Creative writing is difficult for most people. It is hard to create an entire world and populate it with characters that are both interesting and realistic, and then to have them interact in a way that seems realistic.
In fact, most writers struggle with realistic character development, even if they show mastery of the art of writing creatively. Critics cite James Joyce’s ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ as an example of well-written character development.
Creative writing, however, is something that can be taught, something that you can even master with practice, guidance, and a bit of patience. There are a variety of programs that offer to help you improve the quality of your writing, but outside of those programs, here are some tips for creative writing. Look at our creative writing course page for more information.
Experience the World
Don’t lock yourself in your house with your typewriter and assume that you’re going to crank out the next great work of art in a vacuum; it isn’t likely to happen. Great works of art are rarely born from isolation.
More often, you will realize that going out into the world will provide the experience that you need in order to write a great work. How can you write a short story about dark dealings in a grimy tavern without having ever been in a hole-in-the-wall bar? How can you write a poem about a rose without beholding one?
Go outside, explore, and you will find inspiration for characters, situations, and settings in everything that you see.
Always Be Writing
Most people don’t write one work and have it turn out as the next great novel. Many write a wide variety of stories before they come into some measure of success.
Your first works may not be works of art. They may not even be something that you want to share with anyone. It is important to start somewhere, though, and to write, even when you’re just writing for yourself.
All the better if you can sit down and make yourself write a short story a day, or one a week, or maybe even a handful of haikus on a beautiful day. Creativity is a muscle; if you don’t exercise it, it will never be stronger.
READ and READ Some More
Draw inspiration from the works of others. If you don’t believe me, consider the following: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’
Legend has it that this ‘short story’ was written by Hemingway himself, although history disputes this. Whatever the case may be, reading those six words opens up a world of possibilities. Was this a pair of expecting parents who gave birth to a stillborn child? Was it a father who found out his wife was unfaithful? Perhaps it was something simpler and less dark, like a thief who stole from a store specializing in supplies for a child?
Reading provides a lot of inspiration, even if all you read is the newspaper.
Learn to Make a Good Outline
This is essential to a crafting a longer story. An outline can help you keep track of the characters, and will make it much simpler for you to make changes in the story without having to rewrite entire sections. Outlines make the whole process of writing creatively much simpler, especially if you already have an idea for what you want out of your story.
If you’ve still got a thirst to learn more about how to write creatively, it may be in your best interest to take a course in creative writing. If you’re interested in learning more about what you need to do to become a great creative writer, contact Stratford Career Institute and consider if their course offerings may be right for you.
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