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Effective writing advice for aspiring writers
Creative Writing 101
Rather than only giving information or inciting the reader to make an action beneficial to the writer, creative writing is written to entertain or educate someone, to spread awareness about something or someone, or to express one’s thoughts.
There are two kinds of creative writing: good and bad, effective and ineffective. Bad, ineffective creative writing cannot make any impression on the reader. It won’t achieve its purpose.
So whether you’re a novelist, a poet, a short-story writer, an essayist, a biographer or an aspiring beginner, you want to improve your craft. The question is: how?
When you write great fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, amazing things can happen. Readers can’t put it down. The work you wrote becomes a bestseller. It becomes famous. But you have to reach to that level… first .
The best way to increase your proficiency in creative writing is to write, write compulsively, but it doesn’t mean write whatever you want. There are certain things you should know first… it helps to start with the right foot.
So here you have it, a beginners’ guide from Writers’ Treasure :
- An Introduction to Creative Writing
- How to Get Started in Creative Writing in Just Three Steps
- Creative Writing vs. Technical Writing
- Fiction Writing 101: The Elements of Stories
- Poetry Writing: Forms and Terms Galore
- Creative Non-Fiction: What is it?
- Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Creative Writing
- Common Mistakes Made by Creative Writers
For novelists: do you want to write compelling opening chapters?
Are you an aspiring novelist? Will your novel see the light of day? For that, you will need to make the first chapter of your story as compelling as possible. Otherwise, readers won’t even pick up your novel. That chapter can be the make-or-break point that decides whether your novel is published or not. It’s because good editors know how you write from the first three pages… or sometimes even from the opening lines.
To solve this problem, I created a five-part tutorial on Writing Compelling Opening Chapters . It outlines why you need to write a compelling opening chapter, my personal favourite way of beginning it, what should be told and shown in it, general dos and don’ts, and what you need to do after having written it. Check it out for more.
Need more writing tips?
Sometimes you reach that stage when you outgrow the beginner stage of writing but feel that you’re not yet an expert. If I just described you, no worries– Writers’ Treasure’s writing tips are here. Whether you want to make your writing more readable, more irresistible, more professional, we’ve got you covered. So check out our writing tips , and be on your way to fast track your success.
I offer writing, editing and proofreading , as well as website creation services. I’ve been in this field for seven years, and I know the tools of the trade. I’ve seen the directions where the writing industry is going, the changes, the new platforms. Get your work done through me, and get fast and efficient service. Get a quote .
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Top 10 Best Creative Writing Tips for Beginners
Discover the top 10 best creative writing tips for beginners. We asked Ruth, a talented creative writing teacher, for the best exercises, advice and tips for those who are new to this form of artistic expression. Get help with your non-fiction writing skills and learn how to create artistic prose.
Read more posts by this author.
When it comes to creative writing, it can be very difficult to know where to start and how you can improve your skills. Fortunately, there's loads of exercises to explore which will help you turn your ideas into artistic writing!
One thing to remember is that you don’t need to have a degree in English literature or creative writing to be an exceptional writer! The truth is, anyone with a passion for writing can learn and develop their fiction and non-fiction writing skills. We have put together the top 10 best creative writing tips for beginners to help you through your creative writing journey!
Ruth V Jarvis is a skilled author, editor and script consultant. From inspiring students to helping them learn new skills, Ruth is passionate about sharing her approach to creative writing within her workshops at Articulate.
Articulate is set in the London School of Mosaic studio in Gospel Oak, North West London. When visiting London School of Mosaic you can explore a wide range of artistic skills, from beginners mosaic courses to creative writing with Articulate.
Within this inspiring corner of London, students can develop their skills in writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Get the most out of your creative writing within interactive and supportive creative writing workshops with Ruth.
Looking for the best tips and tricks for creative writing success? We partnered up with Ruth to find out her top creative writing tips for beginners!
Top 10 Best Creative Writing Tips for Beginners:
- Find the Best Environment
- Know Your Characters
- Don't be Scared of Drafting
- Keep a Writing Log
- Never Stop Reading
- Explore Your Emotions
- Get Perspective
- Explore Ideas
1. Find the Best Environment
The first of Ruth's top tips is to find the best environment for you. This may be a coffee shop, library, park bench, cafe or in your own home, there is no wrong answers here. Finding the right environment is a personal journey that is well worth exploring!
