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

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

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):

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Jasper AI
Show Not Tell GPT
Dragon Professional Speech Dictation and Voice Recognition
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Sqribble (eBook maker)

Read This Next:

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different types of creative writing and their meaning

14 Types of Creative Writing

by Melissa Donovan | Apr 6, 2021 | Creative Writing | 20 comments

types of creative writing

Which types of creative writing have you tried?

When we talk about creative writing, fiction and poetry often take the spotlight, but there are many other types of creative writing that we can explore.

Most writers develop a preference for one form (and genre) above all others. This can be a good thing, because you can specialize in your form and genre and become quite proficient. However, occasionally working with other types of writing is beneficial. It prevents your work from becoming stale and overladen with form- or genre-specific clichés, and it’s a good way to acquire a variety of techniques that are uncommon in your preferred form and genre but that can be used to enhance it.

Let’s look at some different types of creative writing. As you read through the list, note the types of writing you’ve experimented with and the types you’d like to try.

Types of Creative Writing

Free writing: Open a notebook or an electronic document and just start writing. Allow strange words and images to find their way to the page. Anything goes! Also called stream-of-consciousness writing, free writing is the pinnacle of creative writing.

Journals: A journal is any written log. You could keep a gratitude journal, a memory journal, a dream journal, or a goals journal. Many writers keep idea journals or all-purpose omni-journals that can be used for everything from daily free writes to brainstorming and project planning.

Diaries: A diary is a type of journal in which you write about your daily life. Some diaries are written in letter format (“Dear Diary…”). If you ever want to write a memoir, then it’s a good idea to start keeping a diary.

Letters: Because the ability to communicate effectively is increasingly valuable, letter writing is a useful skill. There is a long tradition of publishing letters, so take extra care with those emails you’re shooting off to friends, family, and business associates. Hot tip: one way to get published if you don’t have a lot of clips and credits is to write letters to the editor of a news publication.

Memoir: A genre of creative nonfiction , memoirs are books that contain personal accounts (or stories) that focus on specific experiences. For example, one might write a travel memoir.

Essays. Essays are often associated with academic writing, but there are many types of essays, including personal essays, descriptive essays, and persuasive essays, all of which can be quite creative (and not especially academic).

Journalism: Some forms of journalism are more creative than others. Traditionally, journalism was objective reporting on facts, people, and events. Today, journalists often infuse their writing with opinion and storytelling to make their pieces more compelling or convincing.

Poetry: Poetry is a popular but under-appreciated type of writing, and it’s easily the most artistic form of writing. You can write form poetry, free-form poetry, and prose poetry.

Song Lyrics: Song lyrics combine the craft of writing with the artistry of music. Composing lyrics is similar to writing poetry, and this is an ideal type of writing for anyone who can play a musical instrument.

Scripts: Hit the screen or the stage by writing scripts for film, television, theater, or video games. Beware: film is a director’s medium, not a writer’s medium, but movies have the potential to reach a non-reading audience.

Storytelling: Storytelling is the most popular form of creative writing and is found in the realms of both fiction and nonfiction writing. Popular forms of fiction include flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels; and there are tons of genres to choose from. True stories, which are usually firsthand or secondhand accounts of real people and events, can be found in essays, diaries, memoirs, speeches, and more. Storytelling is a tremendously valuable skill, as it can be found in all other forms of writing, from poetry to speech writing.

Speeches: Whether persuasive, inspirational, or informative, speech writing can lead to interesting career opportunities in almost any field or industry. Also, speech-writing skills will come in handy if you’re ever asked to write and deliver a speech at an important event, such as a graduation, wedding, or award ceremony.

Vignettes: A  vignette is defined as “a brief evocative description, account, or episode.” Vignettes can be poems, stories, descriptions, personal accounts…anything goes really. The key is that a vignette is extremely short — just a quick snippet.

Honorable Mention: Blogs. A blog is not a type of writing; it’s a publishing platform — a piece of technology that displays web-based content on an electronic device. A blog can be used to publish any type of writing. Most blogs feature articles and essays, but you can also find blogs that contain diaries or journals, poetry, fiction, journalism, and more.

Which of these types of creative writing have you tried? Are there any forms of writing on this list that you’d like to experiment with? Can you think of any other types of creative writing to add to this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing.

Ready Set Write a Guide to Creative Writing

20 Comments

Saralee Dinelli

What is “flash” writing or stories.

Melissa Donovan

Flash fiction refers to super short stories, a few hundred words or fewer.

Elena Cadag

its very helpful especially to those students like me who wasn’t capable or good in doing a creative writing

I’m glad you found this post helpful, Elena.

Tracy Lukes

I also found this to be very helpful, especially because I don’t do very well at writing.

Thanks for letting me know you found this helpful. Like anything else, writing improves with practice.

Bintang

Thank you Melissa. It’s very helpful!

You’re welcome!

Patricia Alderman

Over all good list. Yes blogs can be publishing platforms but only if something is written first. I read what you wrote on a blog.

Zeeshan Ashraf

Thanks a lot Good job

Marie Rangel

Are these types of creaitve writing the same or different if I need to teach children’s creative writing? Can you recommend a website to teach these?

Hi Marie. Thanks for your question. I’ve come across many websites for teaching children’s creative writing. I recommend a search on Google, which will lead you to a ton of resources.

donte

these are very helpful when it comes to getting in college or essays or just to improve my writing

Thanks, Donte. I’m glad you found this helpful.

Jeremiah W Thomas

Free writing really helps me get going. For some reason my prose are much better when I am not beholden to an overall plot or narrative with specific defined characters. I like to free writer “excerpts” on theprose.com. It allows me to practice writing and receive feedback at the same time. I am also trying to blog about writing my first novel, both for writing practice and to keep myself accountable. It really helps!

I feel the same way. Free writing is always a fun and creative experience for me.

Martha Ekim Ligogo

Was trying to give an inservice on writing skills and the different types of writing.

Your wok here really helped. Thanks.

You’re welcome.

Hi, Melissa can you assist me ? I’m trying to improve my writing skills as quickly as possible. Plz send me some more tips and trick to improve my writing and communication skills.

You are welcome to peruse this website, which is packed with tips for improving your writing. I’d recommend focusing on the categories Better Writing and Writing Tips for writing improvement. You can also subscribe to get new articles send directly to your email. Thanks!

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different types of creative writing and their meaning

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Exploring the Different Types of Creative Writing

  • on Sep 26, 2022
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  • Last update: November 16th, 2023

Writing comes in all forms and sizes. But in order for a work to be considered creative writing, it must come from a place of imagination and emotion. 

This is something many people pursuing a  creative writing degree online  at first struggle to get a handle on. Take for example what Franz Kafa said about creative writing, “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” 

Many authors who choose to follow Kafka’s advice—to write “mercilessly” and from the soul—find it comforting that their writing doesn’t have to conform to one style. But this variety of types and forms might leave some writers a bit confused. 

That’s why, in this article, we are going to walk you through the most popular types of creative writing, with some great examples from authors who absolutely rocked their respective forms.   

Types of Creative Writing

In this article:

  • Creative Writing Definition
  • Creative Writing Techniques
  • Free Writing
  • Journal Diaries
  • Personal Essays
  • Short Fiction
  • Novels/Novellas

What Is Creative Writing?

Think of creative writing as a form of artistic expression. Authors bring this expression to life using their imagination, personal writing style, and personality.

Creative writing is also different from straightforward academic or technical writing. For instance, an economics book like Khalid Ikram’s The Political Economy of Reforms in Egypt is an academic monograph. This means that readers would rightfully expect it to contain analytic rather than creative writing.   

So what are some elements that make a written piece more creative than analytic?

Popular Techniques Used in Creative Writing

Despite the fact that creative writing can be “freer” and less traditional than academic writing, it is likely to contain one or more of the following six elements:

1. Literary Devices

Many creative writers use literary devices to convey the meaning and themes of their work. Some common literary devices are allegories , metaphors and similes , foreshadowing , and imagery . These all serve to make the writing more vivid and descriptive .

2. Narrative

Authors often use this technique to engage readers through storytelling. Narrative isn’t limited to novels and short stories; poems, autobiographies, and essays can be considered narratives if they tell a story. This can be fiction (as in novels) or nonfiction (as in memoirs and essays).

3. Point of View

All creative writing must have a point of view; that’s what makes it imaginative and original. The point of view is the perspective from which the author writes a particular piece. Depending on the type of work, the point of view can be first person, third person omniscient, third person limited , mixed (using third- and first-person writing), or—very rarely—second person.

4. Characterization

Characterization is the process by which authors bring their characters to life by assigning them physical descriptions, personality traits, points of view, background and history, and actions. Characterization is key in creative writing because it helps drive the plot forward. 

5. Dialogue

An important element used in many creative writing works is dialogue . Assigning 

dialogue to characters is a way for authors to show their characters’ different traits without explicitly listing them. 

Dialogue also immerses readers in the narrative’s action by highlighting the emotions and tensions between characters. Like characterization, it also helps drive the plot forward.  

6. Plot 

The plot is the sequence of events that make up a narrative and establish the themes and conflicts of a work . Plots will usually include an exp osi tion (the introduction), rising action (the complications), climax (the peak in action and excitement), falling action (the revelations and slowing down of events), and denouement (the conclusion). 

creativity

The Main Types of Creative Writing (With Examples)

What’s great about creative writing is that there are so many types to choose from. In this section, we’ll walk you through the most popular types of creative writing, along with some examples. 

Type 1: Free writing 

Free writing, also known as stream-of-consciousness writing, is a technique that allows words and images to spill onto the page without giving thought to logic, sequence, or grammar. Although authors often use it as an exercise to get rid of the infamous writer’s block , free writing is also useful within a larger work. 

For instance, let’s take a look at this excerpt from Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved.  

Beloved by Toni Morrison [an excerpt]

Beloved by Toni Morrison

the air is heavy I am not dead I am not there is a house there is what she whispered to me I am where she told me I am not dead I sit the sun closes my eyes when I open them I see the face I lost Sethe’s is the face that left me Sethe sees me see her and I see the smile her smiling face is the place for me it is the face I lost she is my face smiling at me

Note how the author uses free writing to convey the character’s disjointed and agitated thoughts. Even punctuation has been set aside here, adding to the rush of the character’s fear and confusion. The imagery is powerful (“the sun closes my eyes”; “her smiling face is the place for me”) and relies on repetitions like “I am not dead” and “I see” to immerse the readers in the character’s disturbed mental state. 

Type 2: Journals and Diaries 

A journal is a written account of an author’s experiences, activities, and feelings. A diary is an example of a journal, in which an author documents his/her life frequently. 

Journals and diaries can be considered creative writing, particularly if they offer more than just a log of events. For instance, if a diary entry discusses how the writer ran into an old friend, it might include details of the writer’s emotions and probably use literary devices to convey these feelings.   

It’s almost impossible to read the word “diary” and not think of Anne Frank. Let’s look at this excerpt from her work The Diary of a Young Girl . 

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl [an excerpt]

The diary of a young girl

Saturday, 20 June, 1942: I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary. It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I—nor for that matter anyone else—will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart. 

In the extract above, Anne adopts a reflective tone. She uses the rhetorical question “what does that matter?” to illustrate how she arrived at the conclusion that this diary will help bring out what is “buried deep in her heart.” 

In this way, the diary serves as a log of events that happened in Anne’s life, but also as a space for Anne to reflect on them, and to explore her resulting emotions. 

Type 3: Memoir

Although they might seem similar at first, memoirs and diaries are two different creative writing types. While diaries offer a log of events recorded at frequent intervals, memoirs allow the writer to select key moments and scenes that help shed light on the writer’s life.  

Let’s examine this excerpt from the memoir of Roxanne Gay, author of Bad Feminist .

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay:

Hunger: a memoir

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

Roxanne Gay offers readers a powerful work on anxiety, food, and body image by taking them on a journey through her past . Using evocative imagery in the excerpt above (“I buried the girl I was”; “I was trapped in my body”) the author shares her psychological trauma and resulting tumultuous relationship with food. 

As with most memoirs—and diaries—this one is intimate, allowing readers into the dark crevices of the author’s mind. However, unlike a diary, this memoir does not provide an account of the writer’s day-to-day life, but rather focuses on certain events—big and small—that the author feels made her who she is today. 

Type 4: Letters

Unlike diary and journal entries—which usually don’t have a specific recipient—letters address one target reader. Many famous authors have had collections of their letters published, revealing a side of them that isn’t visible in other works. 

Letter writing uncovers the nature of the relationship between sender and recipient, and can include elements of creative writing such as imagery, opinion, humor, and feeling. 

Here is an excerpt from a letter by Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood . 

Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote , edited by Gerald Clarke 

Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote

Dear Bob;  Have come, am here, am slowly freezing to death; my fingers are pencils of ice. But really, all told, I think this is quite a place, at least so far. The company is fairly good… I have a bedroom in the mansion (there are bats circulating in some of the rooms, and Leo keeps his light on all night, for the wind blows eerily, doors creak, and the faint cheep cheep of the bats cry in the towers above: no kidding. 

In his letter to editor and friend Robert “Bob” Linscott, Truman paints a scene of his new setting . He uses hyperbole (“freezing to death”) and a powerful metaphor (“my fingers are pencils of ice”) to convey the discomforting cold weather. Truman also uses sound imagery (“doors creak”; “wind blows eerily”; “cheep cheep of the bats”) to communicate the creepy, sinister mood to his reader. 

Type 5: Personal Essays

Many of us don’t normally think of essays as creative writing, but that’s probably because our minds go to academic research essays. However, there are many types of essays that require creative rather than analytic writing, including discursive essays, descriptive essays, and personal essays. 

A personal essay, also known as a narrative essay, is a piece of nonfiction work that offers readers a story drawn from the author’s personal experience. This is different from a memoir, in which the primary focus is on the author and their multiple experiences. 

A personal essay, on the other hand, focuses on a message or theme , and the author’s personal experience is there to communicate that theme using memorable characters and setting , as well as engaging events . These, of course, all have to be true, otherwise the personal essay would turn into a fictional short story. 

Here is an excerpt from a personal essay by writers Chantha Nguon and Kim Green.

The Gradual Extinction of Softness by Chantha Nguon and Kim Green

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge informed the Cambodian people that we had no history, but we knew it was a lie. Cambodia has a rich past, a mosaic of flavors from near and far: South Indian traders gave us Buddhism and spicy curries; China brought rice noodles and astrology; and French colonizers passed on a love of strong coffee, flan, and a light, crusty baguette. We lifted the best tastes from everywhere and added our own.

The opening of this paragraph establishes the author’s strong and unwavering opinion : “we knew it was a lie.” Instead of providing a history of Cambodia, she demonstrates the country’s rich past by discussing its diverse “flavors”: “spicy curries”; “strong coffee”; “light, crusty baguette”, etc. 

Using gustatory imagery , which conveys a sense of taste , the authors reveal their personal version of what makes Cambodia wonderful. The writer communicates the essay’s theme of food and memories through a story of her childhood. 

Type 6: Poetry 

Robert Frost once wrote: “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” Good poetry is effective because it uses the power of imagery to convey what it is to be human. Every word in a poem counts, and the best poems are those that evoke the reader’s emotions without unpacking too much. 

As one of the most diverse types of creative writing, poetry can come in many forms. Some poets prefer to write in the more traditional forms such as sonnets , villanelles , and haikus , where you have particular structures, rhyme, and rhythm to follow. And others prefer the freedom of free verse and blackout poetry . 

Let’s take a look at this excerpt from Maya Angelou’s powerful lyric poem , “Still I Rise.”

“Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems by Maya Angelou

Still I Rise

Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.

Packed with powerful language, this excerpt from Angelou’s poem gives us absolute 

chills! The refrain “I rise” is repeated 7 times in these two verses alone, 

hammering home the idea that the speaker cannot be defeated. 

The imagery, repetition, and rhyme scheme all work together to convey the emotions of pride and resilience. Both verses also rely heavily on metaphors (“I’m a black ocean”; “I am the dream and the hope of the slave”) to convey the speaker’s power. She is not like an ocean or a dream; she is both, and she is unstoppable. 

Type 7: Song Lyrics 

Song lyrics are in many ways similar to poems, except that lyrics are meant to be sung . They are a form of creative writing that allows writers to surpass the rules of grammar and punctuation in favor of creating rhyme and rhythm . This means that the creativity of a  song lyricist is free from the traditional restrictions of language. 

Type 8: Scripts 

Scriptwriting is a form of creative writing that relies heavily on character dialogue , stage directions , and setting . Scripts are written for films and TV shows (known as screenplays and teleplays), stage plays, commercials, and radio and podcast programs. 

Like song lyrics, scripts are written with the intention of reaching a non-reading audience. In other words, scriptwriters must bear in mind how their writing will be 1) interpreted by other storytellers , such as directors, designers, etc., and 2) performed by actors.   

Let’s examine the iconic opening scene from the screenplay of the film Forrest Gump . 

Forrest Gump , screenplay by Eric Roth [an excerpt]

THE MAN Hello, I’m Forrest. I’m Forrest Gump.  She nods, not much interested. He takes an old candy kiss out of his pocket. Offering it to her:  FORREST (cont’d) Do you want a chocolate? She shakes “no.” He unwraps it, popping it in his mouth.  FORREST (cont’d) I could eat about a million and a half of these. Mama said, “Life was just a box of chocolates. You never know what you gonna get.”

From the dialogue and stage directions in this opening scene, the audience can see that there is something innocent, kind-hearted, and simple about the character Forrest Gump. This is conveyed through the way he introduces himself with a slight repetition (“I’m Forrest. I’m Forrest Gump.”) to a complete stranger, and the way he quotes his mother to her. 

Moreover, the action of  Forrest “popping” the candy in his mouth is almost childlike , and that the stranger is reluctant to communicate with him foreshadows the fact that the people Forrest meets are initially suspicious of him and his innocence. Thus, the pauses and silences in the scene are just as important to the work as what is explicitly said. 

Type 9: Short Fiction

Short fiction is a form of creative fiction writing that typically falls between 5,000 to 10,000 words ; however, there is definitely room to go lower than 5,000 words, depending on the topic. 

