Writing Beginner

What Is Creative Writing? (Ultimate Guide + 20 Examples)

Creative writing begins with a blank page and the courage to fill it with the stories only you can tell.

I face this intimidating blank page daily–and I have for the better part of 20+ years.

In this guide, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of creative writing with tons of examples.

What Is Creative Writing (Long Description)?

Creative Writing is the art of using words to express ideas and emotions in imaginative ways. It encompasses various forms including novels, poetry, and plays, focusing on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes.

Bright, colorful creative writer's desk with notebook and typewriter -- What Is Creative Writing

Table of Contents

Let’s expand on that definition a bit.

Creative writing is an art form that transcends traditional literature boundaries.

It includes professional, journalistic, academic, and technical writing. This type of writing emphasizes narrative craft, character development, and literary tropes. It also explores poetry and poetics traditions.

In essence, creative writing lets you express ideas and emotions uniquely and imaginatively.

It’s about the freedom to invent worlds, characters, and stories. These creations evoke a spectrum of emotions in readers.

Creative writing covers fiction, poetry, and everything in between.

It allows writers to express inner thoughts and feelings. Often, it reflects human experiences through a fabricated lens.

Types of Creative Writing

There are many types of creative writing that we need to explain.

Some of the most common types:

  • Short stories
  • Screenplays
  • Flash fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction

Short Stories (The Brief Escape)

Short stories are like narrative treasures.

They are compact but impactful, telling a full story within a limited word count. These tales often focus on a single character or a crucial moment.

Short stories are known for their brevity.

They deliver emotion and insight in a concise yet powerful package. This format is ideal for exploring diverse genres, themes, and characters. It leaves a lasting impression on readers.

Example: Emma discovers an old photo of her smiling grandmother. It’s a rarity. Through flashbacks, Emma learns about her grandmother’s wartime love story. She comes to understand her grandmother’s resilience and the value of joy.

Novels (The Long Journey)

Novels are extensive explorations of character, plot, and setting.

They span thousands of words, giving writers the space to create entire worlds. Novels can weave complex stories across various themes and timelines.

The length of a novel allows for deep narrative and character development.

Readers get an immersive experience.

Example: Across the Divide tells of two siblings separated in childhood. They grow up in different cultures. Their reunion highlights the strength of family bonds, despite distance and differences.

Poetry (The Soul’s Language)

Poetry expresses ideas and emotions through rhythm, sound, and word beauty.

It distills emotions and thoughts into verses. Poetry often uses metaphors, similes, and figurative language to reach the reader’s heart and mind.

Poetry ranges from structured forms, like sonnets, to free verse.

The latter breaks away from traditional formats for more expressive thought.

Example: Whispers of Dawn is a poem collection capturing morning’s quiet moments. “First Light” personifies dawn as a painter. It brings colors of hope and renewal to the world.

Plays (The Dramatic Dialogue)

Plays are meant for performance. They bring characters and conflicts to life through dialogue and action.

This format uniquely explores human relationships and societal issues.

Playwrights face the challenge of conveying setting, emotion, and plot through dialogue and directions.

Example: Echoes of Tomorrow is set in a dystopian future. Memories can be bought and sold. It follows siblings on a quest to retrieve their stolen memories. They learn the cost of living in a world where the past has a price.

Screenplays (Cinema’s Blueprint)

Screenplays outline narratives for films and TV shows.

They require an understanding of visual storytelling, pacing, and dialogue. Screenplays must fit film production constraints.

Example: The Last Light is a screenplay for a sci-fi film. Humanity’s survivors on a dying Earth seek a new planet. The story focuses on spacecraft Argo’s crew as they face mission challenges and internal dynamics.

Memoirs (The Personal Journey)

Memoirs provide insight into an author’s life, focusing on personal experiences and emotional journeys.

They differ from autobiographies by concentrating on specific themes or events.

Memoirs invite readers into the author’s world.

They share lessons learned and hardships overcome.

Example: Under the Mango Tree is a memoir by Maria Gomez. It shares her childhood memories in rural Colombia. The mango tree in their yard symbolizes home, growth, and nostalgia. Maria reflects on her journey to a new life in America.

Flash Fiction (The Quick Twist)

Flash fiction tells stories in under 1,000 words.

It’s about crafting compelling narratives concisely. Each word in flash fiction must count, often leading to a twist.

This format captures life’s vivid moments, delivering quick, impactful insights.

Example: The Last Message features an astronaut’s final Earth message as her spacecraft drifts away. In 500 words, it explores isolation, hope, and the desire to connect against all odds.

Creative Nonfiction (The Factual Tale)

Creative nonfiction combines factual accuracy with creative storytelling.

This genre covers real events, people, and places with a twist. It uses descriptive language and narrative arcs to make true stories engaging.

Creative nonfiction includes biographies, essays, and travelogues.

Example: Echoes of Everest follows the author’s Mount Everest climb. It mixes factual details with personal reflections and the history of past climbers. The narrative captures the climb’s beauty and challenges, offering an immersive experience.

Fantasy (The World Beyond)

Fantasy transports readers to magical and mythical worlds.

It explores themes like good vs. evil and heroism in unreal settings. Fantasy requires careful world-building to create believable yet fantastic realms.

Example: The Crystal of Azmar tells of a young girl destined to save her world from darkness. She learns she’s the last sorceress in a forgotten lineage. Her journey involves mastering powers, forming alliances, and uncovering ancient kingdom myths.

Science Fiction (The Future Imagined)

Science fiction delves into futuristic and scientific themes.

It questions the impact of advancements on society and individuals.

Science fiction ranges from speculative to hard sci-fi, focusing on plausible futures.

Example: When the Stars Whisper is set in a future where humanity communicates with distant galaxies. It centers on a scientist who finds an alien message. This discovery prompts a deep look at humanity’s universe role and interstellar communication.

Watch this great video that explores the question, “What is creative writing?” and “How to get started?”:

What Are the 5 Cs of Creative Writing?

The 5 Cs of creative writing are fundamental pillars.

They guide writers to produce compelling and impactful work. These principles—Clarity, Coherence, Conciseness, Creativity, and Consistency—help craft stories that engage and entertain.

They also resonate deeply with readers. Let’s explore each of these critical components.

Clarity makes your writing understandable and accessible.

It involves choosing the right words and constructing clear sentences. Your narrative should be easy to follow.

In creative writing, clarity means conveying complex ideas in a digestible and enjoyable way.

Coherence ensures your writing flows logically.

It’s crucial for maintaining the reader’s interest. Characters should develop believably, and plots should progress logically. This makes the narrative feel cohesive.


Conciseness is about expressing ideas succinctly.

It’s being economical with words and avoiding redundancy. This principle helps maintain pace and tension, engaging readers throughout the story.

Creativity is the heart of creative writing.

It allows writers to invent new worlds and create memorable characters. Creativity involves originality and imagination. It’s seeing the world in unique ways and sharing that vision.


Consistency maintains a uniform tone, style, and voice.

It means being faithful to the world you’ve created. Characters should act true to their development. This builds trust with readers, making your story immersive and believable.

Is Creative Writing Easy?

Creative writing is both rewarding and challenging.

Crafting stories from your imagination involves more than just words on a page. It requires discipline and a deep understanding of language and narrative structure.

Exploring complex characters and themes is also key.

Refining and revising your work is crucial for developing your voice.

The ease of creative writing varies. Some find the freedom of expression liberating.

Others struggle with writer’s block or plot development challenges. However, practice and feedback make creative writing more fulfilling.

What Does a Creative Writer Do?

A creative writer weaves narratives that entertain, enlighten, and inspire.

Writers explore both the world they create and the emotions they wish to evoke. Their tasks are diverse, involving more than just writing.

Creative writers develop ideas, research, and plan their stories.

They create characters and outline plots with attention to detail. Drafting and revising their work is a significant part of their process. They strive for the 5 Cs of compelling writing.

Writers engage with the literary community, seeking feedback and participating in workshops.

They may navigate the publishing world with agents and editors.

Creative writers are storytellers, craftsmen, and artists. They bring narratives to life, enriching our lives and expanding our imaginations.

How to Get Started With Creative Writing?

Embarking on a creative writing journey can feel like standing at the edge of a vast and mysterious forest.

The path is not always clear, but the adventure is calling.

Here’s how to take your first steps into the world of creative writing:

  • Find a time of day when your mind is most alert and creative.
  • Create a comfortable writing space free from distractions.
  • Use prompts to spark your imagination. They can be as simple as a word, a phrase, or an image.
  • Try writing for 15-20 minutes on a prompt without editing yourself. Let the ideas flow freely.
  • Reading is fuel for your writing. Explore various genres and styles.
  • Pay attention to how your favorite authors construct their sentences, develop characters, and build their worlds.
  • Don’t pressure yourself to write a novel right away. Begin with short stories or poems.
  • Small projects can help you hone your skills and boost your confidence.
  • Look for writing groups in your area or online. These communities offer support, feedback, and motivation.
  • Participating in workshops or classes can also provide valuable insights into your writing.
  • Understand that your first draft is just the beginning. Revising your work is where the real magic happens.
  • Be open to feedback and willing to rework your pieces.
  • Carry a notebook or digital recorder to jot down ideas, observations, and snippets of conversations.
  • These notes can be gold mines for future writing projects.

Final Thoughts: What Is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is an invitation to explore the unknown, to give voice to the silenced, and to celebrate the human spirit in all its forms.

Check out these creative writing tools (that I highly recommend):

Read This Next:

  • What Is a Prompt in Writing? (Ultimate Guide + 200 Examples)
  • What Is A Personal Account In Writing? (47 Examples)
  • How To Write A Fantasy Short Story (Ultimate Guide + Examples)
  • How To Write A Fantasy Romance Novel [21 Tips + Examples)

Creative Primer

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

Brooks Manley

Not all writing is the same and there’s a type of writing that has the ability to transport, teach, and inspire others like no other.

Creative writing stands out due to its unique approach and focus on imagination. Here’s how to get started and grow as you explore the broad and beautiful world of creative writing!

What is 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:

  • short stories
  • screenplays

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.

5 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 your 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 your 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 , you must be aware of the various styles involved. Creative writing explores a multitude of genres, each with its own unique characteristics and techniques.

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 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.

If you’re 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 – let’s take a closer look.

Developing Creativity and Imagination

Creative writing serves as a fertile ground for nurturing creativity and imagination. It encourages you to think outside the box, explore different perspectives, and create unique and original content. This leads 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 your vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, making it easier to express thoughts and ideas effectively .

Moreover, creative writing encourages empathy as you often need to portray a variety of characters from different backgrounds and perspectives. This leads 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 you to express yourself in ways that might not be possible in everyday conversation.

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

So, 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.

4 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 creative writing .

1. 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.

