. The reader will take away more than mere words from a piece of creative writing.

Creative Writing is Important For Making Other Kinds of Writing Compelling

Just as importantly, creative writing entertains. In a story about the importance of algorithmic and high-frequency trading, all kinds of technical details must be absorbed to make sense of the issues. Both technological and economic concepts have to be introduced. In a comprehensive article about the subject, readers from outside the field could be expected to nod off about two pages in.

But put the story in the hands of Michael Lewis, and you get Flash Boys , a New York Times Best Seller.

It’s not important that Flash Boys did well because it was entertaining, however. It’s important because the market trends and activities it described have real impacts on many of the readers. Retirement funds, college savings, family investments… all are affected by the story Flash Boys tells. Today, millions of readers who would never otherwise have understood how their investments were being handled can make an informed assessment… thanks to creative writing.

How To Separate Creative Writing From Less Creative Forms of Writing

focused creative writing

In general, it’s safe to say that a piece of writing is creative when it makes use of literary devices such as:

  • Narrative development
  • Imagination and invention

In Cold Blood passes this test due to Capote’s use of characterization, plot development, and world-building. It’s considered today to be a pioneering example of the non-fiction novel, a paragon of the creative writing world.

The original crime reports, local newspaper articles, and subsequent court documents detail the same events with the same participants. Yet they are not works of creative writing. The incident is described in dry, straightforward, technical language. The timeline is linear and offered without consideration of pace or drama.

Both Capote and the authors of those other articles and documents set out to inform. But Capote’s goal was also to captivate.

New Journalism Tells the Story of How Creative Writing Has an Important Role in Non-Fiction

abstract clippings

Books like Wolfe’s The Right Stuff mixed truth and dramatization, documentation and invention, to tell larger stories about serious events. In dramatizing those stories, New Journalism writers also drew more readers and achieved broader awareness of the stories.

At the same time, long-form New Journalism pieces, deeply researched and documented, were able to report stories in depth in a way that traditional journalism often did not. By invoking plot, characterization, and narrative structures, the New Journalists could keep readers involved in long and complex issues ranging from crime to politics to culture.

New Journalism is important in defining what is creative writing because it is clearly an example of both creative and journalistic writing. It demonstrates the ways that creative writing can serve other forms of writing and other kinds of writers.

Of course, it’s also possible to come at the divide from the other shore. Categories of writing that are clearly creative in nature include:

  • Novels and novellas
  • Flash fiction and short stories
  • Plays and film scripts

These works incorporate elements of storytelling that may not always be present in other forms of writing. A newspaper article will often have a setting, action, and characters; creative writing will offer plot, pacing, and drama in describing the same story.

What is Creative Writing Coursework Like in College Degree Programs?

university student on steps at school

All university students are exposed to basic coursework in English language and communication skills. These all go to the elementary aspects of writing—the ability to construct a sentence, a paragraph, a paper. They teach grammatical rules and other elements that make a work readable to any reader of the English language.

Even the general education requirements in college programs touch on creative writing, however. Students may be assigned to write essays that explore creative styles and imagination. They’ll be assigned to read novels and stories that are time-tested examples of the finest kinds of creative writing. And they’ll be asked to explore their impressions and feelings, and to exercise their imaginations and analyze the intent of the author.

Creative writing programs go beyond the basics to touch the imagination of the writer.

Creative writing exists just on the other side of those general English and literature courses. Students in creative writing classes will be asked to take the extra step of creating their own stories using the techniques they have learned.

In fact, they may be encouraged to break the same rules that were so laboriously learned in their regular English writing classes. Creative writing works to allow writers to tap into their own imagination and emotion to forge a deeper connection with readers.

Student Workshops Offer an Interactive Way of Learning What Creative Writing Is All About

Creative writing degrees will go much further into developing a sense of what creative writing is. they continue to include many reading assignments. but instructors also introduce concepts such as:.

Genre is the method used to categorize written works. Creative writing programs explore the tropes and expectations that exist for different genres and deconstruct them for better understanding.

Story structure and form

The structure and form of a novel and a short story are very different. Creative writing programs explore different formats and how they impact creative storytelling.

Plot is not a universal feature of creative writing, but a good plot can make or break a creative work. Classes look at the features and composition of plot, and also teach plotting.

Voice, tone, and creative expression all come out of the narration of a piece of creative writing. Creative writing courses explore both the textbook forms of narrative and show how to use it to serve plot and story.

Style and rhythm

One clear feature of creative writing in all genres is that it rests on a sense of rhythm and of styling that other types of writing ignore. Many courses found in creative writing degree programs explore the ways in which writing style serves story and hooks the reader.

In addition to formal classes, students will better learn why creative writing is important and the purposes it serves through workshops. These informal gatherings are designed to foster discussion, to present examples of different types of writing, and to critique and hone individual creative writing skills .

Through that process, creative writing degrees help students better identify what creative writing is and how to use it effectively.

Creativity is Important No Matter What Your Career Goals in Writing May Be

dedicated student at coffee shop studying

Creative writing training allows writers in any genre to develop more complete, more meaningful, and more memorable ways to get a point across. Using the skills and techniques learned in creative writing courses can inject humor, gravity, and other sensations into any piece of writing. And those very techniques can improve concision and clarity.

Figuring out what creative writing is and what it is not, is the first thing you should leave behind in a writing career. The dry definitions of the dictionary or droning English professors are the last place you should look.

Creative writing is the process of engaging your imagination and talent to serve the purpose of whatever piece of writing you are working on. And that’s why creative writing is important.

Brilliantio

Creative Writing: What It Is and Why It Matters

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on Published: January 13, 2023  - Last updated: January 15, 2023

Categories Writing

Writing can be intimidating for many people, but creative writing doesn’t have to be. Creative writing is a form of self-expression that allows writers to create stories, characters, and unique settings. But what exactly is creative writing? And why is it important in today’s society? Let’s explore this further.