For instance, flash fiction is a form of short fiction that can be 1,000 words or less. In the case of flash fiction, the author unpacks the “skeleton” of a story in as few words as possible. For instance, legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote a 6-word “story”:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn. 

 In just six words, the reader is led to understand that this is a story of death and loss. 

Nevertheless, the average short story is usually structured around the following elements: characterization , setting , plot , and conflict . Many fiction authors start out writing short fiction because it enables them to nail all the essential elements, which they can then expand upon in longer works. 

Let’s look at an excerpt from Janet Frame’s short story, “The Bath”

“The Bath” by Janet Frame [an excerpt]

She leaned forward, feeling the pain in her back and shoulder. She grasped the rim of the bath but her fingers slithered from it almost at once. She would not pancic, she told herself; she would try gradually, carefully, to get out. Again she leaned forward; again her grip loosened as if iron hands had deliberately uncurled her stiffened blue fingers from their trembling hold. Her heart began to beat faster, her breath came more quickly, her mouth was dry. She moistened her lips. If I shout for help, she thought, no-one will hear me. No-one in the world will hear me. No-one will know I’m in the bath and can’t get out. 

In this paragraph, there is an image of a frail, old woman, physically unable to get out of her bathtub. The diction , or word choice, serves to convey the woman’s sense of fear and helplessness. For instance, words like “grasped,” “slithered,” “uncurled,” and “stiffened,” demonstrate the immense effort it takes for her to try to get out.

 The image of her “moistening” her lips illustrates that fear has turned her mouth dry. And the repetition of “no-one” in the last few sentences highlights the woman’s loneliness and entrapment —two of the story’s main themes. Indeed, the bath symbolizes the unavoidable obstacles brought about by old age. 

Type 10: Novellas / Novels

Novels are one of the most popular forms of creative writing. Though they vary in length, depending on the subject, they’re generally considered a long form of fiction , typically divided into chapters . 

Novellas, on the other hand, are shorter than novels but longer than short stories. Like short stories, novels, and novellas contain characters , plot , dialogue , and setting ; however, their longer forms allow writers a chance to delve much deeper into those elements. 

Type 11: Speeches 

Speeches are a form of writing similar to essays in that both forms are non-fiction , and both usually entail a discussion of the writer’s personal experiences and include engaging events and a particular theme.  

However, speeches differ from essays in that the former are meant to be recited (usually in front of an audience), and tend to be persuasive and inspirational. For instance, think of the purpose of graduation speeches and political speeches: they aim to inspire and move listeners. 

One of the most well-known speeches from the 20th century is Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”. Let’s examine the excerpt below:

“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King [an excerpt]

I have a dream (speech writing)

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

What immediately catches the eye (and ear) in this paragraph is the speaker’s usage of anaphora : the repetition of the phrase “now is the time” serves to emphasize the urgency of the matter being discussed (i.e. the prevalence of racial injustice). 

The speaker’s repetition of the pronoun “our” is an appeal to his audience’s emotions and their sense of unity. Both he and they are in this together, and thus he is motivating them to take on the challenge as one. 

Moreover, the use of figurative language is abundant here and can be found in similar inspirational and motivational styles of creative writing. The imagery created by the metaphor and alliteration in “the d ark and d esolate valley of segregation,” and its juxtaposition with “sunlit path of racial justice,” together aim to convey the speaker’s main message. Segregation has brought nothing but darkness and ruin to American society, but there is hope and light on the path toward racial equality.

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Final Thoughts

Creative writing acts as a medium for artistic expression. It can come in a variety of forms, from screenplays and speeches to poetry and flash fiction. But what groups all of these different types of creative writing under the “creative” umbrella, regardless of form, is their display of a writer’s imagination, creativity, and linguistic prowess. 

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I appreciate you offering such a thought-provoking perspective. It should be useful for academic writing in addition to creative writing, in my opinion. Each method you listed is pertinent and appropriate.

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You’re absolutely right! Many of these writing methods can be applied to both creative and academic writing, enhancing the depth and effectiveness of communication.

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Robert smith enago

Thank you for sharing this enlightening blog post on the various types of creative writing. Your exploration of different writing methods and styles provides an inspiring perspective on the boundless possibilities within the realm of creativity.

It is remarkable to see how creative writing encompasses an array of forms, each with its unique allure and artistic essence. From poetry, fiction, and drama to screenwriting, creative nonfiction, and even songwriting, each avenue offers writers a chance to express their thoughts, emotions, and imagination in captivating ways.

We truly appreciate your kind words! Creative writing is indeed a vast and fascinating world with endless opportunities for self-expression 🙂

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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

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

different types of creative writing and their meaning

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

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  • What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!

Creative Writing Summer School in Yale - students discussing

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

different types of creative writing and their meaning

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Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing: All you Need to Know

Learn the art of storytelling with our comprehensive blog on the Elements of Creative Writing. Discover the vital components that transform ordinary words into extraordinary tales. Dive into character development, plot intricacies, and more as we cover the core aspects of crafting captivating narratives. Read more to find out!

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Whether you're an aspiring novelist, a poet, or simply someone who loves to pen down your ideas, understanding the key Elements of Creative Writing can significantly enhance your skills. In this blog, we will explore the top 10 Elements of Creative Writing that are essential for creating compelling and impactful written works, along with tips. 

Table of Contents  

1) The i mportance of Creative Writing elements 

2) Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing 

   a)  Imagery and descriptive language  

   b)  Character development 

   c)  Plot structure 

   d)  Dialogue and conversations 

   e)  Point of View (POV) 

   f)  Setting and world-building 

   g)  Tone and Style 

   h)  Conflict and resolution 

   i)   Theme and symbolism  

   j)  Editing and revision 

3)  Conclusion 

The importance  of Creative Writing elements  

Creative writing isn't confined to the pages of novels or the lines of poetry; it's a fundamental human expression that predates recorded history. It has been a conduit for cultural preservation, knowledge transfer, and emotional catharsis. But how exactly mastering these elements can improve your writing?   

Every art has its tools, and Creative Writing is no different. The elements we'll delve into aren't just guidelines; they're the building blocks that transform your words from ordinary to extraordinary. By understanding and mastering these Creative Writing elements, you'll be equipped to craft narratives that draw readers in, keep them engaged, and leave an indelible mark on their minds and hearts. 

Unlock your creative potential with our expert-led Creative Writing Training – Register now to ignite your imagination!  

Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing    

Generally, there are various Elements of Creative Writing, each possessing its own unique features. However, many forms of Creative Writing also share some common features. Here’s a detailed explanation of each element every Writer must follow:  

Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing

1) Imagery and d escriptive l anguage   

Imagery and descriptive language are the brushes with which writers paint vivid mental pictures for their readers. By skillfully weaving sensory details, you bring scenes to life and evoke emotions. The rustling leaves, the scent of freshly baked bread, the gritty texture of sand beneath one's feet—these details create a sensory symphony that immerses readers in your world.    

Metaphors, similes, and analogies act as bridges, connecting the familiar with the unfamiliar. Through them, you can compare the indescribable to the known, enriching your narrative with layers of meaning. Mastery of imagery and descriptive language transforms passive reading into an active experience where readers can taste, smell, hear, see, and feel the world you've created.   

Tips :   

a)  When selecting details, focus on the ones that have the most impact and avoid including unnecessary clutter.   

b)  Use metaphors and similes sparingly, making them truly resonate.   

c) T ailor your descriptions to the tone and mood of the scene or story. 

2) Character d evelopment   

Character development is the art of breathing life into your fictional personas. Well-crafted characters are not only relatable but also complex, with layers of personality, desires, flaws, and history. They drive the plot forward, compelling readers to invest emotionally in their journeys. Backstories provide context, explaining why characters behave the way they do.   

Effective character development allows readers to understand, empathise, and even dislike characters. The key lies in making them authentic and evolving. Just as people change, so should your characters. They learn, grow, and adapt, making their arcs believable and satisfying. The beauty of character development is in its ability to mirror the human experience, forging connections between fictional worlds and real hearts.  

a)  Explore your characters' pasts to understand their motivations and fears.  

b) Create a character profile detailing their appearance, background, and personality traits. 

c) Show character development through actions and decisions rather than telling.  

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3) Plot s tructure   

Plot structure is the architecture that holds your narrative together. Think of it as a roller coaster, with highs and lows that keep readers engaged. The introduction sets the stage, introducing characters, settings, and the initial conflict. Rising action builds tension, propelling the story forward. At its peak is the climax, the turning point that determines the characters' fate.   

Falling action allows for a gradual untwisting of events, leading to the resolution. Effective plot structure balances pacing, ensuring readers remain intrigued without feeling rushed. Twists and turns add surprise, while cause-and-effect relationships maintain coherence. A well-structured plot keeps readers invested, eagerly flipping pages to discover what happens next.  

a)  Introduce the main conflict early to hook readers' curiosity.  

b) Use cliffhangers and unexpected twists to maintain suspense.  

c)  Ensure each scene contributes to character development or plot progression.  

4) Dialogue and c onversations   

Dialogue and conversations are windows into your characters' minds and hearts. Natural and dynamic dialogue conveys information and reveals personalities and relationships. Each character's speech patterns, vocabulary, and tone should be distinct, reflecting their backgrounds and emotions .   

Through dialogue, conflicts can be ignited, alliances forged, and secrets unveiled. Subtext—the unspoken thoughts beneath the spoken words—adds depth and intrigue. Conversations can quicken the story's pace, providing relief from dense narrative passages. Dialogue-driven scenes foster engagement, inviting readers to eavesdrop on captivating interactions that fuel the narrative's fire.  

a)  Listen to real conversations to capture natural rhythms and speech patterns.  

b)  Use interruptions and nonverbal cues to make dialogue dynamic.  

c)  Balance dialogue with narrative to avoid overwhelming the reader.  

5) Point of View (POV)  

Plot structure

Point of view (POV) is the lens through which your story is perceived. The choice of POV shapes the reader's relationship with characters and events. First-person offers intimacy, allowing readers to see the world through a character's eyes. Second person immerses readers directly into the narrative. Third person limited provides insight into a character's thoughts, while third-person omniscient offers a broader perspective.   

Consistency in POV is vital; changing viewpoints can confuse readers. The chosen POV influences what readers know and when they know it. It also affects emotional connection and empathy. Selecting the appropriate POV requires consideration of the story's needs and the desired reader experience.  

a)  Experiment with different POVs to find the best fit for your story.  

b)  Consider the level of intimacy and distance you want between characters and readers.  

c)  Be aware of the limitations and advantages of each POV.   

6) Setting and w orld- b uilding   

The setting isn't just a backdrop; it's a dynamic element that influences mood and plot. A well-defined setting isn't merely a stage but an active participant, influencing characters and events. You transport readers to a different reality through meticulous detail, allowing them to immerse themselves fully.  

Effective world-building extends beyond the physical, encompassing societal norms, rules, and even magic systems in speculative fiction. The environment can reflect themes and impact mood. Whether in a fantasy realm or a contemporary city, the authenticity of the setting enhances the reader's experience.   

a)  Research settings thoroughly to ensure accuracy and authenticity.  

b)  Show how characters interact with their environment to convey their experiences.  

c)  Create a sense of place by using unique and specific details.  

7)   Tone and style   

Tone and style are the fingerprints that make your writing uniquely yours. The tone is the distinctive way you express yourself through words—a combination of tone, diction, and syntax. It reflects your personality as an author. Style encompasses sentence structure, pacing, and word choice, influencing the overall feel of your work .   

A comedic style might employ wordplay and witty dialogue, while a dramatic style could use evocative descriptions and emotional introspection. Finding your voice and style involves self-discovery and experimenting with different approaches until you uncover what feels authentic. A strong voice and style leave an indelible mark on readers, making your work instantly recognisable   

a)  Read more to familiarise yourself with different writing styles.  

b)  Practice writing in different tones to discover your preferred voice.  

c)  Revise with a focus on refining your voice; eliminate elements that don't align. 

8)  Conflict and r esolution   

Conflict and resolution are the engine that drives your narrative forward. Conflict introduces challenges that characters must overcome, making their journeys compelling and relatable. There are various types of conflict—internal struggles within characters, external conflicts with other characters or nature, and interpersonal conflicts between characters. Conflict creates tension, propelling the story toward its climax.   

The resolution, whether happy or bittersweet, provides closure and offers insights into the characters' growth. Well-crafted conflicts test characters' limits, forcing them to confront their fears, flaws, and desires. Through the resolution, readers witness the transformation and the culmination of the character's arcs. 

a)  Vary the types of conflict to maintain reader engagement.  

b)  Build tension gradually; escalate the stakes as the story progresses.  

c)  Avoid convenient solutions; resolutions should arise from the characters' choices and actions.  

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9) Theme and symbolism  

Theme and symbolism

Theme and symbolism lend depth and layers to your writing. Themes are the underlying ideas, beliefs, or messages that resonate with readers. They can explore love, friendship, power, or mortality, connecting the narrative to universal human experiences. Symbolism employs objects, actions, or concepts to convey abstract ideas, often adding an element of intrigue.  

A red rose might symbolize love or passion, while a broken mirror could represent self-perception. Themes and symbols intertwine, enriching the story's interpretation and emotional impact. Skilful use of theme and symbolism transforms a tale into an exploration of human nature and society.  

Tips:   

a)  Reflect on the themes that resonate with you and explore them in your writing.  

b)  Use recurring symbols to reinforce thematic elements.  

c)  Allow themes to emerge naturally from the characters' struggles and growth. 

10) Editing and r evisi on    

Editing and revising are the crucial phases that turn your initial draft into a polished masterpiece. Writing is rewriting; the initial draft is a raw exploration of ideas. Editing involves refining sentences for clarity, coherence, and flow. It ensures grammar and punctuation are correct. Revising delves deeper, examining plot holes, character consistency, and thematic resonance.  

Seeking feedback from peers or professionals is invaluable, offering fresh perspectives. The revision process is where your story truly comes to life. It's an opportunity to tighten narrative threads, enhance descriptions, and amplify emotions. Embrace the iterative nature of editing and revising; each pass brings your writing closer to its full potential.  

a) Revise in multiple passes, focusing on different aspects in each round.  

b)  Cut unnecessary details or scenes that don't contribute to the narrative.  

c)  Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling to ensure a polished final product.  

Conclusion   

Creative Writing is a journey of discovery, both for the Writer and the reader. In this blog post, we've explored the essential elements that constitute effective Creative Writing. From the foundation of imagination to the nuances of dialogue, style, and conflict, each element plays a pivotal role in crafting a compelling narrative. By mastering these top 10 Elements of Creative Writing, you'll be equipped to create stories that resonate, inspire, and captivate audiences.  

Elevate your Copywriting skills to new heights with our Copywriting Masterclass – Join today and craft compelling content that captivates your audience!  

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Examples

Creative Writing

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different types of creative writing and their meaning

Creative writing is a form of artistic expression that goes beyond the bounds of traditional literature. It encompasses various genres and styles, including scriptwriting , narrative writing , and article writing , allowing writers to explore and convey their imaginations vividly. This form of writing also includes creating a creative bio , where writers introduce themselves in unique and engaging ways. Creative writing not only hones one’s ability to tell compelling stories but also enhances critical thinking and emotional expression.

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is the art of crafting original content through imaginative expression, including genres like scriptwriting, narrative writing, and article writing. It involves the creation of engaging and innovative texts that showcase a writer’s creativity and unique voice.

Examples of Creative Writing

Examples-of-Creative-Writing

  • Short Stories : Brief fictional narratives often focused on a single theme or event.
  • Novels : Extended fictional works exploring complex characters and plots.
  • Poetry : Artistic expression through verse and rhythmic language.
  • Scriptwriting : Writing scripts for films, television shows, or plays.
  • Memoirs : Personal accounts of significant life experiences.
  • Autobiographies : Comprehensive self-written life stories.
  • Essays : Explorative pieces on a particular subject, showcasing personal viewpoints.
  • Flash Fiction : Very short stories, often under 1,000 words.
  • Narrative Writing : Storytelling that includes a plot, characters, and a setting.
  • Creative Nonfiction : True stories told using literary techniques.
  • Letters : Personalized and imaginative written correspondence.
  • Diary Entries : Personal reflections and daily experiences.
  • Blog Posts : Online articles written in an engaging and personal style.
  • Fables : Short stories with moral lessons, often featuring animals as characters.
  • Fairy Tales : Stories involving magical events and fantastical characters.
  • Fantasy : Fiction set in imaginary universes, often involving magic.
  • Science Fiction : Speculative fiction often dealing with futuristic concepts.
  • Song Lyrics : Written words designed to be sung, expressing emotions and stories.
  • Speeches : Written for public speaking, aiming to inspire or inform.
  • Creative Bio : Engaging and unique personal introductions for authors or professionals.

Creative Writing Examples for Students

1. a day in the life of a superhero.

Title: The Amazing Adventures of Lightning Girl

Lightning Girl woke up to the sound of her alarm clock buzzing. She stretched her arms and smiled, ready to save the world. She put on her blue and yellow suit, laced up her boots, and flew out the window. Her first mission was to stop a runaway train. With a flash of lightning, she zoomed to the scene, using her super speed to bring the train to a safe stop. The passengers cheered, and Lightning Girl felt proud.

2. A Magical Journey

Title: The Enchanted Forest

One sunny morning, Mia discovered a hidden path in her backyard. Curious, she followed it and found herself in an enchanted forest. The trees sparkled with magic, and the animals could talk. A friendly fox named Felix greeted her. He guided Mia to the Fairy Queen, who needed help finding a lost treasure. Together, they ventured through the forest, solving riddles and overcoming obstacles. Mia used her bravery and kindness to succeed. When she found the treasure, the Fairy Queen granted her a wish.

Creative Writing Examples for High School

1. a dystopian world.

Title: The Last City

In the year 2150, the world had changed. Natural disasters and wars had destroyed most of the Earth, leaving only one city standing – Arka. The city was enclosed by a massive dome to protect its inhabitants from the harsh conditions outside. Within Arka, life was strictly controlled by the government. Citizens were assigned jobs, and freedom was limited. Sarah, a young woman, dreamed of seeing the world beyond the dome.

