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Writing Tutorials: What is Creative Writing? Ideas and Examples for Writing a Story

Updated on September 18, 2013

Writing Tutorials - Creative Writing

This is one hub in a series of on-going writing tutorials

Creative writing typically shows the evolution of a character as they tackle conflict. This hub will guide you through a few pre-writing ideas and will touch on conflict, characterization, plot and setting.

Creative Writing: Conflict

What is a short story without a conflict? BORING!

A short story will generally present a main character and the conflict he or she is trying to resolve. A good writer will include relationships and motivations within the text that support either the character and/or the conflict. The conflict can be either an external force such as Man versus Nature or Man versus Man. It can also be an internal conflict - Man versus Self. Internal conflicts can be about morals, disabilities or crossroads in one's life. Just as in life, conflict causes a person to change as a result of conflict. So, how will your character change? Why did the character change?

What does conflict mean for you as a writer? Conflict may actually be a good starting point in getting the creative juices flowing. Decide on a conflict and reflect on how that conflict would change a person.

Things to consider -

• What is the conflict?

• Who is the character?

• What relationships and motivations does the character have?

• Do these relationships and/or motivations hinder or encourage your main character?

• Who is the antagonist and/or protagonist?

• How will the character change once the conflict is defeated or challenged?

• What type of emotional or mental threshold will your character have to cross in order to defeat the conflict you chose?

• What obstacles would a character face when trying to defeat a challenge?


A MissOlive Backburner Thought -

A common post-reading discussion between reading groups and classrooms is, "How did the character change? Why? What was the turning point? What did the character have to mentally/emotionally/physically overcome before resolving the conflict?"


Jot down your thoughts and begin drafting a plot.

Creative Writing: Plot

You should keep the elements of PLOT in mind whenever you prepare a short story.

Plot is typically identified as follows;

• Introduction

• Rising action

• Climax

• Falling action

• Resolution

Drafting and planning your paragraphs through plot

Introduction - The opening paragraphs usually introduce the main character, setting and the conflict.

Rising Action - Once you have established your introductory paragraphs you will want to transition into events, relationships and motivations. In this segment the writer should be drawing the reader in - this is the development of upcoming suspense. These events should lead the reader into the next phase - climax.

Climax - This is the high point of the story. This stage should be filled with anticipation and inquisitiveness of the reader. Will the character succeed and overcome his/her conflict? Climax is the doorway to the threshold of resolution - the turning point.

Falling action - The dialogue in this section of the short story will usually feature the character's acknowledging success or defeat of the conflict. The reader should begin to foreshadow closure and the tying of loose ends.

Resolution - This is the final reflection of the main character's journey. The reader should capture the physical or mental change the main character has achieved due to the conflict. The writer can creatively summarize what has happened or lead the reader into a forthcoming sequel.

Creative Writing: Describing Character and Creating Setting

Drafting a character change - If you are having difficulty illustrating how a character has changed throughout your text try this pre-writing technique. Make a simple T-chart and place the words BEFORE on one side and AFTER on the other. List the before and after qualities of the character you want to capture. Then, make a second T-chart, but this time your heading will be CAUSE and EFFECT. List the events in your short story that capture how and why your character changed. The CAUSE and EFFECT T-chart should represent the before/after changes you identified in your first list. Structure your findings into events and place the events chronologically within your plot. This is a great technique when organizing characterization within a plot pyramid.

Drafting an effective setting - Have you ever seen a play with a not so realistic set? Or, a TV show with one-dimensional props? Not exactly an effective visual for the audience. In creative writing you want to provide your reader with all the descriptive elements for an effective setting. Imagery is vital and truly gives life to the reader's imagination through your words. You want your story line, setting and characters to be as realistic as possible - even if it is a fantasy world. By realistic I mean believable. The beauty of fictional writing is making the character's world accessible to the reader's imagination.

Creative Writing: Revising

Revising - Once you have organized your plot you need to write your first draft and set it aside and don't touch it. Put it away! Hard? Yes! I know, but you need to revise with a fresh uncluttered perspective.

Here are the four areas you will want to evaluate (THIS is the time to be HARD on yourself. Do NOT assume the reader will "get it");

  • Focus and coherence - Do I support my character's struggle with literary devices such as foreshadow, flashback and symbolism? Are character changes supported by effective use of cause and effect? Does the reader understand the character's perspective?
  • Organization - Are the events placed in the appropriate chronological order? Are transitions smooth and supportive of the plot?
  • Progression of Ideas - Is the main theme evident? Is there a moral to the story?
  • Voice - Is the use of narrative point of view used consistently throughout the text? Who is telling the story? Do the verbs support this tense from beginning to end (past/present)?