How We Define Creative Writing

Creative writing is any form where writers can express their thoughts and feelings imaginatively. This type of writing allows authors to draw on their imagination when creating stories and characters and play with language and structure. While there are no boundaries in creative writing, most pieces will contain dialogue, description, and narrative elements.

The Importance of Creative Writing

Creative writing is important because:

  • It helps us express ourselves in ways we may not be able to do with other forms of communication.
  • It allows us to explore our creativity and think outside the box.
  • It can help us better understand our emotions by exploring them through storytelling or poetry.
  • Writing creatively can also provide much-needed escapism from everyday life, allowing us to escape into a world of our creation.
  • Creative writing helps us connect with others by sharing our experiences through stories or poems they can relate to. This way, we can gain insight into other people’s lives while giving them insight into ours.

Creative Writing: A Path to Mental and Emotional Wellness

Writing is more than just a way to express your thoughts on paper. It’s a powerful tool that can be used as a form of therapy. Creative writing has been shown to improve emotional and mental well-being.

Through creative writing, we can gain insight into our emotions, develop self-expression and communication skills, cultivate empathy and understanding of others, and boost our imagination and creativity.

Let’s examine how creative writing can relieve stress and emotional catharsis.

Stress Relief and Emotional Catharsis

Writing has the power to reduce stress levels significantly. Writing about our experiences or about things that are causing us anxiety or distress helps us to release those complicated feelings constructively. By expressing ourselves through creative writing, we can work through the emotions associated with stressful situations without having to confront them directly.

This is especially helpful for people who struggle to share their emotions verbally or in person.

Improved Communication and Self-Expression

Creative writing is also beneficial for improving communication skills. Through creative writing, we can explore our thoughts and feelings more intensely than by speaking them aloud. This allows us to think more clearly about what we want to say before actually saying it out loud or in written form, which leads to improved self-expression overall.

Additionally, writing out our thoughts before speaking aloud allows us to articulate ourselves better when communicating with others—which is essential for healthy personal and professional relationships.

Increased Empathy and Understanding of Others

Through creative writing, we can also increase our empathy towards others by exploring different perspectives on various topics that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable for us—such as racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.—and allowing ourselves the opportunity to see the situation from someone else’s point of view without judgment or bias. This helps us become better communicators and more understanding individuals overall.

The Professional Benefits of Creative Writing

Creative writing is a powerful tool that can help you communicate better and more effectively in the professional world. It can also help you develop various skills that prove invaluable in many industries. Whether you’re looking to build your résumé or improve your communication, creative writing can effectively achieve both.

Let’s take a closer look at how creative writing can benefit your career.

Preparing Students for Careers in Writing, Editing, and Publishing

Creative writing is the perfect foundation for anyone interested in pursuing a career in writing, editing, or publishing. It teaches students the basics of grammar and composition while allowing them to express their ideas in imaginative ways.

Creative writing classes also allow students to learn from professionals who have experience as editors, agents, and publishers. They can use this knowledge to learn creative writing, refine their craft and gain valuable experience before entering the job market.

Improving Skills in Storytelling and Marketing for Various Careers

Creative writing teaches students to think critically about stories and craft compelling narratives that draw readers in. This skill is precious for those who wish to pursue careers outside traditional writing roles—such as marketing or advertising—where storytelling is key.

People who understand the fundamentals of creative writing will be able to create persuasive copy that resonates with readers and effectively conveys a message.

Enhancing Team Collaboration and Leadership Skills

Creative writing isn’t just about expressing yourself through words; it also provides an opportunity to practice working collaboratively with others on projects. Many creative writing classes require students to work together on group projects, which helps them develop essential teamwork skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.

As they work together on these projects, they will also gain confidence in their ability to lead teams effectively—an invaluable asset no matter what industry they pursue after graduation.

Uncovering the Power of Creative Writing

Creative writing has become an increasingly powerful force in shaping our society. Creative writing has many uses, from preserving cultural heritage to promoting social change.

Preserving Cultural Heritage with Creative Writing

Creative writing has long been used to preserve and share cultural heritage stories. This is done through fictional stories or poetry that explore a particular culture or group’s history, values, and beliefs. By weaving these stories in an engaging way, writers can bring a culture’s history and traditions to life for readers worldwide. This helps bridge cultural gaps by providing insight into what makes each culture unique.

Promoting Social Change & Activism with Creative Writing

Creative writing can also be used for activism and social change. Writers can craft stories that help promote awareness about important issues such as poverty, race relations, gender equality, climate change, and more.

With the power of words, writers can inspire readers to take action on these issues and work towards creating positive change in their communities.

Through creative writing, writers can raise awareness about important topics while fostering empathy toward individuals who may be facing difficult or challenging situations.

Fostering Creativity & Innovation with Creative Writing

Finally, creative writing can foster creativity and innovation in various fields. For example, businesses can use creative copywriting techniques to create compelling content that captures the attention of customers or potential investors.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can use storytelling techniques when pitching their ideas or products to potential partners or investors to make their cases more persuasive and memorable.

By harnessing the power of words through creative writing techniques, businesses can create content that resonates with their target audience while inspiring them to take action on whatever message they’re trying to convey. It often aids the overall creative process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of creative writing.

Creative writing has many benefits, both for the writer and the reader. For the writer, it can be therapeutic, helping them to explore their emotions and better understand themselves. It can also be used as entertainment or communication, allowing them to share their ideas with the world. For the reader, creative writing can provide enjoyment, escapism, and insights into the human condition.

How can I improve my creative writing skills?

There are several ways you can improve your creative writing skills. Firstly, make sure you allow yourself time to write regularly. Use a writing prompt to inspire a short story. Secondly, read as much as you can; great writers are also great readers. Thirdly, experiment with different styles and genres to find one that suits you best. Fourthly, join a writers’ group, writing workshop, or creative writing program to get feedback from other writers. Finally, keep a journal to track your progress and reflect on your work as a creative writer.

What is the importance of imagery in creative writing?