'There are many ways to start a day's writing, at the heart is making sure you are somewhere you are comfortable and/or offers inspiration. Watching people and taking notes of actions and your environment can be a great spark for a story.'
For many beginners, a workshop may be one of the best places to find inspiration to get started on their creative writing journey!
Sharing ideas, discovering new authors and learning new skills with other creative writing enthusiasts can be an incredibly enriching and energising experience.
'Your style and stories will be unique, remember no two people are the same, value that and it will help to build your confidence.'
Ruth hosts a 12 week long women's creative writing group with the intention of giving women a space to get inspired, share their creativity and explore new skills.
'I have set up the Women’s Writing Group as a space where no subject is off the table. I hope it will be the start of women accessing confidence in their creative writing practice.'
Want a welcoming and artistic environment to build your creative writing skills? Then join Ruth as well as other like minded students to explore new skills and ignite your inspiration.
The best way to get started with writing is putting pen to paper and just writing! Ruth encourages beginners to incorporate freewriting into their creative writing process.
'Freewriting is a fantastic way to unlock ideas. When we wake in the morning, and there is little to influence us, our creative brain has free reign to express all the mind-boggling things it has been cogitating on whilst we sleep. We do some of our best problem solving when our heads are on the pillow.'
Freewriting is a fun and interesting way to explore fresh ideas. This exercise is sure to help beginners get their creative juices flowing!
3. Know Your Characters
When it comes to creating characters, it's important that you know them inside out! Ruth suggests that beginners get to know every aspect of the characters they are creating, from their desires to their struggles.
'Know your characters well. Put your protagonist into many situations, especially ones you are not going to write about; ask yourself how they would behave, and write short paragraphs. It is essential to understand your cast of characters in order to build nuance in their actions.'
Knowing everything about your character will help you create characters and stories that are relatable, believable and impactful.
'The nuance of behaviours and how they manage relationships is key to believable characters.'
4. Don't be Scared of Drafting
Don't be scared of drafting and drafting again. Ruth encourages those who are new to the creative writing process to embrace drafting.
'Remember, your first draft is just that, a draft! Let it flow; try stuff out. The story will have changed by the end of even a meticulously edited first draft. Looking for perfection can hold back vital energy needed for completing eighty thousand plus words.'
Accepting that your first draft is just a draft relieves some of the pressure! Instead of worrying about your writing being flawless, you can concentrate on your ideas and the overall process of creating exceptional writing.
5. Keep a Writing Log
One useful tip Ruth shares with her students is to make sure they keep an accurate writing log. This will make sure you don't loose sight of the small details within your writing.
'Take down the tiny details for continuity: eye colour, birthdays, the name of a pub or a port from where a boat sailed. It will save you a lot of time. There is nothing more annoying than trawling through two-hundred pages of text to retrieve an answer.'
6. Never Stop Reading
For many beginners, the main reason they started writing in the first place was because they read something that moved them or inspired them.
'Never stop reading! Anything you can get your hands on. If you are writing in a genre like fantasy, crime, or horror, it is good to understand the tropes that the reader expects.'
Ruth suggests that reading will continue to inspire you and inform your work throughout the writing process.
7. Explore Your Emotions
For those who are interested in writing poetry, this tip is for you! Ruth believes poetry is often deeply linked to emotion and has some thought provoking advice for aspiring poets,
'poetry often comes from a deep connection to emotion. When you are inspired- write. Read back as you go to look for metre. Does its tempo convey the mood you are looking for?'
When you are feeling inspired or moved, strike while the iron's hot and write! Embrace your emotions and consider the right metre, rhythm and tempo for your writing.
8. Get Perspective
If writing fiction is your thing, Ruth has an insightful tip that will help you with your creative writing process.
'Don't always assume that you have the right character heading up your cast. It's great to take a balanced look at each one and discover what their angle is on the story. You may decide to look at a story from an investigative point of view of a journalist or police officer, you may switch from the protagonist to the antagonist, anything is possible. Explore and look for the unique angle.'
Ruth outlines how it can be beneficial for aspiring writers to look at their ideas, story and characters from a range of different angles. This allows you to get some perspective, take a step back and find opportunities to change, develop, evolve your writing.
Taking the time to really know your stuff is essential when writing! Ruth believes that research is an aspect of creative writing that should definitely not be ignored.
'Research, research, research. When you have a good idea, looking closely at all that surrounds the story is vital for it to stand up. Look at how the setting and era influence the characters lifestyles. What accents and colloquialisms do your characters use. Authenticity makes for quality non-fiction.'
