Creative Writing 101

Creative Writing 101

A Lesson by Laura Maidah

Creative writing is anything where the purpose is to express thoughts, feelings and emotions rather than to simply convey information.


I’ll be focusing on creative fiction in this post (mainly short stories and novels), but poetry, (auto)biography and creative non-fiction are all other forms of creative writing. Here’s a couple of definitions:

Creative writing is writing that expresses the writer’s thoughts and feelings in an imaginative, often unique, and poetic way.
( – What is Creative Writing?)

Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.
(Don DeLillo)

Writing of any sort is hard, but rewarding work – you’ll gain a huge amount of satisfaction from a finished piece. Being creative can also be difficult and challenging at times, but immensely fun.

How to get started

Many people think that just because they’ve read a lot of stories (or even if they haven’t!) they should be able to write one. But as Nigel Watts writes:

There is a common belief that because most of us are literate and fluent, there is no need to serve an apprenticeship if we want to become a successful wordsmith. … That’s what I thought until I tried to write my first novel. I soon learnt that a novel, like a piece of furniture, has its own set of requirements, laws of construction that have to be learnt. Just because I had read plenty of novels didn’t mean I could write one, any more than I could make a chair because I had sat on enough of them.
(Nigel Watts, Teach Yourself Writing a Novel)

By all means, if you’re keen, jump straight in and have a go: but don’t be too disappointed if your first efforts aren’t as good as you’d hoped. To extend Watts’ metaphor, you may find that these early attempts have wonky legs and an unsteady seat. There are lots of great books aimed at new fiction writers, and I’d strongly recommend buying or borrowing one of these:

  • Wannabe a Writer? (Jane Wenham-Jones)
  • Teach Yourself … Writing a Novel (Nigel Watts)
  • How to Write Fiction (and Think About It) (Robert Graham)
  • On Writing (Stephen King)

I’d also recommend starting small. Rather than beginning with an epic fantasy trilogy, a family saga spanning five generations, or an entire adventure series … have a go at a short story or a poem.

And if you end up chewing your pen and staring at a sheet of paper, or gazing at a blank screen for hours, try kickstarting your writing with a short exercise. Don’t stop to think too much about it … just get going, without worrying about the quality of the work you produce.

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Posted 8 Years Ago

Yaaaa. Very Practical Lesson!

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Posted 8 Years Ago

Excuse me, I believe you've stolen this post from another blog. Considering it's exactly the same as another creative writing 101 post I've seen on, I'm seriously doubting the credibility of your lessons. If you claim to be an adequate authority on writing, at least adequate enough to conceivably offer insight on it, then why would you be (I assume) so lazy that you don't even write your own post. You could at least have the courtesy of letting us know that this is not your writing, and credit the true author in the description. You have shown yourself to be an inadequate writer. I'm disgusted.

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Posted 8 Years Ago

Indeed an interesting post. Being creative in your writing skills will make the reader attract towards your piece of work and will pursue him to read the whole work of yours. Making yourself unique in every way makes you stand out in every aspect.

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Posted 9 Years Ago

really good advice.thank u

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Posted 9 Years Ago

Laura, again great advice ....
Q.) Who is this guy?
Who does he think he is?
Is he stalking me?
Is he trying to undermine me? ....
A) Ask me.
I love words, I love writing, I love dialogue.
I cant't wait to read!
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Added on June 24, 2012
Last Updated on June 24, 2012

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Laura Maidah
Laura Maidah

Arcadia, CA