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Creative writing

Creative writing
Creative writing

Creative writing allows writers to delve into the depths of their imagination and explore their inner world. This can led to producing an original, engaging, and thought-provoking piece of work that entertain, educate, and inspire others.

In today’s article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creative writing. What is creative writing? Which elements should a work contain to be considered creative writing? What creative writing techniques you can use during drafting your own work? Read on to find out!

What is creative writing?

As the name suggests, creative writing is defined as a form of writing that displays imagination, creativity, or invention, and emphasizes narrative craft, character development, and literary tropes. This is in contrast to analytic or pragmatic forms of writing, such as academic, technical, or journalistic literature.

Elements of creative writing

Unlike academic writing, creative writing is unrestricted in its form and style, giving writers the freedom to experiment with various techniques to convey their emotions and ideas. There are several elements in creative writing, whose intentional and skillful use will help you create a piece of writing that will engage and touch your readers. These elements include action, character, conflict, dialogue, genre, pacing, plot, point of view, scene, setting, style, tension, theme, and tone. Below you will find a description of each of these elements.


Action of the characters creates a movement inside the story. It should always be thought-out, i. e. in line with their motivation, bringing them closer to their goals and occur for a reason.


Character is person or other being (for example an animal) in a narrative, that can be either fictional or based on a real-life person. They are at the center of the events described in the text, and their mutual relations and actions create the story arc. Well-written characters in creative writing should be complex and three-dimensional, with backstories and personalities. Careful character development can create a lasting impression on the reader, leading him to become emotionally invested in your story.


Conflict is what adds tension to the story and pushes the plot forward. Under its influence, the characters develop and become motivated to make decisions and get involved in the unfolding events. It is a well-conducted conflict that makes readers emotionally involved and curious about how it will be resolved.


Dialogue is a verbal exchange between characters and it has many purposes, such as revealing new information without being needlessly expository, expressing characters’ emotions and showing their memories, helping to advance the storyline, and breaking the narrator’s monologue, which helps the reader stay engaged.

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Genres are the categories of literature according to form, content, and style, and they can be further divided into subgenres. The distinction between the genres is flexible and can be challenged both by writers and critics. Popular literary genres such as romance, thrillers and fantasy often contain character archetypes and recurring tropes, but more and more often writers decide to consciously use these elements to break the convention of the genre and surprise readers.


Pacing is how fast the story is told. It is determined by the length of the scenes, the speed at which the action moves forward, and how quickly the writer distributes information. Sometimes pacing is dictated by the genre of the writing. Usually, dialogue and action scenes speed up the pace, while description and narration slow it down. Skillful use of pace helps build tension and keep the reader’s attention.


Plot refers to the main sequence of events in which each event affects the next one, creating the story. A good plot should engage the reader’s attention from start to finish, and should always remain coherent and easy to follow. Every plot should include five essential elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Point of view

Point of view refers to the perspective from which a story is told. Writers can choose to tell their story from the first-person perspective, second-person perspective, or third-person perspective, which can be omniscient or limited. Sometimes instead the single point of view, writers decide to alternate between different first-person narrators or to switch from the first-person narration to the third-person narration. Each perspective will have its own unique impact on the story and how it’s received by readers.


Scenes are the narrative units that build up stories. A scene takes specific time and place between specific characters. When it is well-written, it contains tension and conflict and helps the plot move forward.


Setting is the time and place of the narrative. In can include geographical location, time of day, historical period, unspecified future, or fictional world. The setting can be used as a device to help establish tone, build character, or advance the plot.


Style is the manner in which creative writers use the language to express their ideas. It can be considered the writer’s voice, and a key component of creating a unique and authentic work. The style should be consistent with the type of writing, as well as the target audience – for example, the writing style of a children’s novel will be different from the one used in a memoir.


Tension is a major device that creative writers can use to keep the readers on the edge of their seat, uncertain about the outcome of the plot and with a sense something ominous is right around the corner. To build up the right amount of tension in their work, the writer has to skillfully pace his story, create interesting characters with opposing goals, and raise the stakes. Thanks to this, the reader will definitely not stop reading until he knows the ending.


Theme is the central topic, subject, or message within a narrative. In literary studies, they are divided into two categories: thematic concept, which is the broader topic the work touches upon; and thematic statement, which is an overarching message of the writing. Those ideas aren’t immediately understandable, and readers have to dig deeper into the piece of writing to discover them.


Tone is frequently confused with a mood of a literary work, but they are not the same thing. Tone is used specifically to express the writer’s feelings or attitude about the subject matter and audience. The author creates tone in his writing through other elements of writing, such as word choice and the grammatical arrangement of those words, included or omitted details, and figurative language.

Forms of creative writing

Due to this loose definition, creative writing encompasses many genres of fictional and non-fictional works, for example:

  • novels
  • novellas
  • short stories
  • poetry
  • screenplays
  • plays
  • poetry
  • autobiographies/memoirs
  • graphic novels/comics
  • creative nonfiction.

