What is Creative Writing
WHAT IS CREATIVE WRITING?
The word creative is defined in various ways. The following are just some of the definitions:
“The ability to create”
“Productive and imaginative”
“Characterised by expressiveness and originality”
Creative writing is often defined as the writing of fiction, where the author creates events, scenes and characters, sometimes even a world. In reality, aside from instinctive utterances like the yelp of an injured child or a delighted ‘Oh!’, all expressions are creative.
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HOW DOES CREATIVE WRITING DIFFER?
Is creative writing different from other kinds of writing? As stated before all writing involves creativity since it is selective and is written from the writer’s perspective. Like informative writing, expositions (detailed statements or explanations) or instructions, creative writing does convey information, even when we define it so broadly; indeed, information is the basic component of all communication, no matter what kind.
The overall intent of creative writing is not to inform.
It is to stir the emotions, to elicit an emotional response.
A storyteller’s narrative is designed to express the storyteller’s feelings about some aspect of life, and to engage the reader in those feelings. A poet uses events, images and people to deliver concentrated emotion. Dramatists and screen writers convey and stir emotions through action and dialogue. A magazine feature writer comments on real people and real lives to arouse our sympathy, delight, horror or concern.
Information and creativity
The point is that almost any genre or category of writing can be written to engage the reader emotionally as well as intellectually. What makes a work more creative than informative is its emphasis.
Informative writing is primarily about imparting knowledge.
Creative writing is primarily about creating emotional effect and significance.
Differences between creative and informative writing are sometimes quite blurred. Some well-known and esteemed pieces of writing that are primarily informative are also very creative, sensitive and beautiful, while some primarily creative works are also highly informative. To understand this better, read a chapter from A.S. Byatt’s novel, Possession, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dee Brown’s history, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and James Mitchener’s epic novel, Hawaii. You will also see writing where creativity and information carry equal weight and importance in some newspaper feature articles, often found in the centre pages of the weekend editions, and in many magazine articles.
Good creative writing uses the same kinds of writing that make for good informative writing, or good argument, or good exposition. It is the writer’s skill at using these forms of writing that can turn any piece of writing into creative piece of writing.
Even when we write fiction, we are dealing with reality as we know it. Fictional does not mean false. It takes our reality, or parts of it, and shows it to us in new ways. It makes the familiar unfamiliar, and takes us into parts of reality, making us take the time (because we read much slower than we think or see) to see its complexity, beauty and pain. Even fantasy fiction and science fiction, which give us totally created worlds, are based on elements of reality, and are therefore recognisable and believable. Therefore, when we write creatively, it doesn’t matter whether we are writing fiction or non-fiction. What matters is that we are sharing experiences and emotions with the reader and, for a while at least, leading them towards a particular point of view.
Genre is a word often used to describe categories or types of written text. Some of the more familiar genres of creative writing are:
poetry of all kinds
novels, including westerns, romances, science fiction, detective stories, mysteries, fantasy, etc.
stage play scripts
film and television screenplays
Other genres that we may not think of as creative writing are: