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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Bluehost
Sqribble (eBook maker)

Read This Next:

  • What Is a Prompt in Writing? (Ultimate Guide + 200 Examples)
  • What Is A Personal Account In Writing? (47 Examples)
  • How To Write A Fantasy Short Story (Ultimate Guide + Examples)
  • How To Write A Fantasy Romance Novel [21 Tips + Examples)

Authority Self-Publishing

27 Creative Writing Examples To Spark Your Imagination

With all the types of creative writing to choose from, it’s hard enough to focus on just one or two of your favorites. 

When it comes to writing your own examples, don’t be hard on yourself if you hit a wall.

We’ve all done it.

Sometimes, all you need is a generous supply of well-crafted and inspirational creative writing examples. 

Good thing you’re here!

For starters, let’s get clear on what creative writing is. 

What Is Creative Writing? 

How to start creative writing , 1. novels and novellas, 2. short stories and flash fiction, 3. twitter stories (140 char), 4. poetry or songs/lyrics, 5. scripts for plays, tv shows, and movies, 6. memoirs / autobiographical narratives, 7. speeches, 9. journalism / newspaper articles, 11. last wills and obituaries, 12. dating profiles and wanted ads, 13. greeting cards.

Knowing how to be a creative writer is impossible if you don’t know the purpose of creative writing and all the types of writing included. 

As you’ll see from the categories listed further on, the words “creative writing” contain multitudes: 

  • Novels, novellas, short stories, flash fiction, microfiction, and even nanofiction;
  • Poetry (traditional and free verse); 
  • Screenplays (for theatrical stage performances, TV shows, and movies)
  • Blog posts and feature articles in newspapers and magazines
  • Memoirs and Testimonials
  • Speeches and Essays
  • And more—including dating profiles, obituaries, and letters to the editor. 

Read on to find some helpful examples of many of these types. Make a note of the ones that interest you most. 

Once you have some idea of what you want to write, how do you get started? 

Allow us to suggest some ideas that have worked for many of our readers and us: 

  • Keep a daily journal to record and play with your ideas as they come; 
  • Set aside a specific chunk of time every day (even 5 minutes) just for writing; 
  • Use a timer to help you stick to your daily writing habit ; 
  • You can also set word count goals, if you find that more motivating than time limits; 
  • Read as much as you can of the kind of content you want to write; 
  • Publish your work (on a blog), and get feedback from others. 

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to begin let’s move on to our list of examples.  

Creative Writing Examples 

Read through the following examples to get ideas for your own writing. Make a note of anything that stands out for you. 

Inspiring novel-writing examples can come from the first paragraph of a well-loved novel (or novella), from the description on the back cover, or from anywhere in the story. 

From Circe by Madeline Miller

““Little by little I began to listen better: to the sap moving in the plants, to the blood in my veins. I learned to understand my own intention, to prune and to add, to feel where the power gathered and speak the right words to draw it to its height. That was the moment I lived for, when it all came clear at last and the spell could sing with its pure note, for me and me alone.”

From The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: 

“‘I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination…. ” 

The shorter your story, the more vital it is for each word to earn its place.  Each sentence or phrase should be be necessary to your story’s message and impact. 

From “A Consumer’s Guide to Shopping with PTSD” by Katherine Robb

“‘“Do you know what she said to me at the condo meeting?” I say to the salesman. She said, “Listen, the political climate is so terrible right now I think we all have PTSD. You’re just the only one making such a big deal about it.”

“The salesman nods his jowly face and says, “That Brenda sounds like a real b***h.”’

From Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (collection of short stories)

“Something happened when the house was dark. They were able to talk to each other again.” (From ‘A Temporary Matter’)

Use the hashtag #VSS to find a generous sampling of short Twitter stories in 140 or fewer characters. Here are a few examples to get you started: 

From Chris Stocks on January 3rd, 2022 : 

“With the invention of efficient 3D-printable #solar panels & cheap storage batteries, the world was finally able to enjoy the benefits of limitless cheap green energy. Except in the UK. We’re still awaiting the invention of a device to harness the power of light drizzle.” #vss365 (Keyword: solar)

From TinyTalesbyRedsaid1 on January 2nd, 2022 : 

“A solar lamp would safely light our shack. But Mom says it’ll lure thieves. I squint at my homework by candlelight, longing for electricity.” #vss #vss365 #solar

If you’re looking for poetry or song-writing inspiration, you’ll find plenty of free examples online—including the two listed here: 

From “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

“How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!

From “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons

“I wake up to the sounds

Of the silence that allows

For my mind to run around

With my ear up to the ground

I’m searching to behold

The stories that are told

When my back is to the world

That was smiling when I turned

Tell you you’re the greatest

But once you turn they hate us….” 

If you enjoy writing dialogue and setting a scene, check out the following excerpts from two very different screenplays. Then jot down some notes for a screenplay (or scene) of your own.

From Mean Girls by Tina Fey (Based on the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman

“Karen: ‘So, if you’re from Africa, why are you white?’

“Gretchen: ‘Oh my god, Karen! You can’t just ask people why they’re white!’

“Regina: ‘Cady, could you give us some privacy for, like, one second?’

“Cady: ‘Sure.’

Cady makes eye contact with Janis and Damien as the Plastics confer.

“Regina (breaking huddle): ‘Okay, let me just say that we don’t do this a lot, so you should know that this is, like, a huge deal.’

“Gretchen: ‘We want to invite you to have lunch with us every day for the rest of the week.’ 

“Cady: ‘Oh, okay…’ 

“Gretchen: Great. So, we’ll see you tomorrow.’

“Karen: ‘On Tuesdays, we wear pink.’” 

#10: From The Matrix by Larry and Andy Wachowski

“NEO: ‘That was you on my computer?’

“NEO: ‘How did you do that?’

“TRINITY: ‘Right now, all I can tell you, is that you are in danger. I brought you here to warn you.’

“NEO: ‘Of what?’

“TRINITY: ‘They’re watching you, Neo.’

“NEO: ‘Who is?’

“TRINITY: ‘Please. Just listen. I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone and why, night after night, you sit at your computer. You’re looking for him.’

“Her body is against his; her lips very close to his ear.

“TRINITY: ‘I know because I was once looking for the same thing, but when he found me he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer.’

“There is a hypnotic quality to her voice and Neo feels the words, like a drug, seeping into him.

“TRINITY: ‘It’s the question that drives us, the question that brought you here. You know the question just as I did.’

“NEO: ‘What is the Matrix?’

Sharing stories from your life can be both cathartic for you and inspiring or instructive (or at least entertaining) for your readers. 

From The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

“It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster, we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred: the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. ‘He was on his way home from work—happy, successful, healthy—and then, gone,’ I read in the account of the psychiatric nurse whose husband was killed in a highway accident… ” 

From Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: 

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

From Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s by Jennifer Worth: 

“Nonnatus House was situated in the heart of the London Docklands… The area was densely-populated and most families had lived there for generations, often not moving more than a street or two away from their birthplace. Family life was lived at close-quarters and children were brought up by a widely-extended family of aunts, grandparents, cousins, and older siblings. 

The purpose of most speeches is to inform, inspire, or persuade. Think of the last time you gave a speech of your own. How did you hook your listeners? 

From “Is Technology Making Us Smarter or Dumber?” by Rob Clowes (Persuasive)

“It is possible to imagine that human nature, the human intellect, emotions and feelings are completely independent of our technologies; that we are essentially ahistorical beings with one constant human nature that has remained the same throughout history or even pre-history? Sometimes evolutionary psychologists—those who believe human nature was fixed on the Pleistocene Savannah—talk this way. I think this is demonstrably wrong…. “

From “Make Good Art” by Neil Gaiman (Keynote Address for the University of Fine Arts, 2012):

“…First of all: When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing.”

“This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.”

“If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do. And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.” 

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From “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (TEDGlobal)

“…I come from a conventional, middle-class Nigerian family. My father was a professor. My mother was an administrator. And so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help, who would often come from nearby rural villages. So, the year I turned eight, we got a new house boy. His name was Fide. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. My mother sent yams and rice, and our old clothes, to his family. And when I didn’t finish my dinner, my mother would say, “Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing.” So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family.

“Then one Saturday, we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket made of dyed raffia that his brother had made. I was startled. It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.” 

Essays are about arguing a particular point of view and presenting credible support for it. Think about an issue that excites or angers you. What could you write to make your case for a specific argument? 

From “On Rules of Writing,” by Ursula K. Le Guin:

“Thanks to ‘show don’t tell,’ I find writers in my workshops who think exposition is wicked. They’re afraid to describe the world they’ve invented. (I make them read the first chapter of The Return of the Native , a description of a landscape, in which absolutely nothing happens until in the last paragraph a man is seen, from far away, walking along a road. If that won’t cure them nothing will.)” 

From “Fairy Tale is Form, Form is Fairy Tale ” by Kate Bernheimer (from The Writer’s Notebook) : 

“‘The pleasure of fairy tales,’ writes Swiss scholar Max Lüthi, ‘resides in their form.’ I find myself more and more devoted to the pleasure derived from form generally, and from the form of fairy tales specifically, and so I am eager to share what fairy-tale techniques have done for my writing and what they can do for yours. Fairy tales offer a path to rapture—the rapture of form—where the reader or writer finds a blissful and terrible home….  “

Picture yourself as a seasoned journalist brimming with ideas for your next piece. Or think of an article you’ve read that left you thinking, “Wow, they really went all out!” The following examples can inspire you to create front-page-worthy content of your own.

From “The Deadliest Jobs in America” by Christopher Cannon, Alex McIntyre and Adam Pearce (Bloomberg: May 13, 2015):

“The U.S. Department of Labor tracks how many people die at work, and why. The latest numbers were released in April and cover the last seven years through 2013. Some of the results may surprise you…. “

From “The Hunted” by Jeffrey Goldberg ( The Atlantic: March 29, 2010)

“… poachers continued to infiltrate the park, and to the Owenses they seemed more dangerous than ever. Word reached them that one band of commercial poachers had targeted them for assassination, blaming them for ruining their business. These threats—and the shooting of an elephant near their camp—provoked Mark to intensify his antipoaching activities. For some time, he had made regular night flights over the park, in search of meat-drying racks and the campfires of poachers; he would fly low, intentionally backfiring the plane and frightening away the hunters. Now he decided to escalate his efforts….. “

It doesn’t have to cost a thing to start a blog if you enjoy sharing your stories, ideas, and unique perspective with an online audience. What inspiration can you draw from the following examples?

#21: “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World” by Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger (Problogger.com):

“After all, that’s the dream, right?

“Forget the mansions and limousines and other trappings of Hollywood-style wealth. Sure, it would be nice, but for the most part, we bloggers are simpler souls with much kinder dreams.

“We want to quit our jobs, spend more time with our families, and finally have time to write. We want the freedom to work when we want, where we want. We want our writing to help people, to inspire them, to change them from the inside out.

“It’s a modest dream, a dream that deserves to come true, and yet a part of you might be wondering…

“Will it?…. “

From “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (blog post) by Mark Manson :

Headline: “Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many f*cks in situations where f*cks do not deserve to be given.”

“In my life, I have given a f*ck about many people and many things. I have also not given a f*ck about many people and many things. And those f*cks I have not given have made all the difference…. “

Whether you’re writing a tribute for a deceased celebrity or loved one, or you’re writing your own last will and testament, the following examples can help get you started. 

From an obituary for the actress Betty White (1922-2021) on Legacy.com: 

“Betty White was a beloved American actress who starred in “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

“Died: Friday, December 31, 2021

“Details of death: Died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 99.

“A television fixture once known as the First Lady of Game Shows, White was blessed with a career that just wouldn’t quit — indeed, her fame only seemed to grow as she entered her 80s and 90s. By the time of her death, she was considered a national treasure, one of the best-loved and most trusted celebrities in Hollywood…. “ 

From a last will and testament using a template provided by LegalZoom.com : 

“I, Petra Schade, a resident of Minnesota in Sherburne County — being of sound mind and memory — do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be my last will and testament…

“At the time of executing this will, I am married to Kristopher Schade. The names of my (and Kristopher’s) four children are listed below…

“I hereby express my intent not to be buried in a cemetery. I ask that my remains be cremated and then scattered at the base of a tree.

“None will have any obligation to visit my remains or leave any kind of marker. I ask that my husband honor this request more than any supposed obligation to honor my corpse with a funeral or with any kind of religious ceremony.

“I ask, too, that my children honor me by taking advantage of opportunities to grow and nurture trees in their area and (if they like) beyond, without spending more than their household budgets can support…. “

Dating profiles and wanted ads are another fun way to flex your creative writing muscles. Imagine you or a friend is getting set up on a dating app. Or pretend you’re looking for a job, a roommate, or something else that could (potentially) make your life better. 

Example of dating profile: 

Headline: “Female 49-year-old writer/coder looking for good company”

“Just moved to the Twin Cities metro area, and with my job keeping me busy most of the time, I haven’t gotten out much and would like to meet a friend (and possibly more) who knows their way around and is great to talk to. I don’t have pets (though I like animals) — or allergies. And with my work schedule, I need to be home by 10 pm at the latest. That said, I’d like to get better acquainted with the area — with someone who can make the time spent exploring it even more rewarding.”  

Example of a wanted ad for a housekeeper: 

“Divorced mother of four (living with three of them half the time) is looking for a housekeeper who can tidy up my apartment (including the two bathrooms) once a week. Pay is $20 an hour, not including tips, for three hours a week on Friday mornings from 9 am to 12 pm. Please call or text me at ###-###-#### and let me know when we could meet to discuss the job.”

These come in so many different varieties, we won’t attempt to list them here, but we will provide one upbeat example. Use it as inspiration for a birthday message for someone you know—or to write yourself the kind of message you’d love to receive. 

Happy 50th Birthday card:  

“Happy Birthday, and congratulations on turning 50! I remember you telling me your 40s were better than your 30s, which were better than your 20s. Here’s to the best decade yet! I have no doubt you’ll make it memorable and cross some things off your bucket list before your 51st.

“You inspire and challenge me to keep learning, to work on my relationships, and to try new things. There’s no one I’d rather call my best friend on earth.” 

Now that you’ve looked through all 27 creative writing examples, which ones most closely resemble the kind of writing you enjoy? 

By that, we mean, do you enjoy both reading and creating it? Or do you save some types of creative writing just for reading—and different types for your own writing? You’re allowed to mix and match. Some types of creative writing provide inspiration for others. 

What kind of writing will you make time for today? 

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Writing Tips Oasis - A website dedicated to helping writers to write and publish books.

21 Top Examples of Creative Writing

By Rofida Khairalla

examples of creative writing

Let’s be practical: anyone can be a writer.

Sure, practicing the skill and perfecting the art takes a certain modicum of natural interest in the profession.

But the thing that so many people can often overlook is that being a “writer” isn’t defined by how much you write.

So many times we can get hung up on trying to write a bestselling novel or groundbreaking book that we can forget that there are so many other types of writing out there.

Take a step back for a moment and think about it this way:

Whether you have a blog, a social media page, or spend all day texting that special someone, there’s probably an inner literary genius inside you waiting to burst out on the page.

Maybe you don’t have the time or the patience to write a novel, and that’s okay. There are plenty of different types of writing out there and you can most likely find one category, or several, that allow you to get your thoughts on paper in a way that works for you.

If you’re curious to know more, or are just interested in trying out a new writing genre, we’ve made it easier for you by compiling a list of the top 21 examples of creative writing.

1. Novel Writing

A novel is probably the most popular example of creative writing out there. When you think “creative writing” an image of Stephen King typing madly at his computer is probably the first thing that pops into your head. And that’s okay. Given that novels have been a popular form of entertainment for centuries, it’s not surprising.  Typically what distinguishes a novel from other forms of writing is that novels are usually works of fiction that are longer in length and follow a set of characters and plot structure.

2. Short Stories

When it comes to examples of imaginative writing, not unlike its longer counterpart, the novel, short stories also follow a set plot and typically feature one character or a selection of characters. However, the thing to keep in mind about short stories is that they typically resolve in fewer than 50 pages.

creative writing examples

3. Flash Fiction

If you’re up for a real challenge, try your hand at some flash fiction . This type is similar to a short story or novel in the sense that it follows some form of a plot. However, flash fiction usually resolves within a few hundred words or less. There are a few kinds of flash fiction that exist: the six word story, the 50 word story, and the hundred word story. Additionally, flash fiction also has another faction known as sudden fiction, which usually tells a full story in about 750 words.

As an example of imaginative writing, the incredible thing about poetry is that there are so many kinds. From narrative to lyrical and even language poetry there’s so many different ways you can express yourself through a poem. You might be especially interested in pursuing poetry if you enjoy word play or experimenting with the musicality behind words.

Although rap is somewhat of a subcategory of poetry, it’s one of the few forms of poetry that can often get over looked in academic classes. However, it’s probably one of the more contemporary types of poetry available while still sticking to many of the classical rules (or tools) of poetry, including rhyme. Also, it’s one of the areas where the best writers are really produced. The reason for that is because rap forces writers to think on their feet in a way that many other genres don’t.

Playwriting is another great writing style to experiment with, especially if you enjoy the idea of seeing your work come to life. Typically, playwriting involves developing a script that both clearly sets the setting, plot, and characters while also minimizing the amount of description used. One of the key elements of a play is that it’s a collaboration of minds, even though they often don’t work together at the same time. Yet the final product, the performance, is always the end result of work done by the playwright as well as the director, actors and even set designers.

7. Scripts (T.V./Movies)

Like traditional plays, movie or T.V. scripts are often the result of collaboration between a team of people including the cast and crew. However, the big difference is that when you’re writing a T.V. or movie script , you’re often working together with the director and the actors as part of the production team.

Not a fiction writer? No problem! You probably have a unique story worth sharing: it’s called your life. Here’s the deal when it comes to memoirs: the biggest thing to remember is that not everything in your life is considered readership-worthy. In fact, most things probably aren’t. But, most likely, there is a unique angle or perspective that you can take when examining your life.

For example, if you have a really distinctive family history and you’re looking into exploring it, that could be a great subject for a memoir. Maybe you have a really interesting job that exposes you to lots of different people and events on a regular basis; you could write a book about your experiences in that field. The key to writing a good memoir is knowing what angle to take on any subject.

9. Non-Fiction Narratives

Of course, a memoir is just a subsection of a category known as the non-fiction narrative. But not all non-fiction narratives are memoirs. Take for example author Tim Hernandez, who wrote the book Mañana means Heaven . Hernandez writes in a style that is inherently descriptive and interesting, despite the fact that the book’s narrative is mostly based on research and interviews.

10. Songs/Lyrics

Another sector of poetry, songs and lyrics are also a great place where you can express your thoughts and emotions not only through words, but also through music. Whether you’re writing a love ballad or a hymn, there are lots of reasons to enjoy working in this genre. While a lot of this genre is relatively unrestrictive in terms of what you can create, it’s a really good idea to get familiar with the basics of song writing. Especially in an era where so much of the music we hear is impacted by technology, the more you know about the art of song writing, the freer you will be to experiment.

11. Speeches

Speech writing is another great way to express yourself and also reach a wider audience. The thing about speeches is that they are both a form of oral and written text, so the key to writing a really good speech is to take into consideration your phrasing, word choice and syntax. More importantly, the way a speech is delivered can really make or break its success. Practice strong enunciation, confident body language and invoking a clear voice.