Creative Writing: Editing

Editing - Conventions!

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Formatting


Tip - use a program such as Microsoft Word. Take advantage of the spell check tools. Then, do an additional read through and pick out common errors such as;

  • to, too, two
  • an, and
  • our, are
  • this, these
  • their, there, they're
  • double check verb tenses
  • double check for excessive use of names and/or pronouns. In other words - did you keep saying she...she...she...?

Is your final copy descriptive? Did you use imagery for your reader? Below are additional writing tutorials you may find beneficial...

Writing Tutorials: How to Write a Story: Character, Setting and Personal Narratives

Describing a Character Do you know your character? What makes your character tick? Characterization is multi-faceted. Describing a Character will guide you through the steps and questions you need in order to evolve your thoughts into a character your readers will want to follow, analyze and interpret.

Describing Setting Usually when someone asks, "What is setting?" the common answer is, "where the story takes place". Well, location is NOT the only element of setting. Setting is a beautiful and vital layer in creative writing. Descriptive elements add imagery, depth and understanding to your setting and overall plot. This tutorial breaks down the elements of setting and includes reflective questioning, examples and imagery to assist you in developing setting.

Writing a Personal Narrative This tutorial includes pre-writing, drafting and analysis skills for the development of your own personal narrative. Personal narratives tell a story from your point of view. A personal narrative usually involves a memorable experience, a challenge defeated or an impressive accomplishment.

Online Research Writing This comprehensive hub will guide you through the steps of preparing and documenting online research, pre-writing skills, reflective editing and the publishing of your respective text. It also includes valuable links to sites which will further enhance your research, your writing process and the promotion of your published work.

Images for the sub-topics conflict, plot, editing, revising and writing tutorials are from freedigitalimages.net. Images were enhanced with framing and text in Keynote.

Title image and headers were created by MissOlive with Keynote and iPhoto. Learn how here.

MissOlive's hubs are written and published by,

marisa hammond olivares, copyright 2011

All rights reserved

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    • Techbook profile image

      Techbook 5 years ago from India

      Hey Miss O'live.... I'm not sure if your hub is for the contest. As I see that you are taking lot of effort to publish so beautiful hubs. In case these are for the contest then you need to add a tag as contest under the tags section. I hope the veteran's of HP agree to what I just said.

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Hi Techbook - you are too kind. No, these are not for the contest. The contest is only for actual creative writing, poems and photographs. Perhaps I will publish something for the contest soon. I'm truly touched by your comment and support :)

    • Techbook profile image

      Techbook 5 years ago from India

      I will look forward for that ultimate hub for the contest that you are planning. In fact I got one in my belly, I need to pen down in a day or two and post it. I'm attempting to write a poem which is the most daring stuff from a techie.... All the best to you

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Your series on writing articles has been resourceful. especially the one about building characters.

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Mam, your hubs insist me to say hats off to you.you are really a marvel of nature.Thanks for sharing such a beautiful work.keep it up!

    • nenytridiana profile image

      nenytridiana 5 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

      awesome. thank you missolive.

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      rasta1 - glad you find my series resourceful. The character tutorial is one of my favorites as well, but I also love a good setting. Thank you!

      asmaiftikhar - Thank you for your continued support and ego boosting complements :) I sincerely thank you.

      nenytridiana - thank you! I think you are awesome too! Glad to see you came by to read.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      I LOVE how you set up your hub with the personalized headers! It really does look awesome- you are so creative :) You are also a great writer too. I used to be so much better at creative writing when I was younger.. it's like I'm scared to use my imagination as I get older. Thanks for this awesome hub..I might have to copy the personalized header and photo mats idea sometime ;0) Such great work!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      These hubs about creative writing are really awesome and I am impressed by the way you design them! This hub is beautifully done and packed with good information!

      Thanks for writing them,

      Tina

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      You rock MissOlive! Outstanding, detailed and informative hub! :)

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      @Jamie Brock - I like playing around with formating. These headers can be made in Power Point or Keynote. Also, I'm sure you could get the creative juices flowing. I have not done any fictional writing on HP yet - except for a few poems. I will eventually have to take my own advice :)

      @thougtforce - thank you for the complement and support. I'm enjoying writing this series.