Editor’s Note : When something excites or interests you, stop and take note – it could be the inspiration for your next creative writing piece.

2. Planning Your Piece

Once you have an idea, the next step is to plan your piece . Start by outlining:

  • the main points

Remember, this can serve as a roadmap to guide your writing process. 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.

3. 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 .

4. 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.

Read 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!

Practice 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.

Attend 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 .

Start Creative Writing Today!

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

creative writing english beispiel

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: 

the five minute journal

Gratitude Journal Prompts Mindfulness Journal Prompts Journal Prompts for Anxiety Reflective Journal Prompts Healing Journal Prompts Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Journal Prompts Mental Health Journal Prompts ASMR Journal Prompts Manifestation Journal Prompts Self-Care Journal Prompts Morning Journal Prompts Evening Journal Prompts Self-Improvement Journal Prompts Creative Writing Journal Prompts Dream Journal Prompts Relationship Journal Prompts "What If" Journal Prompts New Year Journal Prompts Shadow Work Journal Prompts Journal Prompts for Overcoming Fear Journal Prompts for Dealing with Loss Journal Prompts for Discerning and Decision Making Travel Journal Prompts Fun Journal Prompts

Inspiring Ink: Expert Tips on How to Teach Creative Writing

You may also like, 8 best gratitude journals for reflection, mindfulness, and positivity.

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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. So instead of defining what creative writing is , it may be easier to understand what it does by looking at examples that demonstrate the sheer range of styles and genres under its vast umbrella.

To that end, we’ve collected a non-exhaustive list of works across multiple formats that have inspired the writers here at Reedsy. With 20 different works to explore, we hope they will inspire you, too. 

People have been writing creatively for almost as long as we have been able to hold pens. Just think of long-form epic poems like The Odyssey or, later, the Cantar de Mio Cid — some of the earliest recorded writings of their kind. 

Poetry is also a great place to start if you want to dip your own pen into the inkwell of creative writing. It can be as short or long as you want (you don’t have to write an epic of Homeric proportions), encourages you to build your observation skills, and often speaks from a single point of view . 

Here are a few examples:

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The ruins of pillars and walls with the broken statue of a man in the center set against a bright blue sky.

This classic poem by Romantic poet Percy Shelley (also known as Mary Shelley’s husband) is all about legacy. What do we leave behind? How will we be remembered? The great king Ozymandias built himself a massive statue, proclaiming his might, but the irony is that his statue doesn’t survive the ravages of time. By framing this poem as told to him by a “traveller from an antique land,” Shelley effectively turns this into a story. Along with the careful use of juxtaposition to create irony, this poem accomplishes a lot in just a few lines. 

“Trying to Raise the Dead” by Dorianne Laux

 A direction. An object. My love, it needs a place to rest. Say anything. I’m listening. I’m ready to believe. Even lies, I don’t care.

Poetry is cherished for its ability to evoke strong emotions from the reader using very few words which is exactly what Dorianne Laux does in “ Trying to Raise the Dead .” With vivid imagery that underscores the painful yearning of the narrator, she transports us to a private nighttime scene as the narrator sneaks away from a party to pray to someone they’ve lost. We ache for their loss and how badly they want their lost loved one to acknowledge them in some way. It’s truly a masterclass on how writing can be used to portray emotions. 

If you find yourself inspired to try out some poetry — and maybe even get it published — check out these poetry layouts that can elevate your verse!

Song Lyrics

Poetry’s closely related cousin, song lyrics are another great way to flex your creative writing muscles. You not only have to find the perfect rhyme scheme but also match it to the rhythm of the music. This can be a great challenge for an experienced poet or the musically inclined. 

To see how music can add something extra to your poetry, check out these two examples:

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

 You say I took the name in vain I don't even know the name But if I did, well, really, what's it to ya? There's a blaze of light in every word It doesn't matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah 

Metaphors are commonplace in almost every kind of creative writing, but will often take center stage in shorter works like poetry and songs. At the slightest mention, they invite the listener to bring their emotional or cultural experience to the piece, allowing the writer to express more with fewer words while also giving it a deeper meaning. If a whole song is couched in metaphor, you might even be able to find multiple meanings to it, like in Leonard Cohen’s “ Hallelujah .” While Cohen’s Biblical references create a song that, on the surface, seems like it’s about a struggle with religion, the ambiguity of the lyrics has allowed it to be seen as a song about a complicated romantic relationship. 

“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

 ​​If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks Then I'll follow you into the dark

A red neon

You can think of song lyrics as poetry set to music. They manage to do many of the same things their literary counterparts do — including tugging on your heartstrings. Death Cab for Cutie’s incredibly popular indie rock ballad is about the singer’s deep devotion to his lover. While some might find the song a bit too dark and macabre, its melancholy tune and poignant lyrics remind us that love can endure beyond death.

Plays and Screenplays

From the short form of poetry, we move into the world of drama — also known as the play. This form is as old as the poem, stretching back to the works of ancient Greek playwrights like Sophocles, who adapted the myths of their day into dramatic form. The stage play (and the more modern screenplay) gives the words on the page a literal human voice, bringing life to a story and its characters entirely through dialogue. 

Interested to see what that looks like? Take a look at these examples:

All My Sons by Arthur Miller

“I know you're no worse than most men but I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father.” 

Creative Writing Examples | Photo of the Old Vic production of All My Sons by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller acts as a bridge between the classic and the new, creating 20th century tragedies that take place in living rooms and backyard instead of royal courts, so we had to include his breakout hit on this list. Set in the backyard of an all-American family in the summer of 1946, this tragedy manages to communicate family tensions in an unimaginable scale, building up to an intense climax reminiscent of classical drama. 

💡 Read more about Arthur Miller and classical influences in our breakdown of Freytag’s pyramid . 

“Everything is Fine” by Michael Schur ( The Good Place )

“Well, then this system sucks. What...one in a million gets to live in paradise and everyone else is tortured for eternity? Come on! I mean, I wasn't freaking Gandhi, but I was okay. I was a medium person. I should get to spend eternity in a medium place! Like Cincinnati. Everyone who wasn't perfect but wasn't terrible should get to spend eternity in Cincinnati.” 

A screenplay, especially a TV pilot, is like a mini-play, but with the extra job of convincing an audience that they want to watch a hundred more episodes of the show. Blending moral philosophy with comedy, The Good Place is a fun hang-out show set in the afterlife that asks some big questions about what it means to be good. 

It follows Eleanor Shellstrop, an incredibly imperfect woman from Arizona who wakes up in ‘The Good Place’ and realizes that there’s been a cosmic mixup. Determined not to lose her place in paradise, she recruits her “soulmate,” a former ethics professor, to teach her philosophy with the hope that she can learn to be a good person and keep up her charade of being an upstanding citizen. The pilot does a superb job of setting up the stakes, the story, and the characters, while smuggling in deep philosophical ideas.

Personal essays

Our first foray into nonfiction on this list is the personal essay. As its name suggests, these stories are in some way autobiographical — concerned with the author’s life and experiences. But don’t be fooled by the realistic component. These essays can take any shape or form, from comics to diary entries to recipes and anything else you can imagine. Typically zeroing in on a single issue, they allow you to explore your life and prove that the personal can be universal.

Here are a couple of fantastic examples:

“On Selling Your First Novel After 11 Years” by Min Jin Lee (Literary Hub)

There was so much to learn and practice, but I began to see the prose in verse and the verse in prose. Patterns surfaced in poems, stories, and plays. There was music in sentences and paragraphs. I could hear the silences in a sentence. All this schooling was like getting x-ray vision and animal-like hearing. 

Stacks of multicolored hardcover books.

This deeply honest personal essay by Pachinko author Min Jin Lee is an account of her eleven-year struggle to publish her first novel . Like all good writing, it is intensely focused on personal emotional details. While grounded in the specifics of the author's personal journey, it embodies an experience that is absolutely universal: that of difficulty and adversity met by eventual success. 

“A Cyclist on the English Landscape” by Roff Smith (New York Times)

These images, though, aren’t meant to be about me. They’re meant to represent a cyclist on the landscape, anybody — you, perhaps. 

Roff Smith’s gorgeous photo essay for the NYT is a testament to the power of creatively combining visuals with text. Here, photographs of Smith atop a bike are far from simply ornamental. They’re integral to the ruminative mood of the essay, as essential as the writing. Though Smith places his work at the crosscurrents of various aesthetic influences (such as the painter Edward Hopper), what stands out the most in this taciturn, thoughtful piece of writing is his use of the second person to address the reader directly. Suddenly, the writer steps out of the body of the essay and makes eye contact with the reader. The reader is now part of the story as a second character, finally entering the picture.

Short Fiction

The short story is the happy medium of fiction writing. These bite-sized narratives can be devoured in a single sitting and still leave you reeling. Sometimes viewed as a stepping stone to novel writing, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Short story writing is an art all its own. The limited length means every word counts and there’s no better way to see that than with these two examples:

“An MFA Story” by Paul Dalla Rosa (Electric Literature)

At Starbucks, I remembered a reading Zhen had given, a reading organized by the program’s faculty. I had not wanted to go but did. In the bar, he read, "I wrote this in a Starbucks in Shanghai. On the bank of the Huangpu." It wasn’t an aside or introduction. It was two lines of the poem. I was in a Starbucks and I wasn’t writing any poems. I wasn’t writing anything. 

Creative Writing Examples | Photograph of New York City street.

This short story is a delightfully metafictional tale about the struggles of being a writer in New York. From paying the bills to facing criticism in a writing workshop and envying more productive writers, Paul Dalla Rosa’s story is a clever satire of the tribulations involved in the writing profession, and all the contradictions embodied by systemic creativity (as famously laid out in Mark McGurl’s The Program Era ). What’s more, this story is an excellent example of something that often happens in creative writing: a writer casting light on the private thoughts or moments of doubt we don’t admit to or openly talk about. 

“Flowering Walrus” by Scott Skinner (Reedsy)

I tell him they’d been there a month at least, and he looks concerned. He has my tongue on a tissue paper and is gripping its sides with his pointer and thumb. My tongue has never spent much time outside of my mouth, and I imagine it as a walrus basking in the rays of the dental light. My walrus is not well. 

A winner of Reedsy’s weekly Prompts writing contest, ‘ Flowering Walrus ’ is a story that balances the trivial and the serious well. In the pauses between its excellent, natural dialogue , the story manages to scatter the fear and sadness of bad medical news, as the protagonist hides his worries from his wife and daughter. Rich in subtext, these silences grow and resonate with the readers.

Want to give short story writing a go? Give our free course a go!



How to Craft a Killer Short Story

From pacing to character development, master the elements of short fiction.

Perhaps the thing that first comes to mind when talking about creative writing, novels are a form of fiction that many people know and love but writers sometimes find intimidating. The good news is that novels are nothing but one word put after another, like any other piece of writing, but expanded and put into a flowing narrative. Piece of cake, right?