Imagery is an important element of creative writing, as it helps to create a more vivid picture for the reader. By using sensory and descriptive language, writers can transport readers into their stories and help them relate to their characters or themes. Imagery can bring a scene alive with detail and evoke emotion by helping readers create strong visual images in their minds. Furthermore, imagery can help make stories more memorable by giving readers a deeper connection with the characters or setting.

What are the elements of creative writing?

The elements of creative writing include plot, character, dialogue, setting, theme, and point of view. The plot is the structure or main storyline, while the character is the personage involved in this story. Dialogue includes conversations between characters to give insight into their emotions and relationships. Setting refers to the place or time in which a story takes place, while theme explores deeper meanings behind a story’s narrative. Finally, point of view defines how readers experience a story through first-person or third-person omniscient narration.

What’s the difference between creative writing and other types of writing?

The main difference between creative writing and other types of writing is that it allows the writer to create their own story, characters, settings, and themes. Creative writing also encourages writers to be inventive with their style and use descriptive language to evoke emotion or bring stories alive in readers’ minds. Other academic or technical writing types typically involve more research-based information and are usually more objective in their presentation. Additionally, most forms of non-creative writing will have stricter rules regarding grammar, structure, and syntax.

What is the golden rule of creative writing?

The golden rule of creative writing is to show, not tell. It’s the core creative writing skill. When it comes to creative writing, it’s essential to use descriptive language that immerses readers in the story and allows them to experience the events through their emotions and imaginations. This can be done through metaphors, similes, sensory language, and vivid imagery.

How important is creativity in writing?

Creativity is essential in writing as it allows writers to craft a unique story and evoke emotion from the reader. Creativity can bring stories alive with fresh perspectives and exciting plot lines while creating an escape for readers and giving them more profound insights into the human condition. Writers who combine creativity with technical aspects such as grammar, structure, language usage, and flow will create pieces that capture their audience’s attention and provide an enjoyable reading experience.

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Quotes and Descriptions to Inspire Creative Writing Discover, Share, Connect

Search for creative inspiration

19,890 quotes, descriptions and writing prompts, 4,964 themes

Adjectives

"Adjective and noun associations are worthy of our consideration because by careful linkage of words such as 'black' with strong emotionally positive words (such as in 'black heavens' and 'noble black night') we can start to program subconscious bias from the brain by creating a background neurochemistry that is more positive. This keeps the prefrontal cortex more fully operational and encourages more empathy in both thoughts and behaviours. Thus society develops better through their own choices and evolves. This is part of social evolution and this kind of awareness in writers is essential."

treetops

My giant dreams recline upon those tree tops; for in my cerebral conjurings I rest up there as if it were my bed. I lay there in titan size, head raised on upward palms, one ankle supported by the other. A canopy, a hammock, a poets' heavenly loft.

butterfly

Butterfly of heartbeat flutter, of summery-song and sweet-memories' serenade, enjoy these days of heady wonder and pay no mind to winters bite.

love nexus

"When we make daily choices that are emotionally indifferent, the sort that the money-nexus makes faux-virtues of, we build our capacity for emotional indifference at the direct expense of our capacity for empathy, and thus the conflict between money and love is laid bare."

cobwebs

The cobwebs were not the dusty sinew of horror movies, yet freshly fashioned and occupied by their proud eight legged engineer.

marvellous school of neurology

marvellous school of neurology

"It turns out, as obviousness would have it, that our brains (especially those of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in this case) have been teaching us neurology through comic books and the movies that have come from them." Full article linked to from my profile, click "abraham" below, awesome!!

walking in the rain

walking in the rain

I won't say I love the cold rain. I won't say I love being soaked to the skin. I won't say I'm alright with how long it takes for my boots to dry. But I will say it enlivens me and awakens a part of me that slumbers in the warm and sunny weather. I will say that jumping in puddles is fun and that I'm far too old to be enjoying such things. I will say that a part of me finds a beauty in wondering how many raindrops there are and listening for them in the meditative pitter patter.

mean

He was mean all year round, then on his birthday out came the bunting and mean-jammed sponge, dusted as if it were scared of the icing sugar. I'd have wrapped him in that bunting if I could. I'd wrap him with his fingers a millimeter from that stupid cake, the candle never lit. There he'd stay. There he'd rot. Then maybe, just maybe, I'd enjoy the day too.

essential career advice for writers

essential career advice for writers

"For writers in the next half century and beyond, a comprehension of how creative writing, neurology, biology and our environment interact will be essential for a successful career." - a link to the full article is in my bio and on the Descriptionari "About" page. Much love!!! Angela Abraham (Daisy)

cinnamon buns

cinnamon buns

Ron's cinnamon buns where the players of my heart strings, a sweet soothing song for Sunday afternoons with tea.

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Penlighten

Descriptive Writing: Definition, Tips, Examples, and Exercises

Descriptive writing is about using the power of words to arouse the imagination, capture the attention, and create a lasting impact in the mind of the reader. In this article, you'll learn how to employ descriptive elements in your writing, tips to enhance your descriptive writing skills, and some exercises to better yourself at it.

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is about using the power of words to arouse the imagination, capture the attention, and create a lasting impact in the mind of the reader. In this article, you’ll learn how to employ descriptive elements in your writing, tips to enhance your descriptive writing skills, and some exercises to better yourself at it.

Read the two sentences given below:

  • I felt tired at work today.
  • As the day wore on at work, I felt a cramp beginning to form at the nape of my neck, my eyes began to feel droopy, and the computer screen in front of me began blurring.

Which one of the two do you find more interesting to read? Most definitely the second one. This is because, while the first sentence merely tells you directly that ‘you felt tired at work today’, the second one explains the same experience in a much more vivid and relatable manner.

From this you can see that even something as simple as the above sentence can be transformed using literary devices that aid visualization, into something that someone can relate to. This is what descriptive writing is all about: heightening the sense of perception and alluring your reader to read ahead, because you have so much more to say.

Good Examples of Descriptive Writing

Given below are a couple of good pieces of descriptive writing from authors who know their business.