2. A Time Travel Adventure

Title: The Time Traveler’s Dilemma

James was an ordinary high school student until he found a mysterious pocket watch in his grandfather’s attic. The watch had the power to transport him through time. One evening, James accidentally activated the watch and found himself in the year 1920. He witnessed life during the Roaring Twenties, experiencing the excitement and challenges of the era. However, he also discovered that his actions in the past could have serious consequences for the future. James had to navigate the complexities of time travel, learning valuable lessons about history, responsibility, and the impact of his choices.

Creative Writing Examples Short Stories

1. the mysterious key.

Title: The Mysterious Key

Lucy loved exploring old antique shops. One day, she found an ornate key with intricate designs. The shopkeeper said it was part of a set, but he didn’t know what it opened. Intrigued, Lucy bought the key and began searching for its lock. She asked around town and discovered an old mansion on the outskirts that had been abandoned for years.

2. The Lost Puppy

Title: The Lost Puppy

Sam was walking home from school when he heard a whimpering sound. He followed it and found a small, frightened puppy hiding under a bush. The puppy had no collar, and no one in the neighborhood recognized it. Sam decided to take the puppy home and named it Max. He put up posters and asked around, but no one claimed the puppy. Over the weeks, Sam and Max became inseparable. Just when Sam thought he’d have to give Max up, a neighbor recognized the puppy from the posters.

Creative Writing Examples for Kids

1. a talking cat.

Title: The Talking Cat

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Lily who loved animals. One day, while walking in the park, she found a stray cat with bright green eyes. She took the cat home and named it Whiskers. To her surprise, Whiskers started talking! He told Lily that he was a magical cat who could talk to only kind-hearted children.

2. The Magical Treehouse

Title: The Magical Treehouse

Max and Mia were siblings who loved to play in their backyard. One day, they discovered an old treehouse they had never seen before. They climbed up and found a dusty book inside. When they opened the book, the treehouse began to shake and glow. Suddenly, they were transported to a magical land filled with talking animals, friendly giants, and enchanted forests.

Creative Writing Examples for College

1. the existential café.

Title: The Existential Café

In a bustling city, there was a small café known only to a few. The café, called “The Existential,” attracted people searching for deeper meaning in life. One evening, Emma, a philosophy major, entered the café seeking solace from her overwhelming coursework. She met an older man named Henry, a former professor who frequented the café. They struck up a conversation about life, purpose, and the nature of existence. Their discussions became a weekly ritual, challenging Emma’s views and helping her grow intellectually and emotionally.

2. The Forgotten Manuscript

Title: The Forgotten Manuscript

Alex, an aspiring writer, stumbled upon an old, dusty manuscript in the basement of his university library. The manuscript was written by a little-known author from the 1920s and contained a gripping mystery novel that was never published. Fascinated, Alex decided to finish the story and publish it as a tribute to the original author. As he worked on the manuscript, he uncovered secrets about the author’s life, including a love affair and a mysterious disappearance.

Types of Creative Writing

Fiction : Fiction writing involves creating stories that are not real. This genre includes novels, short stories, and novellas. Fiction often explores themes, characters, and plots that captivate readers’ imaginations.

Poetry : Poetry is a form of writing that uses rhythmic and aesthetic qualities of language to evoke meanings. It often employs meter, rhyme, and other linguistic devices to convey emotions and ideas.

Creative Nonfiction : Creative nonfiction tells true stories using the techniques of fiction. This genre includes memoirs, autobiographies, personal essays, and narrative journalism. It blends factual accuracy with narrative flair.

Playwriting : Playwriting involves writing scripts for theatrical performances. It includes dialogue, stage directions, and character descriptions. Playwrights create works for the stage that are performed by actors.

Screenwriting : Screenwriting is the craft of writing scripts for movies and television. It includes the dialogue, actions, and expressions of characters, as well as directions for camera movements and settings.

Flash Fiction : Flash fiction is a very short form of storytelling, usually under 1,000 words. It focuses on brevity and clarity, often delivering a powerful impact in a concise format.

Expository Writing : Expository writing explains or informs. While not traditionally seen as creative, expository writing can be highly creative when presenting information in engaging ways.

Journaling : Journaling involves writing personal reflections, thoughts, and experiences. It can be a way to explore creativity and self-expression in an informal manner.

Letters : Letter writing, though less common today, is a form of creative expression that can be both personal and profound. It includes personal letters, open letters, and epistolary novels (novels written as a series of letters).

Songwriting : Songwriting combines lyrical writing with music. Lyrics can be poetic, narrative, or abstract, and they work in harmony with musical composition to create songs.

Tips for Creative writing

  • Read Widely and Often
  • Write Regularly
  • Keep a Journa
  • Show, Don’t Tell
  • Create Strong Characters
  • Use Dialogue Effectively
  • Embrace the Editing Process

How can I improve my creative writing skills?

Read widely, write regularly, and seek feedback. Practice different genres, including Memo Writing and Report Writing, to enhance your versatility.

Can creative writing help in Memo Writing?

Yes, creative writing enhances narrative skills, making Memo Writing more engaging and effective through improved storytelling techniques.

How does creative writing differ from Report Writing?

Creative writing focuses on imaginative storytelling, while Report Writing presents factual information. Both require clear, compelling language.

Why is ‘show, don’t tell’ important in creative writing?

‘Show, don’t tell’ creates vivid imagery and emotions, drawing readers into the story and enhancing engagement.

Can creative writing improve Report Writing?

Yes, creative writing hones clarity and expression, making Report Writing more compelling and readable.

What role does dialogue play in creative writing?

Dialogue reveals character traits, advances the plot, and creates realistic interactions, adding depth to your writing.

What inspires creative writing?

Inspiration can come from personal experiences, observations, other literary works, and even Memo Writing or Report Writing.

How important is editing in creative writing?

Editing is crucial. It refines your work, improves clarity, and ensures your story resonates with readers.

What is the best way to start a creative writing piece?

Start with a compelling opening that grabs attention, such as an intriguing question, vivid description, or dramatic event.

Why join a writing community?

Writing communities offer support, feedback, and inspiration, helping you grow as a writer in both creative and professional contexts like Memo Writing and Report Writing.

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Have you ever wondered what makes Agatha Christie’s writing different from Dan Brown’s writing? Writing styles are what makes them unique! Even though their literary genres are the same, both these famous authors have different writing styles. 

Understanding what are writing styles and their different types will help you find your own. In this blog, we will understand the meaning of writing styles and types of writing styles with their examples. So get ready to find your style and improve your writing!

Whatever your writing style, we’ll edit it to precision! Learn more

What is a writing style?

A writing style is simply the unique way a writer expresses their ideas and crafts their prose. It’s like their personal signature or fingerprint on the page. A writer’s style can be influenced by factors such as their personality, experiences, target audience, and the purpose of their writing.

Different writing styles can evoke various tones and feelings in the reader, making the piece more engaging, persuasive, or informative. Each style has its own characteristics and techniques that writers use to effectively communicate their message. Mastering different writing styles can make you capable of tackling any writing task that comes your way.

Here’s a list of the most common and important styles of writing:

  • Expository writing style
  • Descriptive writing style
  • Persuasive writing style
  • Narrative writing style
  • Creative writing style
  • Argumentative writing style

Let’s look at these different types of writing styles in depth!

Types of writing styles

We will explore the types and writing style examples to learn more about them. At the end of each writing style is a worksheet for your practice!

1. Expository writing style

Expository writing serves to inform, explain, or clarify ideas and concepts. Its primary goal is to deliver information clearly and concisely without the influence of the writer’s own opinions. This style of writing is foundational in academic and technical settings, where understanding and precision are paramount. 

It is used in writing expository essays , textbooks, business reports, manuals, and articles that aim to educate and inform the reader about a particular subject.

An example of expository writing style:

A journal article explaining the process of photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is the remarkable biochemical process by which plants convert sunlight into chemical energy. It occurs in the chloroplasts, where sunlight and carbon dioxide are transformed into glucose and oxygen through a series of reactions. This process not only fuels the plant’s own growth but also sustains life on Earth by producing vital oxygen and forming the base of the food chain.

The article provides a straightforward explanation of how photosynthesis works without offering opinions or arguments.

Use this worksheet to practice expository writing style: 

Expository Writing Style Worksheet 

2. Descriptive writing style

The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to provide a detailed sensory experience for the reader. It uses rich and evocative language to describe the subject matter in a way that the reader can visualize or imagine vividly. Descriptive writing serves to immerse the reader in the scene or topic, allowing them to feel as if they are part of the setting or event being described. 

It is often used in fiction , poetry , journal entries, descriptive essays , and nature writing, as well as in certain types of journalistic and academic writing where detailed descriptions are necessary.

An example of a descriptive writing style: 

The description of a puppy.

The small puppy was fluffy, with fur as white as snow. Its bright blue eyes sparkled with curiosity as it playfully wagged its tiny tail. The soft jingle of its collar could be heard as it bounced around the sunny backyard, exploring every corner with excitement.

The description uses picturesque language to describe the puppy, making the reader imagine the experience of actually seeing the puppy.

Use this worksheet to practice descriptive writing style: 

Descriptive Writing Style Worksheet

3. Persuasive writing style

The purpose of persuasive writing is to convince or persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view or to take a specific action . Persuasive writers use emotional appeals, logical arguments, and credible evidence to build their case. The effectiveness of persuasive writing lies in its ability to influence the reader’s beliefs or behaviors.

This style of writing is essential in law, advertising, political speeches, and opinion pieces.

An example of a persuasive writing style:

A speech advocating for climate change action.

Today, we stand at a crossroads. The evidence of climate change is undeniable, and its effects are devastating. We have the power to change this trajectory. By investing in renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint, we can safeguard our planet for future generations. The time for debate has passed; now is the time for action.

The speech uses compelling language to convince the audience of the urgency of addressing climate change and suggests clear actions to be taken.

Use this worksheet to practice persuasive writing style:

Persuasive Writing Style Worksheet

4. Narrative writing style

Narrative writing serves to tell a story or to relay events in an organized, chronological manner. It is used to engage the reader by presenting a compelling tale, often to entertain, educate, or convey a particular theme or moral.

In addition to entertainment, narratives can be used to preserve history, as in the case of memoirs or biographies. It can also be used in narrative essays to share personal experiences in a relatable way or to explore complex ideas through literary devices .

An example of a narrative writing style:

A personal anecdote in a college application essay.

Back when I was eleven, a run-down piano in the community hall called out to me, its keys worn from years of neglect. Despite its decrepit state, I saw potential. Day by day, I cleaned and tuned it, and soon, my fingers danced across the keys, bringing life to melodies that had long been silent. That piano wasn’t just an instrument; it was my first step toward a lifelong passion for music.

The essay provides a narrative of personal growth and discovery centered around the piano, offering insight into the writer’s character and history.

Use this worksheet to practice narrative writing style:

Narrative Writing Style Worksheet 

5. Creative writing style

Creative writing’s purpose is to entertain, provoke thought, express feelings, and stretch the imagination of the reader. It’s a way for writers to express themselves creatively by talking about all sorts of human experiences, like wild adventures, deep thoughts, or trying out new ideas. Creative writing can help us understand what it’s like to be human, share stories that touch our hearts, or just give us a break from everyday life.

It includes genres such as fiction, poetry, drama, and other creative forms where the writer’s voice and style are integral to the work’s impact and appeal.

An example of creative writing style:

A short story opening in a literary magazine.

When Luna opened the antique locket, she didn’t expect to find the ocean. But there it was, a drop of the sea, trapped behind glass, its tiny waves crashing against the metal shores. As she peered closer, the sound of distant gulls filled her ears, and the scent of saltwater wafted through the air. Luna blinked, and for a moment, she was no longer in her grandmother’s attic.

This piece uses imaginative elements and detailed imagery to engage the reader and tell a story.

Use this worksheet to practice creative writing style: 

Creative Writing Style Worksheet

6. Argumentative writing style

The purpose of argumentative writing is to present a reasoned argument in favor of a particular position or point of view. This style of writing is analytical and persuasive. It requires the writer to clearly articulate their stance on an issue and support it with evidence, logic, and reasoning. Argumentative writing uses facts and logic, not emotions, to persuade. It encourages critical thinking by presenting multiple viewpoints and debunking opposing arguments.

Argumentative writing is critical in areas such as academic research , opinion-editorial pieces, argumentative essays , legal cases, and public debates.

An example of argumentative writing style: 

An editorial arguing for the preservation of historical buildings.

The city council must act now to protect our historic buildings. These structures are not mere edifices of brick and mortar; they are the embodiment of our community’s rich heritage and cultural identity. Critics may argue that development is essential for economic growth, but must progress come at the cost of our past? Surely, we can find a balance that honors both our history and our future aspirations. Preserving these landmarks is not a blockade to modernization—it is an act of respect for the narrative that has shaped us.

The editorial presents a clear argument for the preservation of historic buildings, addressing potential counterarguments about economic development and proposing a balanced solution. 

Use this worksheet to practice argumentative writing style: 

Argumentative Writing Style Worksheet 

Tips for adapting your writing style

  • Know your purpose:   Make sure you know what you want to accomplish with your writing.
  • Understand your audience: Adjust your style to fit the people who will read your writing.
  • Use appropriate language: Choose words that match your audience and purpose, whether that means using formal or informal language, technical terms, or simpler words.
  • Maintain Flexibility: Be ready to adjust your writing based on feedback and how well it’s working.
  • Practice Consistently: The more you write, the better you’ll get at adjusting your style naturally.

Adapting to a writing style will give an edge to your writing and make your work stand out. Remember, adapting your writing style is not about losing your voice; it’s about expressing your ideas most effectively for a particular context.

Whatever your writing style, always make sure to revise and edit your writing to keep it perfect. As experts in editing and proofreading services , PaperTrue can help you make your writing flawless and error-free!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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different types of creative writing and their meaning

31 Stylistic Devices for Creative Writers

Today’s guest post is by Rose Scott:

Without figurative language , writing would be plain and shallow. The more stylistic devices you know, the more unique your writing can be. If writing is your passion, you probably already know a dozen or so stylistic devices, but I’m betting there are a few on this list you’ve never heard of.

Take a look at this comprehensive list of stylistic devices and see if any might work in your current WIP (work in progress). Of course, you want to be reasonable and not go overboard with forced prose. But I’m sure you can find great places to utilize these wonderful literary techniques.

1. Adnomination

Repetition of words with the same root. The difference lies in one sound or letter. A nice euphony can be achieved by using this poetic device.

Examples: “Nobody loves no one.” (Chris Isaak). Someone, somewhere, wants something.

2. Allegory

Representation of ideas through a certain form (character, event, etc.). Allegory can convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, and imagery.

Example: Animal Farm by George Orwell is all about the Russian Revolution. And characters stand for working and upper classes, military forces, and political leaders.

3. Alliteration

The repeated sound of the first consonant in a series of words, or the repetition of the same sounds of the same kind at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables of a phrase.

Examples: A lazy lying lion. Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers. Sally sells seashells by the seashore.

4. Allusion

Reference to a myth, character, literary work, work of art, or an event.

Example: I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole (an allusion to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll).

5. Anaphora

Word repetition at the beginnings of sentences in order to give emphasis to them.

Example: “Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.” (Martin Luther King)

Opposite: Epiphora. Word repetition at the end of sentences.

Example: “And that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Abraham Lincoln)

6. Antithesis

Emphasizing contrast between two things or fictional characters.

Example: “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

7. Apostrophe

Directed speech to someone who is not present or to an object.

Example: “Work on, my medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught.” (William Shakespeare)

8. Assonance

Repetition of vowels in order to create internal rhyming.

Example: “Hear the mellow wedding bells.” (Edgar Allan Poe)

Related: Consonance. Repetition of consonants.

9. Cataphora

Mentioning of the person or object further in the discourse.

Examples: I met him yesterday, your boyfriend who was wearing the cool hat. If you want some, here’s some cheese. After he had received his orders, the soldier left the barracks.

Arranging text in such a manner that tension gradually ascends.

Example. He was a not bad listener, a good speaker and an amazing performer.

Opposite: Anticlimax. Tension descends.

11. Charactonym (or Speaking Name)

Giving fictional characters names that describe them.

Example: Scrooge, Snow White.

12. Ellipsis

Word or phrase omission.

Example: I speak lots of languages, but you only speak two (languages).

13. Euphemism

Replacing offensive or combinations of words with lighter equivalents.

Example: Visually challenged (blind); meet one’s maker (die)

Opposite: Dysphemism . Replacing a neutral word with a harsher word.

14. Epigram

Memorable and brief saying, usually satirical.

Example: “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” (Virginia Woolf)

15. Hyperbole

Exaggeration of the statement.

Example: If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.

Opposite: Litotes. Understatement.

Asking a question and answering it right away.

Example: Are you going to leave now? I don’t think so.

There are three types of irony:

  • Verbal (Antiphrasis) – using words to express something different from their literal meaning for ironic effect (”I’m so excited to burn the midnight oil and write my academic paper all week long”).
  • Situational – result differs from the expectation (Bruce Robertson, a character of Filth, is a policeman. Nonetheless, he does drugs, resorts to violence and abuse, and so on).
  • Dramatic – situation is understandable for the audience but not the fictional character/actor (audience sees that the fictional characters/actors will be killed now, though the characters don’t expect it).

Describing people/objects by enumerating their traits.

Example: Lock, stock, and barrel (gun); heart and soul (entirety)

18. Metalepsis

Referencing one thing through the means of another thing, which is related to the first one.

Example: “Stop judging people so strictly—you live in a glass house too.” (A hint at the proverb: people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.)

19. Metaphor

Comparing two different things that have some characteristics in common.

Example: “Love is clockworks and cold steel.” (U2)

20. Metonymy

Giving a thing another name that is associated with it.

Example: The heir to the crown was Richard. (the crown stands for authority)

21. Onomatopoeia

Imitating sounds in writing.

Example: oink, ticktock, tweet tweet

22. Oxymoron

Combining contradictory traits.

Example: Living dead; terribly good; real magic

23. Parallelism

Arranging a sentence in such a manner that it has parallel structure.

Example: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.” (Benjamin Franklin)

Opposite: Chiasmus . An inverted parallelism.