10. Explore Ideas
Ruth encourages students to have faith in their ideas, no matter how big or small they are!
'No idea is not worth exploring. Give it a go. There are lots of ways a story can be told. Changing a location from the real world to a science fiction perspective or writing in poetry instead of prose are just a few ways a story can take flight. Keep writing your ideas down... You never know when they will come in handy.'
Whether you build upon your original idea of don't include it at all, exploring your ideas is always a beneficial part of the creative writing process.
Workshop with Articulate at London School of Mosaic
Ruth thrives through encouraging, inspiring and teaching students within her creative writing workshops.
She believes anyone with a passion for writing has what it takes to become a writer,
'Creative writing can be taught! Yes there are those that have what seems like a natural edge but nothing beats diligence.'
Whether you want to get into the specifics of how to introduce new techniques, skills and exercises into your creative writing process or you want to get inspiration and share ideas, Ruth is sure to have a workshop for you!
'New writers can often feel quite reticent about sharing their work in a public space; confidence to do so takes time, but that still doesn’t mean they should miss out on the opportunity to get some level of feedback.
Join Ruth and other like minded students in a creative writing workshop where you will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of creative writing techniques, exercises and approaches while also getting valuable feedback and advice.
Need more advice?
Everyone has their own reason for taking up creative writing. Perhaps you are a compelling storyteller and you want to develop your craft, or maybe you find freewriting a helpful form of therapy and beneficial for your mental health . Whatever your motivation is for creative writing, we hope you find these top 10 best creative writing tips for beginners helpful!
Take a read of some of our other amazing guides and best round ups below. We're sure you'll find something useful, oh - and don't forget to share the love.
- Top 10 Best Creative Writing Courses in London (2022 Update)
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- 8 Activities To Help You Enjoy Creativity and Wellness Week 2022
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In this section
Fundamentals of Creative Writing
7 minutes reading time
- 03. Characters
- 04. Setting
- 05. Point-Of-View (POV)
- 07. Dialogue
- 09. Learn The Elements Of Creative Writing With An Accomplished Writer
Like any other form of writing, creative writing takes time to excel at. However, it may be complicated to grasp because of the layers that make up a good piece of creative work.
It demands a set of skills and elements combined to form valuable work. And an author cannot succeed in their creative writing career unless they use every aspect in their writing.
Therefore, if you wish to practice and master them, you should register for online creative writing courses .
In the meantime, here are the key elements of creative writing to brush up on:
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You might be thinking, what is creative writing , and how does it have themes? A theme isn't the plot of the story; instead, it is the fundamental message being passed on.
Themes are usually common narratives, which means readers can easily perceive the subject of the story regardless of the culture they belong to or the country they live in.
A few great themes for you to practice creative writing include:
- Good vs. evil
- Circle of life
While themes convey moralistic messages, they must never be openly instructive. This is known as didacticism – preaching a subject so openly that readers lose interest in the story and ignore its true meaning.
There may be primary and secondary themes in a story. And books for kids usually only have a single primary theme, which is the central message of the story.
However, books for older people might have more than one theme as adults are capable of greater understanding.
Furthermore, creative writing embraces two kinds of themes:
- Explicit theme : A theme openly and directly stated
- Implicit theme : An indirectly hinted or indicated theme
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Style in creative writing is defined as the kind of language used. A writer is responsible for creating a writing style as they put their words together to form a story.
Most story writers use a standard writing style. It might sound natural at first, but when you read it closely, you may realize that it is quite formal.
Utterances like "uh," are avoided, and the sentences are better tied together. Moreover, the use of contractions is also minimized. And as easy as it is to understand, it is nothing like conversational English.
Stories written in conversational style are informal as they sound like regular speech. The storyteller's part and the character's dialogues both sound like a normal conversation.
However, a decorative or unusual style of creative writing is used in historical fiction or extreme-fantasy novels.
Furthermore, the earlier editions of traditional English literature might have some examples of unusual writing styles.
But, unfortunately, old-age poetry also uses the same style, so it is pretty challenging to read and comprehend.
Log story short, authors use a various mix of styles to write captivating stories.
Character development is the most crucial element of creative writing! It is the element that explains your narrative to the readers and investigates your subject.
Yet, characters are more than that. They permanently reside in the memories due to the impact they make on the reader's mind.
Characters are often used to help the reader relate to the story. Readers connect themselves to the personalities in the novels they read, which creates a sense of intimacy.