      @Sunshine625 - THANK YOU!!! Always glad to see you hoppin' my hubs! You - by the way - are doing an amazing job!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I really enjoy this hub. Very inspiring and I learn much from you at the same time. Thanks for share with us. Rated up!

      Prasetio

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Excellent tutorial! Bookmarked.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello, I can't say it better than Will.

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      prasetio30 - glad to see you stopped by. I'm especially happy to hear you found this hub inspiring. Thanks for following - honored

      WillStarr - Thank you for the bookmark and comment. Happy you came by to read.

      mckbirdks - Thank you! :)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ....well you can 'tutor' me anyday .....and I would like to tutor my FACEBOOK readers and friends with a posting of this most essential hub subject with a direct link back here .... lake erie time ontario canada 8:22pm

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      epigramman - Me tutor you? I'd be too busy asking you for help and ideas! :)

      Thank you for sharing this hub on your Facebook - honored!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Awesome! As always, I'm oh so jealous of the beautiful layout of the info and pictures:). I'm so glad you write on hub - you've got a lot of great info here to choose from:)

      I love the details and explanations!

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Thank you RealHousewife - these layouts are easy.You can do it too.

      I'm especially happy to see you like the hub content. As for writing on the hub - I'm LOVING it! :) Glad to share.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Miss olive - when I first joined HP - I had no idea how to embed video or pictures - I just wanted to write! I have learned so much from writers like you and how to do many new things. I am so grateful....I don't think anyone could not agree that the work you do is top notch. Evey time I start a hub now one of yours is stuck in my head - and I'm sure if I keep learning and following I will be able to get better. I really appreciate your quality work.

      I absolutely love writing on hub and learning anything you choose - free of charge!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I think this tutorial is excellent and will be very helpful for me. Thank you.

    • Admiral_Joraxx profile image

      Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines

      Great elaborations of this topic missolive! I know I have heard this lessons somewhere in college but honestly I have forgotten them. This hub of yours refreshed everything to my mind. Great discussions indeed! 1 vote up, useful and interesting.=)

    • asmaiftikhar profile image

      asmaiftikhar 5 years ago from Pakistan

      Missolive another great hub. and i give the link of your hub on my hub of world best diary writing skills.

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      asma - thank you! I am honored!

    • Kurant82 profile image

      Brett Foster 5 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Just remember when it comes to a story, a real story, in order to be a successful writer you have no friends! This is an unfortunate truth about the industry.

      Never the less I must continue to push myself. Write, Inspire, and push your creative abilitiez to the limits. When I write a story I want to take your breath away, so I write! I write to inspire, to push the limits, and to free myself! As far as I am concerned when it comes to writing, boundaries are meant to be broken.

      I write because I do not know how not to write. For me writing is simply an awesome feeling, it allows you to just free yourself and let it all go.

      There are no boudaries when you write.

      Great hub by the way. Well done!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Kudos to this hub and hubber. I'm considering offering a workshop on creative writing in my office and this is truly valuable.

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

      Excellent job on this hub. It has a lot of valuable information packed in it.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      There are several reasons to bookmark this piece. Voted up.

      Your helpful work can be an aid to new writing and to revisions. Thanks for the info and tips on creative writing, and for other info within the hub.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Missolive - This is an excellent hub, plain and simple - as are all your hubs about writing! I think it is an excellent resource and am bookmarking it to share with my kids. ~voted up and very useful~

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Rtalloni - Thank your for your wonderful comment and support. Glad to know you are bookmarking.

      ktrapp - honored! Really! Please be sure to look at the setting and character tutorials. They are very reflective and offer several prompts and ideas. I'm really glad to know you have stopped by to read. Thanks for the votes! :)

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      I needed this one. Sometimes I ran out of plotting ideas. Funny how ideas come to our minds though. I was driving through heavy traffic and a cute idea popped up. the problem is..Ran through a red light and got a christmas gift certificate(a ticket and a warrant...)Thanks so much lady from Mac Allen!

      LORD

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Lord - LOL

      not exactly the kind of reading you want to have to do a ticket and a warrant! Oh my! I keep notecards on my desk and jot down quick notes during class. I have so many unfinished hubs its ridiculous!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Your writing hubs really are great and so useful---Thank you!!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I landed here from redgage. How did I miss this informative article.

      I loved your instructions. If we try we can learn these techniques, but I think finding own voice is the most difficult part of creative writing.