‘But the door slid slowly open before Lupin could reach it. Standing in the doorway, illuminated by the shivering flames in Lupin’s hand, was a cloaked figure that towered to the ceiling. Its face was completely hidden beneath its hood. Harry’s eyes darted downwards, and what he saw made his stomach contract. There was a hand protruding from the cloak and it was glistening, greyish, slimy-looking and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed in water…’ – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

‘I don’t know what I’d expected but it was something different than I saw. She looked unexpectedly young. Or, I suppose said better, she looked unexpectedly “not old”. Her hair, which was completely white, had a yellowish cast that could almost have been mistaken for a pale blond, and it was loose around her shoulders. And long. Longer than mine. No doubt she normally wore it pulled up in a bun, and such a style would have given her a more predictable little-old-lady look, but the way it was here now, parted on the side – long, loose, and straight – she seemed ageless as an ancient sculpture. This sense was enhanced by her skin. Though it had the fragile crepeyness of age, she had few wrinkles, especially across her forehead, which was smooth to a point of being almost waxy looking. She was of obvious northern Germanic heritage, with pale eyes and prominent features. Although she was not overweight, her bones were big and blunt, giving the impression of a tall, sturdy woman.’ – Twilight Children by Torey Hayden

Why be Descriptive While Writing?

  • The purpose of descriptive writing is to inspire imagination. When you put your mind into making a piece of writing more descriptive, you automatically begin to pay attention to detail and refine your perception about things. You begin to imagine them as much more than, say a  party hat or a hard-bound book . You begin to look at them as a tall, pink, pointed paper hat with tassels , and a book that had a gleaming golden spine, and weighed a few good pounds .
  • The next, and probably the most important benefit of descriptive writing is that in the process of trying to make the reader visualize what you want to say, you tend to use more interesting words. You want to convey a mental picture to your reader. So you’re bound to use words that might be unconventional or less-used. You will want to find words that exactly describe what you want to say, and will look for different words that mean the same. This will help you suitably build your vocabulary.
  • The success of descriptive writing lies in the details. The more detailed your depiction of a plot or a character or a place is, the more you engross your reader. You become a keen observer and minder of details. You pay attention to the tiniest bits of information and appearance, which in turn helps you transfer the details into your writing.
  • Since you have picked something to describe and have observed all its details, you are sure to understand the subject better. You may even come across bits and pieces that you may have missed the first time you looked at the object/subject in question. Thoroughly understanding what you’re going to write about is exceedingly important to the process of writing about it.

Tips you Can Use Identify what you’re about to describe

As you start with descriptive writing, identify exactly what you are setting out to describe. Usually, a descriptive piece will include the depiction of a person, a place, an experience, a situation, and the like. Anything that you experience or perceive about your subject can be the focal point of your descriptive writing. You build a backdrop by identifying an aspect of a subject that you want to describe.

Decide why you’re describing that particular aspect

While it can be a wonderful creative exercise to simply describe anything you observe, in descriptive writing, there is often a specific reason to describe whatever you have set out to describe. Tapping this reason can help you keep the description focused and infuse your language with the particular emotion or perspective that you want to convey to your readers.

Maintain a proper chronology/sequence Sometimes, you may get so caught up in making your work colorful and creative that you may end up having a mash-up of descriptions that follow no particular order. This will render the effort of writing useless as the various descriptions will simply confuse the reader. For instance, if you want to describe characters in a particular situation, begin by describing the setting, then proceed to the most important character of that particular situation, and then to the least important one (if necessary).

Use Imagery Imagery is the best tool you can employ in descriptive writing. Since you cannot show your reader what you are imagining, you need to paint a picture with words. You need to make the depiction of your imagination so potent that your reader will instantly be able to visualize what you are describing. However, don’t go overboard. Make sure that the focus does not dwindle stray. Keep your descriptions specific to the subject in question. The writing must be able to draw in the reader; hence, the writer should say things that the reader can relate to or empathize with. An introductory backdrop can often provide an effective setting for the remaining part of the piece. Great descriptive writing has the ability to lure the reader, enticing him or her to continue reading right to the end. While giving the details is important, it is how they are presented that makes the difference.

Hone the senses One of the most effective ways to make the experience you are describing vivid for your reader is to use the five senses: smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch. When the descriptions are focused on the senses, you provide specific and vivid details in such a way that it shows your reader what you are describing. So, when you describe a subject, depict it in such a manner that it involves the reader’s possible sensory interpretations. It must make the reader imagine what he would see, hear, smell, taste, or feel when he reads what you have written.

She gently squeezed the juice out of the plump, red tomato. She blended this juice into the simmering mix of golden-brown onions and garlic in the pan, and watched as they melded into each other. She then added the spice mixture that she had prepared, and the air was permeated with a mouth-watering aroma.

Use strong nouns and verbs effectively, adjectives intelligently It is true that the purpose of adjectives is to describe a subject, but overuse of adjectives in descriptive writing can render the piece shallow and hollow. Hence, make it a point to use other parts of speech to express the same sentiment. You’ll be surprised how effectively nouns, verbs and adverbs can be used to describe something, sometimes even better than adjectives alone. For instance, look at the two sentences below.

  • The flowers were as fresh as the morning dew.
  • The flowers had a freshness that could only equal that of the glistening morning dew.

The first sentence has used an adjective (fresh)  to describe the flowers. It is a good description too, because the comparison to morning dew is something that will immediately put the reader in the sense of mind that you want. The second sentence too has compared the freshness to morning dew, but has used a noun (freshness) and a verb (equal)  to do so, and in the process has probably enticed the reader to continue reading, more than the first sentence.

Pick related words Before you actually begin writing, it is always a good idea to build a word bank of related words and ideas. For instance, if you are going to be describing a flower arrangement, you could jot down a few ideas before you start describing it, like: vase, color, types of flowers, leaves, stem, style, shape, fresh, etc. Once you have these basic words, you could start descriptive sentences for each one. Then, carry on from there.