To get an idea of the format’s breadth of scope, take a look at these two (very different) satirical novels: 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

I wished I was back in the convenience store where I was valued as a working member of staff and things weren’t as complicated as this. Once we donned our uniforms, we were all equals regardless of gender, age, or nationality — all simply store workers. 

Creative Writing Examples | Book cover of Convenience Store Woman

Keiko, a thirty-six-year-old convenience store employee, finds comfort and happiness in the strict, uneventful routine of the shop’s daily operations. A funny, satirical, but simultaneously unnerving examination of the social structures we take for granted, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is deeply original and lingers with the reader long after they’ve put it down.

Erasure by Percival Everett

The hard, gritty truth of the matter is that I hardly ever think about race. Those times when I did think about it a lot I did so because of my guilt for not thinking about it.  

Erasure is a truly accomplished satire of the publishing industry’s tendency to essentialize African American authors and their writing. Everett’s protagonist is a writer whose work doesn’t fit with what publishers expect from him — work that describes the “African American experience” — so he writes a parody novel about life in the ghetto. The publishers go crazy for it and, to the protagonist’s horror, it becomes the next big thing. This sophisticated novel is both ironic and tender, leaving its readers with much food for thought.

Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is pretty broad: it applies to anything that does not claim to be fictional (although the rise of autofiction has definitely blurred the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction). It encompasses everything from personal essays and memoirs to humor writing, and they range in length from blog posts to full-length books. The defining characteristic of this massive genre is that it takes the world or the author’s experience and turns it into a narrative that a reader can follow along with.

Here, we want to focus on novel-length works that dig deep into their respective topics. While very different, these two examples truly show the breadth and depth of possibility of creative nonfiction:

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Men’s bodies litter my family history. The pain of the women they left behind pulls them from the beyond, makes them appear as ghosts. In death, they transcend the circumstances of this place that I love and hate all at once and become supernatural. 

Writer Jesmyn Ward recounts the deaths of five men from her rural Mississippi community in as many years. In her award-winning memoir , she delves into the lives of the friends and family she lost and tries to find some sense among the tragedy. Working backwards across five years, she questions why this had to happen over and over again, and slowly unveils the long history of racism and poverty that rules rural Black communities. Moving and emotionally raw, Men We Reaped is an indictment of a cruel system and the story of a woman's grief and rage as she tries to navigate it.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

He believed that wine could reshape someone’s life. That’s why he preferred buying bottles to splurging on sweaters. Sweaters were things. Bottles of wine, said Morgan, “are ways that my humanity will be changed.” 

In this work of immersive journalism , Bianca Bosker leaves behind her life as a tech journalist to explore the world of wine. Becoming a “cork dork” takes her everywhere from New York’s most refined restaurants to science labs while she learns what it takes to be a sommelier and a true wine obsessive. This funny and entertaining trip through the past and present of wine-making and tasting is sure to leave you better informed and wishing you, too, could leave your life behind for one devoted to wine. 

Illustrated Narratives (Comics, graphic novels)

Once relegated to the “funny pages”, the past forty years of comics history have proven it to be a serious medium. Comics have transformed from the early days of Jack Kirby’s superheroes into a medium where almost every genre is represented. Humorous one-shots in the Sunday papers stand alongside illustrated memoirs, horror, fantasy, and just about anything else you can imagine. This type of visual storytelling lets the writer and artist get creative with perspective, tone, and so much more. For two very different, though equally entertaining, examples, check these out:

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

"Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure." 

A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. A little blond boy Calvin makes multiple silly faces in school photos. In the last panel, his father says, "That's our son. *Sigh*" His mother then says, "The pictures will remind of more than we want to remember."

This beloved comic strip follows Calvin, a rambunctious six-year-old boy, and his stuffed tiger/imaginary friend, Hobbes. They get into all kinds of hijinks at school and at home, and muse on the world in the way only a six-year-old and an anthropomorphic tiger can. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is, Calvin & Hobbes ’ popularity persists as much for its whimsy as its use of humor to comment on life, childhood, adulthood, and everything in between. 

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell 

"I shall tell you where we are. We're in the most extreme and utter region of the human mind. A dim, subconscious underworld. A radiant abyss where men meet themselves. Hell, Netley. We're in Hell." 

Comics aren't just the realm of superheroes and one-joke strips, as Alan Moore proves in this serialized graphic novel released between 1989 and 1998. A meticulously researched alternative history of Victorian London’s Ripper killings, this macabre story pulls no punches. Fact and fiction blend into a world where the Royal Family is involved in a dark conspiracy and Freemasons lurk on the sidelines. It’s a surreal mad-cap adventure that’s unsettling in the best way possible. 

Video Games and RPGs

Probably the least expected entry on this list, we thought that video games and RPGs also deserved a mention — and some well-earned recognition for the intricate storytelling that goes into creating them. 

Essentially gamified adventure stories, without attention to plot, characters, and a narrative arc, these games would lose a lot of their charm, so let’s look at two examples where the creative writing really shines through: 

80 Days by inkle studios

"It was a triumph of invention over nature, and will almost certainly disappear into the dust once more in the next fifty years." 

A video game screenshot of 80 days. In the center is a city with mechanical legs. It's titled "The Moving City." In the lower right hand corner is a profile of man with a speech balloon that says, "A starched collar, very good indeed."

Named Time Magazine ’s game of the year in 2014, this narrative adventure is based on Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. The player is cast as the novel’s narrator, Passpartout, and tasked with circumnavigating the globe in service of their employer, Phileas Fogg. Set in an alternate steampunk Victorian era, the game uses its globe-trotting to comment on the colonialist fantasies inherent in the original novel and its time period. On a storytelling level, the choose-your-own-adventure style means no two players’ journeys will be the same. This innovative approach to a classic novel shows the potential of video games as a storytelling medium, truly making the player part of the story. 

What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow

"If we lived forever, maybe we'd have time to understand things. But as it is, I think the best we can do is try to open our eyes, and appreciate how strange and brief all of this is." 

This video game casts the player as 17-year-old Edith Finch. Returning to her family’s home on an island in the Pacific northwest, Edith explores the vast house and tries to figure out why she’s the only one of her family left alive. The story of each family member is revealed as you make your way through the house, slowly unpacking the tragic fate of the Finches. Eerie and immersive, this first-person exploration game uses the medium to tell a series of truly unique tales. 

Fun and breezy on the surface, humor is often recognized as one of the trickiest forms of creative writing. After all, while you can see the artistic value in a piece of prose that you don’t necessarily enjoy, if a joke isn’t funny, you could say that it’s objectively failed.

With that said, it’s far from an impossible task, and many have succeeded in bringing smiles to their readers’ faces through their writing. Here are two examples:

‘How You Hope Your Extended Family Will React When You Explain Your Job to Them’ by Mike Lacher (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

“Is it true you don’t have desks?” your grandmother will ask. You will nod again and crack open a can of Country Time Lemonade. “My stars,” she will say, “it must be so wonderful to not have a traditional office and instead share a bistro-esque coworking space.” 

An open plan office seen from a bird's eye view. There are multiple strands of Edison lights hanging from the ceiling. At long light wooden tables multiple people sit working at computers, many of them wearing headphones.

Satire and parody make up a whole subgenre of creative writing, and websites like McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Onion consistently hit the mark with their parodies of magazine publishing and news media. This particular example finds humor in the divide between traditional family expectations and contemporary, ‘trendy’ work cultures. Playing on the inherent silliness of today’s tech-forward middle-class jobs, this witty piece imagines a scenario where the writer’s family fully understands what they do — and are enthralled to hear more. “‘Now is it true,’ your uncle will whisper, ‘that you’ve got a potential investment from one of the founders of I Can Haz Cheezburger?’”

‘Not a Foodie’ by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (Electric Literature)

I’m not a foodie, I never have been, and I know, in my heart, I never will be. 

Highlighting what she sees as an unbearable social obsession with food , in this comic Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell takes a hilarious stand against the importance of food. From the writer’s courageous thesis (“I think there are more exciting things to talk about, and focus on in life, than what’s for dinner”) to the amusing appearance of family members and the narrator’s partner, ‘Not a Foodie’ demonstrates that even a seemingly mundane pet peeve can be approached creatively — and even reveal something profound about life.

We hope this list inspires you with your own writing. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be that there is no limit to what you can write about or how you can write about it. 

In the next part of this guide, we'll drill down into the fascinating world of creative nonfiction.

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Creative Writing in English

We talk about Creative Writing when we write a text about a special topic. There are various topics to write about when you learn a foreign language. Let's show some examples.

At an early stage you are able to write short texts e.g. about My hometown or My hobbies and interest s. Intermediate learners are able to write texts about pros and cons, like: Which do you prefer? - holidays at home or abroad? Advanced students should write texts about more specific topics. Let's think of Martin Luther King and his words: "I have a dream."

Do not forget: Write simple sentences, don't make your structures too complicated If you follow some rules, it's not complicated to write English texts.

  • Read the task and think twice before you begin.
  • Collect ideas. Make notes on a sheet of paper.
  • Arrange your text, avoid repetitions. Think of an introduction and a conclusion.
  • Write the draft.
  • Read your text again and have a look at the vocabulary and the grammar. Use an English-English dictionary to check the usage of the words. Remind the word order in sentences and questions. Think of additional information you could use in your text.
  • Write your text.
  • Read your text again and watch for spelling mistakes.

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Writing Tips Oasis

Writing Tips Oasis - A website dedicated to helping writers to write and publish books.

21 Top Examples of Creative Writing

By Rofida Khairalla

examples of creative writing

Let’s be practical: anyone can be a writer.

Sure, practicing the skill and perfecting the art takes a certain modicum of natural interest in the profession.

But the thing that so many people can often overlook is that being a “writer” isn’t defined by how much you write.

So many times we can get hung up on trying to write a bestselling novel or groundbreaking book that we can forget that there are so many other types of writing out there.

Take a step back for a moment and think about it this way:

Whether you have a blog, a social media page, or spend all day texting that special someone, there’s probably an inner literary genius inside you waiting to burst out on the page.

Maybe you don’t have the time or the patience to write a novel, and that’s okay. There are plenty of different types of writing out there and you can most likely find one category, or several, that allow you to get your thoughts on paper in a way that works for you.

If you’re curious to know more, or are just interested in trying out a new writing genre, we’ve made it easier for you by compiling a list of the top 21 examples of creative writing.

1. Novel Writing

A novel is probably the most popular example of creative writing out there. When you think “creative writing” an image of Stephen King typing madly at his computer is probably the first thing that pops into your head. And that’s okay. Given that novels have been a popular form of entertainment for centuries, it’s not surprising.  Typically what distinguishes a novel from other forms of writing is that novels are usually works of fiction that are longer in length and follow a set of characters and plot structure.