12. Greeting Cards

You might hear a lot about greeting cards when people talk about how to make easy money as a writer. But the truth is, being a greeting card writer is anything but easy. You have to be able to keep the greeting card expressions short, catchy and, in a lot of cases, funny. However, if you’ve got the chops to try your hand at a few greeting cards, practice writing limericks and other forms of short poetry. More importantly, read lots of greeting cards to get an idea of how the best writers go about creating the really fun cards that you enjoy purchasing.

It used to be that blogs were the place where teenagers could go to express their teenage angst. But nowadays, blogs are also a great place to be if you’re a writer. There are an unlimited amount of topics you can successfully blog on that will garner attention from audiences. You can use your blog as a forum to share your writing or even reflect on current events, the stock market—really anything! The possibilities are endless, but the key is finding a subject and sticking to it. For example, if you decide to start a blog dedicated to rock music, stick to rock music. Avoid long tangents about politics or other unrelated subjects.

14. Feature Journalism

Feature Journalism is a great place to start if you want to get your feet wet if you’re interested in reporting. Why? Because there are a lot more creative aspects to feature journalism compared to news journalism. Feature stories typically allow you more flexibility with the kinds of details you put into the article, as well as more room for creativity in your lede.

15. Column Writing

If you like the idea of journalism but feel you could never be a journalist in light of your strong opinions, column writing is another avenue you can take. The thing about columns is that they’re typically based in ideas and opinions rather than fact. Yet, because columnists are considered experts in their respective fields, their opinion tends to hold more sway with readers.

As part of the non-fiction narrative family, the personal essay, or even the academic essay, has plenty of elements that are creative. Whether you’re writing about personal experiences or a science project, there are lots of opportunities you have to be creative and hook your reader. Even the most mundane reports have the opportunity to become interesting if you know how to present your topic. As with a lot of non-fiction writing, the secret to writing a good essay is all about your framing. When you begin writing, think about explaining the issue in the most engaging way possible. Just because your writing should cut to the chase doesn’t mean that it should be bland, boring or bogged down in technical jargon. Use anecdotes, clear and concise language, and even humor to express your findings.

17. Twitter Stories

With only 140 characters, how can you tell a story? Well, when you use Twitter, that’s exactly what you’re doing. However, a new phenomenon that’s currently taking over the site is a type of flash fiction called Twitterature, where writers tell a full story or write a poem in 140 characters or less.

18. Comic Strips

If you have a knack for writing and drawing, then you might be especially interested in working on a comic strip. Comic strips are harder project to tackle because they require a lot of preplanning before you start writing. Before you begin drafting you need to know the plot and have a strong outline for how the graphics will look.

19. Collaboration

This is typically a writing exercise that writers do with other writers to expand on their creativity. Essentially the way the exercise works is that one writer will start a story and another will finish it. You might be especially familiar with this kind of work if you’ve ever read the work of an author that was completed AFTER their death. However, collaboration is just another way you can bounce ideas off another person. You can also collaborate with other writers for world building , character development and even general brainstorming.

20. Novella

An example of creative writing, a novella is essentially the love child of a short story and a novel. Although the novella does feature a plot, the plot is typically less complicated compared to that of a novel. Usually novellas are about 50 pages.

21. Genre Writing

Another type of writing that fiction writers can do is genre writing. If you think of popular writers like Stephen King, Nora Roberts and James Patterson, then you’re probably familiar with genre writing. Essentially, genre writing is when a writer explores different stories in one particular genre, like romance, fantasy, or mystery. There’s a huge market out there for genre fiction, which makes it definitely worth pursuing if you a have preference for a particular kind of literature.

The important thing to keep in mind as a writer is that experimentation is never a bad idea. If you’re genuinely curious about one or more items on this list, give it a go! Some of the best literary works were created by accident.

What did you think of our list of 21 creative writing examples? Do you have experience in any of these types of creative writing? Do you know of any other creative writing examples? Please tell us more in the comments box below!

21 Top Examples of Creative Writing is an article from Writing Tips Oasis . Copyright © 2014-2017 Writing Tips Oasis All Rights Reserved

As a graduate from the University of Arizona in English and Creative Writing, Rofida Khairalla’s love for classical literature and post-modern fiction extends beyond the realm of books. She has provided her services independently as a freelance writer, and wrote on the news desk for the student-run newspaper, The Daily Wildcat. As an aspiring children’s book author, she’s refined her craft amongst the grand saguaros of the Southwest, and enjoys playing with her German Shepherd on the slopes of Mount Lemmon.

Writers.com

Whether you’ve been struck with a moment of inspiration or you’ve carried a story inside you for years, you’re here because you want to start writing fiction. From developing flesh-and-bone characters to worlds as real as our own, good fiction is hard to write, and getting the first words onto the blank page can be daunting.

Daunting, but not impossible. Although writing good fiction takes time, with a few fiction writing tips and your first sentences written, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get your words on the page.

Let’s break down fiction to its essential elements. We’ll investigate the individual components of fiction writing—and how, when they sit down to write, writers turn words into worlds. Then, we’ll turn to instructor Jack Smith and his thoughts on combining these elements into great works of fiction. But first, what are the elements of fiction writing?

Introduction to Fiction Writing: The Six Elements of Fiction

Before we delve into any writing tips, let’s review the essentials of creative writing in fiction. Whether you’re writing flash fiction , short stories, or epic trilogies, most fiction stories require these six components:

  • Plot: the “what happens” of your story.
  • Characters:  whose lives are we watching?
  • Setting: the world that the story is set in.
  • Point of View: from whose eyes do we see the story unfold?
  • Theme: the “deeper meaning” of the story, or what the story represents.
  • Style: how you use words to tell the story.

It’s important to recognize that all of these elements are intertwined. You can’t build the setting without writing it through a certain point of view; you can’t develop important themes with arbitrary characters, etc. We’ll get into the relationship between these elements later, but for now, let’s explore how to use each element to write fiction.

1. Fiction Writing Tip: Developing Fictional Plots

Plot is the series of causes and effects that produce the story as a whole. Because A, then B, then C—ultimately leading to the story’s  climax , the result of all the story’s events and character’s decisions.

If you don’t know where to start your story, but you have a few story ideas, then start with the conflict . Some novels take their time to introduce characters or explain the world of the piece, but if the conflict that drives the story doesn’t show up within the first 15 pages, then the story loses direction quickly.

That’s not to say you have to be explicit about the conflict. In Harry Potter, Voldemort isn’t introduced as the main antagonist until later in the first book; the series’ conflict begins with the Dursley family hiding Harry from his magical talents. Let the conflict unfold naturally in the story, but start with the story’s impetus, then go from there.

2. Fiction Writing Tip: Creating Characters

Think far back to 9th grade English, and you might remember the basic types of story conflicts: man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. self. The conflicts that occur within stories happen to its characters—there can be no story without its people. Sometimes, your story needs to start there: in the middle of a conversation, a disrupted routine, or simply with what makes your characters special.

There are many ways to craft characters with depth and complexity. These include writing backstory, giving characters goals and fatal flaws, and making your characters contend with complicated themes and ideas. This guide on character development will help you sort out the traits your characters need, and how to interweave those traits into the story.

3. Fiction Writing Tip: Give Life to Living Worlds

Whether your story is set on Earth or a land far, far away, your setting lives in the same way your characters do. In the same way that we read to get inside the heads of other people, we also read to escape to a world outside of our own. Consider starting the story with what makes your world live: a pulsing city, the whispered susurrus of orchards, hills that roil with unsolved mysteries, etc. Tell us where the conflict is happening, and the story will follow.

4. Fiction Writing Tip: Play With Narrative Point of View

Point of view refers to the “cameraman” of the story—the vantage point we are viewing the story through. Maybe you’re stuck starting your story because you’re trying to write it in the wrong person. There are four POVs that authors work with:

  • First person—the story is told from the “I” perspective, and that “I” is the protagonist.
  • First person peripheral—the story is told from the “I” perspective, but the “I” is not the protagonist, but someone adjacent to the protagonist. (Think: Nick Carraway, narrator of  The Great Gatsby. )
  • Second person—the story is told from the “you” perspective. This point of view is rare, but when done effectively, it can create a sense of eeriness or a personalized piece.
  • Third person limited—the story is told from the “he/she/they” perspective. The narrator is not directly involved in the lives of the characters; additionally, the narrator usually writes from the perspective of one or two characters.
  • Third person omniscient—the story is told from the “he/she/they” perspective. The narrator is not directly involved in the lives of the characters; additionally, the narrator knows what is happening in each character’s heads and in the world at large.

If you can’t find the right words to begin your piece, consider switching up the pronouns you use and the perspective you write from. You might find that the story flows onto the page from a different point of view.

5. Fiction Writing Tip: Use the Story to Investigate Themes

Generally, the themes of the story aren’t explored until after the aforementioned elements are established, and writers don’t always know the themes of their own work until after the work is written. Still, it might help to consider the broader implications of the story you want to write. How does the conflict or story extend into a bigger picture?

Let’s revisit Harry Potter’s opening scenes. When we revisit the Dursleys preventing Harry from knowing about his true nature, several themes are established: the meaning of family, the importance of identity, and the idea of fate can all be explored here. Themes often develop organically, but it doesn’t hurt to consider the message of your story from the start.

6. Fiction Writing Tip: Experiment With Words

Style is the last of the six fiction elements, but certainly as important as the others. The words you use to tell your story, the way you structure your sentences, how you alternate between characters, and the sounds of the words you use all contribute to the mood of the work itself.

If you’re struggling to get past the first sentence, try rewriting it. Write it in 10 words or write it in 200 words; write a single word sentence; experiment with metaphors, alliteration, or onomatopoeia . Then, once you’ve found the right words, build from there, and let your first sentence guide the style and mood of the narrative.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at the craft of fiction writing. The above elements are great starting points, but to learn how to start writing fiction, we need to examine the craft of combining these elements.

Jack Smith

Primer on the Elements of Fiction Writing

First, before we get into the craft of fiction writing, it’s important to understand the elements of fiction. You don’t need to understand everything about the craft of fiction before you start keying in ideas or planning your novel. But this primer will be something you can consult if you need clarification on any term (e.g., point of view) as you learn how to start writing fiction.

The Elements of Fiction Writing

A standard novel runs between 80,000 to 100,000 words. A short novel, going by the National Novel Writing Month , is at least 50,000. To begin with, don’t think about length—think about development. Length will come. It is true that some works lend themselves more to novellas, but if that’s the case, you don’t want to pad them to make a longer work. If you write a plot summary—that’s one option on getting started writing fiction—you will be able to get a fairly good idea about your project as to whether it lends itself to a full-blown novel.

For now, let’s think about the various elements of fiction—the building blocks.

Writing Fiction: Your Protagonist

Readers want an interesting protagonist , or main character. One that seems real, that deals with the various things in life we all deal with. If the writer makes life too simple, and doesn’t reflect the kinds of problems we all face, most readers are going to lose interest.

Don’t cheat it. Make the work honest. Do as much as you can to develop a character who is fully developed, fully real—many-sided. Complex. In Aspects of the Novel , E.M Forster called this character a “round” characte r. This character is capable of surprising us. Don’t be afraid to make your protagonist, or any of your characters, a bit contradictory. Most of us are somewhat contradictory at one time or another. The deeper you see into your protagonist, the more complex, the more believable they will be.

If a character has no depth, is merely “flat,” as Forster terms it, then we can sum this character up in a sentence: “George hates his ex-wife.” This is much too limited. Find out why. What is it that causes George to hate his ex-wife? Is it because of something she did or didn’t do? Is it because of a basic personality clash? Is it because George can’t stand a certain type of person, and he didn’t realize, until too late, that his ex-wife was really that kind of person? Imagine some moments of illumination, and you will have a much richer character than one who just hates his ex-wife.

And so… to sum up: think about fleshing out your protagonist as much as you can. Consider personality, character (or moral makeup), inclinations, proclivities, likes, dislikes, etc. What makes this character happy? What makes this character sad or frustrated? What motivates your character? Readers don’t want to know only what —they want to know why .

Usually, readers want a sympathetic character, one they can root for. Or if not that, one that is interesting in different ways. You might not find the protagonist of The Girl on the Train totally sympathetic, but she’s interesting! She’s compelling.

Here’s an article I wrote on what makes a good protagonist.

Also on clichéd characters.

Now, we’re ready for a key question: what is your protagonist’s main goal in this story? And secondly, who or what will stand in the way of your character achieving this goal?

There are two kinds of conflicts: internal and external. In some cases, characters may not be opposing an external antagonist, but be self-conflicted. Once you decide on your character’s goal, you can more easily determine the nature of the obstacles that your protagonist must overcome. There must be conflict, of course, and stories must involve movement. Things go from Phase A to Phase B to Phase C, and so on. Overall, the protagonist begins here and ends there. She isn’t the same at the end of the story as she was in the beginning. There is a character arc.

I spoke of character arc. Now let’s move on to plot, the mechanism governing the overall logic of the story. What causes the protagonist to change? What key events lead up to the final resolution?

But before we go there, let’s stop a moment and think about point of view, the lens through which the story is told.

Writing Fiction: Point of View as Lens

Is this the right protagonist for this story? Is this character the one who has the most at stake? Does this character have real potential for change? Remember, you must have change or movement—in terms of character growth—in your story. Your character should not be quite the same at the end as in the beginning. Otherwise, it’s more of a sketch.

Such a story used to be called “slice of life.” For example, what if a man thinks his job can’t get any worse—and it doesn’t? He started with a great dislike for the job, for the people he works with, just for the pay. His hate factor is 9 on a scale of 10. He doesn’t learn anything about himself either. He just realizes he’s got to get out of there. The reader knew that from page 1.

Choose a character who has a chance of undergoing change of some kind. The more complex the change, the better. Characters that change are dynamic characters , according to E. M. Forster. Characters that remain the same are  static  characters. Be sure your protagonist is dynamic.

Okay, an exception: Let’s say your character resists change—that can involve some sort of movement—the resisting of change.

Here’s another thing to look at on protagonists—a blog I wrote: https://elizabethspanncraig.com/writing-tips-2/creating-strong-characters-typical-challenges/

Writing Fiction: Point of View and Person

Usually when we think of point of view, we have in mind the choice of person: first, second, and third. First person provides intimacy. As readers we’re allowed into the I-narrator’s mind and heart. A story told from the first person can sometimes be highly confessional, frank, bold. Think of some of the great first-person narrators like Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield. With first person we can also create narrators that are not completely reliable, leading to dramatic irony : we as readers believe one thing while the narrator believes another. This creates some interesting tension, but be careful to make your protagonist likable, sympathetic. Or at least empathetic, someone we can relate to.

What if a novel is told in first person from the point of view of a mob hit man? As author of such a tale, you probably wouldn’t want your reader to root for this character, but you could at least make the character human and believable. With first person, your reader would be constantly in the mind of this character, so you’d need to find a way to deal with this sympathy question. First person is a good choice for many works of fiction, as long as one doesn’t confuse the I-narrator with themselves. It may be a temptation, especially in the case of fiction based on one’s own life—not that it wouldn’t be in third person narrations. But perhaps even more with a first person story: that character is me . But it’s not—it’s a fictional character.

Check out my article on writing autobiographical fiction, which appeared in  The   Writer  magazine. https://www.writermag.com/2018/07/31/filtering-fact-through-fiction/

Third person provides more distance. With third person, you have a choice between three forms: omniscient, limited omniscient, and objective or dramatic. If you get outside of your protagonist’s mind and enter other characters’ minds, you are being omniscient or godlike. If you limit your access to your protagonist’s mind only, this is limited omniscience. Let’s consider these two forms of third-person narrators before moving on to the objective or dramatic POV.

The omniscient form is rather risky, but it is certainly used, and it can certainly serve a worthwhile function. With this form, the author knows everything that has occurred, is occurring, or will occur in a given place, or in given places, for all the characters in the story. The author can provide historical background, look into the future, and even speculate on characters and make judgments. This point of view, writers tend to feel today, is more the method of nineteenth-century fiction, and not for today. It seems like too heavy an authorial footprint. Not handled well—and it is difficult to handle well—the characters seem to be pawns of an all-knowing author.

Today’s omniscience tends to take the form of multiple points of view, sometimes alternating, sometimes in sections. An author is behind it all, but the author is effaced, not making an appearance. BUT there are notable examples of well-handled authorial omniscience–read Nobel-prize winning Jose Saramago’s Blindness  as a good example.

For more help, here’s an article I wrote on the omniscient point of view for  The Writer : https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/fiction/omniscient-pov/

The limited omniscient form is typical of much of today’s fiction. You stick to your protagonist’s mind. You see others from the outside. Even so, you do have to be careful that you don’t get out of this point of view from time to time, and bring in things the character can’t see or observe—unless you want to stand outside this character, and therein lies the omniscience, however limited it is.

But anyway, note the difference between: “George’s smiles were very welcoming” and “George felt like his smiles were very welcoming”—see the difference? In the case of the first, we’re seeing George from the outside; in the case of the second, from the inside. It’s safer to stay within your protagonist’s perspective as much as possible and not describe them from the outside. Doing so comes off like a point-of-view shift. Yet it’s true that in some stories, the narrator will describe what the character is wearing, tell us what his hopes and dreams are, mention things he doesn’t know right now but will later—and perhaps, in rather quirky stories, the narrator will even say something like “Our hero…” This can work, and has, if you create an interesting narrative voice. But it’s certainly a risk.

The dramatic or objective point of view is one you’ll probably use from time to time, but not throughout your whole novel. Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephants” is handled with this point of view. Mostly, with maybe one exception, all we know is what the characters say and do, as in a play. Using this point of view from time to time in a longer work can certainly create interest. You can intensify a scene sometimes with this point of view. An interesting back and forth can be accomplished, especially if the dialogue is clipped.

I’ve saved the second-person point of view for the last. I would advise you not to use this point of view for an entire work. In his short novel Bright Lights, Big City , Jay McInerney famously uses this point of view, and with some force, but it’s hard to pull off. In lesser hands, it can get old. You also cause the reader to become the character. Does the reader want to become this character? One problem with this point of view is it may seem overly arty, an attempt at sophistication. I think it’s best to choose either first or third.

Here’s an article I wrote on use of second person for  The Writer magazine. Check it out if you’re interested. https://www.writermag.com/2016/11/02/second-person-pov/

Writing Fiction: Protagonist and Plot and Structure

We come now to plot, keeping in mind character. You might consider the traditional five-stage structure : exposition, rising action, crisis and climax, falling action, and resolution. Not every plot works this way, but it’s a tried-and-true structure. Certainly a number of pieces of literature you read will begin in media re s—that is, in the middle of things. Instead of beginning with standard exposition, or explanation of the condition of the protagonist’s life at the story’s starting point, the author will begin with a scene. But even so, as in Jerzy Kosiński’s famous novella Being There , which begins with a scene, we’ll still pick up the present state of the character’s life before we see something that complicates it or changes the existing equilibrium. This so-called complication can be something apparently good—like winning the lottery—or something decidedly bad—like losing a huge amount of money at the gaming tables. One thing is true in both cases: whatever has happened will cause the character to change. And so now you have to fill in the events that bring this about.