Display passion Impact is what you’re looking to create in the minds of your readers. You want your readers to relate and empathize with what you’re writing. This will be close to impossible if your work does not reflect the passion that you feel for it. Make them feel what you feel with the words you write. Language that relates to powerful emotions such as love, hatred, admiration, disgust, etc., can convey the range and intensity of the sentiment that you are trying to express. Use them to your favor and get the desired effect.

Exercises to Enhance Descriptive Writing

Given below are some simple, yet effective exercises that you can use to better yourself at descriptive writing.

Exercise 1 Decide on an everyday action, say ‘making a pot of coffee’ and write about it in a descriptive manner. Give yourself 3 words that you’re not allowed to use while writing about it. You’ll see yourself reaching for the thesaurus, which will help improve your vocabulary.

Exercise 2 Pick random objects like a hat, a burger, a chair, etc., and place them before you. Enlist the different names that these objects can be called. Describe each of the objects in sentences that have more than 15 words each. Be as imaginative as you can.

Get your ‘assignments’ read by an objective person to see if they can relate to and understand properly what you have tried to convey.

Make descriptive writing a rewarding experience, both for your reader and yourself. If you like what you write, chances are that your reader will too. As is evident, having a comprehensive vocabulary is the key to good descriptive writing. But mere vocabulary will fall short if your piece lacks passion, logic and interest. The trouble is that it can easily become an incoherent rambling of senses and emotions. To avoid that, present what you are writing about in a logical and organized sequence of thoughts, so that the reader comes away from it with a cogent sense of what you have attempted to describe.

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Painting the Sky: Clouds Description Creative Writing

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My name is Debbie, and I am passionate about developing a love for the written word and planting a seed that will grow into a powerful voice that can inspire many.

Painting the Sky: Clouds Description Creative Writing

Different Types of Clouds and their Characteristics

The art of describing clouds in creative writing, how to capture the beauty of clouds through language, writing techniques to bring clouds to life on paper, using metaphors and similes to depict clouds in writing, tips for creating vivid descriptions of clouds in creative writing, the importance of observing clouds for writers, exploring the emotions and mood created by clouds in writing, frequently asked questions, wrapping up.

Clouds are fascinating natural phenomena that not only add beauty to the sky but also provide valuable insights into weather patterns. There are several distinct types of clouds, each with its own unique characteristics and formation process. Let’s explore some of the most common types and delve into their fascinating features.

Cumulus clouds: These are the fluffy, cotton-like clouds that often resemble big puffs of cotton candy in the sky. They are usually bright white in color and form at lower altitudes. Cumulus clouds are typically fair-weather clouds, indicating stable atmospheric conditions. However, when they grow vertically and darken, they transform into cumulonimbus clouds, bringing thunderstorms or heavy rain.

Cirrus clouds: Cirrus clouds are thin, wispy, and often appear high above the ground. They are composed of ice crystals and have a feather-like appearance. These high-altitude clouds are usually an indicator of fair weather, but their presence can also signal an approaching front. Cirrus clouds can indicate changes in atmospheric pressure and are sometimes referred to as “mare’s tails” due to their delicate and elongated shape.

The Art of Describing Clouds in Creative Writing

Clouds are nature’s ever-changing canvas, casting their ephemeral spell across the sky. To master the art of describing clouds in your creative writing, one must delve into the limitless possibilities they offer. These ethereal formations can enhance the mood, setting, and atmosphere of your writing, creating a vivid tapestry of emotions and imagery in the reader’s mind.

When describing clouds, consider employing sensory language that brings the reader into the scene. Use bold metaphors and similes to paint a captivating picture. Are the clouds fluffy as cotton candy or dense like an approaching storm? Do they drift lazily across the cerulean sky or race like wild horses? Explore the mesmerizing palette of colors: are they heavenly white, imbued with gold at sunset, or intense shades of gray, foretelling an imminent downpour?

  • Describe the shape: cumulus, stratus, or nimbus? Are they wispy, billowy, or towering?
  • Highlight the movement: are they dancing across the heavens or brooding with menace?
  • Capture their interaction with sunlight: do they sparkle, shimmer, or cast a comforting shadow?

To truly breathe life into your cloud descriptions, incorporate the emotional impact they have on your characters and story. Perhaps the sight of ominous storm clouds mirrors the protagonist’s looming sense of dread. Alternatively, a serene, cotton candy sky might reflect the idyllic atmosphere of a romantic scene. Remember, the art of describing clouds lies not only in their physical attributes but also in their ability to become an integral part of your narrative, evoking emotions and resonating with your readers.

How to Capture the Beauty of Clouds through Language

Describing the splendor of clouds can be a challenging task, but with the right use of language, their ethereal allure can be conveyed to perfection. Whether you are a poet, writer, or simply someone who wishes to appreciate the marvel of nature, here are some tips on capturing the captivating beauty of clouds:

1. Embrace vivid imagery: Paint a picture with words by employing rich and vibrant descriptions. Visualize the clouds as colossal cotton candy tufts stretching across the cerulean canvas of the sky. Capture their ever-changing forms, from wispy cirrus clouds that resemble delicate brushstrokes to majestic cumulonimbus clouds that tower like ancient monuments.

2. Engage the senses: Transport your readers into the world of clouds by appealing to their senses. Describe the softness of the cloud’s touch, as if reaching out and skimming fingertips across pillows of condensed moisture. Invoke the smell of rain before a storm, the subtle scent of ozone mingling with the earthy aroma of wet soil. Allow readers to hear the lullaby of raindrops as they gently patter against rooftops, carrying with them the promise of life and renewal.

Writing Techniques to Bring Clouds to Life on Paper

When it comes to capturing the essence of clouds on paper, there are a myriad of writing techniques that can evoke their beauty and ethereal nature. By employing these techniques, you can bring your cloud descriptions to life, allowing readers to feel the softness, movement, and grandeur of the celestial formations. Here are some tried and tested methods to help you master the art of writing about clouds:

  • Use vivid and descriptive language: Instead of settling for basic adjectives like white or fluffy, dive deeper into the details. Imagine how the clouds appear from different angles and at different times of the day, then use colorful words like billowing, wispy, or cotton candy-like to paint a more vibrant picture.
  • Create emotional connections: Rather than solely focusing on physical descriptions, explore the emotions that clouds evoke. Are they a source of comfort, mystery, or serenity? By infusing your descriptions with the emotions they elicit, readers can better immerse themselves in the scene you are conveying.
  • Play with figurative language: One effective way to bring clouds to life on paper is through the use of metaphors and similes. Compare the clouds to objects or phenomena that share similar characteristics. Perhaps they resemble a blanket of marshmallows, a flock of sheep grazing across the sky, or even the gentle strokes of an artist’s brush on a canvas.