Examples: “To stop, too fearful, and too faint to go.” (Oliver Goldsmith); “My job is not to represent Washington to you but to represent you to Washington.” (Barack Obama)

24. Parenthesis

Interrupting a sentence by inserting extra information enclosed in brackets, commas, or dashes.

Example: Our family (my mother, sister, and grandfather) had a barbeque this past weekend.

25. Personification

Attributing human characteristics to nonhumans.

Example: Practically all animals in fairy tales act like human beings. They speak and have traits that are typical of people.

A kind of wordplay. Here are a few types of puns:

  • Antanaclasis – repetition of the same word or phrase, but with a different meaning (“Cats like Felix like Felix.”—“Felix” catfood slogan).
  • Malapropism – usage of the incorrect word instead of the word with a similar sound (“optical delusion” instead of “optical illusion”).
  • Paradox – self-contradictory fact; however, it can be partially true (“I can resist anything but temptation.”—Oscar Wilde).
  • Paraprosdokian – arranging a sentence in such a manner so the last part is unexpected (You’re never too old to learn something stupid).
  • Polyptoton – repetition of the words with the same root (“The things you  own  end up  owning  you.”—Chuck Palahniuk).

27. Rhetorical question

Questioning without expecting the answer.

Example: Why not? Are you kidding me?

Direct comparison.

Example: “Your heart is like an ocean, mysterious and dark.” (Bob Dylan)

29. Synecdoche

Generalization or specification based on a definite part/trait of the object.

Example: He just got new wheels. (car)

30. Tautology

Saying the same thing twice in different ways.

Example: first priority; I personally; repeat again

31. Zeugma (or Syllepsis)

Applying a word to a few other words in the sentence in order to give different meaning.

Example: Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.

Quite a huge list, right? With all these stylistic devices, your writing can potentially be so much more attractive. If you find it difficult to memorize them all, here’s what I recommend you do: make flashcards. Write a stylistic device on one side of the flashcard and its meaning on the other side, then work on memorizing a few a day. Voila! Enjoy your learning and writing.

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13 Comments

great post! thanks Rose, for a super stellar list of dynamic devices! i’ve saved the list for future and fair-constant reference. there’s always something good on this blog! Merry Christmas everyone!!

Oh man, it’s like Christmas has come early. I love posts like this – and I’ll both share it *and* copy it to my desktop ha!

Items I didn’t know about but immediately fell in love with: adnomination, anaphora, hypophora (I hadn’t realised, but I do this all of the time, which now seems pretty annoying!), and zeugma. Thank you once again!

Glad you enjoyed this post! Have a happy Christmas!

Thanks much for you “31 Stylistic Devices … …” I was in the process of writing a transcript when I sort of stumbled across the need to correctly define a scenario.

I did a quick surf, directly asking for what I wanted, this popped up. I scanned your list and had the “Eureka!” moment. “METAPHOR!”

It’s really great of you also sharing without obligation. We do a lot of that in our realm of things.

Okay! Thanks again! Please, have a great weekend!

P.S. For you Ms. Lakin. Thanks for making this site available! Please, have a great weekend, as well!

Thanks for the kind words! Glad you are getting some benefit from the blog’s content!

Do you have a list of stylised paragraphs? Not just the main 4 (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive), but other types of paragraphs that apply rhetorical ornaments and devices.

Forgot to say thank you for this lovely and informative post.

Wow this post has boost my understanding of the analysing the prose techniques in a book. Thank u very much

I greatly appreciate the time and effort you put into constructing this list. I especially enjoy how you introduced me to unfamiliar and complex stylistic devices. I will attempt to incorporate these techniques in my future writing. Synecdoche is a wonderful device that I have not heard of before, I’ll have to steal it :P. Is there any way I can contact you? I would love to have a nerdy conversation about English!

Sincerely, Jenny Wales

It was interesting when you talked about how parallelism arranges sentences so their structure is parallel to each other. I’ve been wanting to find some poetry online to help me sort through my emotions from a loved one’s death last month. Thanks for teaching me these writing devices to look out for so I can understand the poems as effectively as possible.

Hi Rose I like your terms and I am using it on my writing my thesis on stylistics.

Actually, there are 32 stylistic devices in your list, since there are two no. 17.

Thankyou so much for the compilation.It was quite helpful to me while writing my work of literature especially since english isnt my first language.Its simply priceless

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6 Types of Writing Styles Every Writer Should Know

different types of creative writing and their meaning

If you’ve got decent writing skills, you’re armed with the ability to inspire, entertain, persuade, and instruct. You can help others explore an entirely new point of view, immerse readers in an unfamiliar world, and make complicated knowledge more accessible.

No doubt about it. There’s tremendous power in writing. At least, there is if you know how to adapt your technique for the goal you want to achieve.

That’s where writing styles come into play.

You see, the objective that guides your work should always inform the way you write; you’d likely use different words for a business letter than you would for a poem. Your sentence structure, rhythm, and pace would be different, too. 

Those distinctions are what define different types of writing styles. And when you know how to name and categorize those different styles, you’re better prepared to discuss your craft as an author, your assignments as a student, or your qualifications as a professional.

So let’s take a tour of the most common types of writing styles. In this article, you’ll learn all about:

  • Narrative writing
  • Descriptive writing
  • Expository writing
  • Persuasive writing
  • Technical writing
  • Creative writing

You’ll get to know the goals for each one, see a few examples, and even pick up a few tricks for mastering the style.

Before we get into all that, I’d like to clear up one potential point of confusion:

Aren’t You Supposed to Find Your Own Writing Style?

A writer touches a pen to their lips as they stare at a computer screen.

If you spend much time around DabbleU or any place where people love talking about creative writing, you may have heard the term “writing style” referred to as an individual technique, rather than an entire category of written communication.

That’s because the literary world is confusing, and sometimes we use one word for two different things. Like sequel and sequel .

In creative writing, an author’s writing style is their own unique combination of voice , tone , diction , and syntax. It’s the literary fingerprint you develop over time, and you can learn how to do that here .

In this article, however, we’re talking about writing styles as broad categories that indicate what the author wants to achieve and how the piece should be written to achieve that goal.  

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s start exploring the six most common types of writing styles.

Narrative Writing

An illustrated novel lies open on a floral bedsheet.

The goal of narrative writing is to tell a story. There’s a main character who confronts a challenge in their pursuit of a goal . The character makes choices that have consequences—good and/or bad—and it all comes to some sort of resolution . 

Most of the time, the purpose of the story is to entertain or connect with the reader on an emotional level. 

However, advertisers can use narrative writing to persuade consumers to buy a product. Historians can use it to highlight the humanity and modern relevance of past events. Speechwriters can tap into their narrative writing skills when they want to energize listeners with an inspiring tale.

This style of writing is so powerful because it engages the reader’s emotions and invites them to imagine unfamiliar experiences.

Narrative Writing Examples 

The most common forms of narrative writing include:

  • Short stories
  • Flash fiction
  • Autobiographies /biographies
  • Narrative nonfiction
  • Narrative poetry

The goal of narrative writing is to draw the reader into the setting and immerse them in the story. That means this particular style uses dialogue , a lot of descriptive language, a distinctive voice, and a strong point of view. You know, stuff like:

Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it. – Night Watch
“‘You are,’ he says, ‘the absolute worst idea I've ever had.’” – Red, White, and Royal Blue

Narrative Writing Tips

To nail narrative writing, you need:

A main character readers will love - This usually means creating a blend of vulnerability , virtue, and flaws .

A compelling conflict - The stakes should be high for your main character, and the conflict should grow more serious as the story progresses.

Vivid sensory details - Strong imagery pulls your readers into the narrative and helps them empathize with your characters’ experiences.

Deeper meaning - Use the narrative to explore deeper themes your audience can connect to.

Descriptive Writing

A beautiful scene of small buildings beside a blue lake on green hilly farmland backed by the stone wall of a mountain.

Descriptive writing aims to help readers imagine an environment, person, or experience. 

While all the other types of writing styles in this article can stand alone, descriptive writing is often used to support other styles.

For example, it comes in handy when you want to describe the setting of a novel. You could also use this style to paint a picture of your neighborhood at rush hour if you were writing a persuasive article about the need for more traffic lights in your town.  

Ultimately, the purpose of descriptive writing is to convey essential information or evoke specific emotions by creating an image in your readers’ minds.

Descriptive Writing Examples

You can find a ton of descriptive writing in fiction, like this:

“...by the time I met her she was already a rather bizarre old woman with shoulders rounded into two gentle humps and with white hair coiled around a sebaceous cyst the size of a pigeon egg crowning her noble head.” –The Stories of Eva Luna

You’ll also see it in nonfiction.

“A fox steps from the woods, its shoulders are bright, its narrow chest is as white as milk. The wild eyes stare at the geese. Daintily it walks to the pond’s edge, calmly it drinks.” – The Ponds  

You see descriptive writing pretty much everywhere description is needed.

Descriptive Writing Tips

Here are some quick suggestions for the next time you need to describe a scene like a pro:

Nail down what you really want to say - What do you want to communicate to your readers? What feelings or actions are you hoping to inspire? Choose words and images that will help create the mood and message you’re going for.

Engage the five senses - Use concrete details to conjure scents, sights, tastes, sounds, and physical sensations for your audience. This is the heart of the “show, don’t tell” rule. If you’re not familiar with it, you can learn about it here .

Stick to essential details - Rather than painting every detail, focus on the images that indicate the overall tone or theme. If you show the reader the morning glories winding up the trellis and offer them the scent of orange blossom on a soft breeze, they’ll fill in the rest of the picture themselves.

Expository Writing

A cup of coffee sits beside an open magazine and copy of the New York Times.

In expository writing, the goal is to share information that’s relevant to the reader in the current context.

That is to say, this writing style is all about the facts: who, what, when, where, and why. 

Entire works can be categorized as expository writing. Textbooks fall under this category. So do news articles.

But you might sometimes hear the term “expository writing” used in relation to fiction, which is confusing, because the entire point of fiction is that it’s not based on fact.

In this context, expository writing—more commonly called “ exposition ”—refers to relevant information that would be considered factual within the world of the story.

More specifically, it’s additional information the reader needs in order to fully understand the narrative. For example, in a novel where the protagonist refuses to fall in love, details about their past heartbreak would count as expository writing.

Expository Writing Examples

This writing style includes things like:

  • Instruction manuals
  • News stories
  • Encyclopedias
  • Guides and how-to articles (like this one you’re reading!)

In the context of fiction, this style of writing looks like this:

“In Mallard, you grew up hearing stories about folks who’d pretended to be white. Warren Fontenot, riding a train in the white section, and when a suspicious porter questioned him, speaking enough French to convince him that he was a swarthy European...” – The Vanishing Half

That passage offers insight into the protagonist’s upbringing, shedding light on the way that character processes a situation she’ll wrestle with throughout the entire novel.

Expository Writing Tips

Here are some tricks for making sure your expository writing is clear, engaging, and relevant:

Know your audience - Your goal is to convey essential information, so make sure you speak in a language your readers will understand. This is especially true for textbooks and other educational materials.

Organize information logically - What does your reader need to understand first in order to understand everything else? How can you divulge this information as clearly as possible? If you’re writing fiction, at what point in the story would it be most helpful for your reader to gain this insight?

Stick to what matters - Resist the temptation to share everything you know on a given topic or—in the case of fiction—every little fact you’ve dreamed up. Only share what’s relevant to this reader at this moment.

Persuasive Writing

A person in a black dress stands on a stage making a speech into a microphone.

This is a fun one. In persuasive writing, your goal is to convince the reader of something.

Maybe you want them to take a certain action like buying a product, funding a nonprofit, or calling their representative. Maybe you just want them to see things your way. Whatever your specific objective is, the big idea is that you’re harnessing the power of language to make it happen.

In many cases, persuasive writing calls on several other types of writing styles. Narrative and descriptive writing can stir readers’ emotions, which can sway personal opinions and inspire action. And expository writing can play a persuasive role by providing compelling facts and statistics.

Persuasive Writing Examples

If someone is trying to get someone to act or think a certain way, it’s persuasive writing. That includes:

  • Advertising in all its forms
  • Cover letters
  • Business proposals
  • Grant proposals
  • Query letters
  • Product reviews
  • Political speeches

You can even throw a little persuasive writing into your Nobel Prize speech if you want to, like so:

“Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in algebra, mathematics, science, and physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.” –Malala Yousafzai

Persuasive Writing Tips

Want to get your readers to do your bid—I mean, see things your way? Here are some tips for nailing a persuasive piece:

Empathize - Know your audience, including their dreams, fears, frustrations, and values. This allows you to meet them where they are and speak to their priorities.

Help them empathize with you - This is where those narrative and descriptive writing skills pay off. Paint a clear picture of your own experiences, challenges, fears, or visions for the future. Make it easy for your audience to see things from your perspective.

Provide supporting evidence - Emotional appeal is the secret to snagging your reader’s attention, but facts and figures will help them feel better about taking your side.

Technical Writing

A paper showing graphs and charts sits on top of a technical document.

Ready for the driest writing style on this list?

That’s not entirely fair. Technical writing can be fun. But it’s usually not. Fun is not the goal here. The only function of technical writing is to translate specialized knowledge into information that’s clear and accessible to the reader. 

User guides, company handbooks, case studies… these are all forms of technical writing.

In this particular style, there’s no need to spark emotion—in fact, that could hurt your goal of translating complex information. Technical writers rarely seek to convey a specific tone or write in an engaging voice. It’s just clear, direct instruction.

Technical Writing Examples

A lot of technical writing looks like this:

“From the Start Menu, open the Control Panel and select Sound.” –the Samson Q2U manual sitting on my desk

But it’s not all step-by-step instructions. Within this writing style, you’ll also find:

  • E-learning content
  • Case studies
  • Academic writing
  • Training manuals
  • Corporate handbooks
  • Corporate memos

…and pretty much anything else that demystifies techspeak or corporatespeak into something the average person can understand.

Technical Writing Tips

If you want to master this particular writing style, start with these tips:

Know your reader - The entire point of technical writing is to create clarity for your audience. So it’s essential that you understand what their current level of expertise is. That way, you won’t talk down to them or over their heads.

Use direct, precise language - Don’t worry about making it sound lovely. Fancy words and figurative language will only cloud your meaning.

Structure information logically - Think carefully about how you lay out knowledge. What details does your reader need to understand in order to make sense of the rest of the information?

Creative Writing

A person stands outside, leaning against a wall and writing in a notebook. A bridge is in the background.

Creative writing is a massive category. It includes all work that emphasizes creativity and personal expression rather than conveying objective information.

Under the vast umbrella of creative writing, we have fiction, creative nonfiction , and poetry. Each of those categories includes multiple forms and genres. 

For example, novels, short stories, novellas, flash fiction, plays, and screenplays all fall under the heading of fiction. Within each of those sub-categories there are genres like science fiction and romance . 

There are even sub genres, but if you really want to get into all that, you can learn about it here .

All this to say, the term “creative writing” encompasses a lot . But, really, it all comes down to using words to communicate our subjective interpretations of what it means to be human.

Creative writing includes stuff like:

  • Screenplays
  • Personal essays
  • Travel writing
  • Nature writing

Because this writing style is all about experimenting with words to discuss abstract concepts like love and grief, creative writers tend to use a lot of literary devices and figurative language in their work. That results in engaging work like this:

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.” 
–”Wild Geese”

Creative Writing Tips

You can find just about all the creative writing tips you could possibly want in DabbleU . There are hundreds of articles in there, covering everything from choosing your story structure to avoiding purple prose .

But if you want a few quick tips before you browse DabbleU, here are some big ones:

Immerse the reader in your world - This is where that old “show, don’t tell” advice comes in handy. Whether you’re writing a fantasy novel , a personal essay, or a haiku, include specific, concrete details that help your audience disappear inside your universe.

Explore a theme - Even a whodunit written purely for funsies has something to say… about human nature, about trust, about the importance of small details. What’s the underlying message of your piece?

Find your voice - What unique perspective do you bring to your writing? What tone do you slip into naturally when you write? What type of diction do you tend to use? Work to find your voice, and you’ll be able to craft creative prose that is distinctly your own.

Master Your Writing Style

I hope this little romp through writing styles has given you enough clarity to feel like you can discuss each style like a pro. Or at least like an informed beginner.

Of course, as you may have guessed, there’s a lot more to learn. And if it’s creative writing you want to learn about, stick with us.

Not only are there hundreds of free articles available in DabbleU, but you can also have advice and inspiration sent directly to your inbox once a week! All you have to do is click here to sign up for our free newsletter—loads of knowledge, zero spam.

And, of course, a lot of style.

Abi Wurdeman is the author of Cross-Section of a Human Heart: A Memoir of Early Adulthood, as well as the novella, Holiday Gifts for Insufferable People. She also writes for film and television with her brother and writing partner, Phil Wurdeman. On occasion, Abi pretends to be a poet. One of her poems is (legally) stamped into a sidewalk in Santa Clarita, California. When she’s not writing, Abi is most likely hiking, reading, or texting her mother pictures of her houseplants to ask why they look like that.

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100 Literary Devices With Examples: The Ultimate List

Literary devices are perhaps the greatest tools that writers have in literature. Just think — Shakespeare could have written: Everyone has a role in life.

Instead, he used a literary device and penned what is likely the most famous metaphor in literature:

All the world’s a stage

And all the men and women merely players

And the rest is history.

eN0dwIdqYmo Video Thumb

What are literary devices?

A literary device is a writing technique that writers use to express ideas, convey meaning, and highlight important themes in a piece of text. A metaphor, like we mentioned earlier, is a famous example of a literary device.

These devices serve a wide range of purposes in literature. Some might work on an intellectual level, while others have a more emotional effect. They may also work subtly to improve the flow  of your writing. No matter what, if you're looking to inject something special into your prose, literary devices are a great place to start.

How to identify literary devices

A writer using a literary device is quite different from a reader identifying it. Often, an author’s use of a literary device is subtle by design —you only feel its effect, and not its presence. 

Therefore, we’ve structured this post for both purposes:    

  • If you’re a reader, we’ve included examples for each literary device to make it easier for you to identify them in the wild. 
  • If you’re a writer, we’ve included exercises for the literary devices, so that you can practice using them in your works. 

Let’s get to it.

