Writing Tutorials: What is Creative Writing? Ideas and Examples for Writing a Story
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.
Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
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;
• Rising action
• Falling action
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.
Writing Tips on Amazon
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!
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.
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