How do you do that? One way is to write a chapter outline to prevent false starts. But some writers don’t like plotting in this fashion, but want to discover as they write. If you do plot your novel in advance, do realize that as you write, you will discover a lot of things about your character that you didn’t have in mind when you first set pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard. And so, while it’s a good idea to do some planning, do keep your options open.

Let’s think some more about plot. To have a workable plot, you need a sequence of actions or events that give the story an overall movement. This includes two elements which we’ll take up later: foreshadowing and echoing (things that prepare us for something in the future and things that remind us of what has already happened). These two elements knit a story together.

Think carefully about character motivations. Some things may happen to your character; some things your character may decide to do, however wisely or unwisely. In the revision stage, if not earlier, ask yourself: What motivates my character to act in one way or another? And ask yourself: What is the overall logic of this story? What caused my character to change? What were the various forces, whether inner or outer, that caused this change? Can I describe my character’s overall arc, from A to Z?  Try to do that. Write a short paragraph. Then try to write down your summary in one sentence, called a log line in film script writing, but also a useful technique in fiction writing as well. If you write by the discovery method, you probably won’t want to do this in the midst of the drafting, but at least in the revision stage, you should consider doing so.

With a novel you may have a subplot or two. Assuming you will, you’ll need to decide how the plot and the subplot relate. Are they related enough to make one story? If you think the subplot is crucial for the telling of your tale, try to say why—in a paragraph, then in a sentence.

Here’s an article I wrote on structure for  The Writer : https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/revision-grammar/find-novels-structure/

Writing Fiction: Setting

Let’s move on to setting . Your novel has to take place somewhere. Where is it? Is it someplace that is particularly striking and calls for a lot of solid description? If it’s a wilderness area where your character is lost, give your reader a strong sense for the place. If it’s a factory job, and much of the story takes place at the worksite, again readers will want to feel they’re there with your character, putting in the hours. If it’s an apartment and the apartment itself isn’t related to the problems your character is having, then there’s no need to provide that much detail. Exception: If your protagonist concentrates on certain things in the apartment and begins to associate certain things about the apartment with their misery, now there’s reason to get concrete. Take a look, when you have a chance, at the short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” It’s not an apartment—it’s a house—but clearly the setting itself becomes important when it becomes important to the character. She reads the wallpaper as a statement about her own condition.

Here’s the URL for ”The Yellow Wall-Paper”: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/theliteratureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digitalDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf

Sometimes setting is pretty important; sometimes it’s much less important. When it doesn’t serve a purpose to describe it, don’t, other than to give the reader a sense for where the story takes place. If you provide very many details, even in a longer work like a novel, the reader will think that these details have some significance in terms of character, plot, or theme—or all three. And if they don’t, why are they there? If setting details are important, be selective. Provide a dominant impression. More on description below.

If you’re interested, here’s a blog on setting I wrote for Writers.com: https://writers.com/what-is-the-setting-of-a-story

Writing Fiction: Theme and Idea

Most literary works have a theme or idea. It’s possible to decide on this theme before you write, as you plan out your novel. But be careful here. If the theme seems imposed on the work, the novel will lose a lot of force. It will seem—and it may well be—engineered by the author much like a nonfiction piece, and lose the felt experience of the characters.

Theme must emerge from the work naturally, or at least appear to do so. Once you have a draft, you can certainly build ideas that are apparent in the work, and you can even do this while you’re generating your first draft. But watch out for overdoing it. Let the characters (what they do, what they say) and the plot (the whole storyline with its logical connections) contribute on their own to the theme. Also you can depend on metaphors, similes, and analogies to point to the theme—as long as these are not heavy-handed. Avoid authorial intrusion, authorial impositions of any kind. If you do end up creating a simile, metaphor, or analogy through rational thinking, make sure it sounds  natural. That’s not easy, of course.

Writing Fiction: Handling Scenes

Keep a few things in mind about writing scenes. Not every event deserves a whole scene, maybe only a half-scene, a short interaction between characters. Scenes need to do two things: reveal character and advance plot. If a scene seems to stall out and lack interest, in the revision mode you might try using narrative summary instead (see below).

Good fiction is strongly dramatic, calling for scenes, many of them scenes with dialogue and action. Scenes need to involve conflict of some kind. If everyone is happy, that’s probably going to be a dull scene. Some scenes will be narrative, without dialogue. You need some interesting action to make these work.

Let’s consider scenes with dialogue.

The best dialogue is speech that sounds natural, and yet isn’t. Everything about fiction is an artifice, including speech. But try to make it sound real. The best way to do this is to “hear” the voices in your head and transcribe them. Take dictation. If you can do this, whole conversations will seem very real, believable. If you force what each character has to say, and plan it out too much, it will certainly sound planned out, and not real at all. Not that in the revision mode you can’t doctor up the speech here and there, but still, make sure it comes off as natural sounding.

Some things to think about when writing dialogue: people usually speak in fragments, interrupt each other, engage in pauses, follow up a question with a comment that takes the conversation off course (non sequiturs). Note these aspects of dialogue in the fiction you read.

Also, note how writers intersperse action with dialogue, setting details, and character thoughts. As far as the latter goes, though, if you’ll recall, I spoke of the dramatic point of view, which doesn’t get into a character’s mind but depends instead on what characters do and say, as in a play. You may try this point of view out in some scenes to make them really move.

One technique is to use indirect dialogue, or summary of what a character said, not in the character’s own words. For instance: Bill made it clear that he wasn’t going to the city after all. If anybody thought that, they were wrong .

Now and then you’ll come upon dialogue that doesn’t use the standard double quotes, but perhaps a single quote (this is British), or dashes, or no punctuation at all. The latter two methods create some distance from the speech. If you want to give your work a surreal quality, this certainly adds to it. It also makes it seem more interior.

One way to kill good dialogue is to make characters too obviously expository devices—that is, functioning to provide background or explanations of certain important story facts. Certainly characters can serve as expository devices, but don’t be too heavy-handed about this. Don’t force it like the following:

“We always used to go to the beach, you recall? You recall how first we would have breakfast, then take a long walk on the beach, and then we would change into our swimsuits, and spend an hour in the water. And you recall how we usually followed that with a picnic lunch, maybe an hour later.”

This sounds like the character is saying all this to fill the reader in on backstory. You’d need a motive for the utterance of all of these details—maybe sharing a memory?

But the above sounds stilted, doesn’t it?

One final word about dialogue. Watch out for dialogue tags that tell but don’t show . Here’s an example:

“Do you think that’s the case,” said Ted, hoping to hear some good news. “Not necessarily,” responded Laura, in a barky voice. “I just wish life wasn’t so difficult,” replied Ted.

If you’re going to use a tag at all—and many times you don’t need to—use “said.” Dialogue tags like the above examples can really kill the dialogue.

Writing Fiction: Writing Solid Prose

Narrative summary :  As I’ve stated above, not everything will be a scene. You’ll need to write narrative summary now and then. Narrative summary telescopes time, covering a day, a week, a month, a year, or even longer. Often it will be followed up by a scene, whether a narrative scene   or one with dialogue. Narrative summary can also relate how things generally went over a given period. You can write strong narrative summary if you make it specific and concrete—and dramatic. Also, if we hear the voice of the writer, it can be interesting—if the voice is compelling enough.

Exposition : It’s the first stage of the 5-stage plot structure, where things are set up prior to some sort of complication, but more generally, it’s a prose form which tells or informs. You use exposition when you get inside your character, dealing with his or her thoughts and emotions, memories, plans, dreams. This can be difficult to do well because it can come off too much like authorial “telling” instead of “showing,” and readers want to feel like they’re experiencing the world of the protagonist, not being told about this world. Still, it’s important to get inside characters, and exposition is often the right tool, along with narrative summary, if the character is remembering a sequence of events from the past.

Description :  Description is a word picture, providing specific and concrete details to allow the reader to see, not just be told. Concreteness is putting the reader in the world of the five senses, what we call imagery . Some writers provide a lot of details, some only a few—just enough that the reader can imagine the rest. Consider choosing details that create a dominant impression—whether it’s a character or a place. Similes, metaphors, and analogies help readers see people and places and can make thoughts and ideas (the reflections of your character or characters) more interesting. Not that you should always make your reader see. To do so might cause an overload of images.

Check out these two articles: https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/fiction/the-definitive-guide-to-show-dont-tell/ https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/fiction/figurative-language-in-fiction/

Writing Fiction: Research

Some novels require research. Obviously historical novels do, but others do, too, like Sci Fi novels. Almost any novel can call for a little research. Here’s a short article I wrote for The Writer magazine on handling research materials. It’s in no way an in-depth commentary on research–but it will serve as an introduction. https://www.writermag.com/improve-your-writing/fiction/research-in-fiction/

For a blog on novel writing, check this link at Writers.com: https://writers.com/novel-writing-tips

For more articles I’ve published in  The Writer , go here: https://www.writermag.com/author/jack-smith/

How to Start Writing Fiction: Take a Writing Class!

To write a story or even write a book, fiction writers need these tools first and foremost. Although there’s no comprehensive guide on how to write fiction for beginners, working with these elements of fiction will help your story bloom.

All six elements synergize to make a work of fiction, and like most works of art, the sum of these elements is greater than the individual parts. Still, you might find that you struggle with one of these elements, like maybe you’re great at writing characters but not very good with exploring setting. If this is the case, then use your strengths: use characters to explore the setting, or use style to explore themes, etc.

Getting the first draft written is the hardest part, but it deserves to be written. Once you’ve got a working draft of a story or novel and you need an extra set of eyes, the Writers.com community is here to give feedback: take a look at our upcoming courses on fiction writing, and check out our talented writing community .

Good luck, and happy writing!

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I have had a story in my mind for over 15 years. I just haven’t had an idea how to start , putting it down on print just seems too confusing. After reading this article I’m even more confused but also more determined to give it a try. It has given me answers to some of my questions. Thank you !

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Just reading this as I have decided to attempt a fiction work. I am terrible at writing outside of research papers and such. I have about 50 single spaced pages “written” and an entire outline. These tips are great because where I struggle it seems is drawing the reader in. My private proof reader tells me it is to much like an explanation and not enough of a story, but working on it.

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The Ultimate Guide to 12 Different Forms of Creative Writing

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When you hear the word “creative writing”, you might think of writing novels, telling stories, or something like that. But it turns out there are lots of different forms of creative writing.

Speaking of which, this exciting blog post will shed light on different forms of creative writing put to paper by the expert paper writing service provider . So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Different Forms of Creative Writing

Short story.

Structure:  Short stories often involve just one storyline and a relatively small number of characters, typically following one narrative arc.

Length:  Usually, these stories can be told in a few hundred to a few thousand words, so you can get the point across quickly.

Elements:  This story has all the key bits and pieces, like plot, setting, characters, conflict, and resolution, that make it what it is. Being so short, every word matters in getting the story across properly.

Forms:  Poetry comes in many different shapes and lengths. You’ve got your sonnets, haikus, limericks, free verse, and plenty more. Each one has its own rules (or lack thereof) when it comes to how it’s structured and rhymed.

Imagery:  Uses lots of bright pictures, metaphors, beats, and noises to stir up feelings and express complicated ideas in a few words.

Emotion and Language:  Frequently looks at how we feel, what we go through, what we notice, or problems in our society by using words with strong feelings and special literary techniques.

Scope:  It offers lots of opportunities for telling stories, with lots of different story arcs, loads of characters with complex personalities, and detailed worlds.

Length:  Novels are generally more lengthy than short stories, and they can have anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 words.

Genres:  Covers a wide range of genres, from romance and fantasy to mysteries, sci-fi, historical fiction, and beyond.

Flash Fiction

Conciseness:  It takes an expert storyteller to effectively tell a story or evoke emotions within a very short number of words, usually 1000 or less.

Punchy Impact:  Short stories usually try to have a powerful or unexpected conclusion because they’re so brief, using storytelling that packs a punch in just a few words.

Playwriting

Dialogues and Actions:  Emphasizes conversations, what the actors do, and how they act, to make the characters seem real in a theatre production.

Scenes and Acts:  Using scenes and acts to divide up the play, taking into account the performance dynamics and how the audience is reacting.

Screenwriting

Visual Storytelling:  Formatting for visuals such as movies or TV shows, putting together scene descriptions, dialogues, and actions to make an interesting story.

Technical Elements:  Needs an understanding of how to write a screenplay and how to time it for telling a story on the screen.

Creative Nonfiction

Factual yet Creative:  Mixing real-life stories or events with literary elements to create exciting stories.

Personal Reflection:  Often includes the author’s own musings, feelings, and emotions, making it more personal and easier for readers to relate to.

Personal Expression:  It’s a way to think about yourself, express yourself, and explore your feelings and ideas.

Varied Forms:  You can express yourself in so many different ways – from telling stories to being creative – to capture your experiences and thoughts.

Experimental Writing

Innovation:  Trying out different formats, structures, vocab, or ways of telling a story instead of sticking to the standard.

Pushing Boundaries:  They like to think outside the box when it comes to getting people’s attention and coming up with innovative ways to express their thoughts.

Epistolary Writing

Unique Perspective:  Share an account of events and characters by using documents, letters, emails, or journal entries. It’s a great way to get a personal and in-depth look.

Character Development:  This allows for the creation of more detailed and complex characters through their letters and conversations.

Songwriting

Lyrics and Melodies:  Uses stories and music to make us feel something and get the message across through songs.

Versatility:  This opens up different kinds of singing, from telling stories in a song to expressing yourself with poetic lyrics set to music.

Graphic Novels/Comics

Visual Narrative:  They combine art and story to make something interesting, using pictures and speech bubbles to tell their tale.

Panel Sequencing:  Uses panels and visuals to show a story, display character feelings, and present action.

Examples of Each Forms of Creative Writing

Creative writing examples are often the best way to master this art. Here you go with some examples.

Example of Short Story

“The sun set as the old man reminisced, painting the sky in shades of orange and pink. An elderly figure sat on a familiar park bench, memories like wisps of smoke playing in his eyes. A young girl’s laughter broke the silence, and the old man found himself entranced by their conversation. He shared stories of his younger days, of loves won and lost, and adventures taken. As the sky darkened, his mind was filled with nostalgia.”

Example of Poetry (Haiku)

“Beneath cherry trees,

Petals whispering their tales,

Nature’s fleeting grace.”

Example of Novel

“In the mystical world of Eldoria, where magic filled the atmosphere and mythical creatures were around every corner, Elara, a young magician, discovered an old prophecy written in a long-forgotten book. This prophecy stated that darkness was coming to their world, threatening to take it over. With her trusty sidekicks—a humorous thief and a reliable warrior—Elara set off on a dangerous journey to uncover secrets hidden in the past and protect her realm from impending destruction.”

Example of Flash Fiction

“The door creaked open, showing a room that was barely lit. The walls had old and worn-out tapestries hanging on them. There was a candle that was flickering on an old table, casting some creepy-looking shadows. Next to it was a note with some mysterious directions. It said, “Find me in the labyrinth of time”. That’s how the journey of the searcher began, searching for a way through the winding hallways and the forgotten memories of the past.”

Example of Playwriting

[Opening scene stage directions]

Location:  A bustling city street.

Characters:  LENA, a young artist absorbed in sketching; JACK, a hurried businessman.

Action:  Lena, perched on a bench, meticulously sketches the towering skyline. Jack, lost in thought and rushing past, collides with her, scattering her art supplies.

Example of Screenwriting

[Scene from a screenplay]

INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY

Character: JESSICA (mid-20s), nervously sips her coffee.

JESSICA: “I never thought I’d see you again.”

MARK (across the table): “Fate has a way of surprising us.”

Example of Creative Nonfiction (Personal Essay Excerpt)

“The Himalayas took my breath away with their stunning snow-capped peaks, a reminder of how tough nature can be. I enjoyed the peaceful valleys and the crisp mountain air, and I also found something else – a chance to get to know myself better, all while taking in the beauty of the mountains.”

Example of Journaling (Reflective Entry )

“The rain was constantly tapping on my window today, like a slow, calming beat. Even though there was a lot of chaos going on outside, each raindrop seemed to take away some of my stress, leaving me feeling relaxed and peaceful.”

Example of Experimental Writing (Fragmented Narrative)

“She stepped into the hallway, a maze of memories, where time was all over the place. Every doorway reminded her of something from her past, a story that wasn’t finished. She could hear laughter, crying, and whispers that had been forgotten all around, telling a story that didn’t seem to have any kind of order.”

Example of Epistolary Writing (Excerpt from a letter)

“Hey buddy, I can’t put into words what I’m feeling, so I wrote it down instead. Read between the lines and you’ll get a better understanding of how strongly I feel about our bond.”

Example of Songwriting (Verse from a song)

“Underneath the starry night,

Dreams take flight, shining bright,

Guided by the moon’s soft light,

We’ll find our way through the night.”

Example of Graphic Novels/Comics (Comic Panel Sequence)

Panel 1:  A shadowy figure emerges from the mist, cloak billowing in the wind.

Panel 2:  The figure’s piercing eyes glow with an otherworldly power, illuminating the darkness.

Panel 3:  A sudden burst of blinding light engulfs the scene, revealing a mysterious symbol etched in the air.

Creative writing is more than storytelling and poetry. In fact, it includes songwriting, screenwriting, and more. This interesting blog post discusses 12 types of creative writing with examples for your understanding. Hopefully you have now a good knowledge of the 12 different forms of creative writing.

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Griffin Teaching

11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

by Hayley | Nov 17, 2022 | Exams , Writing | 0 comments

The 11+ exam is a school entrance exam taken in the academic year that a child in the UK turns eleven.

These exams are highly competitive, with multiple students battling for each school place awarded.

The 11 plus exam isn’t ‘one thing’, it varies in its structure and composition across the country. A creative writing task is included in nearly all of the 11 plus exams, and parents are often confused about what’s being tested.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the plot of your child’s writing task is important. It is not.

The real aim of the 11+ creative writing task is to showcase your child’s writing skills and techniques.

And that’s why preparation is so important.

This guide begins by answering all the FAQs that parents have about the 11+ creative writing task.

At the end of the article I give my best tips & strategies for preparing your child for the 11+ creative writing task , along with 50 fiction and non-fiction creative writing prompts from past papers you can use to help your child prepare. You’ll also want to check out my 11+ reading list , because great readers turn into great writers.

Do all 11+ exams include a writing task?

Not every 11+ exam includes a short story component, but many do. Usually 3 to 5 different prompts are given for the child to choose between and they are not always ‘creative’ (fiction) pieces. One or more non-fiction options might be given for children who prefer writing non-fiction to fiction.

Timings and marking vary from test to test. For example, the Kent 11+ Test gives students 10 minutes for planning followed by 30 minutes for writing. The Medway 11+ Test gives 60 minutes for writing with ‘space allowed’ on the answer booklet for planning.

Tasks vary too. In the Kent Test a handful of stimuli are given, whereas 11+ students in Essex are asked to produce two individually set paragraphs. The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CCSE) includes 2 creative writing paragraphs inside a 60-minute English exam.

Throughout the UK each 11+ exam has a different set of timings and papers based around the same themes. Before launching into any exam preparation it is essential to know the content and timing of your child’s particular writing task.