100 common literary devices, with examples

1. alliteration.

Alliteration describes a series of words in quick succession that all start with the same letter or sound. It lends a pleasing cadence to prose and Hamlet and the dollar as currency in Macbeth .

Example: “ One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,

And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.” — “Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne

Exercise: Pick a letter and write a sentence where every word starts with that letter or one that sounds similar. 

2. Anaphora

Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of a series of clauses or sentences. It’s often seen in poetry and speeches, intended to provoke an emotional response in its audience.

Example: Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.

"… and I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.

"… I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Exercise: Pick a famous phrase and write a paragraph elaborating on an idea, beginning each sentence with that phrase. 

Related term: repetition

3. Anastrophe

Anastrophe is a figure of speech wherein the traditional sentence structure is reversed. So a typical verb-subject-adjective sentence such as “Are you ready?” becomes a Yoda-esque adjective-verb-subject question: “Ready, are you?” Or a standard adjective-noun pairing like “tall mountain” becomes “mountain tall.”

Example: “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing.” — “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Exercise: Write a standard verb-subject-adjective sentence or adjective-noun pairing then flip the order to create an anastrophe. How does it change the meaning or feeling of the sentence?

4. Chiasmus

Chiasmus is when two or more parallel clauses are inverted. “Why would I do that?” you may be wondering. Well, a chiasmus might sound confusing and unnecessary in theory, but it's much more convincing in practice — and in fact, you've likely already come across it before.

Example: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy

5. Congeries

Congeries is a fancy literary term for creating a list. The items in your list can be words, ideas, or phrases, and by displaying them this way helps prove or emphasize a point — or even create a sense of irony. Occasionally, it’s also called piling as the words are “piling up.”

Example: "Apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order, what have the Romans done for us?" — Monty Python’s Life of Brian

6. Cumulative sentence

A cumulative sentence (or “loose sentence”) is one that starts with an independent clause, but then has additional or modifying clauses. They’re often used for contextual or clarifying details. This may sound complex, but even, “I ran to the store to buy milk, bread, and toilet paper” is a cumulative sentence, because the first clause, “I ran to the store,” is a complete sentence, while the rest tells us extra information about your run to the store.

Example: “It was a large bottle of gin Albert Cousins had brought to the party, yes, but it was in no way large enough to fill all the cups, and in certain cases to fill them many times over, for the more than one hundred guests, some of whom were dancing not four feet in front of him.” – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Example: Write three sentences that are related to each other. Can you combine the information into a cumulative sentence? 

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7. Epistrophe

Epistrophe is the opposite of anaphora, with this time a word or phrase being repeated at the end of a sentence. Though its placement in a sentence is different it serves the same purpose—creating emphasis—as an anaphora does. 

Example: “I’ll be ever’where – wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there . If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’ – I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build, why, I’ll be there .” — The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Related terms:  repetition, anaphora

Exercise: Write a paragraph where a phrase or a word is repeated at the end of every sentence, emphasizing the point you’re trying to make. 

8. Erotesis

Erotesis is a close cousin of the rhetorical question. Rather than a question asked without expectation of an answer, this is when the question (and the asker) confidently expects a response that is either negative or affirmative. 

Example: “ Do you then really think that you have committed your follies in order to spare your son them?” — Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Related term:  rhetorical question

9. Hyperbaton

Hyperbaton is the inversion of words, phrases, or clauses in a sentence that differs from how they would normally be arranged. It comes from the Greek hyperbatos, which means “transposed” or “inverted.” While it is similar to anastrophe, it doesn’t have the same specific structure and allows you to rearrange your sentences in whatever order you want. 

Example: “Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire.” — “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Related terms:  anastrophe, epistrophe

10. Isocolon

If you’re a neat freak who likes things just so , isocolon is the literary device for you. This is when two or more phrases or clauses have similar structure, rhythm, and even length — such that, when stacked up on top of each other, they would line up perfectly. Isocolon often crops up in brand slogans and famous sayings; the quick, balanced rhythm makes the phrase catchier and more memorable.

Example: Veni, vidi, vici (“I came, I saw, I conquered”)

11. Litotes

Litotes (pronounced lie-toe-teez ) is the signature literary device of the double negative. Writers use litotes to express certain sentiments through their opposites, by saying that that opposite is not the case. Don’t worry, it makes more sense with the examples. 😉

Examples: “You won’t be sorry” (meaning you’ll be happy); “you’re not wrong” (meaning you’re right); “I didn’t not like it” (meaning I did)

12. Malapropism

If Shakespeare is the king of metaphors, Michael Scott is the king of malapropisms . A malapropism is when similar-sounding words replace their appropriate counterparts, typically to comic effect — one of the most commonly cited is “dance a flamingo,” rather than a “flamenco.” Malapropisms are often employed in dialogue when a character flubs up their speech.

Example: “I am not to be truffled with.”

Exercise: Choose a famous or common phrase and see if you can replace a word with a similar sounding one that changes the meaning. 

literary devices

13. Onomatopoeia

Amusingly, onomatopoeia (itself a difficult-to-pronounce word) refers to words that sound like the thing they’re referring to. Well-known instances of onomatopoeia include whiz, buzz, snap, grunt, etc.

Example: The excellent children's book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type . “Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. All day long he hears: Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clack, moo. ”

Exercise: Take some time to listen to the sounds around you and write down what you hear. Now try to use those sounds in a short paragraph or story. 

14. Oxymoron 

An oxymoron comes from two contradictory words that describe one thing. While juxtaposition contrasts two story elements, oxymorons are about the actual words you are using.

Example: "Parting is such sweet sorrow.” — Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. (Find 100 more examples of oxymorons here .)

Related terms: juxtaposition, paradox

Exercise: Choose two words with opposite meanings and see if you can use them in a sentence to create a coherent oxymoron. 

different types of creative writing and their meaning

15. Parallelism

Parallelism is all about your sentence structure. It’s when similar ideas, sounds, phrases, or words are arranged in a way that is harmonious or creates a parallel, hence the name. It can add rhythm and meter to any piece of writing and can often be found in poetry. 

Example: “ That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong

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16. Polysyndeton

Instead of using a single conjunction in lengthy statements, polysyndeton uses several in succession for a dramatic effect . This one is definitely for authors looking to add a bit of artistic flair to their writing, or who are hoping to portray a particular (usually naïve) sort of voice.

Example: “Luster came away from the flower tree and we went along the fence and they stopped and we stopped and I looked through the fence while Luster was hunting in the grass.” — The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Exercise: Write three or four independent sentences. Try combining them using conjunctions. What kind of effect does this have on the overall meaning and tone of the piece?

17. Portmanteau

A portmanteau is when two words are combined to form a new word which refers to a single concept that retains the meanings of both the original words. Modern language is full of portmanteaus. In fact, the portmanteau is itself a portmanteau. It’s a combination of the French porter (to carry) and manteau (cloak). 

Example: Brunch (breakfast and lunch); cosplay (costume and roleplay); listicle (list and article); romcom (romance and comedy)

Exercise: Pick two words that are often used together to describe a single concept. See if there’s a way to combine them and create a single word that encompasses the meaning of both.

18. Repetition

Repetition , repetition, repetition… where would we be without it? Though too much repetition is rarely a good thing, occasional repetition can be used quite effectively to drill home a point, or to create a certain atmosphere. For example, horror writers often use repetition to make the reader feel trapped and scared.

Example: In The Shining , Jack Torrance types over and over again on his pages,  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” In this case, obsessive repetition demonstrates the character’s unraveling mind.

Related term: anaphora

Exercise: Repetition can be used to call attention to an idea or phrase. Pick an idea you want to emphasize and write a few sentences about it. Are there any places where you can add repetition to make it more impactful? 

literary devices

19. Tautology

A tautology is when a sentence or short paragraph repeats a word or phrase, expressing the same idea twice. Often, this is a sign that you should trim your work to remove the redundancy (such as “frozen ice”) but can also be used for poetic emphasis.

Example: "But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door" – “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

20. Tmesis 

Tmesis is when a word or phrase is broken up by an interjecting word, such as abso-freaking-lutely. It’s used to draw out and emphasize the idea, often with a humorous or sarcastic slant.

Example: "This is not Romeo, he's some-other-where." – Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

21. Allegory

An allegory is a type of narrative that uses characters and plot to depict abstract ideas and themes. In an allegorical story, things represent more than they appear to on the surface. Many children's fables, such as The Tortoise and the Hare , are simple allegories about morality — but allegories can also be dark, complex, and controversial. 

Example: Animal Farm by George Orwell. This dystopian novella is one of modern literature’s best-known allegories. A commentary on the events leading up to Stalin's rise and the formation of the Soviet Union, the pigs at the heart of the novel represent figures such as Stalin, Trotsky, and Molotov.

Exercise: Pick a major trend or problem in the world and consider what defines it. Try and create a story where that trend plays out on a smaller scale. 

For more inspiration for how to use allegories to explore your themes, check out this guide on themes. 

22. Anecdote

An anecdote is like a short story within a story. Sometimes, they are incredibly short—only a line or two—and their purpose is to add a character’s perspective, knowledge, or experience to a situation. They can be inspirational, humorous, or be used to inspire actions in others. Since anecdotes are so short, don’t expect them to be part of a main story. They’re usually told by a character and part of the dialogue. 

Example: Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way , part of his series of novels, In Search of Lost Time, deals with the themes of remembrance and memory. In one section of this book, to illustrate these ideas, the main character recalls an important memory of eating a madeleine cookie. “Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell.”

23. Deus Ex Machina

Literally meaning “god in the machine” in Greek, deus ex machina is a plot device where an impossible situation is solved by the appearance of an unexpected or unheard of character, action, object, or event. This brings about a quick and usually happy resolution for a story and can be used to surprise an audience, provide comic relief, or provide a fix for a complicated plot. However, deus ex machinas aren’t always looked upon favorably and can sometimes be seen as lazy writing, so they should be used sparingly and with great thought. 

Example: William Golding’s famous novel of a group of British boys marooned on a desert island is resolved with a deus ex machina. At the climax of The Lord of the Flies, as all threads converge and Ralph is about to be killed by Jack, a naval officer arrives to rescue the boys and bring them back to civilization. It’s an altogether unexpected and bloodless ending for a story about the boys’ descent into savagery. 

Exercise: Consider the ending of your favorite book or movie and then write an alternate ending that uses a deus ex machina to resolve the main conflict. How does this affect the overall story in terms of theme and tone?

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24. Dramatic irony

Dramatic irony is when the readers know more about the situation going on than at least one of the characters involved. This creates a difference between the ways the audience and the characters perceive unfolding events. For instance, if we know that one character is having an affair, when that character speaks to their spouse, we will pick up on the lies and double-meanings of their words, while the spouse may take them at face value.

Example: In Titanic , the audience knows from the beginning of the movie that the boat will sink. This creates wry humor when characters remark on the safety of the ship.

25. Exposition

Exposition is when the narrative provides background information in order to help the reader understand what’s going on. When used in conjunction with description and dialogue, this literary device provides a richer understanding of the characters, setting, and events. Be careful, though — too much exposition will quickly become boring, thus undercutting the emotional impact of your work.

Example: “The Dursley’s had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Exercise: Pick your favorite story and write a short paragraph introducing it to someone who knows nothing about it. 

26. Flashback

Flashbacks to previous events split up present-day scenes in a story, usually to build suspense toward a big reveal. Flashbacks are also an interesting way to present exposition for your story, gradually revealing to the reader what happened in the past.

Example: Every other chapter in the first part of Gone Girl is a flashback, with Amy’s old diary entries describing her relationship with her husband before she disappeared.

Related term: foreshadowing

27. Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is when the author hints at events yet to come in a story. Similar to flashbacks (and often used in conjunction with them), this technique is also used to create tension or suspense — giving readers just enough breadcrumbs to keep them hungry for more.

Example: One popular method of foreshadowing is through partial reveals — the narrator leaves out key facts to prompt readers’ curiosity. Jeffrey Eugenides does this in The Virgin Suicides : “On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide — it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese, the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.”

Related term: flashback

Exercise: Go back to your favorite book or movie. Can you identify any instances of foreshadowing in the early portions of the story for events that happen in the future? 

28. Frame story

A frame story is any part of the story that "frames" another part of it, such as one character telling another about their past, or someone uncovering a diary or a series of news articles that then tell the readers what happened. Since the frame story supports the rest of the plot, it is mainly used at the beginning and the end of the narrative, or in small interludes between chapters or short stories.

Example: In The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Kvothe is telling Chronicler the story of his life over the span of three days. Most of the novel is the story he is telling, while the frame is any part that takes place in the inn.

29. In Medias Res

In medias res is a Latin term that means "in the midst of things" and is a way of starting a narrative without exposition or contextual information . It launches straight into a scene or action that is already unfolding. 

Example: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” — The opening line of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Exercise: Pick a story you enjoy and rewrite the opening scene so that it starts in the middle of the story. 

30. Point of view

Point of view is, of course, the mode of narration in a story. There are many POVs an author can choose, and each one will have a different impact on the reading experience.

Example: Second person POV is uncommon because it directly addresses the reader — not an easy narrative style to pull off. One popular novel that manages to employ this perspective successfully is Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney: “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.”

Exercise: Write a short passage in either first, second, or third person. Then rewrite that passage in the other two points of view, only changing the pronouns. How does the change in POV affect the tone and feel of the story? 

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31. Soliloquy 

Soliloquy involves a character speaking their thoughts aloud, usually at length (and often in a Shakespeare play). The character in question may be alone or in the company of others, but they’re not speaking for the benefit of other people; the purpose of a soliloquy is for a character to reflect independently.

Example: Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech, in which he ruminates on the nature of life and death, is a classic dramatic soliloquy.

Exercise: Pick a character from your favorite book or movie and write a soliloquy from their point of view where they consider their thoughts and feelings on an important part of their story or character arc. 

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Tone refers to the overall mood and message of your book. It’s established through a variety of means, including voice, characterization, symbolism, and themes. Tone sets the feelings you want your readers to take away from the story.

Example: No matter how serious things get in The Good Place , there is always a chance for a character to redeem themselves by improving their behavior. The tone remains hopeful for the future of humanity in the face of overwhelming odds.

Exercise: Write a short paragraph in an upbeat tone. Now using the same situation you came up with, rewrite that passage in a darker or sadder tone. 

33. Tragicomedy

Tragicomedy is just what it sounds like: a blend of tragedy and comedy. Tragicomedy helps an audience process darker themes by allowing them to laugh at the situation even when circumstances are bleak.

Example: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events uses wordplay, absurd situations, and over-the-top characters to provide humor in an otherwise tragic story.

34. Allusion

An allusion is a reference to a person, place, thing, concept, or other literary work that a reader is likely to recognize. A lot of meaning can be packed into an allusion and it’s often used to add depth to a story. Many works of classic Western literature will use allusions to the Bible to expand on or criticize the morals of their time. 

Example: “The two knitting women increase his anxiety by gazing at him and all the other sailors with knowing unconcern. Their eerie looks suggest that they know what will happen (the men dying), yet don’t care.” The two women knitting in this passage from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are a reference to the Fates from Greek mythology, who decide the fate of humanity by spinning and cutting the threads of life.

Exercise: In a relatively simple piece of writing, see how many times you can use allusions. Go completely crazy. Once you’re finished, try to cut it down to a more reasonable amount and watch for how it creates deeper meaning in your piece. 

35. Analogy

An analogy connects two seemingly unrelated concepts to show their similarities and expand on a thought or idea. They are similar to metaphors and similes, but usually take the comparison much further than either of these literary devices as they are used to support a claim rather than provide imagery. 

Example: “ It has been well said that an author who expects results from a first novel is in a position similar to that of a man who drops a rose petal down the Grand Canyon of Arizona and listens for the echo.” — P.G. Wodehouse

Exercise: Pick two seemingly unrelated nouns and try to connect them with a verb to create an analogy. 

36. Anthropomorphism

To anthropomorphize is to apply human traits or qualities to a non-human thing such as objects, animals, or the weather. But unlike personification, in which this is done through figurative description, anthropomorphism is literal: a sun with a smiling face, for example, or talking dogs in a cartoon.

Examples: In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast , Mrs. Potts the teapot, Cogsworth the clock, and Lumière the candlestick are all household objects that act and behave like humans (which, of course, they were when they weren’t under a spell).

Related term: personification

Exercise: Pick a non-human object and describe it as if it was human, literally ascribing human thoughts, feelings, and senses to it. 

different types of creative writing and their meaning

37. Aphorism

An aphorism is a universally accepted truth stated in a concise, to-the-point way. Aphorisms are typically witty and memorable, often becoming adages or proverbs as people repeat them over and over.

Example: “To err is human, to forgive divine.” — Alexander Pope

38. Archetype

An archetype is a “universal symbol” that brings familiarity and context to a story. It can be a character, a setting, a theme, or an action. Archetypes represent feelings and situations that are shared across cultures and time periods, and are therefore instantly recognizable to any audience — for instance, the innocent child character, or the theme of the inevitability of death.

Example: Superman is a heroic archetype: noble, self-sacrificing, and drawn to righting injustice whenever he sees it.

Exercise: Pick an archetype — either a character or a theme — and use it to write a short piece centered around that idea. 

To learn more about archetypes, check out these 12 common ones that all writers should know.

A cliché is a saying or idea that is used so often it becomes seen as unoriginal. These phrases might become so universal that, despite their once intriguing nature, they're now looked down upon as uninteresting and overused. 

Examples: Some common cliches you might have encountered are phrases like “easy as pie” and “light as a feather.” Some lines from famous books and movies have become so popular that they are now in and of themselves cliches such as Darth Vader’s stunning revelation from The Empire Strikes Back, “Luke, I am your father.” Also, many classic lines of Shakespeare are now considered cliches like, “All that glitters is not gold” from The Merchant of Venice. 

Exercise: Write a short passage using as many cliches as possible. Now try to cut them out and replace them with more original phrasing. See how the two passages compare. 

40. Colloquialism

Colloquialism is the use of casual and informal language in writing, which can also include slang. Writers use colloquialisms to provide context to settings and characters, and to make their writing sound more authentic, especially in spoken form . Imagine reading a YA novel that takes place in modern America, and the characters speak to each other like this:

“Good morning, Sue. I hope that you slept well and are prepared for this morning’s science exam.”