2. Short Stories

When it comes to examples of imaginative writing, not unlike its longer counterpart, the novel, short stories also follow a set plot and typically feature one character or a selection of characters. However, the thing to keep in mind about short stories is that they typically resolve in fewer than 50 pages.

creative writing examples

3. Flash Fiction

If you’re up for a real challenge, try your hand at some flash fiction . This type is similar to a short story or novel in the sense that it follows some form of a plot. However, flash fiction usually resolves within a few hundred words or less. There are a few kinds of flash fiction that exist: the six word story, the 50 word story, and the hundred word story. Additionally, flash fiction also has another faction known as sudden fiction, which usually tells a full story in about 750 words.

As an example of imaginative writing, the incredible thing about poetry is that there are so many kinds. From narrative to lyrical and even language poetry there’s so many different ways you can express yourself through a poem. You might be especially interested in pursuing poetry if you enjoy word play or experimenting with the musicality behind words.

Although rap is somewhat of a subcategory of poetry, it’s one of the few forms of poetry that can often get over looked in academic classes. However, it’s probably one of the more contemporary types of poetry available while still sticking to many of the classical rules (or tools) of poetry, including rhyme. Also, it’s one of the areas where the best writers are really produced. The reason for that is because rap forces writers to think on their feet in a way that many other genres don’t.

Playwriting is another great writing style to experiment with, especially if you enjoy the idea of seeing your work come to life. Typically, playwriting involves developing a script that both clearly sets the setting, plot, and characters while also minimizing the amount of description used. One of the key elements of a play is that it’s a collaboration of minds, even though they often don’t work together at the same time. Yet the final product, the performance, is always the end result of work done by the playwright as well as the director, actors and even set designers.

7. Scripts (T.V./Movies)

Like traditional plays, movie or T.V. scripts are often the result of collaboration between a team of people including the cast and crew. However, the big difference is that when you’re writing a T.V. or movie script , you’re often working together with the director and the actors as part of the production team.

Not a fiction writer? No problem! You probably have a unique story worth sharing: it’s called your life. Here’s the deal when it comes to memoirs: the biggest thing to remember is that not everything in your life is considered readership-worthy. In fact, most things probably aren’t. But, most likely, there is a unique angle or perspective that you can take when examining your life.

For example, if you have a really distinctive family history and you’re looking into exploring it, that could be a great subject for a memoir. Maybe you have a really interesting job that exposes you to lots of different people and events on a regular basis; you could write a book about your experiences in that field. The key to writing a good memoir is knowing what angle to take on any subject.

9. Non-Fiction Narratives

Of course, a memoir is just a subsection of a category known as the non-fiction narrative. But not all non-fiction narratives are memoirs. Take for example author Tim Hernandez, who wrote the book Mañana means Heaven . Hernandez writes in a style that is inherently descriptive and interesting, despite the fact that the book’s narrative is mostly based on research and interviews.

10. Songs/Lyrics

Another sector of poetry, songs and lyrics are also a great place where you can express your thoughts and emotions not only through words, but also through music. Whether you’re writing a love ballad or a hymn, there are lots of reasons to enjoy working in this genre. While a lot of this genre is relatively unrestrictive in terms of what you can create, it’s a really good idea to get familiar with the basics of song writing. Especially in an era where so much of the music we hear is impacted by technology, the more you know about the art of song writing, the freer you will be to experiment.

11. Speeches

Speech writing is another great way to express yourself and also reach a wider audience. The thing about speeches is that they are both a form of oral and written text, so the key to writing a really good speech is to take into consideration your phrasing, word choice and syntax. More importantly, the way a speech is delivered can really make or break its success. Practice strong enunciation, confident body language and invoking a clear voice.

12. Greeting Cards

You might hear a lot about greeting cards when people talk about how to make easy money as a writer. But the truth is, being a greeting card writer is anything but easy. You have to be able to keep the greeting card expressions short, catchy and, in a lot of cases, funny. However, if you’ve got the chops to try your hand at a few greeting cards, practice writing limericks and other forms of short poetry. More importantly, read lots of greeting cards to get an idea of how the best writers go about creating the really fun cards that you enjoy purchasing.

It used to be that blogs were the place where teenagers could go to express their teenage angst. But nowadays, blogs are also a great place to be if you’re a writer. There are an unlimited amount of topics you can successfully blog on that will garner attention from audiences. You can use your blog as a forum to share your writing or even reflect on current events, the stock market—really anything! The possibilities are endless, but the key is finding a subject and sticking to it. For example, if you decide to start a blog dedicated to rock music, stick to rock music. Avoid long tangents about politics or other unrelated subjects.

14. Feature Journalism

Feature Journalism is a great place to start if you want to get your feet wet if you’re interested in reporting. Why? Because there are a lot more creative aspects to feature journalism compared to news journalism. Feature stories typically allow you more flexibility with the kinds of details you put into the article, as well as more room for creativity in your lede.

15. Column Writing

If you like the idea of journalism but feel you could never be a journalist in light of your strong opinions, column writing is another avenue you can take. The thing about columns is that they’re typically based in ideas and opinions rather than fact. Yet, because columnists are considered experts in their respective fields, their opinion tends to hold more sway with readers.

As part of the non-fiction narrative family, the personal essay, or even the academic essay, has plenty of elements that are creative. Whether you’re writing about personal experiences or a science project, there are lots of opportunities you have to be creative and hook your reader. Even the most mundane reports have the opportunity to become interesting if you know how to present your topic. As with a lot of non-fiction writing, the secret to writing a good essay is all about your framing. When you begin writing, think about explaining the issue in the most engaging way possible. Just because your writing should cut to the chase doesn’t mean that it should be bland, boring or bogged down in technical jargon. Use anecdotes, clear and concise language, and even humor to express your findings.

17. Twitter Stories

With only 140 characters, how can you tell a story? Well, when you use Twitter, that’s exactly what you’re doing. However, a new phenomenon that’s currently taking over the site is a type of flash fiction called Twitterature, where writers tell a full story or write a poem in 140 characters or less.

18. Comic Strips

If you have a knack for writing and drawing, then you might be especially interested in working on a comic strip. Comic strips are harder project to tackle because they require a lot of preplanning before you start writing. Before you begin drafting you need to know the plot and have a strong outline for how the graphics will look.

19. Collaboration

This is typically a writing exercise that writers do with other writers to expand on their creativity. Essentially the way the exercise works is that one writer will start a story and another will finish it. You might be especially familiar with this kind of work if you’ve ever read the work of an author that was completed AFTER their death. However, collaboration is just another way you can bounce ideas off another person. You can also collaborate with other writers for world building , character development and even general brainstorming.

20. Novella

An example of creative writing, a novella is essentially the love child of a short story and a novel. Although the novella does feature a plot, the plot is typically less complicated compared to that of a novel. Usually novellas are about 50 pages.

21. Genre Writing

Another type of writing that fiction writers can do is genre writing. If you think of popular writers like Stephen King, Nora Roberts and James Patterson, then you’re probably familiar with genre writing. Essentially, genre writing is when a writer explores different stories in one particular genre, like romance, fantasy, or mystery. There’s a huge market out there for genre fiction, which makes it definitely worth pursuing if you a have preference for a particular kind of literature.

The important thing to keep in mind as a writer is that experimentation is never a bad idea. If you’re genuinely curious about one or more items on this list, give it a go! Some of the best literary works were created by accident.

What did you think of our list of 21 creative writing examples? Do you have experience in any of these types of creative writing? Do you know of any other creative writing examples? Please tell us more in the comments box below!

21 Top Examples of Creative Writing is an article from Writing Tips Oasis . Copyright © 2014-2017 Writing Tips Oasis All Rights Reserved

As a graduate from the University of Arizona in English and Creative Writing, Rofida Khairalla’s love for classical literature and post-modern fiction extends beyond the realm of books. She has provided her services independently as a freelance writer, and wrote on the news desk for the student-run newspaper, The Daily Wildcat. As an aspiring children’s book author, she’s refined her craft amongst the grand saguaros of the Southwest, and enjoys playing with her German Shepherd on the slopes of Mount Lemmon.

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Creative writing for language learners (and teachers)

Creative writing normally refers to the production of texts which have an aesthetic rather than a purely informative, instrumental or pragmatic purpose.

Creative writing for language learners (and teachers) - writing article - guest writers

Most often, such texts take the form of poems or stories, though they are not confined to these genres. (Letters, journal entries, blogs, essays, travelogues, etc. can also be more or less creative.) In fact, the line between creative writing (CW) and expository writing (ER) is not carved in stone. In general, however CW texts draw more heavily on intuition, close observation, imagination, and personal memories than ER texts.  

One of the chief distinguishing characteristics of CW texts is a playful engagement with language, stretching and testing its rules to the limit in a guilt-free atmosphere, where risk is encouraged. Such writing combines cognitive with affective modes of thinking. As the poet, R.S. Thomas once wrote, ‘Poetry is that which arrives at the intellect by way of the heart.’ The playful element in CW should not, however be confused with a lax and unregulated use of language. On the contrary, CW requires a willing submission on the part of the writer to the ‘rules’ of the sub-genre being undertaken. If you want to write a Limerick, then you have to follow the rules governing limericks. If not, what you produce will be something other than a limerick: obvious, perhaps, but important too. The interesting thing is that the very constraints which the rules impose seem to foster rather than restrict the creativity of the writer. This apparent paradox is explained partly by the deeper processing of thought and language which the rules require.

What are the benefits of CW for learners?