However varied and different these writing tasks might seem, there is one key element that binds them.

The mark scheme.

Although we can lean on previous examples to assess how likely a short story or a non-fiction tasks will be set, it would be naïve to rely completely on the content of past papers. Contemporary 11+ exams are designed to be ‘tutor-proof’ – meaning that the exam boards like to be unpredictable.

In my online writing club for kids , we teach a different task each week (following a spiral learning structure based on 10 set tasks). One task per week is perfected as the student moves through the programme of content, and one-to-one expert feedback ensures progression. This equips our writing club members to ‘write effectively for a range of purposes’ as stated in the English schools’ teacher assessment framework.

This approach ensures that students approaching a highly competitive entrance exam will be confident of the mark scheme (and able to meet its demands) for any task set.

Will my child have a choice of prompts to write from or do they have to respond to a single prompt, without a choice?

This varies. In the Kent Test there are usually 5 options given. The purpose is to gather a writing sample from each child in case of a headteacher appeal. A range of options should allow every child to showcase what they can do.

In Essex, two prescriptive paragraphs are set as part of an hour-long English paper that includes comprehension and vocabulary work. In Essex, there is no option to choose the subject matter.

The Medway Test just offers a single prompt for a whole hour of writing. Sometimes it is a creative piece. Recently it was a marketing leaflet.

The framework for teaching writing in English schools demands that in order to ‘exceed expectations’ or better, achieve ‘greater depth’, students need to be confident writing for a multitude of different purposes.

In what circumstances is a child’s creative writing task assessed?

In Essex (east of the UK) the two prescriptive writing tasks are found inside the English exam paper. They are integral to the exam and are assessed as part of this.

In Medway (east Kent in the South East) the writing task is marked and given a raw score. This is then adjusted for age and double counted. Thus, the paper is crucial to a pass.

In the west of the county of Kent there is a different system. The Kent Test has a writing task that is only marked in appeal cases. If a child dips below the passmark their school is allowed to put together a ‘headteacher’s appeal’. At this point – before the score is communicated to the parent (and probably under cover of darkness) the writing sample is pulled out of a drawer and assessed.

I’ve been running 11+ tutor clubs for years. Usually about 1% of my students passed at headteacher’s appeal.

Since starting the writing club, however, the number of students passing at appeal has gone up considerably. In recent years it’s been more like 5% of students passing on the strength of their writing sample.

What are the examiners looking for when they’re marking a student’s creative writing?

In England, the government has set out a framework for marking creative writing. There are specific ‘pupil can’ statements to assess whether a student is ‘working towards the expected standard,’ ‘working at the expected standard’ or ‘working at greater depth’.

Members of the headteacher panel assessing the writing task are given a considerable number of samples to assess at one time. These expert teachers have a clear understanding of the framework for marking, but will not be considering or discussing every detail of the writing sample as you might expect.

Schools are provided with a report after the samples have been assessed. This is very brief indeed. Often it will simply say ‘lack of precise vocabulary’ or ‘confused paragraphing.’

So there is no mark scheme as such. They won’t be totting up your child’s score to see if they have reached a given target. They are on the panel because of their experience, and they have a short time to make an instant judgement.

Does handwriting matter?

Handwriting is assessed in primary schools. Thus it is an element of the assessment framework the panel uses as a basis for their decision.

If the exam is very soon, then don’t worry if your child is not producing immaculate, cursive handwriting. The focus should simply be on making it well-formed and legible. Every element of the assessment framework does not need to be met and legible writing will allow the panel to read the content with ease.

Improve presentation quickly by offering a smooth rollerball pen instead of a pencil. Focus on fixing individual letters and praising your child for any hint of effort. The two samples below are from the same boy a few months apart. Small changes have transformed the look and feel:

11+ handwriting sample from a student before handwriting tutoring

Sample 1: First piece of work when joining the writing club

Cursive handwriting sample of a boy preparing for the 11+ exam after handwriting tutoring.

Sample 2: This is the same boy’s improved presentation and content

How long should the short story be.

First, it is not a short story as such—it is a writing sample. Your child needs to showcase their skills but there are no extra marks for finishing (or marks deducted for a half-finished piece).

For a half hour task, you should prepare your child to produce up to 4 paragraphs of beautifully crafted work. Correct spelling and proper English grammar is just the beginning. Each paragraph should have a different purpose to showcase the breadth and depth of their ability. A longer – 60 minute – task might have 5 paragraphs but rushing is to be discouraged. Considered and interesting paragraphs are so valuable, a shorter piece would be scored more highly than a rushed and dull longer piece.

I speak from experience. A while ago now I was a marker for Key Stage 2 English SATs Papers (taken in Year 6 at 11 years old). Hundreds of scripts were deposited on my doorstep each morning by DHL. There was so much work for me to get through that I came to dread long, rambling creative pieces. Some children can write pages and pages of repetitive nothingness. Ever since then, I have looked for crafted quality and am wary of children judging their own success by the number of lines competed.

Take a look at the piece of writing below. It’s an excellent example of a well-crafted piece.

Each paragraph is short, but the writer is skilful.

He used rich and precisely chosen vocabulary, he’s broken the text into natural paragraphs, and in the second paragraph he is beginning to vary his sentence openings. There is a sense of control to the sentences – the sentence structure varies with shorter and longer examples to manage tension. It is exciting to read, with a clear awareness of his audience. Punctuation is accurate and appropriate.

Example of a high-scoring writing sample for the UK 11+ exam—notice the varied sentence structures, excellent use of figurative language, and clear paragraphing technique.

11+ creative writing example story

How important is it to revise for a creative writing task.

It is important.

Every student should go into their 11+ writing task with a clear paragraph plan secured. As each paragraph has a separate purpose – to showcase a specific skill – the plan should reflect this. Built into the plan is a means of flexing it, to alter the order of the paragraphs if the task demands it. There’s no point having a Beginning – Middle – End approach, as there’s nothing useful there to guide the student to the mark scheme.

Beyond this, my own students have created 3 – 5 stories that fit the same tight plan. However, the setting, mood and action are all completely different. This way a bank of rich vocabulary has already been explored and a technique or two of their own that fits the piece beautifully. These can be drawn upon on the day to boost confidence and give a greater sense of depth and consideration to their timed sample.

Preparation, rather than revision in its classic form, is the best approach. Over time, even weeks or months before the exam itself, contrasting stories are written, improved upon, typed up and then tweaked further as better ideas come to mind. Each of these meets the demands of the mark scheme (paragraphing, varied sentence openings, rich vocabulary choices, considered imagery, punctuation to enhance meaning, development of mood etc).

To ensure your child can write confidently at and above the level expected of them, drop them into my weekly weekly online writing club for the 11+ age group . The club marking will transform their writing, and quickly.

What is the relationship between the English paper and the creative writing task?

Writing is usually marked separately from any comprehension or grammar exercises in your child’s particular 11+ exam. Each exam board (by area/school) adapts the arrangement to suit their needs. Some have a separate writing test, others build it in as an element of their English paper (usually alongside a comprehension, punctuation and spelling exercise).

Although there is no creative writing task in the ISEB Common Pre-test, those who are not offered an immediate place at their chosen English public school are often invited back to complete a writing task at a later date. Our ISEB Common Pre-test students join the writing club in the months before the exam, first to tidy up the detail and second to extend the content.

What if my child has a specific learning difficulty (dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, ASD)?

Most exam boards pride themselves on their inclusivity. They will expect you to have a formal report from a qualified professional at the point of registration for the test. This needs to be in place and the recommendations will be considered by a panel. If your child needs extra arrangements on the day they may be offered (it isn’t always the case). More importantly, if they drop below a pass on one or more papers you will have a strong case for appeal.

Children with a specific learning difficulty often struggle with low confidence in their work and low self-esteem. The preparations set out above, and a kids writing club membership will allow them to go into the exam feeling positive and empowered. If they don’t achieve a pass at first, the writing sample will add weight to their appeal.

Tips and strategies for writing a high-scoring creative writing paper

  • Read widely for pleasure. Read aloud to your child if they are reluctant.
  • Create a strong paragraph plan where each paragraph has a distinct purpose.
  • Using the list of example questions below, discuss how each could be written in the form of your paragraph plan.
  • Write 3-5 stories with contrasting settings and action – each one must follow your paragraph plan. Try to include examples of literary devices and figurative language (metaphor, simile) but avoid clichés.
  • Tidy up your presentation. Write with a good rollerball pen on A4 lined paper with a printed margin. Cross out with a single horizontal line and banish doodling or scribbles.
  • Join the writing club for a 20-minute Zoom task per week with no finishing off or homework. An expert English teacher will mark the work personally on video every Friday and your child’s writing will be quickly transformed.

Pressed for time? Here’s a paragraph plan to follow.

At Griffin Teaching we have an online writing club for students preparing for the 11 plus creative writing task . We’ve seen first-hand what a difference just one or two months of weekly practice can make.

That said, we know that a lot of people reading this page are up against a hard deadline with an 11+ exam date fast approaching.

If that’s you (or your child), what you need is a paragraph plan.

Here’s one tried-and-true paragraph plan that we teach in our clubs. Use this as you work your way through some of the example prompts below.

11+ creative writing paragraph plan

Paragraph 1—description.

Imagine standing in the location and describe what is above the main character, what is below their feet, what is to their left and right, and what is in the distance. Try to integrate frontend adverbials into this paragraph (frontend adverbials are words or phrases used at the beginning of a sentence to describe what follows—e.g. When the fog lifted, he saw… )

Paragraph 2—Conversation

Create two characters who have different roles (e.g. site manager and student, dog walker and lost man) and write a short dialogue between them. Use what we call the “sandwich layout,” where the first person says something and you describe what they are doing while they are saying it. Add in further descriptions (perhaps of the person’s clothing or expression) before starting a new line where the second character gives a simple answer and you provide details about what the second character is doing as they speak.

Paragraph 3—Change the mood

Write three to four sentences that change the mood of the writing sample from light to gloomy or foreboding. You could write about a change in the weather or a change in the lighting of the scene. Another approach is to mention how a character reacts to the change in mood, for example by pulling their coat collar up to their ears.

Paragraph 4—Shock your reader

A classic approach is to have your character die unexpectedly in the final sentence. Or maybe the ceiling falls?

11+ creative writing questions from real papers—fictional prompts

  • The day the storm came
  • The day the weather changed
  • The snowstorm
  • The rainy day
  • A sunny day out
  • A foggy (or misty) day
  • A day trip to remember
  • The first day
  • The day everything changed
  • The mountain
  • The hillside
  • The old house
  • The balloon
  • The old man
  • The accident
  • The unfamiliar sound
  • A weekend away
  • Moving house
  • A family celebration
  • An event you remember from when you were young
  • An animal attack
  • The school playground at night
  • The lift pinged and the door opened. I could not believe what was inside…
  • “Run!” he shouted as he thundered across the sand…
  • It was getting late as I dug in my pocket for the key to the door. “Hurry up!” she shouted from inside.
  • I know our back garden very well, but I was surprised how different it looked at midnight…
  • The red button on the wall has a sign on it saying, ‘DO NOT TOUCH.’ My little sister leant forward and hit it hard with her hand. What happened next?
  • Digging down into the soft earth, the spade hit something metal…
  • Write a story which features the stopping of time.
  • Write a story which features an unusual method of transport.
  • The cry in the woods
  • Write a story which features an escape

11+ creative writing questions from real papers—non-fiction prompts

  • Write a thank you letter for a present you didn’t want.
  • You are about to interview someone for a job. Write a list of questions you would like to ask the applicant.
  • Write a letter to complain about the uniform at your school.
  • Write a leaflet to advertise your home town.
  • Write a thank you letter for a holiday you didn’t enjoy.
  • Write a letter of complaint to the vet after an unfortunate incident in the waiting room.
  • Write a set of instructions explaining how to make toast.
  • Describe the room you are in.
  • Describe a person who is important to you.
  • Describe your pet or an animal you know well.

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11 Creative Writing Techniques

Learn how to add pizzazz to any type of writing.

The articles below show you how to use creative writing tools in fiction or non-fiction. Each article features a series of examples so it becomes easier to apply the technique.

List of creative writing techniques

Click the links below to go to a specific section:

Personification

Show don’t tell

Repetition in writing

Contrast in writing

The rule of three in writing

Parallelism

1. Metaphors

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3. Analogies

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5. Personification

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6. Show don’t tell

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7. Repetition in writing

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8. Contrast in writing

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Discover how to use contrast in your writing …

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9. The rule of 3 in writing

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The rule of 3 in writing >>

10. Parallelism in writing

examples of creative writing in fiction

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11. Switch the point of view (POV)

creative writing technique #10

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Plot is what happens in a story, but action itself doesn’t constitute plot. Plot is created by the manner in which the writer arranges and organizes particular actions in a meaningful way. It’s useful to think of plot as a chain reaction, where a sequence of events causes other events to happen.

When reading a work of fiction, keep in mind that the author has selected one line of action from the countless possibilities of action available to her. Trying to understand why the author chose a particular line of action over another leads to a better understanding of how plot is working in a story

This does not mean that events happen in chronological order; the author may present a line of action that happens after the story’s conclusion, or she may present the reader with a line of action that is still to be determined. Authors can’t present all the details related to an action, so certain details are brought to the forefront, while others are omitted.

The author imbues the story with meaning by a selection of detail. The cause-and-effect connection between one event and another should be logical and believable, because the reader will lose interest if the relation between events don’t seem significant. As Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren wrote in Understanding Fiction , fiction is interpretive: “Every story must indicate some basis for the relation among its parts, for the story itself is a particular writer’s way of saying how you can make sense of human experience.”

If a sequence of events is merely reflexive, then plot hasn’t come into play. Plot occurs when the writer examines human reactions to situations that are always changing. How does love, longing, regret and ambition play out in a story? It depends on the character the writer has created.

Because plot depends on character, plot is what the character does. Plot also fluctuates, so that something is settled or thrown off balance in the end, or both. Traditionally, a story begins with some kind of description that then leads to a complication. The complication leads up to a crisis point where something must change. This is the penultimate part of the story, before the climax, or the most heightened moment of a story.

In some stories, the climax is followed by a denouement, or resolution of the climax. Making events significant in plot begins with establishing a strong logic that connects the events. Insofar as plot reveals some kind of human value or some idea about the meaning of experience, plot is related to theme.

Character can’t be separated from action, since we come to understand a character by what she does. In stories, characters drive the plot. The plot depends on the characters' situations and how they respond to it. The actions that occur in the plot are only believable if the character is believable. For most traditional fiction, characters are divided into the following categories:

  • Protagonist : the main or central character or hero (Harry Potter)
  • Antagonist : opponent or enemy of the protagonist (Dark Lord Voldemort)
  • Foil Character : a character(s) who helps readers better understand another character, usually the protagonist. For example in the Harry Potter series, Hermione and Ron are Harry's friends, but they also help readers better understand the protagonist, Harry. Ron and Hermione represent personalities that in many ways are opposites - Ron is a bit lazy and insecure; Hermione is driven and confident. Harry exists in the middle, thus illustrating his inner conflict and immaturity at the beginning of the book series.

Because character is so important to plot and fiction, it’s important for the writer to understand her characters as much as possible. Though the writer should know everything there is to know about her character, she should present her knowledge of the characters indirectly, through dialogue and action. Still, sometimes a summary of a character’s traits needs to be given. For example, for characters who play the supporting cast in a story, direct description of the character’s traits keeps the story from slowing down.

Beginning and intermediate level writers frequently settle for creating types, rather than highly individualized, credible characters. Be wary of creating a character who is a Loser With A Good Heart, The Working Class Man Who Is Trapped By Tough Guy Attitudes, The Lonely Old Lady With A Dog, etc. At the same time, keep in mind that all good characters are, in a sense, types.

Often, in creative writing workshops from beginning to advanced levels, the instructor asks, “Whose story is this?” This is because character is the most important aspect of fiction. In an intermediate level workshop, it would be more useful to introduce a story in which it is more difficult to pick out the main character from the line-up. It provides an opportunity for intermediate level fiction writers to really explore character and the factors that determine what is at stake, and for whom.

Conflict depends on character, because readers are interested in the outcomes of people’s lives, but may be less interested in what’s at stake for a corporation, a bank, or an organization. Characters in conflict with one another make up fiction. Hypothetically, a character can come into conflict with an external force, like poverty, or a fire. But there is simply more opportunity to explore the depth and profundity in relationships between people, because people are so complex that conflict between characters often gets blurred with a character’s conflict with herself

The short story, as in all literary forms, including poetry and creative nonfiction, depends on the parts of the poem or story or essay making some kind of sense as a whole. The best example in fiction is character. The various aspects of a character should add up to some kind of meaningful, larger understanding of the character. If the various aspects of a character don’t add up, the character isn’t believable. This doesn’t mean that your characters have to be sensible. Your characters may have no common sense at all, but we have to understand the character and why she is that way. The character’s motives and actions have to add up, however conflicted, marginalized or irrational they may be.

Examples

Creative Writing

Ai generator.

examples of creative writing in fiction

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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examples of creative writing in fiction

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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11 Examples of Fight Scenes

examples of creative writing in fiction

One of the best ways to learn how to write is to learn by imitation.

So if you want to write a fight scene, you should look at writers who have come before you.

Below are a variety of fight scenes: some just with fists, some with weapons like swords, spears, and knives. All of them are two-person fights.

Read all eleven fights and then read my commentary afterwards on what writers can learn from these examples.

Also, if you want to read my extended post on how to write a fight scene, look at my 21 Rules for Writing a Fight Scene post.

And happy fight writing!