It’s not realistic. Colloquialisms help create believable dialogue:

“Hey Sue, what’d you get up to last night? This science test is gonna suck.”

Example: Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh takes place in Scotland, a fact made undeniably obvious by the dialect: “Thing is, as ye git aulder, this character-deficiency gig becomes mair sapping. Thir wis a time ah used tae say tae aw the teachers, bosses, dole punters, poll-tax guys, magistrates, when they telt me ah was deficient: ’Hi, cool it, gadge, ah’m jist me, jist intae a different sort ay gig fae youse but, ken?’”

Exercise: Write a dialogue between two characters as formally as possible. Now take that conversation and make it more colloquial. Imagine that you’re having this conversation with a friend. Mimic your own speech patterns as you write. 

41. Euphemism

A euphemism is an indirect, “polite” way of describing something too inappropriate or awkward to address directly. However, most people will still understand the truth about what's happening.

Example: When an elderly person is forced to retire, some might say they’re being “put out to pasture.”

Exercise: Write a paragraph where you say things very directly. Now rewrite that paragraph using only euphemisms. 

42. Hyperbole

Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement that emphasizes the significance of the statement’s actual meaning. When a friend says, "Oh my god, I haven't seen you in a million years," that's hyperbole.

Example: “At that time Bogotá was a remote, lugubrious city where an insomniac rain had been falling since the beginning of the 16th century.” — Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez

Exercise: Tall tales often make use of hyperbole to tell an exaggerated story. Use hyperbole to relate a completely mundane event or experience to turn it into a tall tale. 

43. Hypophora

Hypophora is much like a rhetorical question, wherein someone asks a question that doesn't require an answer. However, in hypophora, the person raises a question and answers it immediately themselves (hence the prefix hypo, meaning 'under' or 'before'). It’s often used when characters are reasoning something aloud.

Example: “Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it.” — Daisy in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

literary devices

An idiom is a saying that uses figurative language whose meaning differs from what it literally says. These phrases originate from common cultural experiences, even if that experience has long ago been forgotten. Without cultural context, idioms don’t often make sense and can be the toughest part for non-native speakers to understand. 

Example: In everyday use, idioms are fairly common. We say things like, “It’s raining cats and dogs” to say that it’s downpouring. 

Exercise: Idioms are often used in dialogue. Write a conversation between two people where idioms are used to express their main points. 

45. Imagery

Imagery appeals to readers’ senses through highly descriptive language. It’s crucial for any writer hoping to follow the rule of "show, don’t tell," as strong imagery truly paints a picture of the scene at hand.

Example: “In the hard-packed dirt of the midway, after the glaring lights are out and the people have gone to bed, you will find a veritable treasure of popcorn fragments, frozen custard dribblings, candied apples abandoned by tired children, sugar fluff crystals, salted almonds, popsicles, partially gnawed ice cream cones and wooden sticks of lollipops.” — Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Exercise: Choose an object, image, or idea and use the five senses to describe it. 

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Irony creates a contrast between how things seem and how they really are. There are three types of literary irony: dramatic (when readers know what will happen before characters do), situational (when readers expect a certain outcome, only to be surprised by a turn of events), and verbal (when the intended meaning of a statement is the opposite of what was said).

Example: This opening scene from Orson Welles’ A Touch of Evil is a great example of how dramatic irony can create tension.

47. Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition places two or more dissimilar characters, themes, concepts, etc. side by side, and the profound contrast highlights their differences. Why is juxtaposition such an effective literary device? Well, because sometimes the best way for us to understand something is by understanding what it’s not .

Example: In the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities , Charles Dickens uses juxtaposition to emphasize the societal disparity that led to the French Revolution: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”

Related terms: oxymoron, paradox

Exercise: Pick two ideas, objects, places, or people that seem like complete opposites. Introduce them side by side in the beginning of your piece and highlight their similarities and differences throughout. 

48. Metaphor

A metaphor compares two similar things by saying that one of them is the other. As you'd likely expect, when it comes to literary devices, this one is a heavy hitter. And if a standard metaphor doesn't do the trick, a writer can always try an extended metaphor: a metaphor that expands on the initial comparison through more elaborate parallels .

Example: Metaphors are literature’s bread and butter (metaphor intended) — good luck finding a novel that is free of them. Here’s one from Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass : “Wishes are thorns, he told himself sharply. They do us no good, just stick into our skin and hurt us.”

Related term: simile

Exercise: Write two lists: one with tangible objects and the other concepts. Mixing and matching, try to create metaphors where you describe the concepts using physical objects.

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49. Metonymy

Metonymy is like symbolism, but even more so. A metonym doesn’t just symbolize something else, it comes to serve as a synonym for that thing or things — typically, a single object embodies an entire institution.

Examples: “The crown” representing the monarchy, “Washington” representing the U.S. government.

Related term: synecdoche

Exercise: Create a list of ten common metonymies you might encounter in everyday life and speech.

Whatever form a motif takes, it recurs throughout the novel and helps develop the theme of the narrative . This might be a symbol, concept, or image.

Example: In Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, trains are an omnipresent motif that symbolize transition, derailment, and ultimately violent death and destruction.

Related term: symbol

Exercise: Pick a famous book or movie and see if you can identify any common motifs within it. 

51. Non sequitur

Non sequiturs are statements that don't logically follow what precedes them. They’ll often be quite absurd and can lend humor to a story. But they’re just not good for making jokes. They can highlight missing information or a miscommunication between characters and even be used for dramatic effect. 

Example: “It was a spring day, the sort that gives people hope: all soft winds and delicate smells of warm earth. Suicide weather.” — Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen 

Exercise: Write a conversation that gets entirely derailed by seemingly unrelated non sequiturs. 

52. Paradox

Paradox derives from the Greek word paradoxon , which means “beyond belief.” It’s a statement that asks people to think outside the box by providing seemingly illogical — and yet actually true — premises.

Example: In George Orwell’s 1984 , the slogan of the totalitarian government is built on paradoxes: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” While we might read these statements as obviously contradictory, in the context of Orwell’s novel, these blatantly corrupt sentiments have become an accepted truth.

Related terms: oxymoron, juxtaposition

Exercise: Try writing your own paradox. First, think of two opposing ideas that can be juxtaposed against each other. Then, create a situation where these contradictions coexist with each other. What can you gather from this unique perspective?

53. Personification

Personification uses human traits to describe non-human things. Again, while the aforementioned anthropomorphism actually applies these traits to non-human things, personification means the behavior of the thing does not actually change. It's personhood in figurative language only.

Example: “Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin.” — The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Related term: anthropomorphism

Exercise: Pick a non-human object and describe it using human traits, this time using similes and metaphors rather than directly ascribing human traits to it. 

54. Rhetorical question

A rhetorical question is asked to create an effect rather than to solicit an answer from the listener or reader. Often it has an obvious answer and the point of asking is to create emphasis. It’s a great way to get an audience to consider the topic at hand and make a statement. 

Example: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” — The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Writers use satire to make fun of some aspect of human nature or society — usually through exaggeration, ridicule, or irony. There are countless ways to satirize something; most of the time, you know it when you read it.

Example: The famous adventure novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift is a classic example of satire, poking fun at “travelers' tales,” the government, and indeed human nature itself.

A simile draws resemblance between two things by saying “Thing A is like Thing B,” or “Thing A is as [adjective] as Thing B.” Unlike a metaphor, a similar does not posit that these things are the same, only that they are alike. As a result, it is probably the most common literary device in writing — you can almost always recognize a simile through the use of “like” or “as.”

Example: There are two similes in this description from Circe by Madeline Miller: “The ships were golden and huge as leviathans, their rails carved from ivory and horn. They were towed by grinning dolphins or else crewed by fifty black-haired nereids, faces silver as moonlight.”

Related term: metaphor

57. Symbolism

Authors turn to tangible symbols to represent abstract concepts and ideas in their stories  Symbols typically derive from objects or non-humans — for instance, a dove might represent peace, or a raven might represent death.

Example: In The Great Gatsby , Fitzgerald uses the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg (actually a faded optometrist's billboard) to represent God and his judgment of the Jazz Age.

Related term: motif

Exercise: Choose an object that you want to represent something — like an idea or concept. Now, write a poem or short story centered around that symbol. 

58. Synecdoche

Synecdoche is the usage of a part to represent the whole. That is, rather than an object or title that’s merely associated with the larger concept (as in metonymy), synecdoche must actually be attached in some way: either to the name, or to the larger whole itself.

Examples: “Stanford won the game” ( Stanford referring to the full title of the Stanford football team) or “Nice wheels you got there” ( wheels referring to the entire car)

Related term:  metonymy

Zeugma is when one word is used to ascribe two separate meanings to two other words. This literary device is great for adding humor and figurative flair as it tends to surprise the reader. And it’s just a fun type of wordplay. 

Example: “ Yet time and her aunt moved slowly — and her patience and her ideas were nearly worn out before the tete-a-tete was over.” — Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

60. Zoomorphism 

Zoomorphism is when you take animal traits and assign them to anything that’s not an animal. It’s the opposite of anthropomorphism and personification, and can be either a physical manifestation, such as a god appearing as an animal, or a comparison, like calling someone a busy bee .

Example: When vampires turn into bats, their bat form is an instance of zoomorphism.

Exercise: Describe a human or object by using traits that are usually associated with animals. 

Related terms: anthropomorphism, personification

61. Enjambment

French for “straddle,” enjambment denotes the continuation of a sentence from one poetic line to the next. It’s the opposite of an end-stopped line. 

Example : The first line in T.S. Eilot’s “The Waste Land” is an example of enjambment: 

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing.”

Related terms: end-stop

62. Euphony

Euphony is the acoustic effect of a combination of words that’s pleasing to the ear. Indeed, it leads by example: if you say “euphony” out loud, the assonance of the word itself is harmonious.

Example: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate.”

Related terms: cacophony, alliteration

63. Pathetic fallacy   

Pathetic fallacy is a form of personification, where an author gives human emotions to an inanimate object. 

Example: “The sky wept.”

64. Anagram

If you like puzzles, you might have already heard of an anagram : a new word or phrase a writer can form by re-ordering the letters of another word. Note that an anagram is not the same as a palindrome or a semordnilap, as the letters need to come in a different order, and not simply read back to front.

Example: “brag” is an anagram of “grab,” and vice versa. We can go on. “Night” is an anagram of “thing”!

Related terms: palindrome, semordnilap

65. Antithesis

Made up of two different words (“anti” and “thesis”), antithesis is a literary device that juxtaposes opposing ideas, words, or images. Usually, these two contrasting ideas will be written with similar grammatical structure for dramatic effect.

Example: Neil Armstrong perhaps unintentionally created an example of antithesis when he famously said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Related terms: juxtaposition

66. Circumlocution

Circumlocution is the opposite of saying something directly: instead, it’s when a writer states something in an ambiguous, unclear, or roundabout way. “Talking in circles” is the end result.

Example: Look to any politicians for examples of circumlocution. The pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm , for instance, vaguely say in many words, “For the time being it has been found necessary to make a readjustment of rations,” in order to mask the fact that they’ve simply stolen food from the other animals.

Related terms: periphrasis

67. Epigraph

In literature, an epigraph is the quotation (or sometimes the phrase) at the beginning of a book or chapter. It’s entirely optional on the author’s part, but can offer a thematic direction for the reader.

Example: In The Sun Also Rises , Ernest Hemingway uses Gertrude Stein’s “You are all a lost generation” quote to kick off a chapter.

Related terms: intertextuality

Mood in writing refers to the emotions that the writer makes a reader feel through the text. Many factors contribute to this effect, but the writer’s use of language is perhaps the most primary of them.

Example: When you read an Agatha Christie novel, what do you feel? Happy? Excited? Joyous? Probably not. You’re more likely to be nervous, anxious, and tense because of her stories — and that’s in part due to the suspenseful mood she successfully creates through her language.

Related terms: atmosphere

69. Diction

Diction refers to the words that an author chooses to put in writing. This linguistic choice helps the writer express an idea, or achieve a certain effect. In speech, it also refers to the style of enunciation.

Example: The diction that an author chooses for their characters is important, and can tell you about the characters themselves — whether they’re rich or poor, where they’re from, and how old they are. “

Related terms: tone, dialogue, narrative voice

70. Vignette

As a literary device, a vignette is a short scene without a beginning, middle, or end. Instead, it starts in medias res and captures a certain moment in time or is a character-creating detail.

Example: The cold opens of many sitcoms are great examples of vignettes. They are short scenes unrelated to the main plot of the episode, but set the humorous mood that will follow.

Related terms: in medias res  

A foil character is a supporting character whose main purpose is to provide contrast to the protagonist in some shape or form, whether it’s the protagonist’s traits, dreams, or goals.

Example: In Pride and Prejudice , Mr. Wickham serves as Mr. Darcy’s foil. Without Wickham’s decadent, gold-digging ways, we’d never learn the extent of Darcy’s honesty, or his goodness.

72. Antistrophe

The term antistrophe describes a specific type of repetition — that of a word, or a phrase, repeating at the end of consecutive sentences. You’ll commonly see it used in poetry, although books and speeches will also make use of it.

Example: “Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. […] An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build — why, I’ll be there.” — John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

73. Polyptoton

As you’re reading this post, do you find it readable? Congrats: you just encountered a case of polyptoton , which is otherwise known as the repetition of two words that share the shame root (“reading” and “readable,” for instance, “trick” and “trickery,” or “ignorant” and “ignorance.”)

Example: In the phrase, “Who shall watch the watchmen?”, the repetition of “watch” and “watchmen” is an example of polyptoton.

74. Anthimeria

Anthimeria captures the act of turning a word from one part of speech into another: for instance, when an author uses a word that was originally a noun as a verb.

Example: “Chill” is perhaps a popular example by now. Originally a noun, it’s now used everywhere as a verb that means “to relax.”

75. Double entendre

A double entendre is exactly what it says on the tin: a word with two, or double, meanings. What’s more? Often the second meaning is something a tad risqué.

Example: William Shakespeare was a master when it came to double entendres. Just take Mercutio’s statement: “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.” Here, the word “grave” pulls double duty, as it means both to be  “serious” and hints at death.

Related terms: pun

76. Paraprosdokian

Paraprosdokian literally means “against expectations” in Greek—so you might be able to guess how it functions as a literary device. Yep, that’s right: it describes a sentence with an unexpected ending.

Example: As Oscar Wilde once said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others, whenever they go.”

Related terms: paradoxical

77. Intertextuality

Whenever a text is referenced, either directly or indirectly, in another text, that’s an instance of intertextuality : the derived relationship between two works. 

Example: Every reference that the musical “Hamilton” makes to another musical is an example of intertextuality. 

78. Palindrome

A palindrome is the easiest literary device on your eyes: it’s a word or phrase that you can read the same either backward or forward.

Example: “Madam, I’m Adam” is exactly the same read backward as it is read forward. “Radar,” meanwhile, is an example of a word that’s a palindrome. Or the famous “Redrum” from The Shining . 

79. Spoonerism

If you’ve ever mispronounced a phrase before, you might’ve accidentally created a spoonerism , which refers to a person swapping the sound of two or more words.

Example: You’d be committing a spoonerism if, instead of “bunny rabbit,” you said “runny babbit.”

80. Ellipsis

As a narrative device, an ellipsis means the omission of certain words or parts of the plot, so as to give the readers an opportunity to fill in the gaps themselves.

Example: In The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald lets the ellipsis form a time lapse that is up to the reader to interpret: “ ... I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.”

81. Parataxi

Literally, a parataxi describes the placing of consecutive words without a connecting word to show the relationship between them. It is different from hypotaxi, as you’ll soon see.

Example: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” — Julius Caesar.

Related terms: hypotaxi

82. Hypotaxi

A hypotaxi is the opposite of a parataxi in that it adds connecting words (or conjunctions) to show readers exactly what the relationship between two clauses is.

Example: In the sentence, “I ate an apple because I was hungry,” the word ‘because’ makes it a hypotaxi.

Related terms: parataxi

Aporia captures the moment when the speaker pretends not to know something, or expresses doubt, in order to prove a point. Often this confusion is completely feigned when used rhetorically, bordering on irony, although sometimes it can be genuine.

Example: As Elizabeth Barrett Browning once asked, “How do I love thee?”. Or, like when someone replies “I don’t know, can you?” when you ask if you can use the bathroom.

Related terms: irony

84. Asyndeton

We’ve covered polysyndetons. Now get ready for its sibling, the asyndeton , which describes the act of intentionally omitting conjunctions in a sentence.

Example: “Live, laugh, love.”

Related terms: polysyndeton, syndeton, parataxi

85. Meiosis

Nope, this isn’t the kind of meiosis you learned about in high school biology! In literature, meiosis is instead a rhetorical device where the speaker understates something to belittle a undermine or situation.

Example: You’d be using meiosis if you said “Oh, it’s only a scratch” to describe a deep, gaping wound that’s bleeding out of the bone.

86. Paralipsis

A paralipsis is what it’s called when you emphasize something about a situation, person, or topic by claiming that you don’t know much about it. Yes, it’s a little passive-aggressive, if that’s what you’re also thinking right now.

Example: “Of course, that’s not to mention my most hated enemy’s billion-dollar debt, nor their complete unwillingness to pay it.”

Related terms: apophasis

87. Overstatement

An overstatement is the best literary device of all time. There’s nothing better in the world than an overstatement (which is when you exaggerate your language to make your point in some shape or form).

Example: “This is officially the worst day of my life,” one says, upon accidentally dropping one’s ice cream cone on the ground with a splat.

Related terms: understatement

88. Apophasis

As another rhetorical device that’s just slightly passive-aggressive, an apophasis does the trick of bringing up a subject by denying that you’re bringing it up.

Example: “We won’t speak of his absolute inability to be a decent human being. Nor will we even begin to speak of his atrocious gambling problem.”

89. Cacophony

The opposite of euphony, cacophony is the term used to describe a combination of discordant tones that do not sound good together.

Example: You’ll see this literary device used a lot in poetry, for instance, in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:

"With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,

Agape they heard me call:

Related terms: euphony

90. Connotation

Connotation refers to what an author or speaker implies through the use of a particular word. It’s usually non-literal, and up to the reader to interpret.