By implementing these writing techniques, your cloud descriptions will take flight, transporting readers to a world where they can almost reach out and touch the delicate wisps of moisture dancing across the sky. Remember, the key lies in using vivid language, engaging emotions, and employing imaginative comparisons that transform simple clouds into extraordinary works of art on the pages of your writing.

Using Metaphors and Similes to Depict Clouds in Writing

Clouds, those ethereal entities that adorn our skies, have long captivated the imagination of writers. Symbolic of a myriad of emotions and atmospheres, they can add depth and atmosphere to any piece of writing. By utilizing metaphors and similes, writers can bring these celestial wonders to life, painting vivid pictures and creating emotional resonance.

Metaphorically, clouds can be compared to:

  • Soft pillows that float across the sky, adding a touch of comfort and tranquility.
  • Dream catchers capturing the sun’s rays as they dance on their cotton-like surface, filling the atmosphere with a warm and whimsical glow.
  • Heralds of the heavens silently announcing the arrival of twilight with their muted shades of orange, pink, and gold, like angelic messengers descending to earth.

Similes, on the other hand, allow writers to make direct comparisons using “like” or “as.” Consider these examples:

  • The clouds hung over the city as thick as a wool blanket , casting a shadow that enveloped the streets and buildings.
  • The sky was filled with billowing clouds, like cotton candy stretched across the horizon , tempting the imagination to dive into their sugary depths.
  • As the storm approached, the clouds gathered in the distance, as menacing as an army of gray giants ready to unleash their fury upon the unsuspecting earth.

With metaphors and similes at your disposal, embracing the poetic potential of clouds can elevate your writing to new heights. So, unleash your creativity and let your imagination soar like the clouds themselves!

Tips for Creating Vivid Descriptions of Clouds in Creative Writing

When it comes to describing clouds in your creative writing, no ordinary words will do justice to their enchanting beauty. To paint a vivid picture in your reader’s mind, consider these helpful tips that will unlock the magic of these celestial wonders.

  • Adjectives with flair: Don’t settle for basic descriptions like “fluffy” or “white.” Dig deeper and visualize the texture and colors of clouds by using expressive adjectives like billowing, iridescent, or ethereal. By choosing words that evoke emotion, you can transport your readers into a dreamscape of swirling vapor.
  • Metaphorical magic: Compare clouds to familiar objects or sensations to make them come alive in your writing. For instance, you could describe fluffy cumulus clouds as marshmallow mountains or liken the smoky wisps of cirrus clouds to delicate strands of silver thread dancing across the sky. By employing metaphors, the clouds will take on a new dimension, igniting your readers’ imagination.
  • Sensory sensations: Engage your reader’s senses by describing not just how clouds look, but also how they feel, smell, or even taste. Incorporate sensory details like the cool touch of a cotton candy cloud or the sweet scent of rain lingering in the air. By appealing to the senses, your descriptions will transcend mere words, immersing your readers in a multisensory experience.

With these tips at your fingertips, you can weave enchanting descriptions of clouds in your writing that will transport your readers to the boundless realms of sky and imagination. Let your words paint a mesmerizing canvas, and watch as the clouds come to life in the minds of your audience.

Clouds, oh those mesmerizing formations that decorate the sky! As writers, we often find inspiration in the world around us, and clouds have a way of sparking our imagination like no other. Observing clouds not only allows us to enjoy the beauty of nature but also serves as a valuable tool to enhance our storytelling capabilities. Let’s explore the importance of incorporating cloud-watching into our writing routine:

  • Visualization: Clouds awaken our inner child, inviting us to engage in imaginative play. By observing their ever-changing shapes, sizes, and colors, we can improve our ability to visualize scenes and characters in our writing. Just as clouds transform from fluffy cotton candy to menacing storm formations, our stories can come alive with vivid descriptions that captivate readers.
  • Mood and Atmosphere: Much like the weather, clouds have the power to set the mood and create atmosphere in our narratives. From the puffy cotton balls dotting a clear summer sky to the ominous dark clouds foreshadowing an impending storm, every cloud formation carries its own emotional weight. By studying clouds, we can gain insights into how to craft the perfect setting and ambiance to enhance the impact of our storytelling.

Clouds have a way of evoking a kaleidoscope of emotions and mood in writing, casting a spell of enchantment over the reader. These celestial formations possess a charm that captures the imagination and adds depth to the narrative. Here are some of the emotions and moods that clouds can create in writing:

  • Wonder: As we gaze upon a cluster of fluffy white clouds floating in a clear blue sky, a sense of awe and wonder washes over us. In writing, clouds can ignite the same feeling, making the reader marvel at their beauty and mystery.
  • Serenity: The gentle sight of wispy clouds gracefully drifting across the sky can instill a sense of peace and tranquility. Describing the calmness and serenity that clouds bring can create a soothing atmosphere in the written piece, bringing solace to the reader.
  • Melancholy: On gloomy days, dark clouds loom overhead, casting a somber shadow on the surroundings. In writing, these cloudy days can evoke feelings of sadness and nostalgia, setting the mood for reflective and introspective narratives.
  • Imagination: Clouds, with their ever-changing shapes and forms, provide an endless playground for the imagination. Describing the whimsical figures that clouds resemble can transport the reader to magical worlds and expand the horizons of possibility.

Clouds possess the remarkable ability to evoke a wide range of emotions and create a specific mood in writing. Their ethereal beauty and elusive nature make them a captivating subject that can elevate any piece of literature, filling it with awe, tranquility, melancholy, and a touch of whimsical imagination.