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Hi Vinaya - glad to know you got here through RedGage (means it's working :) )

      Technique is great, but we all have our own styles as well. Voice is an interesting area. Although I do have a hub on voice I do want to write another one that will complement this series. Your work does have voice Vinaya - however, it is difficult to assess and reflect on our own voice. When we read our own work our own thoughts, memories and ideas intervene.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I'll head over to RedGage to find you.

    • Bbudoyono profile image

      Bbudoyono 5 years ago

      Excellent hub. I take this hub as one of my guide. Voted up.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Love it Love it Love it! Thank you missolive. Voted up and useful!

      Blessings,

      ~Lisa

    • Frannie Dee profile image

      Frannie Dee 5 years ago from Chicago Northwest Suburb

      This is so reminiscent of early college courses but a great refresher concisely arrayed. Thanks missolive. It is good to get back to basics once in a while. I would agree with Vinaya that creative writing, once basic techniques are mastered, comes from within.

    • Marie-Renee profile image

      Renee 5 years ago

      Another great hub, I think all wanna-be writers should take the time to read this and bookmark for reference. I remember thinking before that without pictures my hubs were a little bit boring until I saw how your headers make a difference...btw, do you call that a header? the one that separates the topics, not really sure if that's the correct term for that...and your images are so personalized. Not a boring read! voted up and bookmarked again.

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Marie-Renee, thank you! I do call them headers, but they are actually rectangular photos. They are the same ones I talk about in my 'Create Personalized Headers' hub. Glad to see you stopped by.

      Frannie Dee - refreshers are good every now and then. I do agree with Vinaya as well. Creative writing is composed from within, however, as an educator I would encourage all of us to edit and revise as needed. Personally I'm a 'freewriter' and then I go back and tweak.

      rusticliving - thank you thank you thank you :)

      Bbudoyono - what a compliment - thank you! I appreciate your votes

    • alvinalex profile image

      alvinalex 5 years ago

      Very informative hub! Glade to voted up :)

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 5 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      Highly detailed hub that is well written and beautifully presented in an easy to follow style. Voted up :)

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      alvinalex - thank you very much!

      Brian Slater - I'm thrilled that you came by to read and comment. Much appreciated, thanks for the vote :)

    • Tricia Ward profile image

      Tricia Ward 5 years ago from Scotland

      Excellent hub, think I need to bookmark this so I can refer back and take action steps a bit at a time thanks for the insight x

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks ...This is interesting article ...nice read

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Tricia Ward - Thank you very much. I appreciate the comment and bookmark.

      htodd - Thank you! Glad you liked it.

    • hectordang profile image

      hectordang 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks for this hub! I am a horrible creative writing, as professional career work doesn't give me a lot of opportunities to write creatively! I'll try some of your suggestions!

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 4 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      I have to say missolive you have some wonderful articles. You are a great writer and teacher. You're instructions and tips are easy to follow and they flow so naturally.

      Thank you for being such a great contributer to the Hub Community. You bring such value here.. Thanks!

    • saday profile image

      saday 4 years ago from India

      Nice post Missolive :)

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Missolive:

      Excellent read, I must say! At one time I thought I had read at least one of your awesome writing tutorials, but must have missed this one. You mentoned some real good tips in this tutorial for both novice and pro alike. This is an excellent article for those who definitely want to rekindle that long yearned for book, that may have been put on the backburner over past years. And this article surely will make even the most unmotivated of writers, get motivated in a real hurry. Thanks again for an excellent read which I also voted up and awesome. Real good stuff, as well as interesting to keep one in his/her seat. Can't wait to read more! Jlbowden

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 4 years ago from Texas

      hectordang, creative writing might be a nice break from the rigid walls of reality. I do hope you get to give it a try sometime.

      FaithDream, thank you so much. I appreciate that. What a wonderful compliment - I'm touched.

      saday, thank you.

      Jbowden, what a great comment! Thanks so much. May you find lots of motivation in all you read and write.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 2 years ago from Canada

      Missolive, Excellent tutorial and straight to the point, it's been a while since I've written stories and these really helped, thanks for sharing. The comments above indicate that u have plenty of great tutorials, can't wait to go over the rest :)

    • missolive profile image
      Author

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 2 years ago from Texas

      noorin, thank you very much, I am very pleased this has been a nice refresher for you. Thank you for reading and I greatly appreciate your supportive comment. I look forward to hearing from you again.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 2 years ago from Canada

      Anytime :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 17 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Miss Olive, this was a great idea to do a hub tutorial series on writing to editing your hubs. This will be handy to do writers at various stages and those who need a refresher course every once in awhile. Great tips!

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