Example: The connotation of the word “miserly” is quite negative, and evokes the image of a Grinch hoarding money, while “frugal” connotes someone who’s merely thoughtful about saving money.

91. Dysphemism

When you choose to use an offensive or derogatory term in place of a neutral or agreeable one, you’re using a dysphemism .

Example: “He’s a nerd” instead of positively describing that someone is smart or factually stating that someone often studies is an instance of a dysphemism. 

Related terms: euphemism

92. Hyperbaton

Inverting the regular sequence of words is called a hyperbaton . Authors generally do this to call emphasis to a certain phrase, or part of the sentence.

Example: Yoda from Star Wars is a famous abuser of hyperbaton, with his Go you must’s and Miss them, do not’s .

Related terms: anastrophe

93. Metanoia

In literature, metanoia is a self-correction, or when a writer deliberately takes back a statement they just made in order to re-state it.

Example: In the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take before getting their credentials, they promise “To help, or, at least, to do no harm.” The second half of it is the instance of metanoia.

You know them. You love them. Yes, puns , or jokes that are wordplays on the different meanings or sounds of a word, are also literary devices that authors use to add humor to a piece of writing.

Example: “Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.”

95. Parenthesis

Parentheses are a form of punctuation, but when used in literature, they can insert information that authors would like to add for detail.

Example: Author Sarah Vowell once wrote in her book, Take the Cannoli , "I have a similar affection for the parenthesis (but I always take most of my parentheses out, so as not to call undue attention to the glaring fact that I cannot think in complete sentences, that I think only in short fragments or long, run-on thought relays that the literati call stream of consciousness but I still like to think of as disdain for the finality of the period)."

96. Synesthesia

Like its psychological definition, synesthesia in literature describes the conflation of two senses. This might materialize in the author using one sense to describe another, or blend the two altogether.

Example: "The silence that dwells in the forest is not so black." — Oscar Wilde

97. Eutrepismus

Eutrepismus is a long word for a simple concept: stating your points in a numbered list, so as to structure your speech, or dialogue.

Example: “Firstly, you’ll want to read this post. Secondly, you’ll want to memorize every single literary device on it.”

98. Epizeuxis

Epizeuxis is another hard-to-spell-and-pronounce literary device that captures a very simple concept: it’s the repetition of a word to emphasize it.

Example: “Hark, hark! The Lark!” — William Shakespeare

99. Narrative voice

Narrative voice is the voice from which a story in literature is told. It encompasses all of the decisions that an author makes in regards to voice, including tone, word choice, and diction.

Example: First-person books like Catcher in the Rye provide good examples of books written in a strong narrative voice. 

100. Syllepsis

We saved one of the most obscure (and best!) literary devices for last. Syllepsis is another form of wordplay (similar to a pun) where a word, usually a verb, is used in multiple ways.

Example: “She blew my nose, and then she blew my mind.” — The Rolling Stones

Related terms: zeugma, pun

Readers and writers alike can get a lot out of understanding literary devices and how they're used. Readers can use them to gain insight into the author’s intended meaning behind their work, while writers can use literary devices to better connect with readers. But whatever your motivation for learning them, you certainly won't be sorry you did! (Not least because you'll recognize the device I just used in that sentence 😉)

6 responses

Ron B. Saunders says:

16/01/2019 – 19:26

Paraprosdokians are also delightful literary devices for creating surprise or intrigue. They cause a reader to rethink a concept or traditional expectation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraprosdokian)

ManhattanMinx says:

17/01/2019 – 02:07

That's pore, not pour. Shame.....

↪️ Coline Harmon replied:

14/06/2019 – 19:06

It was a Malapropism

↪️ JC JC replied:

23/10/2019 – 00:02

Yeah ManhattanMinx. It's a Malepropism!

↪️ jesus replied:

07/11/2019 – 13:24

Susan McGrath says:

10/03/2020 – 10:56

"But whatever your motivation for learning them, you certainly won't be sorry you did! (Not least because you'll recognize the device I just used in that sentence. 😏)" Litote

Comments are currently closed.

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A Look Into Creative Writing | Oxford Summer Courses

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Defining Creative Writing

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The Magic of Imagination

Creative writing is a catalyst that sparks our creativity and empowers us to breathe life into our ideas on the page. With Oxford Summer Courses, aspiring writers aged 16-24 can embark on an extraordinary journey of creative expression and growth. Immerse yourself in the captivating realms of Oxford and Cambridge as you explore our inspiring creative writing programs. Teleport readers to distant lands, realms of fantasy and creation, introduce them to captivating characters, and craft new worlds through the transformative art of storytelling. Discover more about our creative writing course . Unleash your imagination and unlock the writer within.

What Are the Different Types of Creative Writing?

Creative writing comes in many forms, encompassing a range of genres and styles. Here are some of the most popular types:

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Engaging in creative writing with Oxford Summer Courses offers numerous benefits beyond self-expression. By joining our dedicated creative writing summer school programme, you will:

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  • Nurture your creativity, encouraging you to think outside the box, embrace unconventional ideas, and challenge the status quo, fostering a life-long mindset of innovation and originality.

Embracing the Journey

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18 Text Types (with Examples) – Writing Styles Explained

18 Text Types (with Examples) – Writing Styles Explained

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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text types examples and explanation

Texts types, also known as genres or text forms, refer to categories of texts with different purposes. Depending on the purpose, each type of text will have have a different convention of style and structure.

It is essential to understand text types and their conventions because:

  • Interpretation: It helps us understand the text’s intentions, trustworthiness, and bias
  • Text Creation: It helps us to create texts that are most effective, depending upon the purpose

Below is a list of the most common text types and their key conventions, style, structure, and purpose.

Text Types Examples

1. narrative.

Purpose: A narrative text aims to tell a story to the reader. It isn’t always just about telling a story for entertainment, though. The purpose of narrative text also lies in its capacity to engage the reader’s imagination, impart a moral lesson, or just simply pass on a tale through generations. For example, narrative stories are used in folklore and folktales to pass-on cultural values and stories.

Style: The style of a narrative text is distinctive. It employs a chronological sequencing of events. Coherent, right-branching sentences, varying in length, create rhythm and draw the reader into the unfolding story. Active voice is favored to maintain directness and immediacy, bringing scenes alive.

Structure: Beginning with an orientation, it introduces characters, setting, and time. Short initial sentences establish the context. The complication, the next part, presents problems or conflicts. A series of sentences, varying in length and complexity, takes the reader through ups and downs. Ultimately, the story reaches a resolution, where the achievement or solution is laid out.

2. Descriptive

Purpose: A descriptive text is designed to describe something in a detailed manner. The writer attempts to paint a vivid image in the reader’s mind, often by intricately describing an object, person, place, experience, or situation.

Style: Adjectives play a significant role in a descriptive text. They enrich the text, adding depth to the description. Similes, metaphors, and other figurative language might also be used for more creative descriptions. The sentences can be diverse, ranging from concise statement of facts to long, detailed depictions .

Structure: A descriptive text often starts with a short, general overview of what is being described. Then, it delves into details, exploring appearance, characteristics, functions, and other aspects. It closes with a brief summary or a final remark on the described subject.

3. Expository

Purpose: The main goal of an expository text is to inform or explain. It aims to provide the reader with comprehensive information about a specific topic. This type of text gives out facts and provides deep insights, explaining complex concepts or procedures in a manner that the reader can understand.

Style: The style of an expository text is systematic and straightforward. It has an emphasis on clarity. It avoids ambiguity and confusion.

Structure: Beginning with an introduction that briefly outlines the topic, an expository text then offers a well-structured exploration of distinct aspects of the topic. Each paragraph introduces a different point related to the topic. The conclusion summarizes the main points and offers final insights.

Read More: Expository vs Argumentative Essay Writing

4. Argumentative / Persuasive

Purpose: An argumentative or persuasive text is structured to persuade the readers by presenting a point of view. It defends a position regarding an issue or topic, using reasoned arguments, facts, statistics, and real-life examples to convince readers and lure them into adopting this point of view.

Style: These texts should be precise, logical, and grounded in evidence. The use of rhetorical devices like ethos, logos, and pathos can help persuade and appeal to the reader’s sense of ethics, logic, or emotions.

Structure: Key here is to map out a clear and structured argument, often presenting the most compelling points at the beginning and end of the piece. Consider using an essay plan. Your piece may start with a clear statement of the thesis or position. Then, provide supporting evidence and arguments, section by section. Each paragraph can offer a different reason or piece of evidence supporting the thesis. A conclusion is then needed to sum up the argument, restate the thesis, and call the reader to action.

5. Instructional

Purpose: An instructional text serves to provide instructions or directions on how to do something. It aims to guide the reader through a sequence of steps to achieve a certain goal or complete a task efficiently.

Style: Unlike persuasive texts, instructional texts should not try to convince anyone of anything. Your job is to strictly provide facts. The language is direct, to-the-point, and unambiguous.

Structure: Instructional texts usually start with an overview of the task or goal, and possibly, what the end result should look like. Following that, a list of materials or requirements would come next. After this, a step-by-step guide detailing how to accomplish the task is written.

6. Procedural

Purpose: Procedural texts are designed to guide the reader through a sequence of actions or steps necessary to accomplish a specific task. These tasks might be related to cooking, science experiments, emergency procedures, or machinery operation, among others.

Style: Procedural texts are characterized by precise and unambiguous language. It is critical that the wording is exact to ensure clear communication of instructions.

Structure: Procedural texts should be written with the same goal in mind as instructional ones: begin with an overview of the task, followed by any necessary materials or preparation steps. Next, a detailed, step-by-step procedure is included. It often concludes with any necessary follow-up instructions or warnings.

Purpose: The purpose of a recount text is to retell past events, usually in chronological order. It serves to provide a detailed account of an event, experience, or historical occurrence.

Style: A recount is usually descriptive and personal, involving a chronological presentation of events, with expressive language to convey emotions or impressions that the writer felt during the events.

Structure: A typical recount text starts with the introduction, setting the scene, and often specifying the time, place, and participants involved. The series of events then unrolls in the order they occurred. Finally, it concludes with a personal comment, reflection, or evaluation of the event.

Purpose: Report texts are written to present information about a subject. The subject could range from real-world entities like animals, humans, or natural phenomena to abstract concepts like principles, theories, or ideas.

Style: Reports are communicated objectively without the use of personal pronouns or subjective language. They contain facts, statistics, and specific information related to the subject, presented in a clear, systematic manner.

Structure: A report usually begins with an introduction, defining the topic and offering a brief overview. A series of sections or subheadings then ‘chunk’ the content to make it easy to navigate, each covering different aspects of the topic. A conclusion or summary often ends the report.

9. Discussion

Purpose: A discussion text is intended to present multiple perspectives on a specific issue, allowing the reader to consider all angles before forming their own viewpoint. It aims to deepen understanding and foster a broader perspective by objectively exploring diverse opinions and arguments related to a topic.

Style: Discussion texts use neutral, unbiased language. The writer presents all sides of the argument fairly and objectively, without leaning towards supporting one over another.

Structure: The text begins with an introduction of the issue at hand. This is followed by presenting point and counterpoint for each aspect of the issue, examining arguments in favor and against it. An effective discussion text ends with a conclusion or summary that encapsulates the multiple perspectives without indicating a personal preference.

10. Response

Purpose: A response text serves to provide a personal interpretation or reaction to a piece of content, such as a book, film, article, or speech. It aims to deepen the understanding of the original content, examine its components, and express personal thoughts, feelings, and reactions to it.

Style: Response writing is subjective, reflecting the opinion and personality of the writer. Despite the writer’s personal voice being apparent, a good response should maintain an even-handed and critical approach.

Structure: Commence with an overview of the content being responded to, including its title and creator. Next, give a brief summary or description of the content. Following this, present your personal reactions, impressions, and points of critique. Lastly, conclude by summarizing your views and stating your final thoughts.

Purpose: The purpose of a poetic text is to convey emotions, experiences, concepts, and ideas using creative and imaginative language. It’s a form of verbal art that uses aesthetics and rhythmic qualities to charm and engage readers.

Style: Poetic language heavily incorporates figurative and connotative language. It frequently uses devices such as similes, metaphors, rhyme, rhythm, assonance, and alliteration to create a specific mood or emotion.

Structure: The structure of a poem can vary vastly – it may adhere to a specific form (like sonnets, haikus, or limericks) complete with rules regarding rhyme, meter, and stanza length, or it may be free verse, with no such rules.

12. Journalistic

Purpose: Journalistic texts aim to report news stories to inform readers, viewers, or listeners about events happening locally or globally. These texts provide factual information about real-world event in a balanced, fair, accurate, and comprehensive manner.

Style: Journalistic writing requires use of clear, concise, and direct language. The language is primarily factual and explanatory, striving to be impartial and unbiased.

Structure: Journalistic texts usually adopt the “inverted pyramid” structure. The most crucial information is presented first – summarizing the ‘who, what, where, when, why, and how’ of the story. Following paragraphs provide further details and context, with the least important information towards the end.

See Also: Informational Texts Examples

13. Transactional

Purpose: Transactional texts serve to communicate an intended message between individuals or organizations. Common examples include emails, reports, proposals, business letters and memos.

Style: The tone and style of transactional texts depend on their intended audience and purpose. Formality levels may vary – generally, they are written in clear, straightforward language.

Structure: Transactional texts usually start with a salutation or an introduction, followed by the body containing the key message or information. They end with a closing, which may include a call-to-action, a closing remark or a sign-off.

14. Exemplification

Purpose: Exemplification texts are those which use examples to make a point, stress a point, or clearly present a pattern or form. These texts aim to make abstract ideas concrete, clarify concepts, or provide evidence supporting statements or theories.

Style: The language of exemplification texts is straightforward and facts-based, leveraging detailed examples to make concepts clearer and more understandable.

Structure: They start with a thesis statement or main idea. Next, they introduce and elaborate various specific examples to exemplify and prove the thesis statement. Finally, a conclusion wraps up the discussion and reiterates how the examples support the main idea.

15. Compare and Contrast

Purpose: The purpose of a compare and contrast text is to examine the similarities and differences between two or more subjects, such as concepts, items, people, or events. It aids in understanding and scrutinizing the association between the subjects.

Style: This kind of writing is analytical and require a balanced and objective presentation of facts, making sure to avoid bias or favoritism.

Structure: Such texts generally follow one of two structures: block or alternating. In the block method, all about the first subject is described, followed by all about the second. In the alternating method, corresponding points about the first and second subjects are alternated for comparison.

Read More: Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

16. Cause and Effect

Purpose: Cause and effect text is written to identify and explain the reasons or causes for an event or behavior and the resulting effects or outcomes. It establishes a relationship between variables and events.

Style: Clarity is particularly important in cause and effect writing because it should aim to lucidly explain causal chains where one thing leads to another.

Structure: Generally, the text starts with an introduction to the event. This is followed by the ’cause’ section explaining its origins or reasons. Then comes the ‘effect’ section detailing the outcomes, consequences, or results. Lastly, a conclusion synthesizes the major points and may contain author’s opinion on the event.

Read More: Cause and Effect Examples

17. Diary/Journal Entry

Purpose: A diary or journal entry is written to express personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences, making them a form of autobiographical writing. The objective is self-reflection, documentation of life events or ideas, and emotional exploration.

Style: Being highly personal, these texts don’t normally adhere to strict stylistic protocols. Language is informal and conversational, representing the writer’s voice.

Structure: Diary or journal entries do not follow a strict format. They often start with the date and proceed with the entries. Entries can range from brief notes to detailed narratives.

18. Critical Review

Purpose: A critical review analyses, interprets, and appraises a text or other work (like a film or play). It’s meant to provide an evaluation of the item’s merit, significance, value, or relevance, based on careful examination and evidence-based claims.

Style: Even though a critical review presents the writer’s opinion, it should be a balanced, logical, and professional examination of the work.

Structure: A traditional critical review includes an introduction summarizing the key details of the work being reviewed, the body containing the evaluation, and a conclusion summarizing the review.

Read More: Critical Analysis Examples

Full List of Text Types and Genres

  • Descriptive
  • Argumentative / Persuasive
  • Instructional
  • Journalistic
  • Transactional
  • Exemplification
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Cause and Effect
  • Diary/Journal Entry
  • Critical Review

Understanding text types allows you to effectively communicate ideas and information to your target audience. It provides a structured framework that guides the writing process, enhancing clarity and coherence. Additionally, it aids in comprehension, helping readers navigate and understand the text in its intended way. Lastly, knowledge of text types helps improve critical reading skills, enabling readers to discern the underlying purpose and structure of various texts.

Chris

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd-2/ 101 Class Group Name Ideas (for School Students)
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd-2/ 19 Top Cognitive Psychology Theories (Explained)
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  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd-2/ All 6 Levels of Understanding (on Bloom’s Taxonomy)

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My name is Ana de Mesquita and I am from Brazil. I have been teaching English, French and Brazilian Portuguese as a second language since 2008. I really appreciated your article about texts. It is quite helpful. Best regards,

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What is Creative Writing and Its Types?

different types of creative writing and their meaning

Expressing creativity through writing is an art that can be mastered. Are you someone who is looking to hone their creative writing skills? Unlu brings to you online creative writing classes by Ruskin Bond which is a sure-fire way to strengthen your grip on the basics. Now understand the essentials by diving deep into the informative ways of learning and enhancing your writing skills.

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Along with this, the learner can expect to get an in-depth understanding of what is creative writing. The many different types of creative writing, like descriptive, expository, or persuasive, can be practiced and improved throughout this course. The classes are curated with a special focus on including the many different ways, types and styles of writing. Once enrolled, the learner can kick start their career in creative writing or even as a freelancer by offering creative content.

So let’s look at the multiple aspects of creative writing and delve deeper into it.

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What is Creative Writing?

The term “creative” can be understood in a variety of ways. The following are a few examples of descriptions: “the potential to construct”, “explorative”, “constructive and innovative”, “exemplified by articulation and individuality” are all terms used to describe people who have the ability to create.

Story writing, in which the author creates situations, scenarios, and characters, and often even a setting, is sometimes known as creative writing.