Stages of creative writing process

Every writer has his own unique way of working. Below you’ll find the steps of the creative writing process, from the initial idea to a finished piece of work, along with techniques that can help you work on your own writing.


A small thought, an overheard curiosity, or an interesting place – many things can be the first inspiration for a writer. Prewriting is the first stage of the writing process, during which you can daydream about fictional people and worlds in which your story can take place, as well as do some preliminary research. To write some of your ideas down, you can use one of the popular strategies: mind mapping, the snowflake method, or freewriting.


Not every writer prepares an outline of their work. For example, Stephen King, often called the king of horror, admits that he does not plan his novels at all, and allows the action to develop as he writes, thanks to which he can complete his novels in a short time.

Most writers, however, will benefit from planning, which not only allows them to think through what is going on, but also helps them avoid writer’s block. A well-made outline will help you create a cohesive plot and avoid plot gaps.


Once you have a well-written outline, you can let the words flow freely and create the first draft of your work. Keep in mind that it is unlikely to be perfect. Don’t get discouraged – remember that you can always go back and make necessary changes later. During this stage focus on getting through it from the beginning to the end and simply enjoy writing!


When revising, focus on refining your characters, plot, dialogue, and pacing. You may also need to cut or add scenes to improve the flow of the story. Focus especially on passages that differ from the rest of the text, and on characters’ actions that may seem inconsistent with their motivation or personality. Reading the text aloud can be particularly useful – thanks to this you will easily spot errors or awkwardness in sentences.

Editing and proofreading

This involves checking for spelling and grammar errors, as well as making sure your story is coherent and flows well. Editing your own work can be difficult, so try to take a long break after you finish writing and not look at the text for a while, then print it – having a paper version of the manuscript will help you change your perspective and allow you to mark problem areas and take notes more easily. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others and be willing to make changes based on their suggestions.

Publishing your writing

When you are convinced that your text no longer needs corrections, it’s time for the final stage – making sure it reaches the readers. Of course, not everyone wants to become a professional writer, and many texts are written purely for personal enjoyment or as assignments for school or college classes. Nevertheless, if you think your work is good enough to be published, look into self-publishing methods and publishing houses that might be interested in working with you.

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How to become a better writer? Tips and advices

For many writers, creative writing is not just a hobby, but a way of life. It can be a powerful tool for personal growth, helping us to explore our emotions and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. What’s more, creative writing can also become a successful career – after all, many people dream of seeing their work on the shelves of bookstores.

So, how to become a better writer?

Read more

Reading is the easiest way to become a better writer. It helps you expand your vocabulary, exposes you to different writing styles, and helps you learn the rules of each literary genre. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, and online articles can also give you new ideas and inspiration for your own writing. Make a habit of reading regularly to improve your creative writing craft.

Create a routine and stick to it

A routine helps develop a habit of consistent writing. Create a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Even if you only have a few minutes to write each day, it’s better than nothing. Use a planner or calendar to track your progress and hold yourself accountable to your writing schedule. Set realistic goals that are attainable and motivate you to write regularly.

Find a community

Creative writing is a passion that many people share. Try to look for them both among your friends from school or work, as well as on various social media groups. Joining a community of creative writers is a great way to meet new people, support and motivate each other, and exchange writing tips and advices.

Challenge yourself

Nothing develops like challenging yourself. Do you struggle with a particular literary genre? Do you have trouble telling a story from the perspective of a character you can’t relate to? Try to write about something you find difficult, and don’t worry if you don’t like the result. This is an exercise that can help you discover your own potential.

Learn from other writers

In addition to reading their creative writing works, research great writers’ writing routines and advice they give to aspiring writers. The aforementioned Stephen King published On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, in which he describes his own path to becoming a bestselling author and shares many useful tips with young writers. Other well-known authors often describe their own writing methods and tips in interviews, so don’t hesitate to look them up and try them out – they may work for you too.

Try a creative writing workshop

A workshop is arguably the best way to effectively work on your creative writing skills. Such classes usually take place in groups, so you have the opportunity to see your work from different perspectives and gain new insights from other creative writing students. The people who conduct creative writing programs are usually professionals who are well-versed in the principles of creative writing and can offer you feedback, constructive criticism, and advice that will help you develop as a writer in no time.

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Creative writing with Skrivanek

We hope you learned something new about creative writing and maybe even decided to try your hand at it. However, if you are looking for a professional translation agency to whom you can entrust the stories you write, be sure to contact our Skrivanek translation agency. We will make sure that your text is translated not only correctly, but also in the appropriate style and cultural context.

If, on the other hand, you dream of writing creatively in another language, but you do not know it well enough to express your thoughts fluently, the easiest solution will be to sign up for a course at our Skrivanek language school. Check us out!

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