  • CW aids language development at all levels: grammar, vocabulary, phonology and discourse. It requires learners to manipulate the language in interesting and demanding ways in attempting to express uniquely personal meanings. In doing so, they necessarily engage with the language at a deeper level of processing than with most expository texts. (Craik and Lockhart 1972) The gains in grammatical accuracy and range, in the appropriacy and originality of lexical choice, in sensitivity to rhyme, rhythm, stress and intonation, and in the way texts hang together are significant.
  • As mentioned above, a key characteristic of CW is a willingness to play with the language. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the role of play in language acquisition. (Carter 2004, Cook 2000, Crystal 1998) In some ways, the tsunami of the Communicative Approach has done a disservice to language teaching  by its insistence on the purely communicative functions of language. Proponents of ‘play’ point out, rightly, that in L1 acquisition, much of the language encountered by and used by children is in the form of rhythmical chants and rhymes, word games, jokes and the like. Furthermore, such playfulness survives into adulthood, so that many social encounters are characterized by language play (punning, spontaneous jokes, ‘funny voices’, metathesis, and a discourse which is shaped by quasi-poetic repetition (Tannen 1989)). These are precisely the kinds of things L2 learners are encouraged to do in CW activities. This playful element encourages them to play creatively with the language, and in so doing, to take the risks without which learning cannot take place in any profound sense.  As Crystal (1998) states, ‘Reading and writing do not have to be a prison house. Release is possible. And maybe language play can provide the key.’
  • Much of the teaching we do tends to focus on the left side of the brain, where our logical faculties are said to reside. CW puts the emphasis on the right side of the brain, with a focus on feelings, physical sensations, intuition and musicality. This is a healthy restoration of the balance between logical and intuitive faculties. It also affords scope for learners whose hemisphere dominance or learning-style preferences may not be intellectual or left brain dominant, and who, in the normal process of teaching are therefore at a disadvantage.
  • Perhaps most notable is the dramatic increase in self-confidence and self-esteem which CW tends to develop among learners. Learners also tend to discover things for themselves about the language… and about themselves too, thus promoting personal as well as linguistic growth. Inevitably, these gains are reflected in a corresponding growth in positive motivation. Among the conditions for promoting motivation, Dornyei (2001: 138-144) cites:  
  • “5. Create a pleasant and supportive atmosphere.
  •  6. Promote the development of group cohesiveness.
  • 13. Increase the students’ expectation of success in particular tasks and in learning in general.
  • 17. Make learning more stimulating and enjoyable by breaking the monotony of classroom events.
  • 18. Make learning stimulating and enjoyable by increasing the attractiveness of tasks.
  • 19. Make learning stimulating and enjoyable for learners by enlisting them as active task participants.
  • 20. Present and administer tasks in a motivating way.
  • 23. Provide students with regular experiences of success.
  • 24. Build your learners’ confidence by providing regular encouragement.
  • 28. Increase student motivation by promoting cooperation among the learners.
  • 29. Increase student motivation by actively promoting learner autonomy.
  • 33. Increase learner satisfaction.
  • 34. Offer rewards in a motivational manner.”   
  • All these conditions are met in a well-run CW class. The exponential increase in motivation is certainly supported by my own experience in teaching CW. Learners suddenly realize that they can write something in a foreign language that has never been written by anyone else before, and which others find interesting to read. (Hence the importance of ‘publishing’ students’ work in some form.)  And they experience not only a pride in their own products but also a joy in the ‘flow’ of the process. (Czsikszentmihaly 1997).  
  • Finally, CW feeds into more creative reading. It is as if, by getting inside the process of creating the texts, learners come to understand intuitively how such texts function, and this makes similar texts easier to read.  Likewise, the development of aesthetic reading skills ( Kramsch  1993, Rosenblatt 1978), provides the learner with a better understanding of textual construction, and this feeds into their writing.

And teachers? I argued in the first article that teachers, as well as learners, should engage with extensive reading.  In the same spirit, I would argue that there are significant benefits to teachers if they participate in CW.

  • There is little point in exhorting learners to engage in CW unless we do so too.  The power of the teacher as model, and as co-writer is inestimable.
  • CW is one way of keeping teachers’ English fresh and vibrant.  For much of our professional lives we are in thrall to the controlled language of textbook English and the repeated low level error-laden English of our students.  As teachers of language, we surely have a responsibility to keep our primary resource alive and well.
  • CW seems to have an effect on the writer’s level of energy in general.  This tends to make teachers who use CW more interesting to be around, and this inevitably impacts on their relationships with students.
  • The experimental stance with regard to writing in general appears to fee back into the teaching of writing.  Teachers of CW tend also to be better teachers of writing in general                

My evidence for these assertions is largely anecdotal, backed by a survey of writing teachers I conducted in 2006.  One of the interesting facts to emerge was a widespread belief among teachers of writing that CW had a positive effect on students’ writing of Expository texts and helped them develop that much- desired but rarely-delivered ‘authentic voice’. Space does not allow me to expand on these findings, nor on some of the possible activities teachers might try.  I will attempt to make good these omissions in some of my blogs during the month of December. I will also make reference there to ways in which CW intersects with some of our major current concerns. Meantime, anyone interested could sample some of the books from the list below: Fry (2007), Koch (1990), Matthews (1994), Spiro (2004, 2007), Whitworth (2001) and Wright and Hill (2009)

  • Carter, Ronald.  (2004)  Language and creativity: the art of common talk.  London: Routledge.
  • Cszikszentmihalyi. M. ( 1997) Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention.  New York: Harper Perennial
  • Cook, Guy (2000)  Language Play: Language Learning.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Craik, F.I.M  and R.S Lockhart   (1972)  ‘Levels of processing: a framework for memory research’  Journal of  Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour.  11.  671-685
  • Crystal, David (1998) Language Play. London: Penguin
  • Dornyei, Zoltan (2001)  Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fry, Stephen (2007)  The Ode Less Travelled.  London: Arrow Books.
  • Koch, Kenneth. (1990)  Rose, where did you get that red?  New York: Vintage Books.
  • Kramsch, Claire (1993)  Context and Culture in Language Teaching.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Matthews, Paul (1994)  Sing Me the Creation.  Stroud: Hawthorne Press.
  • Rosenblatt, Louise  (1978)  The Reader, the Text, the Poem. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Spiro, Jane (2004)  Creative Poetry Writing.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Spiro, Jane (2007)  Storybuilding. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Tannen, Deborah. (1989)  Talking Voices: Repetition, dialogue, and imagery in conversational discourse.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Whitworth, John.  (2001)  Writing Poetry.  London: A and C Black.
  • Wright, Andrew and David S.Hill.  (2009) Writing Stories.  Innsbruck: Helbling

By Alan Maley

Please note Alan's now finished writing on the site and will not be able to reply personally to your comments.

CW- not an easy task

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All about Creative writing

                         Thank you very much for your extremely useful and highly productive article On creative writing for learners and teachers. In fact I am looking for a great person of your stature who will guide me in my poetic and writing pursuits. I have already requested you to have a look at my poems and you have read them but not offered me suggestions or compliments. I hope you will read my other 2 poems The street children and the typical Indian railway journey and send your comments either to my e-mail or express them in your comments as response.

You have given a detailed information about creative writings and expository writings,how they are useful to the students and teachers,which books they should refer to and which activities they should attempt very clearly and lucidly. I hope you will talk more about in your ensuing blogs.

I believe in constructivism and so your articles appeal to my art. Language acquisition is the need of the hour in non native english speaking countries like India. Since I am text book writer for Andhrapradesh, I would like to interact with you further. I hope you will help me improve my poetic and creative writing skills.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,


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  • What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!

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At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a range of summer school programmes 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 an immersive educational experience on campus in the colleges of the best university in the world. 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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The latest language learning tips, resources, and content from oxford university press., creative writing in english.

  • by Oxford University Press ELT
  • Posted on September 8, 2022 May 24, 2023

creative writing english beispiel

Creative writing starts with reading – this is the source. You’ve got to read A LOT. This will show you what’s possible and how it’s done. It will also give you ideas. A great way to start reading more is by using Oxford Reading Club – here you can find hundreds of graded readers which are right for your level. The more you read, the more you’ll see different styles, mix them up, and then write in a way which is completely new and completely you .

Every creative idea has possibilities . It could become a brilliant story, poem, play, or song lyric. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is to get it down on paper or on screen. Don’t let it just stay in your head. After you’ve written down the idea, you can decide how good it is and what form it might take. Then you can start to write it!


Most creative writing is about telling a story of some kind. Every story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you’re having trouble getting started, try writing from the middle of the story, or even the end. You might discover it’s a better approach. Wherever you start, your first line really needs to ‘hook’ the reader’s attention and make them want to continue. Look at these three examples:

  • There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife ( The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman)
  • It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen . ( 1984 by George Orwell)
  • On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel. ( Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell)

Where does your story happen? Some people think you should write about places you know really well. But you can also do research and use your imagination. Maybe the setting is one place – that dark, little wood at the end of your garden or schoolyard – or several places which are connected: Chinese megacities, for example. Or maybe it’s somewhere fantastic that no human has ever seen: inside the blood, on the surface of Saturn, or in a parallel world where teachers are students and robots are gods. What does it look like? How does it smell? What sounds are there? If you can describe it in detail, you’ll create that place for your reader.

This is where your creative writing can sometimes slow down. It’s natural – you’ve made a start, but you still haven’t reached the end. Stop … and try writing out the whole idea in just one sentence. Does it make sense? Is that the story, poem, or play which you’re actually writing? If it feels like your writing is losing speed or getting boring, introduce something quick and surprising. For example a gun, a ticking time bomb, a truck with no brakes, or a talking cat.


Creative writing is written by people (you), for people (your readers), and about people (your characters). Dealing with life’s challenges is what makes us interesting, and it’s exactly the same for the characters in a story, poem, or play. What do they want – and why can’t they get it? You also want to make your characters convincing. If you can’t invent someone completely new, try combining a few real people. Take the name of one person, the looks and voice of a second person; then add the house and car of a third person. See what kind of character appears!

By this time, you could have built up speed and be racing downhill. But don’t rush the end! Ask yourself what’s changed and – more importantly – what your characters have learnt. Before you write or type the final full stop, check the logic of the story up to this point. Does it all make sense? If so, make sure the end is definitely an end. Here are three famous examples:

  • Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air. ( Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath)
  • Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him—and it was still hot . ( Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak)
  • The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well. ( Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling)

Do you want to improve your story writing in English ? Check out our latest blog to get all the tips you need to improve your story-writing skills.  

creative writing english beispiel

Andrew Dilger is a Managing Editor at Oxford University Press. He has been involved in English language teaching as a teacher, trainer, and editor for over a quarter of a century. He is passionate about the power of reading and claims to have read something every day of his life since he first went to school.

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11 Types of Creative Writing

11 Types Of Creative Writing

What is creative writing? What does it mean to be a creative writer? We often associate creative writing with fictional stories, but there are many more ways of being creative as a writer than this. Here are just a few examples of the different types of creative writing that are available for you to explore.

Writing an essay requires creative thinking. This is especially true for personal or descriptive essays. If you’re trying to create a persuasive argument for the reader, then you’ll need to engage the creative centers of your mind to make that happen.

#2. Journals

A journal is not quite the same as a diary. Diaries help you keep track of the events that happen to you during the day. A journal takes on more of a memoir role. You can choose the types of memories that you write down by keeping everything within a specific topic or heading. Dreams are a common journal, but you could also focus on relationships, contentment, gratitude, or virtually any other emotion.

Poetry might not be a form of creative writing that hits bestseller lists often, but it shouldn’t be ignored by any writer. Poems can be written in any format. You can also write them with specific form and prose if you prefer. If you really want to stretch your creative energies, try to come up with a rhyming story – kids love stories that rhyme. For fun, you could even create a horror rhyming poem for adults to practice your creative skills.