1. Sword Fight

Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

The businessman reaches across his body with his right hand, grips the handle of his sword just below the guard, draws it out, snaps it forward so it’s pointing at Hiro, then places his left hand on the grip just below the right. Hiro does the same. Both of them bend their knees, dropping into a low squat while keeping the torso bolt upright, then stand up again and shuffle their feet into the proper stance—feet parallel, both pointed straight ahead, right foot in front of the left foot. The businessman turns out to have a lot of zanshin. Translating this concept into English is like translating “fuckface” into Nipponese, but it might translate into “emotional intensity” in football lingo. He charges directly at Hiro, hollering at the top of his lungs. The movement actually consists of a very rapid shuffling motion of the feet, so that he stays balanced at all times. At the last moment, he draws the sword up over his head and snaps it down toward Hiro. Hiro brings his own sword up, rotating it around sideways so that the handle is up high, above and to the left of his face, and the blade slopes down and to the right, providing a roof above him. The businessman’s blow bounces off this roof like rain, and then Hiro sidesteps to let him go by and snaps the sword down toward his unprotected shoulder. But the businessman is moving too fast, and Hiro’s timing is off. The blade cuts behind and to the side of the businessman. Both men wheel to face each other, back up, get back into the stance. “Emotional intensity” doesn’t convey the half of it, of course. It is the kind of coarse and disappointing translation that makes the dismembered bodies of samurai warriors spin in their graves. The word “zanshin” is larded down with a lot of other folderol that you have to be Nipponese to understand. And Hiro thinks, frankly, that most of it is pseudomystical crap, on the same level as his old high school football coach exhorting his men to play at 110 percent. The businessman makes another attack. This one is pretty straightforward: a quick shuffling approach and then a snapping cut in the direction of Hiro’s ribcage. Hiro parries it. Now Hiro knows something about this businessman, namely, that like most Nipponese sword fighters, all he knows is kendo. Kendo is to real samurai sword fighting what fencing is to real swashbuckling: an attempt to take a highly disorganized, chaotic, violent, and brutal conflict and turn it into a cute game. As in fencing, you’re only supposed to attack certain parts of the body—the parts that are protected by armor. As in fencing, you’re not allowed to kick your opponent in the kneecaps or break a chair over his head. And the judging is totally subjective. In kendo, you can get a good solid hit on your opponent and still not get credit for it, because the judges feel you didn’t possess the right amount of zanshin. Hiro doesn’t have any zanshin at all. He just wants this over with. The next time the businessman sets up his ear-splitting screech and shuffles toward Hiro, cutting and snapping his blade, Hiro parries the attack, turns around, and cuts both of his legs off just above the knees. The businessman collapses to the floor. It takes a lot of practice to make your avatar move through the Metaverse like a real person. When your avatar has just lost its legs, all that skill goes out the window. “Well, land sakes!” Hiro says. “Lookee here!” He whips his blade sideways, cutting off both of the businessman’s forearms, causing the sword to clatter onto the floor. “Better fire up the ol’ barbecue, Jemima!” Hiro continues, whipping the sword around sideways, cutting the businessman’s body in half just above the navel. Then he leans down so he’s looking right into the businessman’s face. “Didn’t anyone tell you,” he says, losing the dialect, “that I was a hacker?”  Then he hacks the guy’s head off. It falls to the floor, does a half-roll, and comes to rest staring straight up at the ceiling. 

What can we learn from this sword fight?

  • Take some time to set up your fight at the beginning. This builds tension. They don’t launch directly into the fight, they have some conversation (preceding this excerpt) and then slowly unsheathe their weapons. The reader gets pleasure from anticipation.
  • Talk about proper technique. I love the description of their footwork, how they both adopt a certain sword fighting stance.
  • During the first fight exchange, it’s not just action: Hiro describes the body language of the attacker (a word that translates roughly as “emotional intensity”).
  • We learn about two competing philosophies of sword fighting: kendo vs. samurai. The opponent knows kendo, while Hiro knows samurai, and he knows he will win because his fighting philosophy is better.

2. Gun Fight

Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch

“The rasp of a door opening slow on its hinges and board squeak from the men stealing in. Faller stood and turned and collared the little girl beside him with his left hand and lifted her out of the grasp of her mother clean into the air. He hoisted her in front of his body and he turned towards the door and little girl screamed and her mother scrambled the air with her hands towards her. Faller kicked her back down and then the men from outside were coming in, their rifles pointed in the door and the first man paused as he came through to take in the sight of the girl hanging in the air in front of him and in the moment of his hesitation Faller shot him dead. The man’s legs collapsed from under him and Faller dropped the child into a swing and launched her into the air at the other man taking aim with his gun and the man recoiled in horror as the child flew towards him, dropped the weapon to catch the child as she crashed into him and Faller was already on top of him as they fell to the ground and he smiled into the man’s eyes and fired the other round into his head. He looked up towards the hall and took the man’s rifle and swung smoothly upwards on the ball of his foot and then he was out the door.

Here’s what I like about this short gun fight scene:

  • The villain Faller uses his brain. It’s not just a shoot-em-up scene, he uses strategy. The first thing he does is grab a little girl to use her as a shield. He knows this will distract his opponents.
  • We get to see his personality in this fight as well. He “smiled into the man’s eyes” just before he kills him. Faller is a villain as terrible as the Judge in Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian,” who frequently smiles as he kills people as well.
  • And it’s pretty short. One noted different between fight scenes in movies and fight scenes in books is that book fight scenes are usually shorter. That’s because movies/television are visual mediums that lend themselves to action scenes, while in books you have to work harder to keep the action interesting.

3. Fist Fight

Jesmyn Ward, “Salvage the Bones”

I am on him like China. I fought Skeetah and Randall for play when we were younger. Once I punched Skeet in the stomach when we were wrestling and my arms felt like noodles, like he had no muscle to hit and I had no muscle to hit him with. I kicked Randall in the chest when he was picking with me and knocked the wind out of him. Once I fought a girl in the middle school locker room for laughing at my budding breasts; she sneered that I needed to tell my mama that I needed a training bra. My mama was four years dead then. That girl plucked my shirt where a bra strap would be and pushed me, and I turned back on her and swung blind, trying to smash her face in, kicking at her legs, elbowing her, beating with my whole body. She was twice my size, but I surprised her before she was able to push me off. I fell over the bench and the lockers cut a gash in my arm, but I left that girl with a knot rising purple on her head and a lip pink and tender as a pickled pig’s lips in a jar. She always says hello to me when she sees me in the hallway, three years after the fact. I am fast. I am slapping him, over and over, my hands a flurry, a black blur. His face is hot and stinging as boiling water. “Hey! Hey!” Manny yells. He blocks what he can with his elbows and forearms, but still I snake through. I slap so hard my hands hurt. “I love you!” “Esch!” The skin on his throat is red, his scar white. “I loved you!” I hit his Adam’s apple with the V where my thumb and pointer finger cross. He chokes. “I loved you!” This is Medea wielding the knife. This is Medea cutting. I rake my fingernails across his face, leave pink scratches that turn red, fill with blood. “Stupid bitch! What is wrong with you?” “You!” Manny grabs me under my armpits, picks me up off the ground, and throws. I fly backward. My toes land first, skimming the road, then my heels thud, but I am moving too fast to stop and I hit the ground with my butt. I try to catch myself with my stinging hands and then they sting more. I’ve scraped the skin off.

What can we learn from a fight like this?

  • There’s great motivation for this fight. Don’t ignore motivation when creating a fight. Esch fights Manny, her boyfriend, because she’s just told him she’s pregnant and he denies that he’s the father.
  • I like that the fight begins, and then we go into a full paragraph of backstory , of all the fights she’s ever been in (two small fights and one big fight. It gives context to this fight.
  • The dialogue is perfect. She says that she loves him, present tense, and then revises it to past tense, because she’s hating him so much in this moment.
  • We have a big differential in power between the two opponents, and yet, because they’re not strangers but boyfriend/girlfriend, and she is livid and he doesn’t have anything to fight for, she’s winning for most of the fight.
  • Pay attention to the momentum of the fight. She’s slapping, and choking and scratching (all the momentum of the fight is on her side) and then it switches and ends when he picks her up and throws her.
  • The reference to Greek mythology (Medea) gives the scene some weight . It’s not just a random fight, she’s identifying herself with a powerful Greek goddess.

4. Knife Fight

Dune by Frank Herbert

Jamis called out in ritual challenge: “May thy knife chip and shatter!” This knife will break then, Paul thought. He cautioned himself that Jamis also was without shield, but the man wasn’t trained to its use, had no shield-fighter inhibitions. Paul stared across the ring at Jamis. The man’s body looked like knotted whipcord on a dried skeleton. His crysknife shone milky yellow in the light of the glowglobes. Fear coursed through Paul. He felt suddenly alone and naked standing in dull yellow light within this ring of people. Prescience had fed his knowledge with countless experiences, hinted at the strongest currents of the future and the strings of decision that guided them, but this was the real-now. This was death hanging on an infinite number of miniscule mischances. Anything could tip the future here, he realized. Someone coughing in the troop of watchers, a distraction. A variation in a glowglobe’s brilliance, a deceptive shadow. I’m afraid, Paul told himself. And he circled warily opposite Jamis, repeating silently to himself the Bene Gesserit litany against fear. “Fear is the mind-killer …” It was a cool bath washing over him. He felt muscles untie themselves, become poised and ready. “I’ll sheath my knife in your blood,” Jamis snarled. And in the middle of the last word he pounced. Jessica saw the motion, stifled an outcry. Where the man struck there was only empty air and Paul stood now behind Jamis with a clear shot at the exposed back. Now, Paul! Now! Jessica screamed it in her mind. Paul’s motion was slowly timed, beautifully fluid, but so slow it gave Jamis the margin to twist away, backing and turning to the right. Paul withdrew, crouching low. “First, you must find my blood,” he said. Jessica recognized the shield-fighter timing in her son, and it came over her what a two-edged thing that was. The boy’s reactions were those of youth and trained to a peak these people had never seen. But the attack was trained, too, and conditioned by the necessities of penetrating a shield barrier. A shield would repel too fast a blow, admit only the slowly deceptive counter. It needed control and trickery to get through a shield. Does Paul see it? she asked herself. He must! Again Jamis attacked, ink-dark eyes glaring, his body a yellow blur under the glowglobes. And again Paul slipped away to return too slowly on the attack. And again. And again. Each time, Paul’s counterblow came an instant late. And Jessica saw a thing she hoped Jamis did not see. Paul’s defensive reactions were blindingly fast, but they moved each time at the precisely correct angle they would take if a shield were helping deflect part of Jamis’ blow. “Is your son playing with that poor fool?” Stilgar asked. He waved her to silence before she could respond. “Sorry; you must remain silent.” Now the two figures on the rock floor circled each other; Jamis with knife hand held far forward and tipped up slightly; Paul crouched with knife held low. Again, Jamis pounced, and this time he twisted to the right where Paul had been dodging. Instead of faking back and out, Paul met the man’s knife hand on the point of his own blade. Then the boy was gone, twisting away to the left and thankful for Chani’s warning. Jamis backed into the center of the circle, rubbing his knife hand. Blood dripped from the injury for a moment, stopped. His eyes were wide and staring– two blue-black holes-studying Paul with a new wariness in the dull light of the glowglobes. “Ah, that one hurt,” Stilgar murmured. Paul crouched at the ready and, as he had been trained to do after first blood, called out: “Do you yield?” “Hah!” Jamis cried. An angry murmur arose from the troop. “Hold!” Stilgar called out. “The lad doesn’t know our rule.” Then, to Paul: “There can be no yielding in the tahaddi-challenge. Death is the test of it.” Jessica saw Paul swallow hard. And she thought: He’s never killed a man like this … in the hot blood of a knife fight. Can he do it? Paul circled slowly right, forced by Jamis’ movement. The prescient knowledge of the time-boiling variables in this cave came back to plague him now. His new understanding told him there were too many swiftly compressed decisions in this fight for any clear channel ahead to show itself. Variable piled on variable–that was why this cave lay as a blurred nexus in his path. It was like a gigantic rock in the flood, creating maelstroms in the current around it. “Have an end to it, lad,” Stilgar muttered. “Don’t play with him.” Paul crept farther into the ring, relying on his own edge in speed. Jamis backed now that the realization swept over him–that this was no soft offworlder in the tahaddi ring, easy prey for a Fremen crysknife. Jessica saw the shadow of desperation in the man’s face. Now is when he’s most dangerous, she thought. Now he’s desperate and can do anything. He sees that this is not like a child of his own people, but a fighting machine born and trained to it from infancy. Now the fear I planted in him has come to bloom. And she found in herself a sense of pity for Jamis an emotion tempered by awareness of the immediate peril to her son. Jamis could do anything . . . any unpredictable thing, she told herself. She wondered then if Paul had glimpsed this future, if he were reliving this experience. But she saw the way her son moved, the beads of perspiration on his face and shoulders, the careful wariness visible in the flow of muscles. And for the first time she sensed, without understanding it, the uncertainty factor in Paul’s gift. Paul pressed the fight now, circling but not attacking. He had seen the fear in his opponent. Memory of Duncan Idaho’s voice flowed through Paul’s awareness:  “When your opponent fears you, then’s the moment when you give the fear its own rein, give it the time to work on him. Let it become terror. The terrified man fights himself. Eventually, he attacks in desperation. That is the most dangerous moment, but the terrified man can be trusted usually to make a fatal mistake. You are being trained here to detect these mistakes and use them. “ The crowd in the cavern began to mutter. They think Paul’s toying with Jamis, Jessica thought. They think Paul’s being needlessly cruel. But she sensed also the undercurrent of crowd excitement, their enjoyment of the spectacle. And she could see the pressure building up in Jamis. The moment when it became too much for him to contain was as apparent to her as it was to Jamis . . . or to Paul. Jamis leaped high, feinting and striking down with his right hand, but the hand was empty. The crysknife had been shifted to his left hand. Jessica gasped. But Paul had been warned by Chani: “Jamis fights with either hand.” And the depth of his training had taken in that trick en passant. “Keep the mind on the knife and not on the hand that holds it, ” Gurney Halleck had told him time and again. “The knife is more dangerous than the hand and the knife can be in either hand.” And Paul had seen Jamis first mistake: bad footwork so that it took the man a heartbeat longer to recover from his leap, which had been intended to confuse Paul and hide the knife shift. Except for the low yellow light of the glowglobes and the inky eyes of the staring troop, it was similar to a session on the practice floor. Shields didn’t count where the body’s own movement could be used against it. Paul shifted his own knife in a blurred motion, slipped sideways and thrust upward where Jamis’ chest was descending-then away to watch the man crumble. Jamis fell like a limp rag, face down, gasped once and turned his face toward Paul, then lay still on the rock floor. His dead eyes stared out like beads of dark glass. “Killing with the point lacks artistry,” Idaho had once told Paul,”but don’t let that hold your hand when the opening presents itself.”

This is one of the best fight scenes in any novel I’ve ever read.

What can we learn from it?

  • There’s a full page preceding this scene with build up . They grab their weapons. They talk to their friends. They prepare for battle. Don’t rush into a fight scene. Let the anticipation build up in the reader.
  • The voice of Duncan Idaho, who is not present but who trained Paul in knife fights, offers a wonderful philosophy of fighting.
  • We have a special weapon in this fight. It’s not just a knife, it’s a crysknife. This is a knife made from the tooth of a dead sandworm.
  • It’s ritualized — this is a ritual battle, one there are rules for (hence: there is no surrender. It’s a fight to the death).
  • Nice snappy dialogue , especially: “I’ll sheath my knife in your blood” and the reply: “First, you must find my blood.”
  • Near misses
  • Fails to adjust for a fight where there isn’t shields
  • Paul draws first blood
  • Crowd thinks Paul is toying with Jamis.
  • Climactic scene of strike and counterstrike
  • The climax is wonderful. It’s mental — there’s trickery involved. Jamis switches the knife from one hand to the other, and feints an attack. But Paul reads it and is able to bury his knife in the man’s chest. Your fight scenes need to be mental, not just physical.

5. Fist Fight

Louis L’Amour, “The Tall Stranger”

Lamport faced him in the dust before the saloon, a huge grizzly of a man with big iron-knuckled hands and a skin that looked like stretched rawhide.

“Come and get it!” he sneered, and rushed. As he rushed, he swung a powerful right. Rock Bannon met him halfway, and lashed out with his own right. His punch was faster, and it caught the big man flush, but Lamport took it on the mouth, spat blood, caught Bannon and hurled him into the dust with such force that a cloud of dust arose. Rock rolled over like a cat, gasping for breath, and just rolled from under Lamport’s driving boots as the big man tried to leap on him to stamp his life out.  Rock scrambled to his feet, and lunged as he picked his hands out of the dust, butting Lamport in the chest. The big renegade jerked up a stiff thumb, trying for Rock’s eye, but Bannon rolled his head away and swung a left to the wind, and then a driving right that ripped Lamport’s ear, starting a shower of blood. Lamport now charged again and caught Bannon with two long swings on the head. His skull roaring with pain and dizziness, Rock braced himself and started to swing in a blind fury, both hands going with every ounce of power he could muster. Lamport met him and, spraddle-legged, the two started to slug. Lamport was the bigger, and his punches packed terrific power, but were a trifle slower. It was nip and tuck, dog eat dog, and the two battled until the breath gasped in their lungs and whistled through their teeth. Lamport ducked his battered face and started to walk in, stemming the tide of Bannon’s blows by sheer physical power. Rock shifted his attack with lightning speed. He missed a right, and following it in with the weight of his body, slid his arm around Lamport’s thick neck, grabbed the wrist with his left hand, and jerked up his feet and sat down hard, trying to break Lamport’s neck. But the big renegade knew all the tricks, and as Rock’s feet flew up, Lamport hurled his weight forward and to the left, falling with his body half across Bannon. It broke the hold, and they rolled free. Rock came to his feet, and Lamport, catlike in his speed, lashed out with a wicked kick for his head. Rock rolled away from it and hurled himself at Lamport’s one standing leg in a flying tackle. The big man went down, and as they scrambled up, Rock hit him with a left and right, splitting his right cheek in a bone-deep gash, and pulping his lips. Lamport was bloody and battered now, yet he kept coming, his breath wheezing. Rock Bannon stabbed a left into his face, set himself and whipped up a right uppercut to the body. Lamport gasped. Bannon circled, then smashed him in the body with another right, then another and another. Lamport’s jaw was hanging open now, his face battered and bleeding from a dozen cuts and abrasions. Rock walked in, measured him, then crossed a right to his chin. He followed it up with two thudding, bone- crushing blows, and Lamport reeled, tried to steady himself, and then measured his length in the dust. Rock Bannon weaved on his feet, then walked to the watering trough and ducked his head into it.

I am a fan of Louis L’Amour, but this is not one of my favorite fight scenes.

Still, I think it’s instructive: this is what happens when a fight scene is all action. Did you get tired while reading it?

To me, there’s no variation. It’s just action after action after action. This type of thing works much better in film than in a book.