Q: What is the significance of clouds in creative writing? A: Clouds play a crucial role in creative writing as they not only add visual depth to descriptions, but also evoke emotions, set the atmosphere, and symbolize various abstract concepts.

Q: How can clouds be described in a creative and captivating manner? A: Clouds can be described using vivid and dynamic language, focusing on their shape, texture, color, movement, and interaction with the surrounding environment. Metaphors, similes, and sensory details can bring clouds to life on the pages of a story or poem.

Q: What emotions can clouds evoke in writing? A: Depending on the context and description, clouds can evoke a wide range of emotions. For instance, fluffy white clouds against a clear blue sky might evoke feelings of peace, serenity, or innocence, while dark, brooding clouds can create a sense of foreboding, tension, or melancholy.

Q: How can clouds set the atmosphere of a scene? A: By describing the characteristics of clouds, such as their density, size, or movement, writers can set the atmosphere of a scene. For example, a scene with low-hanging, dense clouds might create a feeling of claustrophobia or intensity, while wispy, scattered clouds could evoke a light, carefree atmosphere.

Q: Do clouds symbolize anything in creative writing? A: Yes, clouds often serve as symbols of emotion, change, or transition. They can represent fleeting moments, shifting moods, or the unpredictability of life. In some cases, clouds can also symbolize dreams, aspirations, or the vastness of the human imagination.

Q: How can writers incorporate clouds into their narratives? A: Writers can incorporate clouds by integrating them into descriptions of landscapes, weather, or characters’ emotions. They can use clouds to create contrasts, emphasize certain themes or symbolize events or transitions in the story. By making clouds an integral part of the narrative, writers can enhance the overall richness and depth of their storytelling.

Q: Are there any notable examples of cloud descriptions in literature? A: Absolutely! Many renowned authors have skillfully woven cloud descriptions into their writing. For instance, in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” the protagonist often observes the clouds to reflect his changing emotions. Emily Dickinson, in her poetry, utilizes clouds to symbolize various aspects of life and transcendence. These examples demonstrate how clouds can be employed to add meaning and depth to literary works.

Q: Can cloud descriptions be applied to other forms of creative writing? A: Absolutely! While cloud descriptions are often associated with visual arts or poetry, they can be effectively used in any form of creative writing. Utilizing captivating cloud descriptions can enhance narratives, add atmosphere, and create an emotional connection with readers in genres ranging from fiction and non-fiction to essays and memoirs.

Q: Any tips for aspiring writers on using cloud descriptions effectively? A: When incorporating cloud descriptions, consider the overall tone and mood of your piece. Experiment with imagery, metaphors, or personification to breathe life into your clouds. Remember to strike a balance between providing detailed descriptions and allowing the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. Ultimately, cloud descriptions should serve a purpose, whether it’s enhancing the setting, developing characters, or supporting a theme. Don’t be afraid to be creative and have fun with it!

In conclusion, writing creatively about clouds allows us to explore the beauty and essence of the sky, unleashing our imagination and connection to nature.

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R. Stranger MFA’24 combines creative writing and visual arts in their multimedia approach to art

by Linda Lenhoff, February 15, 2024

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R. Stranger MFA’24 incorporates visual work into their writing, striving to find their own personal channel of creating. Through PNCA’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program, Stranger has been able to pursue cross-genre, collaborative work, combining prose, poetry, photography, film, archiving, and cataloging. “I needed to be in a writing program situated within an art school, where I would have the ability and freedom to incorporate my visual work and embodied practice into my creative writing,” Stranger says. “Literature and art have been the portals through which I receive so much of the world.”

The program’s unique approach to treating writing as a multidisciplinary studio art practice offers Stranger the ability to build relationships across departments. Stranger is especially grateful for mentorship from faculty members Vi Khi Nao , a writer, and Dao Strom , an artist. “Each of them has undeniably affected my work and approach to writing and creating,” Stranger says, adding that Nao “opened my eyes to the depth of emotion we can allow ourselves to go and the necessary risks that an artist must take if they wish to be true to their work and themselves.

Stranger focuses on difficult issues in their art, including “the multidimensional nature of queerness, the complexities of having/being a body, and the transformative nature of grief,” Stranger says. Utilizing several mediums allows Stranger to “move through the work of mourning and living through different layers of humanness.”

PNCA and the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies have granted Stranger multiple opportunities to share and show their work. “I tabled my zines at the 2022 Do-It-Yourself / Do-It-Ourselves Graduate Symposium as well as at this year’s Form.a Art Press Fair at Oregon Contemporary,” Stranger says. Their photography was also selected for display at Lightbox Photographic Gallery’s New Visionaries exhibit through an Oregon BFA/MFA photo student exhibition call organized by PNCA faculty Rachel Wolf .

The proverbial cherry on top of Stranger’s experience at PNCA has been having a private studio within an institutional space, thanks to Strom and Creative Writing Program Director Jay Ponteri . “I can still be in the world while also receiving access to a nurturing art community and the institutional resources that aid my public art practice.”

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  1. A Guide to Descriptive Writing

    A descriptive essay is short-form prose that is meant to describe something in detail; it can describe a person, place, event, object, or anything else. Description as part of a larger work: This is the most common kind of descriptive writing.

  2. What is Creative Writing? A Key Piece of the Writer's Toolbox

    About Brooks Manley Creative Primer is a resource on all things journaling, creativity, and productivity. We'll help you produce better ideas, get more done, and live a more effective life. My name is Brooks. I do a ton of journaling, like to think I'm a creative (jury's out), and spend a lot of time thinking about productivity.

  3. Creative Writing 101: Everything You Need to Get Started

    Creative writing is writing meant to evoke emotion in a reader by communicating a theme. In storytelling (including literature, movies, graphic novels, creative nonfiction, and many video games), the theme is the central meaning the work communicates. Take the movie (and the novel upon which it's based) Jaws, for instance.