#4. Vignettes

These are short stories that can take on virtually any format that is offered here. Pretty much anything goes from a creative standpoint if you’re writing a vignette – except for the length. This type of creative writing is extremely short. It can even just be a couple of sentences long if you wish, as long as the descriptions used are evocative.

#5. Short Stories

A short story has a natural ABC progression which allows you to tell a full tale that is meaningful to the reader. These stories don’t have to be lengthy either. You can write a solid short story in 1,000-2,000 words and still include character development and plot details.

#6. Letters

Our ability to communicate with one another is relying more and more on the written word these days, so writing letters to someone is a great creative writing skill to develop. You can even have your characters write letters to each other within the context of a story you’re creating.

Some might say that song lyrics are really just a poem set to music, but there is a certain rhythm to song lyrics that is unique to the writing world. If you can play an instrument or like to sing, then consider stretching your creative writing skills into this type of writing to see what happens. If you don’t play an instrument, maybe someone you know does and would be interested in coming up with a collaboration.

#8. Blogging

Think of blogging as a published form of journaling, but without the limitation of purpose. A blog can be a personal diary, a reflection of a spiritual journey, or even be educational in nature.

#9. Free Writing

This might be the most creative type of writing. Just turn on your computer or open up a notebook and start to write. Don’t let anything stop you. Whatever comes to mind gets put onto your screen or that page. Nothing is off-limits. Set a time limit for yourself – say 15 minutes. When you’ve finished, you may have several great ideas that can be turned into larger stories later on.

#10. Reporting

Journalists tend to follow this type of creative writing most often, especially when writing a column or opinion piece. Some journalistic writing only reports facts, events, and actions, but even then there is a certain creative element to the writing that makes it compelling. If you’ve ever read a local article about a city council meeting, then you’ve seen a reporter being creative with some very dry content so it could be interesting.

#11. Speeches

Speeches are a lot like essays, but the goal of a speech tends to be more persuasive or inspirational. The good news about this creative writing type is that virtually any subject matter can be discussed. You do have limits on length in this format – about 100 words can be spoken clearly per minute, so be precise with your key points so a rambling speech isn’t the end result.

These types of creative writing maybe some of the most popular ways to write, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones that are available. You can write memoirs. You can write autobiographies. You can write TV scripts. The goal is simple: to just keep writing. Find your comfort zone, then step outside of it, and your creative energies will thank you for your efforts.

“Find your comfort zone, then step outside of it, and your creative energies will thank you for your efforts. #writetip”

What’s your favorite type of creative writing and why? Share with me on my contact page and if I use your idea, I’ll give you credit and a link to your site!

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A Guide to English: Creative Writing

  • An Introduction to Rhetoric
  • Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
  • The Writing Process
  • Formatting and Citations
  • The Reference Collection
  • Searching for Books
  • Searching for Articles
  • Bibliographic Trace
  • Citation Management
  • Scholarly Associations
  • The English Language
  • Literary Form
  • Peoples and Identities
  • Periods and Movements in American Literature
  • Periods and Movements in Commonwealth Literatures
  • Thematic Genres and "Genre Fiction"
  • Award Winners (indexed)
  • Criticism & Theory

Creative Writing

  • Multimodal Composition
  • Text Analysis / Distant Reading
  • Digital Stewardship
  • Data Visualization
  • GIS and Geospatial Data
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Programming
  • Digital Scholarly Editing


photo courtesy of Nic McPhee.

With your poetic license in your back pocket you can bypass research, right? Not really. Sometimes you need to check your facts for your fiction to work. Encountering something that is factually wrong can break the spell you've cast on your reader and throw them right out of the story. Besides, research can enrich your world-building and inspire you as you put your imagination to work.

Whether you are writing a literary novel, a poem, an essay, a book for young readers, or a multi-volume epic fantasy, your imaginary world sometimes needs an infusion of reality. What does this lonely stretch of highway in Arizona actually look like? Where could I find inspiration to jump-start this poem? What kind of treatment would my protagonist with PTSD get at a VA hospital? What kind of underwear did people wear back in the 1920s, because it needs to come off in this erotic scene.

Try browsing photos using  Google Images  or  Flickr , delving into historical publications using  Google Books , or viewing locations with  Google Earth . People can be a great resource, too. Be prepared to make some phone calls, set up visits, or conduct interviews. Check with a librarian if you have factual or context questions you are having trouble answering. 

These resources will help you think about ways your writing can find support - both as you create something new and as you navigate the writing business.

On this Page

Getting published, honing your craft, fiction writing, writers on writing, writing genre fiction, nonfiction writing.

Librarian's Note: These resources can help you find appropriate venues to submit your creative writing for publication. While it is true that there are more outlets than ever to get one's work published, and self-publishing (sometimes denigrated as the " vanity press ") has yielded occasional success stories, it is wise to research publications and publishers before submitting, and observe Yog's law whenever possible.

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creative writing english beispiel

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Creative Writing / Kreatives Schreiben

Im englischsprachigen Raum versteht man unter creative writing z. B. das Schreiben einer Kurzgeschichte oder eines Gedichts. Im Englischunterricht bedeutet es aber oft das Schreiben von "textbezogenen Texten". Ausgehend von einer Bild- oder Textvorlage soll ein neuer, frei gestalteter Text entstehen, der in seinen Anforderungen über die Inhaltsangabe, Analyse oder Bewertung hinausgeht. Solche Aufgabenstellungen werden unter dem Begriff creative writing zusammengefasst. 

Creative writing verlangt die eigenständige Verfassung und Gestaltung eines neuen Textes. Der Zieltext soll die Strukturmerkmale einer vorgegebenen Textsorte aufweisen und die Vorgaben der Vorlage (Thema, inhaltliche Festlegungen, Merkmale der zu erstellenden Textsorte) aufgreifen. Ziel des Aufgabentyps ist es,

  • das Verständnis der Sachzusammenhänge eines Unterrichtsthemas an einer alternativen Textsorte nachzuweisen,
  • das Verständnis der Strukturmerkmale einer Textsorte durch die eigene Textproduktion unter Beweis zu stellen.

Es gibt unterschiedliche Arten von kreativen Schreibaufgaben. Häufig unterscheidet man

  • die Produktion von fictional texts (literarischen Texten)
  • die Produktion von non-fictional texts (Sachtexten)

Literarische Texte

Typische Aufgabenstellungen sind:

  • Writing a point-of-view story (aus einer anderen Erzählperspektive schreiben)
  • Writing the continuation of a story (die Fortführung einer Geschichte schreiben)
  • Changing prose stories into film scripts (Prosa in Drehbücher umwandeln)


Der Perspektivenwechsel ist eine Form des creative writing, die sich auf Erzähltexte anwenden lässt. Dabei wird ein Teil einer Kurzgeschichte oder eine Romanszene aus der Sicht einer anderen Figur als im Originaltext wiedergegeben. Besonders interessant ist die Sicht einer Nebenfigur oder die Sicht des Gegenspielers. Die Figur erzählt die Ereignisse aus der Position des first person narrator . Diese Aufgabenstellung verlangt, sich in die Betroffenheit anderer Figuren im Text einzufühlen. Ihre Motive und die Konsequenzen, die das Handeln der Hauptfigur auf ihr Leben hat, müssen plausibel dargestellt werden.

Fortführung einer Geschichte

Die Fortführung einer short story beendet einen Originaltext, der nur bis zu einem bestimmten Punkt der Handlung vorgegeben ist (open-ended story) . Die Fortführung der Geschichte sollte nahtlos an den vorgegebenen Text anknüpfen und mit ihm einen Zusammenhang bilden. Wichtig ist vor allem die Auswahl des Endes der Kurzgeschichte (open ending, surprise ending, happy or unhappy ending) . Es ist immer zu prüfen, ob das Ende der Geschichte im Einklang steht mit ihrem Titel, dem Thema, der Aussage, ihrer Stimmung.

Umwandlung in ein Drehbuch

Das Drehbuch bildet die Grundlage einer Verfilmung. Es enthält Anweisungen dazu, wie eine Handlung nicht nur sprachlich, sondern auch außersprachlich, akustisch sowie visuell vermittelt werden kann. Die Umformung einer short story oder einer Schlüsselszene eines Romans in ein film script stellt eine besonders kreative Möglichkeit dar, das Verständnis eines literarischen Textes nachzuweisen. Der Herstellung des Drehbuchtextes gehen folgende Entscheidungen voraus:

  • Was ist die wesentliche Aussage des Ausgangstextes? Mit der Formulierung der Textaussage wird zugleich das Ziel der Drehbuchherstellung formuliert.
  • Welche Aspekte des Ausgangstextes lassen sich filmisch darstellen und wie?
  • Auf welche Einzelheiten des Ausgangstextes kann verzichtet werden, ohne seine Aussage zu verändern?

Typische Aufgabenstellungen zum Schreiben von non-fictional texts umfassen häufig:

  • einen letter to the editor (Leserbrief) schreiben
  • eine E-Mail oder einen letter (Brief) schreiben
  • einen news report (Zeitungsbericht) schreiben
  • einen comment (Stellungnahme) schreiben
  • einen dialogue (Dialog) oder ein interview (Interview) schreiben
  • einen film report (Filmrezension) schreiben
  • ein portrait (Porträt) schreiben


  • #Textproduktion
  • #freies Schreiben
  • #Perspektivenwechsel
  • #point-of-view story

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A more formal email

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creative writing english beispiel

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Die perfekte Abiturvorbereitung

Creative writing - was muss ich beachten.

Im Englischabitur kannst du (insbesondere, wenn du einen Leistungskurs belegt hast) die Aufgabe bekommen,  kreativ  zu werden und einen fiktiven Text zu verfassen. 

Beim  ceative writing , also kreativen Schreiben , kann Folgendes von dir verlangt werden:

Creative writing :

  • Fortführug einer Textvorlage (Fortsetzung)
  • Umschreiben eines Textes mit anderer Erzählperspektive oder anderem Ende
  • Füllen von Leerstellen im Text (z.B. Monolog, Brief)

Das Ziel des creative writing ist es, dass du einen Text eigenständig verfasst und dich dabei am Stil der Textvorlag e orientierst. Das ist wahrscheinlich die größte Herausforderung, denn du musst zunächst die Merkmale des Textes genau erkennen und sie daraufhin in deinem eigenen Text einbringen. 

Versuche nicht den Schriftsteller zu imitieren, denn so wirkt dein Schreibstil künstlich. Du solltest dich allerding durchaus am Stil und der Wortwahl des Originaltextes orientieren. 

Creative writing - Aufgabenstellungen

Typische Aufgabenstellungen zum creative writing könnten lauten: 

  • How could the story continue? 
  • How do you think the story could go on?
  • Rewrite the incident at the ... from John's point of view. 
  • Describe the day on the beach through Mary's eyes. 