6. Spear & Sword Fight

“A Storm of Swords” by George R.R. Martin

The Dornishman slid sideways. “I am Oberyn Martell, a prince of Dorne,” he said, as the Mountain turned to keep him in sight. “Princess Elia was my sister.” “Who?” asked Gregor Clegane. Oberyn’s long spear jabbed, but Ser Gregor took the point on his shield, shoved it aside, and bulled back at the prince, his great sword flashing. The Dornishman spun away untouched. The spear darted forward. Clegane slashed at it, Martell snapped it back, then thrust again. Metal screamed on metal as the spearhead slid off the Mountain’s chest, slicing through the surcout and leaving a long bright scratch on the steel beneath. “Elia Martell, Princess of Dorne,” the Red Viper hissed. “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.” Ser Gregor grunted. He made a ponderous charge to hack at the Dornishman’s head. Prince Oberyn avoided him easily. “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.” “Did you come to talk or to fight?” “I came to hear you confess.” The Red Viper landed a quick thrust on the Mountain’s belly, to no effect. Gregor cut at him, and missed. The long spear lanced in above his sword. Like a serpent’s tongue it flickered in and out, feinting low and landing high, jabbing at groin, shield, eyes.  The Mountain makes for a big target, at the least,  Tyrion thought. Prince Oberyn could scarcely miss, through none of his blows was penetrating Ser Gregor’s heavy plate. The Dornishman kept circling, jabbing, then darting back again, forcing the bigger man to turn and turn again.  Clegane is losing sight of him.  The Mountain’s helm had a narrow eyeslit, severely limiting his vision. Oberyn was making good use of that, and the length of his spear, and his quickness. It went on like that for what seemed a long time. Back and forth they moved across the yard, and round and round in spirals, Ser Gregor slashing at the air while Oberyn’s spear struck at arm, and leg, twice at his temple. Gregor’s big wooden shield took its share of hits as well, until a dog’s head peeped out from under the star, and elsewhere the raw oak showed through. Clegane would grunt from time to time, and once Tyrion heard him mutter a curse, but otherwise he fought in a sullen silence. Not Oberyn Martell. “You raped her,” he called, feinting. “You murdered her,” he said, dodging a looping cut from Gregor’s greatsword. “You killed her children,” he shouted, slamming the spearpoint into the giant’s throat, only to have it glance off the thick steel gorget with a screech. “Oberyn is toying with him,” said Ellaria Sand. That is fool’s play,  thought Tyrion. “The Mountain is too bloody big to be any man’s toy.” All around the yard, the throng of spectators was creeping to get a better view. The Kingsguard tried to keep them back, shoving at the gawkers forcefully with their big white shields, but there were hundreds of gawkers and only six of the men in white armor. “You raped her.” Prince Oberyn parried a savage cut with his spearhead. “You murdered her.” He sent the spearpoint at Clegane’s eyes, so fast the huge man flinched back. “You killed her children.” “The spear flickered sideways and down, scraping against the Mountain’s breastplate. “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.” The spear was two feet longer than Ser Gregor’s sword, more than enough to keep him at an awkward distance. He hacked at the shaft whenever Oberyn lunged at him, trying to lop off the spearhead, but he might as well have been trying to hack the wings off a fly. “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.” “Be quiet.” Ser Gregor seemed to be moving a little slower, and his greatsword no longer rose quite so high as it had when the contest began. “Shut your bloody mouth.” “You raped her,” the prince said, moving to the right. “Enough!”  Ser Gregor took two long strides and brought his sword down at Oberyn’s head, but the Dornishman backstepped once more. “You murdered her,” he said. “SHUT UP!”  Gregor charged headlong, right at the point of the spear, which slammed into his right breast then slid aside with a hideous steel shriek. Suddenly the Mountain was close enough to strike, his huge sword flashing in a steel blur. The crowd was screaming as well. Oberyn slipped the first blow and let go of the spear, useless now that Ser Gregor was inside it. The second cut the Dornishman caught on his shield. Metal met metal with an ear-splitting clang, sending the Red Viper reeling. Ser Gregor followed, bellowing.  He doesn’t use words, he just roars like an animal,  Tyrion thought. Oberyn’s retreat became a headlong backward flight mere inches ahead of the greatsword as it slashed at his chest, his arms, his head. The stable was behind him. Spectators screamed and shoved at each other to get out of the way. One stumbled into Oberyn’s back. Ser Gregor hacked down with all his savage strength. The Red Viper threw himself sideways, rolling. The luckless stableboy behind him was not so quick. As his arm rose to protect his face, Gregor’s sword took it off between elbow and shoulder.  “Shut UP!”  the Mountain howled at the stableboy’s scream, and this time he swung the blade sideways, sending the top half of the lad’s head across the yard in a spray of blood and brains. Hundreds of spectators suddenly seemed to lose all interest in the guilt or innocence of Tyrion Lannister, judging by the way they pushed and shoved at each other to escape the yard. But the Red Viper of Dorne was back on his feet, his long spear in hand. “Elia,” he called at Ser Gregor. “You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children. Now say her name.” The Mountain whirled. Helm, shield, sword, surcoat; he was spattered with gore from head to heels. “You talk too much,” he grumbled. “You make my head hurt.” “I will hear you say it. She was Elia of Dorne.” The Mountain snorted contemptuously, and came on… and in that moment, the sun broke through the low clouds that had hidden the sky since dawn. The sun of Dorne,  Tyrion told himself, but it was Gregor Clegane who moved first to put the sun at his back.  This is a dim and brutal man, but he has a warrior’s instincts. The Red Viper crouched, squinting, and sent his spear darting forward again. Ser Gregor hacked at it, but the thrust had only been a feint. Off balance, he stumbled forward a step. Prince Oberyn tilted his dinted metal shield. A shaft of sunlight blazed blindingly off polished gold and copper, into the narrow slit of his foe’s helm. Clegane lifted his own shield against the glare. Prince Oberyn’s spear flashed like lightning and found the gap in the heavy plate, the joint under the arm. The point punched through mail and boiled leather. Gregor gave a choked grunt as the Dornishman twisted his spear and yanked it free. “Elia. Say it! Elia of Dorne!” He was circling, spear poised for another thrust.  “Say it!” Tyrion had his own prayer.  Fall down and die,  was how it went.  Damn you, fall down and die!  The blood trickling from the Mountain’s armpit was his own now, and he must be bleeding even more heavily inside the breastplate. When he tried to take a step, one knee buckled. Tyrion thought he was going down. Prince Oberyn had circled behind him.  “ELIA OF DORNE!”  he shouted. Ser Gregor started to turn, but too slow and too late. The spearhead went through the back of the knee this time, through the layers of chain and leather between the plates on thigh and calf. The Mountain reeled, swayed, then collapsed face first on the ground. His huge sword went flying from his hand. Slowly, ponderously, he rolled onto his back. The Dornishman flung away his ruined shield, grasped the spear in both hands, and sauntered away. Behind him the Mountain let out a groan, and pushed himself onto an elbow. Oberyn whirled cat-quick, and  ran  at his fallen foe.  “EEEEELLLLLLIIIIIAAAAA!”  he screamed, as he drove the spear down with the whole weight of his body behind it. The  crack  of the ashwood shaft snapping was almost as sweet a sound as Cersei’s wail of fury, and for an instant Oberyn had wings.  The snake has vaulted over the Mountain.  Four feet of broken spear jutted from Clegane’s belly as Prince Oberyn rolled, rose, and dusted himself off. He tossed aside the splintered spear and claimed his foe’s greatsword. “If you die before you say her name, ser, I will hunt you through all seven hells,” he promised. Ser Gregor tried to rise. The broken spear had gone through him, and was pinning him to the ground. He wrapped both hands about the shaft, grunting, but could not pull it out. Beneath him was a spreading pool of red. “I am feeling more innocent by the instant,” Tyrion told Ellaria Sand beside him. Prince Oberyn moved closer.  “Say the name!”  He put a foot on the Mountain’s chest. Whether he intended to hack off Gregor’s head or shove the point through his eyeslit was something Tyrion would never know. Clegane’s hand shot up and grabbed the Dornishman behind the knee. The Red Viper brought down the greatsword in a wild slash, but he was off-balance, and the edge did no more than put another dent in the Mountain’s vambrace. Then the sword was forgotten as Gregor’s hand tightened and twisted, yanking the Dornishman down on top of him. They wrestled in the dust and blood, the broken spear wobbling back and forth. Tyrion saw with horror that the Mountain had wrapped one huge arm around the prince, drawing him tight against his chest, like a lover. “Elia of Dorne,” they all heard Ser Gregor say, when they were close enough to kiss. His deep voice boomed within the helm. “I killed her screaming whelp.” He thrust his free hand into Oberyn’s unprotected face, pushing steel fingers into his eyes. “ Then  I raped her.” Clegane slammed his fist into the Dornishman’s mouth, making splinters of his teeth. “Then I smashed her fucking head in. Like this.” As he drew back his huge fist, the blood on his gauntlet seemed to smoke in the cold dawn air. There was a sickening  crunch.  

There is so much you can learn from a fight scene like this.

  • The repeated dialogue is excellent. He keeps on repeating the Mountain’s crimes of killing his relatives. It reminds me of the repetition of Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride.” “You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
  • We have a wonderful twist at the end. We think Prince Oberyn has won. The spear is in his opponent’s chest and he has a foot on top. But then we have a sickening twist as the Mountain starts wrestling and kills him with his bare hands. Use this technique: make your reader think someone has won the fight, and then reverse the outcome.
  • The point of view (POV) is very curious. It’s not from the point of view of either of the fighters. Instead, it’s from someone watching the fight, Tyrion. He’s not just a spectator — his very life depends on the outcome of this fight. So we know there’s a lot at stake for him.
  • We have a wonderful mismatch between these two fighters. One is slow, ponderous, and yet strong. The other is nimble and quick, but small. At first it seems as though the small quick man will win the fight, but in the end, it’s the giant’s strength that wins.
  • Pay attention to the pacing. Most of the fight is told in scene, in real time. But there’s a section where George R.R. Martin summarizes the fight, skipping through time. Look at the paragraph beginning, “It went on like that for what seemed a long time…” That allows Martin to skip the boring repetition parts, and yet by signaling time is passing, he stays true to what would actually happen in a battle like this.

7. Fist Fight

Lee Child, “Persuader” (A Jack Reacher novel)

His face darkened. He seemed to swell up. He exploded at me. Just launched himself forward with his right arm scything around in a giant roundhouse strike. I sidestepped his body and ducked under his arm and bounced up again and spun around. He stopped short on stiff legs and whipped back toward me. We had changed places. Now I was nearer the guns than he was. He panicked and came at me again. Same move. His right arm swung. I sidestepped and ducked and we were back where we started. But he was breathing a little heavier than I was. “You’re a big girl’s blouse,” I said. It was a term of abuse I had picked up somewhere. England, maybe. I had no idea what it meant. But it worked real well, with a certain type of guy. It worked real well with Paulie. He came at me again, no hesitation. Same exact move. This time I crashed an elbow into his side as I spun under his arm. He bounced straight off of locked knees and came right back at me. I dodged away again and felt the breeze as his giant fist passed an inch above my head. He stood there, panting. I was warming up nicely. I was beginning to feel I had some kind of a chance. He was a very poor fighter. Lots of very big guys are. Either their sheer size is so intimidating it stops fights from ever starting in the first place, or else it lets them win every one directly after their first punch lands. Either way, they don’t get much practice. They don’t develop much finesse. And they get out of shape. Weights machines and treadmills are no substitute for the kind of urgent, anxious, breathless tight-throat high-speed high-adrenaline fitness you need to fight on the street. I figured Paulie was a prime example. I figured he had weight-lifted himself right out of the frame. I blew him a kiss. He swarmed through the air at me. Came on like a pile driver. I dodged left and put an elbow in his face and he connected with his left hand and knocked me sideways like I weighed nothing at all. I went down on one knee and got back up just in time to arch around his next crazy lunge. His fist missed my gut by a quarter-inch and its wild momentum pulled him past me and downward a little which put the side of his head right in line for a left hook. I let it go with everything I had from my toes on up. My fist crashed into his ear and he staggered back and I followed up with a colossal right to his jaw. Then I danced back and took a breather and tried to see what damage I’d done. No damage. I had hit him four times and it was like I hadn’t hit him at all. The two elbows had been solid smashes and the two punches had been as hard as anything I had ever thrown in my life. There was blood on his upper lip from the second elbow, but there was absolutely nothing else wrong with him. Theoretically he should have been unconscious. Or in a coma. It was probably thirty years since I ever had to hit a guy more than four times. But he showed no pain. No concern. He wasn’t unconscious. He wasn’t in a coma. He was dancing around and smiling again. He was relaxed. Moving easy. Huge. Impregnable. There was no way to hurt him. I looked at him and knew for sure I had no chance at all. And he looked at me and knew exactly what I was thinking. He smiled wider. Got balanced on the balls of both feet and hunched his shoulders down low and held his hands out in front of him like claws. He stamped his feet, left, right, left, right. It was like he was pawing the ground. Like he was going to come and get me and tear me apart. The smile distorted into a terrible wide grin of pleasure. He came straight at me and I dodged left. But he was ready for that maneuver and he landed a right hook in the center of my chest. It felt exactly like being hit by a four-hundred-pound weight-lifter moving at six miles an hour. My sternum seemed to crack and I thought my heart would stop from the shock. I came up off my feet and went down on my back. Then it was about choosing to live or choosing to die. I chose to live. Rolled over twice and pushed with my hands and levered myself upright. Jumped back and sideways and dodged a straight drive that would have killed me. After that it was about staying alive and seeing what the next half-second would bring. My chest hurt badly and my mobility was below a hundred percent but I dodged whatever he threw for about a minute. He was fast, but he wasn’t talented. I got an elbow in his face. It cracked his nose. It should have punched it out the back of his head. But at least it started bleeding. He opened his mouth to breathe. I dodged and danced and waited. Caught a huge roundhouse punch on the left shoulder that nearly paralyzed my arm. Then he near-missed with a right and for a fraction of a split second his stance was wide open. His mouth was open because of the blood in his nose. I wound up and let go with a cigarette punch. It’s a bar fight trick I learned long ago. You offer your guy a cigarette and he takes it and lifts it to his lips and opens his mouth maybe three-quarters of an inch. Whereupon you time it just right and land a huge uppercut under his chin. It slams his mouth shut and breaks his jaw and busts his teeth and maybe he bites his tongue off. Thank you and good night. I didn’t need to offer Paulie a cigarette because his mouth was already hanging open. So I just let go with the uppercut. Gave it everything I had. It was a perfect blow. I was still thinking and still steady on my feet and although I was small compared with him I’m really a very big guy with a lot of training and experience. I landed the punch right where his jaw narrowed under his chin. Solid bone-to-bone contact. I came up on my toes and followed through a whole yard. It should have broken his neck as well as his jaw. His head should have come right off and rolled away in the dirt. But the blow did nothing at all. Absolutely nothing. Just rocked him back an inch.

Even though this book has a ton of action in the fight scene, I think it’s much better than the Louis L’Amour example above. And here’s why:

  • The action sequences are broken up with observations. “It was a bar fight trick I learned long ago.” “I had hit him four times and it was like I hadn’t hit him at all.” So most of this fight scene isn’t action, it’s mostly thoughts. We’re in Jack Reacher’s head listening to what he’s thinking as the fight happens. It seems counter-intuitive, but most of your fight should happen in the thoughts of your characters.
  • Wonderful dialogue. The dialogue is used in the fight. Reacher deliberately insults him (“girl’s blouse”) in order to provoke a response so he can win the fight. Don’t just have dialogue for the sake of dialogue. Make dialogue one of your character’s weapons.
  • Once again we have a huge discrepancy in the fighters. One is big, but one is far, far, bigger. One has extensive training, but the other is physically unbeatable. One has fight intelligence, but the other has stamina. The two fighters are about as different as can be, and the more differences you have between your fighters, the easier your fight scene will be to write.

8. Gang Fight

Roberto Bolano, 2666

It was absolutely the last straw for Espinoza, who stepped down and opened the driver’s door and jerked the driver out, the latter not expecting anything of the sort from such a well-dressed gentleman. Much less did he expect the hail of Iberian kicks that proceeded to rain down on him, kicks delivered at first by Espinoza alone, but then by Pelletier, too, when Espinoza flagged, despite Norton’s shouts at them to stop, despite Norton’s objecting that violence didn’t solve anything, that in fact after this beating the Pakistani would hate the English even more, something that apparently mattered little to Pelletier, who wasn’t English, and even less to Espinoza, both of whom nevertheless insulted the Pakistani in English as they kicked him, without caring in the least that he was down, curled into a ball on the ground, as they delivered kick after kick, shove Islam up your ass, which is where it belongs, this one is for Salman Rushdie (an author neither of them happened to think was much good but whose mention seemed pertinent), this one is for the feminists of Paris (will you fucking stop, Norton was shouting), this one is for the feminists of New York (you’re going to kill him, shouted Norton), this one is for the ghost of Valerie Solanas, you son of a bitch, and on and on, until he was unconscious and bleeding from every orifice in the head, except the eyes. When they stopped kicking him they were sunk for a few seconds in the strangest calm of their lives. It was as if they’d finally had the menage a trois they’d so often dreamed of. Pelletier felt as if he had come. Espinoza felt the same, to a slightly different degree. Norton, who was staring at them without seeing them in the dark, seemed to have experienced multiple orgasms. 

This is one of my favorite fights, and one of the first I remembered when compiling this list.

This is an example of:

  • This is an example of a fight in summary, rather than a scene. Most of the fights on this page you could replicate in a movie, but this type of fight is specific to a novel, to the written word. We don’t get the blow by blow action but more of the general impression of how the fight went down.
  • The long sentences accelerate the fight, make it seem like it’s happening all at once. It gives a dramatic fluidity to the whole scene.
  • I like the way that dialogue is interspersed throughout the violence. But the text doesn’t focus on the specific acts of violence (punching, kicking, etc.) but rather what they are shouting during the fight. Islam, Rushdie, Feminists, Solanas, etc.
  • It’s not explicit at all. The only explicit mention of body parts are the kicks, and the “bleeding from every orifice in the head.”
  • What started the fight was that the taxi driver called their woman a whore. And in the end, the fight becomes a metaphor for their sexual desire, to have a threesome. So the fight isn’t just an act of violence, but an action as a result of their sexual frustration. Look for places where your fight isn’t just a fight, but is a metaphor for your character’s desire.

9. Fist Fight

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

The people behind Ender grabbed at him, to hold him. Ender did not feel like laughing, but he laughed. “You mean it takes this many of you to fight one Third?” “We’re people, not Thirds, turd face. You’re about as strong as a fart!” But they let go of him. And as soon as they did, Ender kicked out high and hard, catching Stilson square in the breastbone. He dropped. It took Ender by surprise he hadn’t thought to put Stilson on the ground with one kick. It didn’t occur to him that Stilson didn’t take a fight like this seriously, that he wasn’t prepared for a truly desperate blow. For a moment, the others backed away and Stilson lay motionless. They were all wondering if he was dead. Ender, however, was trying to figure out a way to forestall vengeance. To keep them from taking him in a pack tomorrow. I have to win this now, and for all time, or I’ll fight it every day and it will get worse and worse. Ender knew the unspoken rules of manly warfare, even though he was only six. It was forbidden to strike the opponent who lay helpless on the ground; only an animal would do that. So Ender walked to Stilson’s supine body and kicked him again, viciously, in the ribs. Stilson groaned and rolled away from him. Ender walked around him and kicked him again, in the crotch. Stilson could not make a sound; he only doubled up and tears streamed out of his eyes. Then Ender looked at the others coldly. “You might be having some idea of ganging up on me. You could probably beat me up pretty bad. But just remember what I do to people who try to hurt me. From then on you’d be wondering when I’d get you, and how bad it would be.” He kicked Stilson in the face. Blood from his nose spattered the ground nearby. “It wouldn’t be this bad,” Ender said. “It would be worse.”
  • What I like about this fight is that it’s more psychological than physical. Ender fights not because he doesn’t want to be beaten, but to instill fear in his opponents.
  • This fight is not about winning this single fight. It’s about winning the next fight.
  • There’s great characterization happening in this fight. We have a hero behave wickedly, but we believe he’s justified, because he’s trying to prevent violence in the future. The purpose of the fight is to show that he’s willing to use violence for certain purposes. The end justifies the means.
  • This tiny fight is a foreshadowing of the huge battle at the end of the novel. The end of the novel is about this same idea on a much larger scale: is it right to kill off an entire species in order to protect mankind?

