What Is Creative Writing?

Slender blonde woman takes notes to develop her creative writing story on her laptop

Human expression through creative outlets has been a valuable tool throughout human history. Today, creative writing is a well-known and widely available outlet for people to express themselves. Whether writing creative nonfiction, poetry, songs or novels, there are personal and professional opportunities for those willing to practice their craft.

Creative writing spans multiple genres and art forms, including nonfiction. However, fiction is often the first and most popular area associated with creative writing. If you want to earn a living from creative writing, you can gain a firm foundation to the entertainment industry by earning a creative writing or professional writing degree. Professional skills like critical thinking and writing will transfer into a wide range of careers and industries.

Common Types of Creative Writing

Perhaps the simplest way to gain a better understanding of creative writing is to examine the different channels of media that creative writers use. Some of the most common types of creative writing are fiction, which include novels, novellas and short stories.

Writers may also produce any of the following:

  • Movie and TV scripts
  • Plays (including musicals)
  • Poetry
  • Song lyrics
  • Personal essays

Some of these, such as playscripts, novels and short stories can be categorized into different genres like historical fiction, thriller, science fiction, horror, fantasy and romance. Within these categories, there are also subgenres. For example, the fantasy genre has these subgenres: urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy and comic fantasy. Some writers may find it helpful to learn more about the conventions of the genres that interest them, though many consider which genre their writing fits into after a project is completed.

Other Examples of Creative Writing

In addition to novels, plays and scripts, there are many other forms of creative writing. Speeches, for example, can be considered creative writing. Although a speech may include a discussion of certain facts, it is generally written in a creative way to capture the attention of an audience and persuade them to certain positions.

Journals and diaries offer another personal outlet for creative expression as people write out their understanding of events in their lives. One commonly overlooked type is contained within the fictitious world of video games. Video game designers hire creative writers to develop storylines, plots and characters for narrative games. Compared to the early heyday of videogames, modern games are known for highly sophisticated storylines and plots.

Nonfiction writing can also be creative. Creative nonfiction writers aim to be factually accurate, but they also use the techniques of creative writing to enhance the story and make it more compelling for readers. Some examples of creative nonfiction include travel writing, food writing, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies.

Elements and Techniques of Creative Writing

There are many techniques writers can use to create rich, complex stories that captivate readers. One is to structure the story in a way that allows the plot to unravel enticingly. Many writers like to use a basic three-act structure:

  • Inciting Incident: Also called the set-up, the inciting incident introduces the story, characters and plot.
  • Confrontation: In the confrontation, the stakes are raised and there is rising action, often with multiple plot points.
  • Resolution: This includes the period before the climax, the climax and the “denouement” or final resolution.

Other elements of creative writing include dialogue, which fiction writers often use to explore to develop their characters and explore valuable information in the plot. The point of view or perspective of a story is also significant. A story may be told from just one limited point of view or from many perspectives. Usually, writing in the first person necessitates using only one point of view.

Aside from pursuing a career as a playwright, narrative storyteller or poet, earning a writing degree may enable you to pursue other jobs that require a great deal of creative writing skill and communication skills. One example is the role of a copywriter. Copywriters are marketing professionals that specialize in writing creative content intended to increase awareness of a brand’s products or services. Another related job is that of social media manager. These public relations experts utilize social media platforms to help a brand or individual interact with the public.

If you have a passion for writing, consider earning a Bachelor of Arts in English With an Emphasis in Professional Writing degree at Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. To learn more about our college, visit our website or click on Request Information button above to learn more.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.