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25 Writing Portfolio Examples (PDF & Other Formats) + Useful Portfolio Tips

Are you struggling to create the perfect writing portfolio? Here are 25 writing portfolio examples + 7 useful tips to make it happen!

Image of Protim Bhaumik

Protim Bhaumik

Director, Content Marketing

Written by Protim Bhaumik , edited by Shreya Bose , reviewed by Eric Hauch .

2. Dec 2022 , updated 8. Feb 2024

Preview image of 25 Writing Portfolio Examples (PDF & Other Formats) + Useful Portfolio Tips

Looking to create a writing portfolio? Curious how to do that without futzing with a website builder for days? We’ve been there.

We know that building a writing portfolio is hard — questions like what you should include, where you should host it, and how to effectively create something that gets you work, need answering! To that end, we've put together a list of 25 writing portfolio examples from our customer base that can inspire you as you make your own and included their tips on how they use Authory. (This is a collection of amazing writers, top journalists, and more.)

I also flagged examples that include PDFs because this type of content is notoriously clunky to upload in some website builders. Some clients and employers ask for PDFs, and building that into a portfolio website can be tricky. So, we'll cover how to do that by showing you 5 PDF writing portfolio examples and then 20 regular writing portfolio examples.

5 Writing portfolio examples in PDF format

When you want to save your writing samples, many people start by downloading a PDF that’s saved in a folder and then sometimes, maybe, once a month/year/panic attack, uploaded to a website. It’s a pain to constantly upload your writing samples, but it’s also risky. There’s always the potential your work is edited or removed before you think to save it.

With that in mind, we built Authory. We search the internet for your content and automatically add it to your website. However, we also make it easy to upload existing PDFs you might have.

Here’s how you can do it:

Here are a few examples of how it looks and advice from our customers on building a smart portfolio.

1. Sarah Sparks

Sarah is an advocate, consultant and writer.

For Sarah, Authory is “easy to use and I like how it aggregates media links before I do sometimes.”

That’s our goal. We automatically collect and back up your work so you don’t have to.  

Sarah’s tip: Just make it easy to navigate - one of the reasons I like Authory. One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating collections.

For example, Sarah’s collections include “legal” “social justice” “Indigenous” and “opinion.” Collections make it easy to categorize your content and then send specific collections to editors and publications when you’re asked for writing samples. You can watch a video on creating collections here.

Sarah Sparks' PDF portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

Here are a few additional PDF portfolio examples that you can review.

2. Alex Hargrave

Alex Hargrave's PDF portfolio

You’ll notice that Alex has two collection examples; education and COVID-19.

creative writing english beispiel

3. Kevin Johnston

Kevin Johnston's PDF portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

4. Kerry Sunderland

Kerry Sunderland's PDF portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

5. Urvashi Aneja

Urvashi Aneja's PDF portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

20 Writing portfolio examples in other formats

Besides PDF focused portfolios, we pulled examples of other portfolios and tips for how our expert customers are adapting them to make the best use of them.

Authory is a great additional branding tool

For many people, they have an Authory account to collect their work samples in addition to other branding tools.

1. Brian Clegg

Brian is a science writer with over 40 (fourty!) books in print.

Brian’s Authory site isn’t his only site. It works in addition to his other properties and supports his other online properties. When you google Brian, you’ll find all of these properties. Of note, it’s also possible to integrate an Authory portfolio into an existing online portfolio builder like Wix or SquareSpace.

But why bother? Brian uses Authory to “make my online writing easily available to my book readers and to support my book review site www.popularscience.co.uk .” And with our automatic tools, it takes little time to create this additional homebase for readers.

For Brian, Authory also collects his work, saves it, and he distributes it in a newsletter. It automates and does a lot of work quickly.

Brian Clegg's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

2. Brandon Hill

Brandon is a multimedia journalist covering music and culture, public policy, mental health, the labor movement and social inequality.

“Authory is a great resource for freelancer writers in more ways than you would expect. By automatically updating and feeding your work into a newsletter, it both saves the time and frustration of managing a website and makes for more reliable one to one connections with your audience than social media. Also, by creating automatic pdf back-ups of your publications, you’ll never loose a portfolio piece,” he said.

Like many people in this list, he’s thoughtful about his categories and collections.

“Include some pretty specific categories to lesson the time an employers spends looking at content that might not be relevant to them,” he said.

Brandon Hill's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

3. Scott Matthewman

Scott is a theater critic who is frequently writing reviews. It can be quite a pain to keep these recorded and organized.

“I review over 100 theatre shows a year for various online publications. Authory’s automated tools gives me a single URL where all those reviews can live, hassle-free,” Scott said.

You’ll notice that Scott’s profile shares collections.

“[Authory’s] been useful to promote my reviews to a wider audience on social media. At the end of last year I built a dedicated collection of my 20 favourite reviews for 2022, which was so easy to do and then link to from everywhere.”

Scott Matthewman's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

Use Authory and never worry your work will disappear

4. Tabitha Potts

Tabitha is a published writer with several short stories in print anthologies as well as online.

She uses Authory to share her work with “potential employers, literary agents or publishers (my creative writing, book reviews and journalism are all there).”

The big reason she recommends using Authory is to avoid the situation where your content might be lost and because much of the work is done for you automatically.

And of course it makes it easy to showcase your work.

“I share my Authory profile with every new and potential new client so they can sort and view my published work by category,” she told us.

Tabitha Potts' writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

5. Diana Rosen

Diana is an essayist, flash fiction writer, and poet. For her, Authory is “an elaborate business card.”

Her advice is simple: When capturing published work, review thoroughly to avoid duplication or (Egads!) errors.

Diana Rosen's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

Create collections to share what’s relevant

When you’re sharing your work, with an editor, employer, or even just another writer, you don’t always want to share all of your work. It’s key to create and categorize your work by niche or category. You can create collections that make this very easy and share only specific pieces of content with certain people.

6. Carrie Cousins

Carrie  has 15 years of experience in media, design, and content marketing and is a freelance writer and designer.

We asked her for advice for other portfolio builders.

“Think about ways to group content that showcases specific niches that you work in or want to work in. It can really help make sharing and getting new work a lot easier,” Carrie said.

That’s easy to do with Authory’s collection tools. It’s easy to categorize content, give it a label, and share just this grouping with editors.

Carrie Cousins' writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

7. Stephanie Bernaba

Stephanie is a writer, multimedia journalist, and photographer.

This is easy to do with our collections feature. We want to make it easy for you to organize your work and send exactly what you need to editors so you can land the gig.

Stephanie had a bit of advice, too.

“Communicate your passion with your header. Make your headline impactful but succinct. Lastly, arrange your work into easily-searchable categories,” she said.

Stephanie Bernaba's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

8. David Worsfold

David is a journalist and author, specialising in finance and insurance

You’ll notice that his portfolio uses the collection feature, too.

“By making it easy to share my work. The collections help showcase writing on specific topics,” he said.

Of course, be thoughtful with your categories.

“Think about the audiences you want to reach and organise your work accordingly,” he mentioned.

David Worsfold's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

9. Kathy Parker

Kathy Parker's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

10. Geraldine Brook

Geraldine Brook's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

11. Pam Moore

Pam Moore's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

12. Mary Ann Gwinn

Mary Ann Gwinn's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

13. Simon Denyer

Simon Denyer's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

14. Jarrod Kimber

Jarrod Kimber's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

15. Carrie Back

Carrie Back's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

16. Crystal Housman

Crystal Housman's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

17. Steven Levy

Steven Levy's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

18. Carin Marais

Carin Marais' writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

19. Rosanne Barrett

Rosanne Barrett's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

20. Dan Rosenbaum

Dan Rosenbaum's writing portfolio.

creative writing english beispiel

What your takeaways should be from these writing portfolio examples

What a writer portfolio is, and why you need a writing portfolio.

A writing portfolio is a collection of your best (and possibly all) writing samples put together on a website so that potential clients and employers can make a "buying" decision — in essence, all the information that they may need to engage you for your writing services.

An online writing portfolio can also do wonders for your personal branding if managed well. So, in a word, your portfolio is a single place through which you can source work.

Curating the perfect set of writing samples for your portfolio

It's important to figure out what kind of writer you are and the type of writing work you're looking for. This process will inform the writing samples that you'll highlight in your writing portfolio.

Remember, writers come in all shapes and sizes (literally!), and you could be a content writer, copywriter, novelist, author, non-fiction writer, poet, journalist, and more... the list is practically endless.

With that in mind, it's essential that you curate the content on your writing portfolio with examples that will impress upon readers your specific set (and type) of writing skills so that they can make an informed decision when hiring you.

To that end, if you feel that you don't have a good set of writing samples to upload to your portfolio, then it might be best to get writing!

To help you build out your writing portfolio, I've put together a small set of ideas/resources that I turn to for inspiration, support, and general diversion:

  • Subreddits like r/writingpromts, r/thedailyprompt, and r/promptoftheday are excellent for trying out amateur storytelling.
  • Other subreddits like r/writing, r/freelancewriters, r/keepwriting, r/writers, r/selfpublish, r/blogging, r/copywriting, r/technicalwriting, r/wordcount, r/writingmotivation, offer up a plethora of options for3 you to explore as writer.
  • To find work, subreddits like r/hireawriter, r/forhire, r/b2bforhire, r/writersforhire, r/jobbit, and r/writingopportunities can be a source for work if you're lucky.
  • What's more in your control is writing for your personal social media accounts to build up that personal brand.
  • You could also provide your services for free or reduced rates to friends and family who run a business — this can be for their social media accounts or even their websites.
  • Form a writing group with a friend — I have a weekly writing meetup with a close friend, and this can be an online meetup — my friend is half a planet away!
  • Write about what you know: everyone knows something and has a lot to offer, even if it's a personal experience. For example, when I am stuck, I write about content marketing and SEO — I don't publish these pieces necessarily, but they're great for getting the juices flowing. That said, I could post them in my writing portfolio.

Seven tips for creating the ideal writing portfolio website based on the writing portfolio examples above

The writing portfolio examples above should give you a great idea of what a writing portfolio must look like, and the various ways other writers choose to exhibit their work.

We've also gone over why you need a writing portfolio and how you can create a few writing samples in case you feel the need to.

Now, let's get down to how you should create a writing portfolio website. We'll go over the best and most efficient ways to go about creating it.

1. Make your website more organized for simpler navigation.

It's vital to organize your online writing portfolio in a way that's easy for your readers to follow. Place your top projects front and center for simple accessibility. Note: what the ideal projects are may differ from client to client. So, suppose you divide your work into carefully curated collections with different URLs. In that case, that specific URL that contains projects pertaining to that particular client can be shared with them.

2. The "correct" number of your projects for easy viewability

The conventional wisdom is that you should limit the number of projects on your online writing portfolio so that a prospective client can make a quick and easy assessment.

I think this is WRONG.