10. Gun Fight

James McBride, “The Good Lord Bird”

That roused the Old Man, and quick as you can tell it, he throwed off his barber’s bib and flashed the butt end of a Sharps rifle beneath his coat. He moved with the speed of a rattler, but Dutch already had his pistol barrel at the Old Man’s throat, and he didn’t have to do nothing but drop the hammer on it. Which he did. Now that pepperbox is a funny pistol. It ain’t dependable like a Colt or a regular repeater. It’s a powder cap gun. It needs to be dry, and all that sweating and swearing must’ve sprouted water on Dutch’s big hands, is the only way I can call it, for when Dutch pulled the go switch, the gun hollered “Kaw!” and misfired. One barrel exploded and peeled sideways. Dutch dropped it and fell to the floor, bellowing like a calf, his hand nearly blowed off. The other three fellers holding their Colts on Old Brown had stepped back momentarily to keep their faces clear of the Old Man’s brains, which they expected to splatter across the room any minute, and now all three found themselves gaping at the hot end of a Sharps rifle, which the old fart coolly drawed out all the way. “I told you the Lord would draw it out your hand,” he said, “for the King of Kings eliminates all pesters.” He stuck that Sharps in Dutch’s neck and drawed the hammer back all the way, then looked at them three other fellers and said, “Lay them pistols down on the floor or here goes.” They done as he said, at which point he turned to the tavern, still holding his rifle, and hollered out, “I’m John Brown. Captain of the Pottawatomie Rifles. I come with the Lord’s blessing to free every colored man in this territory. Any man who stands against me will eat grape and powder.” […] He grabbed my hand and, still holding that Sharps at the ready, backed toward the rear door. I heard horses charging down the back alley. When he got to the door, he released my hand for a moment to fling it open, and as he did, Pa charged him. At the same time, Dutch lunged for one of the Colts laying on the floor, snatched it up, pointed the hot end at the Old Man, and fired. The bullet missed the Old Man and struck the edge of the door, sending a sliver of wood about eight inches long out sideways. The sliver jutted out the side of the door like a knife, straight horizontal, about chest high—and Pa runned right into it. Right into his chest it went. He staggered back, dropped to the floor, and blowed out his spark right there.
  • We have a nice reversal in the beginning. We think the Old Man is about to be killed, but the gun misfires. Always a fantastic decision to have equipment malfunction in a fight.
  • And then we have a reversal when the Old Man gets the drop on them. And suddenly the person who was about to be killed is in charge. Try to fit two – four reversals in your fight scene. They are essential.
  • Then we have a third reversal at the end, when the Old Man gets almost shot at the end, going out the door, but instead of the bullet hitting him, a splinter rams into his chest. It’s such a fantastic detail, and an odd one as well.

11. Fist Fight

Elena Ferrante, “The Days of Abandonment”

Here we have a wife who has been abandoned, and she sees her husband out in public with his mistress and she attacks him.

I came up behind them. I struck him like a battering ram with all my weight, I shoved him against the glass, he hit it with his face. Perhaps Carla cried out, but I saw only her open mouth, a black hole in the enclosure of her even, white teeth. Meanwhile I grabbed Mario, who was turning around with frightened eyes, his nose bleeding, and he looked at me full of terror and astonishment at once. Hold the commas, hold the periods. It’s not easy to go from the happy serenity of a romantic stroll to the chaos, to the incoherence of the world. Poor man, poor man. I grabbed him by the shirt and yanked him so violently that I tore it off the right shoulder, found it in my hands. He stood bare-chested, he wasn’t wearing an undershirt, he no longer worried about catching cold, about pneumonia, with me he had been consumed by hypochondria. His health had evidently been revitalized, he had a good tan, he was thinner, only a little ridiculous now, because one arm was covered by a whole, nicely ironed sleeve, with part of the shoulder still attached, and the collar, too, at an angle; while otherwise his torso was bare, shreds of the shirt hung from his pants, blood dripped amid the grizzled hairs of his chest. I hit him again and again, he fell down on the sidewalk. I kicked him, one two three times, but — I don’t know why — he didn’t defend himself, his movements were awkward, with his arms he sheltered his face instead of his ribs, maybe it was shame, hard to say. […] He grabbed me and pushed me away as if I were a thing. He had never treated me with such hatred. He threatened me, he was all stained with blood, distraught. But now his image appeared to be that of someone speaking on a television in a shop window. Rather than dangerous, I felt that it was sordid. From that place, from who can say what distance, the distance, perhaps, that separates the false from the true, he pointed at me a malevolent index finger, fixed at the extremity of his single remaining shirtsleeve. I didn’t hear what he said, but I felt like laughing at his artificial imperiousness. The laugh took away every desire to attack, drained me. I let him carry off his woman, with the earrings that hung from her ears. For what could I do, I had lost everything, all of myself, all, irremediably.

Additional Resources:

“Violence: A Writer’s Guide” by Rory Miller 

And if you haven’t yet seen my post, 21 Rules for Writing a Fight Scene , that’s the perfect accompaniment to this post.

Do you have a favorite fight scene that I didn’t mention?

Please list it below in the comments!

Related posts:

examples of creative writing in fiction

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I want to learn from you

Thank you for this. I grew up in Wyoming in the 1950s – 1960s and got in a lot of fights. Joined the wrestling team and taught a lot of bullies they should not mess with a vicious junkyard dog wrestler. Being an identical twin and hauling a violin back and forth from school seemed to make us natural targets. So we learned to fight. Kicked a lot of ass.

As an older woman writer it is hard to right violent fight sences. Reading the different authors scences helps!

examples of creative writing in fiction

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Last updated on Feb 20, 2023

Creative Nonfiction: How to Spin Facts into Narrative Gold

Creative nonfiction is a genre of creative writing that approaches factual information in a literary way. This type of writing applies techniques drawn from literary fiction and poetry to material that might be at home in a magazine or textbook, combining the craftsmanship of a novel with the rigor of journalism. 

Here are some popular examples of creative nonfiction:

  • The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
  • Intimations by Zadie Smith
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Creative nonfiction is not limited to novel-length writing, of course. Popular radio shows and podcasts like WBEZ’s This American Life or Sarah Koenig’s Serial also explore audio essays and documentary with a narrative approach, while personal essays like Nora Ephron’s A Few Words About Breasts and Mariama Lockington’s What A Black Woman Wishes Her Adoptive White Parents Knew also present fact with fiction-esque flair.

Writing short personal essays can be a great entry point to writing creative nonfiction. Think about a topic you would like to explore, perhaps borrowing from your own life, or a universal experience. Journal freely for five to ten minutes about the subject, and see what direction your creativity takes you in. These kinds of exercises will help you begin to approach reality in a more free flowing, literary way — a muscle you can use to build up to longer pieces of creative nonfiction.

If you think you’d like to bring your writerly prowess to nonfiction, here are our top tips for creating compelling creative nonfiction that’s as readable as a novel, but as illuminating as a scholarly article.

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Write a memoir focused on a singular experience

Humans love reading about other people’s lives — like first-person memoirs, which allow you to get inside another person’s mind and learn from their wisdom. Unlike autobiographies, memoirs can focus on a single experience or theme instead of chronicling the writers’ life from birth onward.

For that reason, memoirs tend to focus on one core theme and—at least the best ones—present a clear narrative arc, like you would expect from a novel. This can be achieved by selecting a singular story from your life; a formative experience, or period of time, which is self-contained and can be marked by a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

When writing a memoir, you may also choose to share your experience in parallel with further research on this theme. By performing secondary research, you’re able to bring added weight to your anecdotal evidence, and demonstrate the ways your own experience is reflective (or perhaps unique from) the wider whole.

Example: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Creative Nonfiction example: Cover of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking

Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking , for example, interweaves the author’s experience of widowhood with sociological research on grief. Chronicling the year after her husband’s unexpected death, and the simultaneous health struggles of their daughter, The Year of Magical Thinking is a poignant personal story, layered with universal insight into what it means to lose someone you love. The result is the definitive exploration of bereavement — and a stellar example of creative nonfiction done well.

📚 Looking for more reading recommendations? Check out our list of the best memoirs of the last century .

Tip: What you cut out is just as important as what you keep

When writing a memoir that is focused around a singular theme, it’s important to be selective in what to include, and what to leave out. While broader details of your life may be helpful to provide context, remember to resist the impulse to include too much non-pertinent backstory. By only including what is most relevant, you are able to provide a more focused reader experience, and won’t leave readers guessing what the significance of certain non-essential anecdotes will be.

💡 For more memoir-planning tips, head over to our post on outlining memoirs .

Of course, writing a memoir isn’t the only form of creative nonfiction that lets you tap into your personal life — especially if there’s something more explicit you want to say about the world at large… which brings us onto our next section.

Pen a personal essay that has something bigger to say

Personal essays condense the first-person focus and intimacy of a memoir into a tighter package — tunneling down into a specific aspect of a theme or narrative strand within the author’s personal experience.

Often involving some element of journalistic research, personal essays can provide examples or relevant information that comes from outside the writer’s own experience. This can take the form of other people’s voices quoted in the essay, or facts and stats. By combining lived experiences with external material, personal essay writers can reach toward a bigger message, telling readers something about human behavior or society instead of just letting them know the writer better.

Example: The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

Creative nonfiction example: Cover of Leslie Jamison's The Empathy Exams

Leslie Jamison's widely acclaimed collection The Empathy Exams  tackles big questions (Why is pain so often performed? Can empathy be “bad”?) by grounding them in the personal. While Jamison draws from her own experiences, both as a medical actor who was paid to imitate pain, and as a sufferer of her own ailments, she also reaches broader points about the world we live in within each of her essays.

Whether she’s talking about the justice system or reality TV, Jamison writes with both vulnerability and poise, using her lived experience as a jumping-off point for exploring the nature of empathy itself.

Tip: Try to show change in how you feel about something

Including external perspectives, as we’ve just discussed above, will help shape your essay, making it meaningful to other people and giving your narrative an arc. 

Ultimately, you may be writing about yourself, but readers can read what they want into it. In a personal narrative, they’re looking for interesting insights or realizations they can apply to their own understanding of their lives or the world — so don’t lose sight of that. As the subject of the essay, you are not so much the topic as the vehicle for furthering a conversation.

Often, there are three clear stages in an essay:

  • Initial state 
  • Encounter with something external
  • New, changed state, and conclusions

By bringing readers through this journey with you, you can guide them to new outlooks and demonstrate how your story is still relevant to them.

Had enough of writing about your own life? Let’s look at a form of creative nonfiction that allows you to get outside of yourself.

Tell a factual story as though it were a novel

The form of creative nonfiction that is perhaps closest to conventional nonfiction is literary journalism. Here, the stories are all fact, but they are presented with a creative flourish. While the stories being told might comfortably inhabit a newspaper or history book, they are presented with a sense of literary significance, and writers can make use of literary techniques and character-driven storytelling.

Unlike news reporters, literary journalists can make room for their own perspectives: immersing themselves in the very action they recount. Think of them as both characters and narrators — but every word they write is true. 

If you think literary journalism is up your street, think about the kinds of stories that capture your imagination the most, and what those stories have in common. Are they, at their core, character studies? Parables? An invitation to a new subculture you have never before experienced? Whatever piques your interest, immerse yourself.

Example: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Creative nonfiction example: Cover of Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire

If you’re looking for an example of literary journalism that tells a great story, look no further than Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World , which sits at the intersection of food writing and popular science. Though it purports to offer a “plant’s-eye view of the world,” it’s as much about human desires as it is about the natural world.

Through the history of four different plants and human’s efforts to cultivate them, Pollan uses first-hand research as well as archival facts to explore how we attempt to domesticate nature for our own pleasure, and how these efforts can even have devastating consequences. Pollan is himself a character in the story, and makes what could be a remarkably dry topic accessible and engaging in the process.

Tip: Don’t pretend that you’re perfectly objective

You may have more room for your own perspective within literary journalism, but with this power comes great responsibility. Your responsibilities toward the reader remain the same as that of a journalist: you must, whenever possible, acknowledge your own biases or conflicts of interest, as well as any limitations on your research. 

Thankfully, the fact that literary journalism often involves a certain amount of immersion in the narrative — that is, the writer acknowledges their involvement in the process — you can touch on any potential biases explicitly, and make it clear that the story you’re telling, while true to what you experienced, is grounded in your own personal perspective.

Approach a famous name with a unique approach 

Biographies are the chronicle of a human life, from birth to the present or, sometimes, their demise. Often, fact is stranger than fiction, and there is no shortage of fascinating figures from history to discover. As such, a biographical approach to creative nonfiction will leave you spoilt for choice in terms of subject matter.

Because they’re not written by the subjects themselves (as memoirs are), biographical nonfiction requires careful research. If you plan to write one, do everything in your power to verify historical facts, and interview the subject’s family, friends, and acquaintances when possible. Despite the necessity for candor, you’re still welcome to approach biography in a literary way — a great creative biography is both truthful and beautifully written.

Example: American Prometheus  by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

Creative nonfiction example: Cover of American Prometheus

Alongside the need for you to present the truth is a duty to interpret that evidence with imagination, and present it in the form of a story. Demonstrating a novelist’s skill for plot and characterization, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s American Prometheus is a great example of creative nonfiction that develops a character right in front of the readers’ eyes .

American Prometheus follows J. Robert Oppenheimer from his bashful childhood to his role as the father of the atomic bomb, all the way to his later attempts to reckon with his violent legacy.

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The biography tells a story that would fit comfortably in the pages of a tragic novel, but is grounded in historical research. Clocking in at a hefty 721 pages, American Prometheus distills an enormous volume of archival material, including letters, FBI files, and interviews into a remarkably readable volume. 

📚 For more examples of world-widening, eye-opening biographies, check out our list of the 30 best biographies of all time.

Tip: The good stuff lies in the mundane details

Biographers are expected to undertake academic-grade research before they put pen to paper. You will, of course, read any existing biographies on the person you’re writing about, and visit any archives containing relevant material. If you’re lucky, there’ll be people you can interview who knew your subject personally — but even if there aren’t, what’s going to make your biography stand out is paying attention to details, even if they seem mundane at first.

Of course, no one cares which brand of slippers a former US President wore — gossip is not what we’re talking about. But if you discover that they took a long, silent walk every single morning, that’s a granular detail you could include to give your readers a sense of the weight they carried every day. These smaller details add up to a realistic portrait of a living, breathing human being.

But creative nonfiction isn’t just writing about yourself or other people. Writing about art is also an art, as we’ll see below.

Put your favorite writers through the wringer with literary criticism

Literary criticism is often associated with dull, jargon-laden college dissertations — but it can be a wonderfully rewarding form that blurs the lines between academia and literature itself. When tackled by a deft writer, a literary critique can be just as engrossing as the books it analyzes.

Many of the sharpest literary critics are also poets, poetry editors , novelists, or short story writers, with first-hand awareness of literary techniques and the ability to express their insights with elegance and flair. Though literary criticism sounds highly theoretical, it can be profoundly intimate: you’re invited to share in someone’s experience as a reader or writer — just about the most private experience there is.

Example: The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar

Creative nonfiction example: Cover of The Madwoman in the Attic

Take The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, a seminal work approaching Victorian literature from a feminist perspective. Written as a conversation between two friends and academics, this brilliant book reads like an intellectual brainstorming session in a casual dining venue. Highly original, accessible, and not suffering from the morose gravitas academia is often associated with, this text is a fantastic example of creative nonfiction.

Tip: Remember to make your critiques creative

Literary criticism may be a serious undertaking, but unless you’re trying to pitch an academic journal, you’ll need to be mindful of academic jargon and convoluted sentence structure. Don’t forget that the point of popular literary criticism is to make ideas accessible to readers who aren’t necessarily academics, introducing them to new ways of looking at anything they read. 

If you’re not feeling confident, a professional nonfiction editor could help you confirm you’ve hit the right stylistic balance .

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Examples of Creative Nonfiction: What It Is & How to Write It

examples of creative writing in fiction

When most people think of creative writing, they picture fiction books – but there are plenty of examples of creative nonfiction. In fact, creative nonfiction is one of the most interesting genres to read and write. So what is creative nonfiction exactly? 

More and more people are discovering the joy of getting immersed in content based on true life that has all the quality and craft of a well-written novel. If you are interested in writing creative nonfiction, it’s important to understand different examples of creative nonfiction as a genre. 

If you’ve ever gotten lost in memoirs so descriptive that you felt you’d walked in the shoes of those people, those are perfect examples of creative nonfiction – and you understand exactly why this genre is so popular.

But is creative nonfiction a viable form of writing to pursue? What is creative nonfiction best used to convey? And what are some popular creative nonfiction examples?

Today we will discuss all about this genre, including plenty of examples of creative nonfiction books – so you’ll know exactly how to write it. 

This Guide to Creative Nonfiction Covers:

Need A Nonfiction Book Outline?

What is Creative Nonfiction?

Creative nonfiction is defined as true events written about with the techniques and style traditionally found in creative writing . We can understand what creative nonfiction is by contrasting it with plain-old nonfiction. 

Think about news or a history textbook, for example. These nonfiction pieces tend to be written in very matter-of-fact, declarative language. While informative, this type of nonfiction often lacks the flair and pleasure that keep people hooked on fictional novels.

Imagine there are two retellings of a true crime story – one in a newspaper and the other in the script for a podcast. Which is more likely to grip you? The dry, factual language, or the evocative, emotionally impactful creative writing?

Podcasts are often great examples of creative nonfiction – but of course, creative nonfiction can be used in books too. In fact, there are many types of creative nonfiction writing. Let’s take a look!

Types of creative nonfiction

Creative nonfiction comes in many different forms and flavors. Just as there are myriad types of creative writing, there are almost as many types of creative nonfiction.

Some of the most popular types include:

Literary nonfiction

Literary nonfiction refers to any form of factual writing that employs the literary elements that are more commonly found in fiction. If you’re writing about a true event (but using elements such as metaphor and theme) you might well be writing literary nonfiction.

Writing a life story doesn’t have to be a dry, chronological depiction of your years on Earth. You can use memoirs to creatively tell about events or ongoing themes in your life.

If you’re unsure of what kind of creative nonfiction to write, why not consider a creative memoir? After all, no one else can tell your life story like you. 

Nature writing

The beauty of the natural world is an ongoing source of creative inspiration for many people, from photographers to documentary makers. But it’s also a great focus for a creative nonfiction writer. Evoking the majesty and wonder of our environment is an endless source of material for creative nonfiction. 

Travel writing

If you’ve ever read a great travel article or book, you’ll almost feel as if you’ve been on the journey yourself. There’s something special about travel writing that conveys not only the literal journey, but the personal journey that takes place.

Writers with a passion for exploring the world should consider travel writing as their form of creative nonfiction. 

For types of writing that leave a lasting impact on the world, look no further than speeches. From a preacher’s sermon, to ‘I have a dream’, speeches move hearts and minds like almost nothing else. The difference between an effective speech and one that falls on deaf ears is little more than the creative skill with which it is written. 

Biographies

Noteworthy figures from history and contemporary times alike are great sources for creative nonfiction. Think about the difference between reading about someone’s life on Wikipedia and reading about it in a critically-acclaimed biography.

Which is the better way of honoring that person’s legacy and achievements? Which is more fun to read? If there’s someone whose life story is one you’d love to tell, creative nonfiction might be the best way to do it. 

So now that you have an idea of what creative nonfiction is, and some different ways you can write it, let’s take a look at some popular examples of creative nonfiction books and speeches.