The aim of creative writing is not to educate but to entertain. Its aim is to provoke a reaction by stirring emotions.

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Types of Creative Writing

If you remain focused on your goal, whether you are writing essays, business materials, novels, posts, emails, or even just notes in your journal, your writing would be at its finest.

Mentioned below are the 4 different types of creative writing:

1. Expository

Since the term expository includes the word reveal, it is a good descriptor for this style of writing as it reveals, or puts out information.

It is definitely the most typical type of writing you will come across in your daily life. This type of writing can be demonstrated in newspapers, articles, essays, and journals.

A subject would be presented and set out in a clear order in an expository piece, with little regard to the author’s personal opinions. There are five types of expository essays:

  • How-to: This is also known as the process essay. This type of essay answers the question, “How-to?” and explains the process to the readers.
  • Problem/solution: In this essay, you identify an existing problem or an issue and suggest solutions for the problem.
  • Comparison: This type of writing involves comparing two subjects and explaining their similarities and differences.
  • Cause and effect: Involves writing about why an issue took place and what are the results of that issue.

2. Descriptive

The aim of descriptive writing is to help the reader imagine a character, an experience, a place, or all of these things together in great detail.

Authors use all five senses to describe the environment. Expository writing limits the writer’s creative expression, while descriptive writing does not. The types of descriptive writing are:

  • B iography: A biography is a detailed work about a person. It features facts and information about that person’s life.
  • T ravel writing: This writing style enables the author to use a descriptive writing style competently.
  • N ature writing: Nature writing describes the beauty of nature. For instance, John Keats’ poems.

3. Persuasive

The aim of persuasive writing, often known as argumentation, is to persuade the reader to adopt the author’s viewpoint. In a typical piece, the writer may share personal views and provide reasons to persuade the reader to agree with them.

While writing a persuasive piece, the following appeals are preferred:

  • Ethos – Be credible: Claims are made more believable by appealing to credibility. By writing clearly, the writer builds on their ethos.
  • Lagos – Be logical: A writer persuades by appealing to logic. This type of writing requires reputable evidence. Quote by a reliable source, for instance.
  • P athos – Appeal to emotions: A writer persuades by appealing to emotions.

Being logical, credible, and appealing to a writer’s emotions becomes imperative while writing persuasively.

4. Narrative

The aim of narrative writing is to showcase a plot, whether it is a true story or an imaginary one. Characters will appear in plot pieces, and the reader will experience what happens to them through the story. Dialogue is often used in narrative prose. The four common types of narrative writing are:

  • Linear narrative: A linear narrative depicts the events in the order that they happened.
  • Non-linear narrative: A non-linear narrative delivers the events of the story without following the order. It uses flashbacks to change the chronology of a story.
  • Quest narrative: A quest narrative is a story where the protagonist works relentlessly to achieve an objective.
  • Viewpoint narrative: In viewpoint narrative writing, the subjective perspective of the narrator filters the sensory details.

What are the Elements of Creative Writing?

The process of writing creatively involves many stages and parts that make the writing whole. These elements can make or break the writing and form an essential aspect. Here, we will learn about some of these elements as they make up a huge part of the learning process.

Some of the major elements of writing in a creative manner are as follows-

  • Plot : Every piece of writing requires an interesting plot. It acts as the spine of the writing and provides a structure while connecting all the parts of the writing. Having a good plot is essential to the writing’s acceptance and success. The writer should always aim to come up with something unique so as to keep the readers connected and interested.
  • Characters : The characters of any piece of writing depend on the plot. It is of utmost importance that the writer expresses the character’s development throughout the writing. This can be achieved by showcasing the changes throughout using vivid details. This is another way of attracting the readers’ attention and keeping them stuck to the piece of writing.
  • Theme : For a writing that is creative, an underlying theme or concept is the very basic requirement. The writer should base the plot on a theme that is either unique or discuss a common theme from a different perspective. The intention can be to convey a message to the masses, express one’s own view, or simply enhance the readers’ range of imagination.
  • Descriptions : It is important to note that the descriptions can be expressed in a visual manner that would assist in understanding. It is always preferable to describe a major event using visuals as it pulls the audience’s interest and keeps them intrigued.
  • Point of view : A writer can express their plot from the first, second, or third person’s viewpoint. This is not fixed and can be chosen by the writer. The use of an appropriate point of view allows the writer to touch on significant points in the storyline and also allows room for the readers’ interpretation to expand.
  • Language : Another point of the main focus is the use of language to write creatively. This can involve the usage of metaphors, phrases, and figures of speech. Using such an approach can create a better appeal and makes room for imagination and interpretation.

Creative Writing Tips and Techniques

Keeping in mind some basic techniques can help one in avoiding writer’s block and eases out the entire process of writing while being creative. These techniques can be used by anyone who wishes to stand separate from the crowd and take their writing several notches up. Below are some of these amazing techniques and tips that are sure to enhance the overall writing experience.

  • Reading a variety of books

Once a writer gets into the habit of reading on a regular basis, it expands their point of view and fills up their mind with many different approaches, styles, and ways of expressing any situation at hand. This can be achieved by going through different genres, writing styles, etc. Look out for the experts in their genres and understand their work.

  • Developing a plot

It is best to draft a plot for the piece of content that is being written. The various developments and stages can be noted down for reference while including twists and turns in the story. This can also assist in establishing a relationship between characters and providing a structure to the work.

  • Use literary devices

Such devices can prove to be essential in adding details and hidden meanings ad can be used in the different forms of creative writing. Simile, alliteration, and metaphors turn out to be vital and can be used by the writer in different contexts and ways. This technique can engage the readers and pique their interest.

  • Adding dialogues

This is such an important aspect of writing creatively as it adds an emotional touch and holds the power of connecting characters. By including dialogues, the writer can work towards developing the characters in the story in an engrossing way.

How to Start Creative Writing?

In order to write creatively, one needs to start doing the basics and catching up on the must-do things. The process of improvement and expertise requires effort, patience, and time and can be achieved with determination. In this section, all the major aspects have been compiled and can be put into practice to achieve perfection.

  • A writer can actively engage in getting in touch with the works of established, renowned writers. This will help in getting insights along with many different ideas and knowledge.
  • A writer must jot down all the creative ideas, plots, and approaches that may come to find. Maintaining a journal for the same can turn out to be fruitful in the long run.
  • Another useful thing is to write without making any edits. This allows the ideas to flow and makes for a smooth experience of writing. Uninterrupted work will make longer durations of writing easier and will also provide a space to open up with thoughts and let creativity come out.
  • A writer can focus on ‘What if?’ situations and unleash their creative side. This activity lets imagination expand and allows the writer to come up with new and distinguished ideas.

Can Creative Writing be Taught?

The art of creative writing does not have to sprout out naturally. It can be taught in classes and hones over time with diligent practice. The process of learning can be aided by enrolling on courses or classes. Anyone who aspires to work on their writing skills can learn it and develop their work’s quality over time. Taking online creative writing classes offers a structured learning path for the writers. It familiarizes them with the in and out of the process and acquaints them with many budding writers working alongside them.

These classes are not limited to handbooks or readings but also include interactive sessions and workshops that allow the writers to engage and grow exponentially. The learnings of these classes can be directly implemented and used in the work and do not require any additional chores. With everything available in one place, the writers can focus and utilize the resources to the best extent.

What are the Forms of Creative Writing?

Now that you know the meaning of creative writing, let us look at the different forms of creative writing. As discussed above, creative writing is explorative and innovative and therefore has several distinct forms.

1. Poetry/Poems

This category of creative writing allows the maximum space for imagination, creative thinking, and exclusive ideas. The poems can be experimented with and are free of any rules or structures. Various styles like Haiku, Ballad, Sonnets and free-verse poems form a part of the category. A few common types of poetry are:

  • Haiku: This type of poetry focuses on the beauty and simplicity of nature. The poems are usually three-line stanzas.
  • Free verse poems: This is an open form of poetry and hence, does not contain any pattern, rhyme, or structure.
  • Ballad: A ballad is a poem that tells a story based on a legend or a folk tale.
  • Sonnets: A sonnet is a one-stanza, 14-line poem, written in iambic pentameter.

Novels are certainly the most popular form of creative writing. They allow readers to escape from reality and dip in and out of the new worlds created by the novelists. There are different types of novels. For instance, mysteries, romance, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction.

3. Short stories

Also known as short fiction, short stories are a form of creative writing that is shorter than a novel and contains just a few characters. They usually fall between 3,000 to 6,000 words and hence, can be read in a single sitting. There are five elements of a short story:

  • Character: A person or an animal taking part in an action of short fiction.
  • Setting: The time and place when the action is taking place in the story.
  • Plot: The foundation of a story with a series of events and character actions that relate to the central conflict.
  • Conflict: A struggle between opposing forces is called a conflict in a story.
  • Theme: The main idea or belief of a story.

Essay writing requires creative thinking therefore, they are a form of creative writing. Essays are usually associated with academic writing. However, there are different types of essays such as personal essays, descriptive essays, argumentative essays, and narrative essays.

5. Journals

Almost everything you write that does not follow a specific structure is creative writing, including your journals. A journal is a written record of your thoughts and experiences. It preserves your memories and makes you remember things crystal clear.

Understanding your purpose behind creative writing

Understanding creative writing will improve your overall writing skill set.

Expository prose is an appropriate way to present facts. Textbooks, journalism (except opinion and editorial articles), corporate writing, professional writing, essays, and directions all contain facts.

Rich representation in descriptive writing evokes visualisation. You can employ it in fiction, verse, journal publishing and advertisement.

Persuasive writing attempts to persuade the reader to agree with the author’s viewpoint. It finds utility in advertisements as well as opinion and editorial pieces, ratings and job applications

A story is told in narrative prose. Fiction, poems, biographies, and anecdotes all have some degree of narration.

Ways to be More Creative with your Writing

Learn from the best, but there is no need to emulate them. Additionally, it is helpful to read well-known authors as examples of high-quality writing.

Seek out the genre’s highlights, depending on the writing style. If you want to write young adult fiction, look up to classics like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps world, or Judy Blume’s touching coming-of-age books.

Furthermore, Research the works of Isaac Asimov and Neil Gaiman if you choose to write science fiction. at the same time, do not mistake the voices of these writers for your own. Use your favourite books as a starting point. To be genuinely artistic, you must develop ideas, styles, and a point of view that are distinct from others.

To brainstorm, use the snowflake technique. The snowflake process, developed by author and writing coach Randy Ingermanson, is a method for writing a novel from the ground up by beginning with a simple plot summary and layering in additional components.

It is suitable for a wide range of creative writing projects. To initiate the snowflake process, conceive a big-picture plot concept and write a one-sentence description for it

Moreover, you can Try freewriting for a while. It is the art of writing without a predetermined format, such as outlines, cards, notes, or editorial supervision. In freewriting, the writer follows their own mental instincts, causing ideas and creativity to come to them spontaneously.

Allow the words on the screen to be inspired by the stream of consciousness.

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Minor in Creative Writing

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Explore West

Take advantage of what the University of West Georgia has to offer. UWG boasts 87 programs of study.

UWG offers an exciting, diverse curriculum that allows its students to flourish and become community and world leaders.

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Transform Words into Worlds.

Expand your writing skills and career choices with the Minor in Creative Writing .

Apply Today Learn More

At-a-Glance

  • 15 credit hours total
  • Choose from courses in a diversity of writing styles and genres
  • Get individualized training from a dynamic and caring faculty of professional writers
  • Take classes with students in a variety of majors, from biology to business to mass communications
  • Unleash your creative and career potential

write your future

Research shows that strong writers go further in the workplace. They climb because they communicate with precision and punch. The simple fact is: fewer and fewer college graduates use words well. And employers are crying out for good writers for a wide range of positions, from marketing to management to content writing. There's never been a better time to learn how to use your words. We welcome you to sign up for Creative Writing classes at UWG and see how far your words can take you.

Leverage Any Degree for Success

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Whether you are a marketing major with plans to work for a Fortune 500 company, a mass communications major with a desire to enter the film industry, or a science major interested in research and teaching, the ability to write well and creatively will empower you on a daily basis in any future career.

Kickstart a Writing Career

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Learning to write creatively is a perfect complement for anyone pursuing a profession in a writing-related field:

  • Copywriting and Content Writing
  • Copy Editing
  • Language Arts/English Education
  • Technical Writing
  • Screenwriting
  • Fiction, Memoir, and Novel Writing

Explore Your Creative Potential

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If you've been interested in creative writing but unsure of where to start, you have come to the right place. At UWG, you can learn from talented and experienced faculty who don't just read books—they write them—and they are committed to teaching you from the ground up in small class sizes and dynamic workshops. With a creative writing minor at UWG, you'll emerge a well-trained writer able to tap into your creativity, transforming worlds into words.

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Creative Writing minors are required to take one introductory course (3 hours), two intermediate courses in different genres (6 hours), and two advanced courses in any genre (6 hours). You can choose classes in a variety of genres:

  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Playwriting

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COMMENTS

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

    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. (This post may have afilliate links. Please see my full disclosure)

  2. 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 ...

  3. What is Creative Writing? Definition, Types, and How to Get Started

    Creative writing refers to a broad range of texts that draw upon writers' creativity (as the term suggests), facility with words, emotional depth, and intellectual rigor to convey meaning. Creative writing is also an area of study and college major at many colleges and universities. Creative writing is, by nature, an artistic expression ...

  4. Types of Creative Writing

    Let's look at some different types of creative writing. As you read through the list, note the types of writing you've experimented with and the types you'd like to try. Types of Creative Writing. Free writing: Open a notebook or an electronic document and just start writing. Allow strange words and images to find their way to the page.

  5. What Is Creative Writing? Types, Techniques, and Tips

    Types of Creative Writing. Examples of creative writing can be found pretty much everywhere. Some forms that you're probably familiar with and already enjoy include: • Fiction (of every genre, from sci-fi to historical dramas to romances) • Film and television scripts. • Songs. • Poetry.

  6. Creative Writing

    Creative Writing: Writing Prompts. The below writing prompts allow students to flex their creative writing muscles by experimenting with different types of creative writing genres and reflecting ...

  7. Exploring the Different Types of Creative Writing

    Type 2: Journals and Diaries. A journal is a written account of an author's experiences, activities, and feelings. A diary is an example of a journal, in which an author documents his/her life frequently. Journals and diaries can be considered creative writing, particularly if they offer more than just a log of events.

  8. 10 types of creative writing: Get inspired to write

    Literary techniques you develop with writing plays and screenplays can include satire, motif, dramatic irony, allusion, and diction. 5. Personal essays. Focusing on the author's life and experiences, a personal essay is a form of creative non-fiction that almost acts as an autobiography.

  9. Creative writing

    Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics.Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to ...

  10. What is Creative Writing? A Key Piece of the Writer's Toolbox

    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.

  11. What Is Creative Writing: A Complete Guide

    Creative Writing is a form of art that allows people to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions through the written word. It is a mode of self-expression that combines imagination with linguistic skills to create compelling narratives, poems, and other forms of literature. A Statista survey found that 76,300 Authors, Writers and Translators ...

  12. What Is Creative Writing? The ULTIMATE Guide!

    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.

  13. Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing: Explained

    2) Top 10 Elements of Creative Writing. a) Imagery and descriptive language. b) Character development. c) Plot structure. d) Dialogue and conversations. e) Point of View (POV) f) Setting and world-building. g) Tone and Style. h) Conflict and resolution.

  14. Creative Writing

    Creative writing is a form of artistic expression that goes beyond the bounds of traditional literature. It encompasses various genres and styles, including scriptwriting, narrative writing, and article writing, allowing writers to explore and convey their imaginations vividly.This form of writing also includes creating a creative bio, where writers introduce themselves in unique and engaging ...

  15. What Is Creative Writing? Simple Definition and Tips

    What is creative writing? The answer can be simple, but breaking it down is far more useful. Learn more and gain some insightful tips for yourself, as well!

  16. Exploring Writing Styles: Meaning, Types, and Examples

    Writing styles are what makes them unique! Even though their literary genres are the same, both these famous authors have different writing styles. Understanding what are writing styles and their different types will help you find your own. In this blog, we will understand the meaning of writing styles and types of writing styles with their ...

  17. 31 Stylistic Devices for Creative Writers

    There are three types of irony: Verbal (Antiphrasis) - using words to express something different from their literal meaning for ironic effect ("I'm so excited to burn the midnight oil and write my academic paper all week long"). Situational - result differs from the expectation (Bruce Robertson, a character of Filth, is a policeman ...

  18. 6 Types of Writing Styles Every Writer Should Know

    Creative writing is a massive category. It includes all work that emphasizes creativity and personal expression rather than conveying objective information. Under the vast umbrella of creative writing, we have fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Each of those categories includes multiple forms and genres.

  19. 100 Literary Devices With Examples: The Ultimate List

    7. Epistrophe. Epistrophe is the opposite of anaphora, with this time a word or phrase being repeated at the end of a sentence. Though its placement in a sentence is different it serves the same purpose—creating emphasis—as an anaphora does. Example: "I'll be ever'where - wherever you look.Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.

  20. A Look Into Creative Writing

    Creative writing is an art form that goes beyond traditional writing, allowing individuals to express their thoughts, emotions, and ideas through the power of words. In this blog post, brought to you by Oxford Summer Courses , we will delve into the essence of creative writing, exploring its definition, benefits, and how it can help unleash ...

  21. 18 Text Types (with Examples)

    Style: Response writing is subjective, reflecting the opinion and personality of the writer. Despite the writer's personal voice being apparent, a good response should maintain an even-handed and critical approach. Structure: Commence with an overview of the content being responded to, including its title and creator.

  22. What is Creative Writing and Types of Creative Writing?

    Mentioned below are the 4 different types of creative writing: 1. Expository. Since the term expository includes the word reveal, it is a good descriptor for this style of writing as it reveals, or puts out information. It is definitely the most typical type of writing you will come across in your daily life.

  23. Minor in Creative Writing

    With a creative writing minor at UWG, you'll emerge a well-trained writer able to tap into your creativity, transforming worlds into words. Courses Creative Writing minors are required to take one introductory course (3 hours), two intermediate courses in different genres (6 hours), and two advanced courses in any genre (6 hours).