Spending long hours thinking about the best possible character arcs is an essential element of composing fiction.
Any story holds two main types of characters:
- Protagonists : The main character in the story's plot
- Antagonist: The opposing force against the good character. This could also either be a person, civilization, nature, or destiny
Other characters in the story are considered side roles or minor roles. Therefore, they have little effect on the proceedings.
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The setting involves the location and the era in which the story occurred, according to the writer.
However, it might not have as significant an impact on the story as other elements of creative writing have.
There are two types of settings in creative writing;
- Integral setting is crucial and relevant to the plot as it inspires the kind of activities, characters, or subject that any other location could not have
- Background setting, on the other hand, is comparatively less plot-pertinent. We can say that it plays the role of a bland curtain or regular scenery set in a theater
However, it depends on the readers to interpret the setting as they like. For instance, if the story should occur in a vast city, it could be considered an integral setting. This is better explained in these tips .
But other readers might perceive the same location differently because the story could occur in any city according to them.
The setting is still an essential element of creative writing as it simplifies conflict, highlights characters, and influences moods.
Furthermore, if the conflict is "human against nature" then, the setting can play the antagonist's role in the story.
Point of view is the storyteller's perception of the characters and events. In fictional stories, it is either shared by using a first person or third person speech.
The first-person point of view is always a self-witnessed opinion by the author, while the third-person point of view helps describe the events happening to other characters.
A plot is an artistic tool used by writers to structure the events in a story . It is the responsibility of the plot to introduce an occasion, event, or defining moment .
Then, this moment may lead to tension, struggle and bring up the primary narrative in the book. The plot always leads to a series of events that are associated with unlocking the dramatic mystery.
Often, it may also involve a conflict, which is usually the main fight between the protagonist and antagonist.
Either way, it is supposed to be a life-altering event for the protagonist as they either defeat their fears, foes, or inhibitions.
Meanwhile, the beginning of any story holds incredible worth. It needs to:
- Catch the reader's interest
- Define the characters
- Lay the setting
- Materialize the conflict mentioned above
Moreover, the beginning also weaves into the eventual plot of the story. This plot also ends up developing towards the ending of the story.
This is how a plot focuses on maintaining the reader's attention throughout the story. The goal is that the story leaves the reader with a feeling of fulfillment and content.
Another valuable element of creative writing is creating natural scenes. To compose great scenes in your tale, you must already be able to visualize them.
A writer needs to realize what their scenes will be about and what they want the characters to say – the dialogue!
Dialogues are not just about what the characters say; it is also about what they wear and where they reside.
A good writer figures these details out beforehand. However, if you are just beginning your creative writing career , you should focus on the following questions to comprise a great dialogue:
- What details is your audience to be told?
- Is there any information you can skip without hurting the quality of your piece?
Details are good; they allow the reader to imagine and see the writer's story practically. But adding unnecessary amounts of irrelevant information can curtail your writing progress.
This might also bore your readers and make them lose interest. Remember, the dialogue and scenes should always be moving towards the climax.
The last question you should consider is how you will compose your dialogue. If you wish to learn how to be a good composer, you must focus on your dialogues' tempo, sound, and fluency.
The tone is the most crucial element of creative writing as it sets a connection between the reader and the writer.
It can be described as the attitude displayed by the writer towards their subject of writing. To put it simply, the tone is the gravitas that you, as a reader, get from the author's writing.
You may have noticed that it is pretty difficult to describe the concept of tone. This is because the tone is the toughest creative writing element – it is easy to identify but harder to put into words.
Authors use various tones in their novels; however, humor is the easiest one to identify. Therefore, if you are trying to describe the style of your writing to a friend or professor, you should use adjectives like:
Learn The Elements Of Creative Writing With An Accomplished Writer
This might have provided you with a detailed understanding of the elements of creative writing.
However, if you wish to practice, learn and improve your writing, sign up with Superprof for the best creative writing classes.
Superprof is a platform where teachers and students can find each other. Enter your preferences and choose from a list of experienced professionals in your area.
You may find someone who will offer a free first lesson alongside flexible class schedules and creative writing guides .
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I have five years of experience working in the digital marketing industry paired with diverse background in fields such as computer sciences, building and construction, international affairs, medicine and finance. As a marketer, I help businesses of all sizes achieve their goals through increased brand visibility, enhanced lead generation, and proper nurturing of potential leads.
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