Your portfolio website HAS to have ALL your content. Why? Well, because hiring managers, clients, and employers are looking for both quality AND quantity. Yes, they aren't going to read your entire portfolio website, but they are looking for consistency and experience.

Obviously, if you wrote a terrible article long ago as a young budding freelance writer, don't include it. So, I'll change my caveat to " nearly ALL your content."

Hence, the navigation of your writing portfolio becomes super important. Remember how I spoke about dividing your work into collections? Well, that is a must if you're including a ton of content. Split it by topic, type, publication, etc., and then share the correct URL with your prospect. Let them begin their journey through your writing portfolio from a starting point that you have determined for them.

Place your contact information in an easy-to-find spot so that when a prospect is satisfied with your writing, they can contact you immediately.

3. Imagery for better conversion rates

Human beings positively respond to visual stimuli, especially faces, which means if you're able to include graphics in your writing sample, you have a better chance of converting your readers.

4. Write case studies to exhibit results

If you have the bandwidth to do so, then you should take some time to write case studies for the work that you have done. A simple format to follow for writing case studies is as follows:

  • Start with the results: usually exhibited in the form of "increase X by Y." So, for example, I could say I increased traffic to the blog by 11X.
  • Then outline the problems and challenges that the client was facing before you joined the project.
  • Next, explain how you solved those problems with your writing, your work, and general professionalism.
  • And finally, round it off by digging into the details of the results you achieved a bit more and touch upon how the client is doing now.

5. Add social proof to lend credibility to your work

Unfortunately, writing is a creative art, and there are always critics. If you can get a past client to vouch for you and your writing, then that social proof can stand you in good stead when soliciting even more work. Add all the social proof (read: testimonials) you can in your writing portfolio to bump up that conversion rate.

If you have done work for friends and family, this would be a great place to begin hunting for testimonials.

6. Present your contact info in an easily accessible place

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because it's so important. The whole point of having a writer's portfolio is to get work. If people cannot contact you or can't find your contact details, that will severely affect your chances of getting new projects. Social media handles will do if you're uncomfortable with sharing your email address or phone number publicly.

7. Use a website builder for writers like Authory to create your portfolio quickly and back up your work

All of the tips here are excellent (if I say so myself!), but that said, creating a writer's portfolio is a lot of work !

So, leaving the best for last: my final piece of advice is to use a portfolio website builder so that you can cut down the time to build one.

A couple of major issues that writers face are:

  • Updating their writing portfolios when they write new content, especially when creating a portfolio from scratch, takes effort. So, in essence, most writing portfolios are out-of-date.
  • And writers also lose access to their work when websites go down, and content gets re-bylined, etc.

That's why a service like Authory is perfect for writers worldwide. With Authory, you get a self-updating portfolio plus a full auto-updating backup of ALL your content. It's super simple to set up your Authory portfolio:

  • Sign up for Authory for free !
  • Add your sources, i.e., all the places where you've published content on the web. Authory will automatically find your bylined content from these sources and import it into your Authory account.
  • Build a collection from the collection tab: click "+ Create collection" and follow the instructions.
  • Then go to the portfolio tab : go to the "Content" tab on the left menu and add the collection you just created.
  • And then, toggle your portfolio on from the "Portfolio" tab on the left menu, and check out your portfolio!

And now you'll have a self-updating portfolio that also automatically backs up all your content!

To see more writing portfolio examples, check out our other collection :

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Protim is a startup founder & marketer with over a decade of experience in content marketing, content writing, SEO, and more. He loves dogs, D&D, and music!

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ENGL 587 A: Topics in the Teaching of Creative Writing

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7 Plus English: Creative writing prompts explained!

7 Plus English: Creative writing prompts explained!

April 26th, 2021 Last updated: July 6th, 2023

In this blog, the second in a series of 'Types of...' 7 Plus preparation posts, Meredith outlines a range of different creative writing prompts that can appear in the English paper and offers some useful insight and handy tips for preparing for each one.

The ‘composition’ aspect of the 7 and 8 Plus entrance exams can include a variety of different prompts for writing. Getting familiar with the different types of prompts that can appear and practising how to relate back to what is being asked is a crucial skill to practice ahead of the exams. 

Students will usually be given an option of two prompts to use with the words ‘either’, ‘or’. All types of prompts come with some bullet points ‘things / questions to think about / try to include’ that students should read and refer to in their writing. 

Continue the story 

Most often, students are given an option to continue the story from the comprehension passage they have read. This requires that students ensure they know the characters in the story, continue using the correct names and write in ‘third person’. They will also need to use consistency of tense e.g. if the story is written in the present tense, they will need to continue with the same tense and not switch to the past tense. Using clues from the text about the setting and characters are also important – for example, if the comprehension passage describes ‘Lucy’ as ‘quiet and shy’, it would be inconsistent to have Lucy ‘yelling at her friends to hurry up’ in the next part of the story! The same goes for the setting. If the story in the comprehension passage is set in an old, haunted house, it makes sense to keep it there! Another key point about continuing the story is to start where the passage left off, so it is helpful for students to read the last paragraph or few lines again before writing to think about what just happened and what will happen next. 

Write a story about a time when you… 

This is usually connected to the comprehension passage too. For instance, if the comprehension story involved a storm, students may be asked to write about a time when they were in a storm. Key to this is knowing to write in ‘first person’ rather than ‘third’. It is important that students get to practice the skill of writing stories from their own experiences. This can bring the added benefit of using first-hand memories and their own senses. Some students find it easier to rely on their experiences and memories rather than use their imagination so plenty of first-hand experiences of the world is crucial! 

Write a story entitled/ with the title… 

With this kind of prompt, it is essential to really use the title and refer to it somehow throughout the story. For instance, if the title is ‘The Magical World Beyond the Wardrobe’, students will be expected to use the title to write about a relevant setting e.g. a bedroom wardrobe / magical world, a relevant possible problem e.g. getting lost, relevant characters e.g. explorer children, magical creatures and a relevant resolution e.g. finding their way back. The key here is making reference to the title throughout and creating relevant story elements. This kind of prompt may also include a picture to use to spark imagination. 

Need help? View our 7 Plus tutors here

Picture prompt

Less often (but it does come up) is a prompt that is a stand-alone picture. This prompt may ask students to describe what they see in the picture or create a story from it. Either way, students should examine the details of the picture closely for a minute or two and let themselves note down any relevant words, phrases or ideas that begin to form in their minds. Describing the picture requires plenty of descriptive writing practice using adjectives, expanded noun phrases and figurative language (similes, metaphors, personification etc.) as well as drawing on the senses to bring the writing to life. If students are creating a story from the picture, they should let it spark their imagination and include the character and/or setting they see in the picture in their story. An excellent resource for practice with this prompt is the website https://www.onceuponapicture.co.uk/ which has a wealth of amazing and inspiring pictures! 

Character description  

A lesser-seen prompt is that of a character description. Brief character descriptions are important to include in stories (a sentence or two about a character e.g. ‘Imran had dark brown eyes and jet-black hair that was as dark as the night. He was the kind of boy who never seemed to get scared, or at least that’s what it looked like.’ However, this kind of prompt is asking students to write entirely about a character. Important elements to include in a character description are: appearance, personality, likes and dislikes. It is essential students know what these words mean and that they have a range of vocabulary they can draw on to describe a character’s appearance and personality (there are plenty of vocabulary sheets for this purpose). Practising writing character descriptions is hugely helpful, not only for the exams but for a student’s writing journey. 


This is similar to writing a story about a time when… but slightly different! A recount is an autobiographical piece that should appear as non-fiction. That is, the student should write about their real experiences rather than using their imagination. However, one’s imagination can of course be useful to draw on if the student finds they have not had an experience such as ‘A day you spent at the fair’. Recounts should be written from a ‘first person’ perspective and in chronological order using ‘time’ connectives and sentence openers such as ‘First’, ‘Then’, ‘After that’, ‘Later on’, ‘Finally’ etc. 

Diary entry  

I have only seen diary writing once as a prompt in a 7 Plus paper referring to the comprehension passage but it is a useful skill to practice. If the student doesn’t already keep a diary it is helpful to get into the habit of asking the student to write a couple/ few sentences at the end of each day. I personally think keeping a diary/ journal is a wonderful practice for writing in general and helps children to see that writing can be purely for personal pleasure rather than for any external validation or grade. Get students into the habit of writing the date on the top line, beginning ‘Dear Diary’ and signing off with their name. A standard element of diary writing is to include one’s feelings. 

Letter writing 

I have never seen being asked to write a letter as a prompt before but it could come up! Students may be asked to write a letter to one of the characters in the comprehension passage or imagine they are one of the characters writing a letter home etc. Old-fashioned though it may sound, get students to practice writing letters to their friends or family to see the real-life benefit and enjoyment of sending and receiving letters! Personally, I see letter-writing as a beautiful life-skill to develop and enjoy. Ensure students are familiar with the structure and vocabulary for writing both formal and informal letters. 

Creative writing prompts can come in many forms so having some practice ahead of the exam at recognising and writing using the above range of prompts will ensure students feel confident and prepared for whatever appears!

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English (Creative Writing)

English majors with a creative writing concentration develop the skills to launch invigorating careers in the arts.

Why Choose This Program?

The English major with a creative writing concentration allows students to earn a 33-credit English Bachelor of Arts degree with a creative writing focus. It is perfect for students who want to formally study and develop the craft of writing in poetry, fiction, or non-fiction.

What Will You Learn?

The program builds on the English department’s literary offerings. It also provides a structure for creative work in a supportive community. As an English major with a creative writing concentration, students experience the powerful ways literary reading and writing inter-animate each other and set students up for success as writers, editors, agents, and vital members of publishing and writing communities.

Students that select an English major with a creative writing concentration must complete the following coursework to earn their degree:

  • ENGL 240: Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits) 
  • ENGL 306: Introduction to Literary Studies (3 credits) 

3 Courses (9 credits) out of 4 in major level Creative Writing coursework :

  • ENGL 340: Studies in Creative Writing Poetry Workshop (3 credits) 
  • ENGL 350: Studies in Creative Writing Fiction Workshop (3 credits) 
  • ENGL 355: Studies in Creative Writing Non-Fiction Workshop (3 credits)
  • ENGL 360: The Little Magazine: Contemporary Literary Publishing (3 credits) 

3 Courses (9 credits) in Literature at the major level : 

  • 1 course in Pre-18th Century Literature (3 credits) 
  • 2 Additional Literature Courses (Student choice) (6 credits) 
  • 1 Writing/Editorial Internship: ENGL 475 (3 credits) 
  • 1 ENGL 300-level Elective–Writing or Literature (Student choice) (3 credits) 
  • ENGL 395: Senior Seminar (3 credits)

What Will You Do?

Students in this program may pursue these and other careers:


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