  4. What Is Creative Writing? Types, Techniques, and Tips

    Types of Creative Writing. Examples of creative writing can be found pretty much everywhere. Some forms that you're probably familiar with and already enjoy include: • Fiction (of every genre, from sci-fi to historical dramas to romances) • Film and television scripts. • Songs. • Poetry.

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    > > A Look Into Creative Writing | Oxford Summer Courses Exploring the Magic of Creative Writing with Oxford Summer Courses Creative writing is an art form that goes beyond traditional writing, allowing individuals to express their thoughts, emotions, and ideas through the power of words.

  6. What is Creative Writing? (Definition + Tips for Getting Started)

    Creative writing is as much about showing as it is about telling. Practicing descriptive writing brings your characters, settings, and scenes to life. Try to engage all the reader's senses — sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. This helps to create an immersive experience for your reader and make your writing more memorable.

  7. What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!

    The dictionary definition of creative writing is that it is original writing that expresses ideas and thoughts in an imaginative way.[1] Some academics will also define it as the art of making things up, but both of these definitions are too simplistic in the grand scheme of things.

  8. 10 Types of Creative Writing (with Examples You'll Love)

    A lot falls under the term 'creative writing': poetry, short fiction, plays, novels, personal essays, and songs, to name just a few. By virtue of the creativity that characterizes it, creative writing is an extremely versatile art.

  9. How to Write a Descriptive Essay

    Tips for writing descriptively. The key to writing an effective descriptive essay is to find ways of bringing your subject to life for the reader. You're not limited to providing a literal description as you would be in more formal essay types. Make use of figurative language, sensory details, and strong word choices to create a memorable ...

  10. Creative Writing: 8 Fun Ways to Get Started

    2. Start journaling your days. Another easy way to get started with creative writing is to keep a journal. We're not talking about an hour-by-hour account of your day, but journaling as a way to express yourself without filters and find your 'voice in writing'. If you're unsure what to journal about, think of any daily experiences that ...

  11. What Is Creative Writing: A Complete Guide

    Creative Writing is a form of art that allows people to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions through the written word. It is a mode of self-expression that combines imagination with linguistic skills to create compelling narratives, poems, and other forms of literature.

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    5. Read, read, read. It's a lot harder to get the hang of creative writing if you don't have any references from which to draw. Notable writers throughout history have penned excellent examples of well-written creative work that should be required reading for any budding creative writer.

  13. How to Enrich Your Descriptions

    Writing that soars off the page and straight into your imagination. Writing that engages the mind and elevates the spirit. Writing that not only educates and entertains, but inspires. Can great writing be taught? Can it be learned?

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    Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics.

  15. How to Write Vivid Descriptions to Capture Your Readers: 7 Writing Tips

    Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 • 3 min read Writing vivid descriptions involves using specific language to help your own writing stand out and form a detailed mental picture for readers. Whether it's for a novel, formal essay, short story, or public speaking event, it's important to make sure your writing is memorable and interesting for your audience.

  16. Creative Writing: Start Your Creative Writing Journey

    Creative writing is a form of writing where creativity is at the forefront of its purpose through using imagination, creativity, and innovation in order to tell a story through strong written visuals with an emotional impact, like in poetry writing, short story writing, novel writing, and more.

  17. What is Creative Writing?

    Creative writing is the entire body of the writer's craft that falls outside the boundaries of the ordinary. Yet you will find many entries in the canon of those fields that might also be considered creative writing. No one would consign Truman Capote's groundbreaking In Cold Blood to the sterile cells of mere journalism. But that haunting novel is unquestionably also an important work of ...

  18. Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description

    There are 4 modules in this course. In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world. From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, writers will learn how to describe the physical world in sharp, sensory detail.

  19. Creative Writing For Dummies Cheat Sheet

    Listen to conversations on the bus, in a coffee shop, or at the supermarket. Jot down a particular exchange and carry it on, seeing where the characters lead you. Pick up a book you really like and open it at a random page. Pick a sentence you like and write it down, and then carry on writing your own story from here, using your own characters ...

  20. Descriptive Writing and Using Descriptive Language

    Descriptive writing is juicy. It evokes the reader's senses. It's the perfect tool for accurately communicating something that isn't tangible, and that's precisely why it's not appropriate for the more formal, objective kinds of writing listed above.

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    Creative writing is a form of self-expression that allows writers to create stories, characters, and unique settings. But what exactly is ... When it comes to creative writing, it's essential to use descriptive language that immerses readers in the story and allows them to experience the events through their emotions and imaginations. This ...

  22. Quotes and Descriptions to Inspire Creative Writing

    love nexus. "When we make daily choices that are emotionally indifferent, the sort that the money-nexus makes faux-virtues of, we build our capacity for emotional indifference at the direct expense of our capacity for empathy, and thus the conflict between money and love is laid bare." Creative writing ideas by abraham.

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  24. Descriptive Writing: Definition, Tips, Examples, and Exercises

    Descriptive writing is about using the power of words to arouse the imagination, capture the attention, and create a lasting impact in the mind of the reader. In this article, you'll learn how to employ descriptive elements in your writing, tips to enhance your descriptive writing skills, and some exercises to better yourself at it.

  25. Painting the Sky: Clouds Description Creative Writing

    Tips for Creating Vivid Descriptions of Clouds in Creative Writing. When it comes to describing clouds in your creative writing, no ordinary words will do justice to their enchanting beauty. To paint a vivid picture in your reader's mind, consider these helpful tips that will unlock the magic of these celestial wonders.

  26. PDF Descriptive Essay

    APSU Writing Center Descriptive Essay Descriptive Essay ' Aims to vividly describe a person, place, object, event, or experience. It includes poetry, diary entries, and nature writing. It appeals to the reader's five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

  27. R. Stranger MFA'24 combines creative writing and visual arts in their

    R. Stranger MFA'24 incorporates visual work into their writing, striving to find their own personal channel of creating. Through PNCA's Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program, Stranger has been able to pursue cross-genre, collaborative work, combining prose, poetry, photography, film, archiving, and cataloging. "I needed to be in a writing program situated within an art school ...