Examples of Creative Nonfiction

Here are our favorite examples of creative nonfiction:

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

No list of examples of creative nonfiction would be complete without In Cold Blood . This landmark work of literary nonfiction by Truman Capote helped to establish the literary nonfiction genre in its modern form, and paved the way for the contemporary true crime boom.  

2. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast is undeniably one of the best creative memoirs ever written. It beautifully reflects on Hemingway’s time in Paris – and whisks you away into the cobblestone streets.  

3. World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

If you’re looking for examples of creative nonfiction nature writing, no one does it quite like Aimee Nezhukumatathil. World of Wonders  is a beautiful series of essays that poetically depicts the varied natural landscapes she enjoyed over the years. 

4. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is one of the most beloved travel writers of our time. And A Walk in the Woods is perhaps Bryson in his peak form. This much-loved travel book uses creativity to explore the Appalachian Trail and convey Bryson’s opinions on America in his humorous trademark style.

5. The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

 While most of our examples of creative nonfiction are books, we would be remiss not to include at least one speech. The Gettysburg Address is one of the most impactful speeches in American history, and an inspiring example for creative nonfiction writers.

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Few have a way with words like Maya Angelou. Her triumphant book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , shows the power of literature to transcend one’s circumstances at any time. It is one of the best examples of creative nonfiction that truly sucks you in.

7. Hiroshima by John Hershey

Hiroshima is a powerful retelling of the events during (and following) the infamous atomic bomb. This journalistic masterpiece is told through the memories of survivors – and will stay with you long after you’ve finished the final page.

8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably seen the film. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the most popular travel memoirs in history. This romp of creative nonfiction teaches us how to truly unmake and rebuild ourselves through the lens of travel.

9. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Never has language learning brought tears of laughter like Me Talk Pretty One Day . David Sedaris comically divulges his (often failed) attempts to learn French with a decidedly sadistic teacher, and all the other mishaps he encounters in his fated move from New York to Paris.

10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Many of us had complicated childhoods, but few of us experienced the hardships of Jeannette Walls. In The Glass Castle , she gives us a transparent look at the betrayals and torments of her youth and how she overcame them with grace – weaving her trauma until it reads like a whimsical fairytale.

Now that you’ve seen plenty of creative nonfiction examples, it’s time to learn how to write your own creative nonfiction masterpiece.

Tips for Writing Creative Nonfiction

Writing creative nonfiction has a lot in common with other types of writing. (You won’t be reinventing the wheel here.) The better you are at writing in general, the easier you’ll find your creative nonfiction project. But there are some nuances to be aware of.

Writing a successful creative nonfiction piece requires you to:

Choose a form

Before you commit to a creative nonfiction project, get clear on exactly what it is you want to write. That way, you can get familiar with the conventions of the style of writing and draw inspiration from some of its classics.

Try and find a balance between a type of creative nonfiction you find personally appealing and one you have the skill set to be effective at. 

Gather the facts

Like all forms of nonfiction, your creative project will require a great deal of research and preparation. If you’re writing about an event, try and gather as many sources of information as possible – so you can imbue your writing with a rich level of detail.

If it’s a piece about your life, jot down personal recollections and gather photos from your past. 

Plan your writing

Unlike a fictional novel, which tends to follow a fairly well-established structure, works of creative nonfiction have a less clear shape. To avoid the risk of meandering or getting weighed down by less significant sections, structure your project ahead of writing it.

You can either apply the classic fiction structures to a nonfictional event or take inspiration from the pacing of other examples of creative nonfiction you admire. 

You may also want to come up with a working title to inspire your writing. Using a free book title generator is a quick and easy way to do this and move on to the actual writing of your book.

Draft in your intended style

Unless you have a track record of writing creative nonfiction, the first time doing so can feel a little uncomfortable. You might second-guess your writing more than you usually would due to the novelty of applying creative techniques to real events. Because of this, it’s essential to get your first draft down as quickly as possible.

Rewrite and refine

After you finish your first draft, only then should you read back through it and critique your work. Perhaps you haven’t used enough source material. Or maybe you’ve overdone a certain creative technique. Whatever you happen to notice, take as long as you need to refine and rework it until your writing feels just right.

Ready to Wow the World With Your Story?

You know have the knowledge and inspiring examples of creative nonfiction you need to write a successful work in this genre. Whether you choose to write a riveting travel book, a tear-jerking memoir, or a biography that makes readers laugh out loud, creative nonfiction will give you the power to convey true events like never before.  

Who knows? Maybe your book will be on the next list of top creative nonfiction examples!

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Home » Language » English Language » Literature » Difference Between Creative Writing and Fiction Writing

Difference Between Creative Writing and Fiction Writing

Main difference – creative writing vs fiction writing.

Difference Between Creative Writing and Fiction Writing - infographic

What is Creative Writing

Creative writing can be broadly defined as any type of writing that is written with creativity. Various techniques and features such as narrative style, character development, diction , emphasis on emotions and feelings, imagery , etc. separate creative writing from other types of writing such as journalistic, academic, professional and technical forms of writing. Characters, settings , themes, motifs, dialogues , plot , style and point of view are the main elements of creative writing.

“Creative” doesn’t just refer to fiction – it doesn’t mean making up imaginary events or characters. Creative writing can include both fiction and nonfiction. Literary works such as novels, plays, poetry, biographies, short stories, and memoirs all fall under the category of creative writing. Feature stories in magazines or newspaper, which are about real events and real people, also fall into the category of creative writing.

Main Difference - Creative Writing vs Fiction Writing

What is Fiction Writing

Fiction can be defined as any story that is created in the imagination. Since they are created in imagination, they are not real stories. Therefore, fiction writing refers to writing stories using your imagination. Fiction is a subcategory of creative writing.  Novels, novellas , short stories, and dramas are some examples of fiction writing. However, memoirs, biographies , and feature stories, which fall under the category of creative writing, are not fiction since they are about real people and real events.

Difference Between Creative Writing and Fiction Writing

Creative Writing: Creative Writing can be defined as any type of writing that is written with creativity.

Fiction Writing: Fiction Writing can be defined as writing that involves imaginary events and characters.

Fiction vs Nonfiction

Creative Writing: Both fiction and nonfiction fall under creative writing.

Fiction Writing: Fiction writing does not involve real events or people.

Creative Writing: Novels, dramas, poetry, memoirs, autobiographies, feature stories, etc. are examples of creative writing.

Fiction Writing: Novels, dramas, short stories are examples of fiction writing.

Imagination vs Creativity

Creative Writing: Creative Writing does not require imagination.

Fiction Writing: Fiction Writing involves both creativity and imagination.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.

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What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for a second Trump administration

By Melissa Quinn , Jacob Rosen

Updated on: July 11, 2024 / 9:40 AM EDT / CBS News

Washington — Voters in recent weeks have begun to hear the name "Project 2025" invoked more and more by President Biden and Democrats, as they seek to sound the alarm about what could be in store if former President Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House.

Overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, the multi-pronged initiative includes a detailed blueprint for the next Republican president to usher in a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch.

Trump and his campaign have worked to distance themselves from Project 2025, with the former president going so far as to call some of the proposals "abysmal." But Democrats have continued to tie the transition project to Trump, especially as they find themselves mired in their own controversy over whether Mr. Biden should withdraw from the 2024 presidential contest following his startling debate performance last month.

Here is what to know about Project 2025:

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 is a proposed presidential transition project that is composed of four pillars: a policy guide for the next presidential administration; a LinkedIn-style database of personnel who could serve in the next administration; training for that pool of candidates dubbed the "Presidential Administration Academy;" and a playbook of actions to be taken within the first 180 days in office.

It is led by two former Trump administration officials: Paul Dans, who was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management and serves as director of the project, and Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to Trump and now the project's associate director.

Project 2025 is spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation, but includes an advisory board consisting of more than 100 conservative groups.

Much of the focus on — and criticism of — Project 2025 involves its first pillar, the nearly 900-page policy book that lays out an overhaul of the federal government. Called "Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise," the book builds on a "Mandate for Leadership" first published in January 1981, which sought to serve as a roadmap for Ronald Reagan's incoming administration.

The recommendations outlined in the sprawling plan reach every corner of the executive branch, from the Executive Office of the President to the Department of Homeland Security to the little-known Export-Import Bank. 

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with advisers in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D,C., on June 25, 2019.

The Heritage Foundation also created a "Mandate for Leadership" in 2015 ahead of Trump's first term. Two years into his presidency, it touted that Trump had instituted 64% of its policy recommendations, ranging from leaving the Paris Climate Accords, increasing military spending, and increasing off-shore drilling and developing federal lands. In July 2020, the Heritage Foundation gave its updated version of the book to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. 

The authors of many chapters are familiar names from the Trump administration, such as Russ Vought, who led the Office of Management and Budget; former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller; and Roger Severino, who was director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Vought is the policy director for the 2024 Republican National Committee's platform committee, which released its proposed platform on Monday. 

John McEntee, former director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office under Trump, is a senior advisor to the Heritage Foundation, and said that the group will "integrate a lot of our work" with the Trump campaign when the official transition efforts are announced in the next few months.

Candidates interested in applying for the Heritage Foundation's "Presidential Personnel Database" are vetted on a number of political stances, such as whether they agree or disagree with statements like "life has a right to legal protection from conception to natural death," and "the President should be able to advance his/her agenda through the bureaucracy without hindrance from unelected federal officials."

The contributions from ex-Trump administration officials have led its critics to tie Project 2025 to his reelection campaign, though the former president has attempted to distance himself from the initiative.

What are the Project 2025 plans?

Some of the policies in the Project 2025 agenda have been discussed by Republicans for years or pushed by Trump himself: less federal intervention in education and more support for school choice; work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults on food stamps; and a secure border with increased enforcement of immigration laws, mass deportations and construction of a border wall. 

But others have come under scrutiny in part because of the current political landscape. 

Abortion and social issues

In recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agenda calls for the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its 24-year-old approval of the widely used abortion pill mifepristone. Other proposed actions targeting medication abortion include reinstating more stringent rules for mifepristone's use, which would permit it to be taken up to seven weeks into a pregnancy, instead of the current 10 weeks, and requiring it to be dispensed in-person instead of through the mail.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that is on the Project 2025 advisory board, was involved in a legal challenge to mifepristone's 2000 approval and more recent actions from the FDA that made it easier to obtain. But the Supreme Court rejected the case brought by a group of anti-abortion rights doctors and medical associations on procedural grounds.

The policy book also recommends the Justice Department enforce the Comstock Act against providers and distributors of abortion pills. That 1873 law prohibits drugs, medicines or instruments used in abortions from being sent through the mail.

US-NEWS-SCOTUS-ABORTION-PILL-NEWSOM-TB

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade , the volume states that the Justice Department "in the next conservative administration should therefore announce its intent to enforce federal law against providers and distributors of such pills."

The guide recommends the next secretary of Health and Human Services get rid of the Reproductive Healthcare Access Task Force established by the Biden administration before Roe's reversal and create a "pro-life task force to ensure that all of the department's divisions seek to use their authority to promote the life and health of women and their unborn children."

In a section titled "The Family Agenda," the proposal recommends the Health and Human Services chief "proudly state that men and women are biological realities," and that "married men and women are the ideal, natural family structure because all children have a right to be raised by the men and women who conceived them."

Further, a program within the Health and Human Services Department should "maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family."

During his first four years in office, Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military. Mr. Biden reversed that policy , but the Project 2025 policy book calls for the ban to be reinstated.

Targeting federal agencies, employees and policies

The agenda takes aim at longstanding federal agencies, like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. The agency is a component of the Commerce Department and the policy guide calls for it to be downsized. 

NOAA's six offices, including the National Weather Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, "form a colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity," the guide states. 

The Department of Homeland Security, established in 2002, should be dismantled and its agencies either combined with others, or moved under the purview of other departments altogether, the policy book states. For example, immigration-related entities from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Health and Human Services should form a standalone, Cabinet-level border and immigration agency staffed by more than 100,000 employees, according to the agenda.

The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen on a law enforcement vehicle in Washington on March 7, 2017.

If the policy recommendations are implemented, another federal agency that could come under the knife by the next administration, with action from Congress, is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agenda seeks to bring a push by conservatives to target diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiatives in higher education to the executive branch by wiping away a slew of DEI-related positions, policies and programs and calling for the elimination of funding for partners that promote DEI practices.

It states that U.S. Agency for International Development staff and grantees that "engage in ideological agitation on behalf of the DEI agenda" should be terminated. At the Treasury Department, the guide says the next administration should "treat the participation in any critical race theory or DEI initiative without objecting on constitutional or moral grounds, as per se grounds for termination of employment."

The Project 2025 policy book also takes aim at more innocuous functions of government. It calls for the next presidential administration to eliminate or reform the dietary guidelines that have been published by the Department of Agriculture for more than 40 years, which the authors claim have been "infiltrated" by issues like climate change and sustainability.

Immigration

Trump made immigration a cornerstone of his last two presidential runs and has continued to hammer the issue during his 2024 campaign. Project 2025's agenda not only recommends finishing the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but urges the next administration to "take a creative and aggressive approach" to responding to drug cartels at the border. This approach includes using active-duty military personnel and the National Guard to help with arrest operations along the southern border.

A memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that prohibits enforcement actions from taking place at "sensitive" places like schools, playgrounds and churches should be rolled back, the policy guide states. 

When the Homeland Security secretary determines there is an "actual or anticipated mass migration of aliens" that presents "urgent circumstances" warranting a federal response, the agenda says the secretary can make rules and regulations, including through their expulsion, for as long as necessary. These rules, the guide states, aren't subject to the Administration Procedure Act, which governs the agency rule-making process.

What do Trump and his advisers say about Project 2025?

In a post to his social media platform on July 5, Trump wrote , "I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."

Trump's pushback to the initiative came after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in a podcast interview that the nation is "in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be."

The former president continued to disavow the initiative this week, writing in another social media post  that he knows nothing about Project 2025.

"I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it," Trump wrote. "The Radical Left Democrats are having a field day, however, trying to hook me into whatever policies are stated or said. It is pure disinformation on their part. By now, after all of these years, everyone knows where I stand on EVERYTHING!"

While the former president said he doesn't know who is in charge of the initiative, the project's director, Dans, and associate director, Chretien, were high-ranking officials in his administration. Additionally, Ben Carson, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Trump; John Ratcliffe, former director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration; and Peter Navarro, who served as a top trade adviser to Trump in the White House, are listed as either authors or contributors to the policy agenda.

Still, even before Roberts' comments during "The War Room" podcast — typically hosted by conservative commentator Steve Bannon, who reported to federal prison to begin serving a four-month sentence last week — Trump's top campaign advisers have stressed that Project 2025 has no official ties to his reelection bid.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to the Trump campaign, said in a November statement that 2024 policy announcements will be made by Trump or his campaign team.

"Any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions," they said.

While the efforts by outside organizations are "appreciated," Wiles and LaCivita said, "none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign."

In response to Trump's post last week, Project 2025 reiterated that it was separate from the Trump campaign.

"As we've been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign. We are a coalition of more than 110 conservative groups advocating policy & personnel recommendations for the next conservative president. But it is ultimately up to that president, who we believe will be President Trump, to decide which recommendations to implement," a statement on the project's X account said.

The initiative has also pushed back on Democrats' claims about its policy proposals and accused them of lying about what the agenda contains.

What do Democrats say?

Despite their attempts to keep some distance from Project 2025, Democrats continue to connect Trump with the transition effort. The Biden-Harris campaign frequently posts about the project on X, tying it to a second Trump term.

Mr. Biden himself accused his Republican opponent of lying about his connections to the Project 2025 agenda, saying in a statement that the agenda was written for Trump and "should scare every single American." He claimed on his campaign social media account  Wednesday that Project 2025 "will destroy America."

Congressional Democrats have also begun pivoting to Project 2025 when asked in interviews about Mr. Biden's fitness for a second term following his lackluster showing at the June 27 debate, the first in which he went head-to-head with Trump.

"Trump is all about Project 2025," Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman told CNN on Monday. "I mean, that's what we really should be voting on right now. It's like, do we want the kind of president that is all about Project '25?"

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, one of Mr. Biden's closest allies on Capitol Hill, told reporters Monday that the agenda for the next Republican president was the sole topic he would talk about.

"Project 2025, that's my only concern," he said. "I don't want you or my granddaughter to live under that government."

In a statement reiterating her support for Mr. Biden, Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida called Project 2025 "MAGA Republicans' draconian 920-page plan to end U.S. democracy, give handouts to the wealthy and strip Americans of their freedoms."

What are Republicans saying about Project 2025?

Two GOP senators under consideration to serve as Trump's running mate sought to put space between the White House hopeful and Project 2025, casting it as merely the product of a think tank that puts forth ideas.

"It's the work of a think tank, of a center-right think tank, and that's what think tanks do," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

He said Trump's message to voters focuses on "restoring common sense, working-class values, and making our decisions on the basis of that."

Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance raised a similar sentiment in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," saying organizations will have good ideas and bad ideas.

"It's a 900-page document," he said Sunday. "I guarantee there are things that Trump likes and dislikes about that 900-page document. But he is the person who will determine the agenda of the next administration."

Jaala Brown contributed to this report.

Melissa Quinn is a politics reporter for CBSNews.com. She has written for outlets including the Washington Examiner, Daily Signal and Alexandria Times. Melissa covers U.S. politics, with a focus on the Supreme Court and federal courts.

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COMMENTS

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

    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.

  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. 27 Creative Writing Examples

    Read through the following examples to get ideas for your own writing. Make a note of anything that stands out for you. 1. Novels and Novellas. Inspiring novel-writing examples can come from the first paragraph of a well-loved novel (or novella), from the description on the back cover, or from anywhere in the story.

  4. 21 Top Examples of Creative Writing

    An example of creative writing, a novella is essentially the love child of a short story and a novel. Although the novella does feature a plot, the plot is typically less complicated compared to that of a novel. Usually novellas are about 50 pages. 21. Genre Writing. Another type of writing that fiction writers can do is genre writing.

  5. Creative Writing Examples: Lessons in Writing Creative Fiction

    Creative writing can be immensely rewarding both personally and professionally. Good writers who can express their ideas creatively are always in demand, no matter where you live. Writing creatively, however, can take years of practice, not to mention a fair bit of talent. Fortunately, with courses like this novel writing workshop, you can easily learn […]

  6. Creative Writing Examples (20 Types for You to Try)

    Authors will often use creative storytelling or creative writing skills to tell engaging, interesting stories, or to convey information in an interesting manner. The Creative Pen by Joanna Penn. The Artist's Road by Patrick Ross. terribleminds by Chuck Wendig.

  7. 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.

  8. How to Start Writing Fiction: The 6 Core Elements

    Let the conflict unfold naturally in the story, but start with the story's impetus, then go from there. 2. Fiction Writing Tip: Creating Characters. Think far back to 9th grade English, and you might remember the basic types of story conflicts: man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. self.

  9. Forms of Creative Writing

    Examples of Each Forms of Creative Writing. Creative writing examples are often the best way to master this art. Here you go with some examples. ... Example of Flash Fiction "The door creaked open, showing a room that was barely lit. The walls had old and worn-out tapestries hanging on them. There was a candle that was flickering on an old ...

  10. 11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

    11+ creative writing questions from real papers—non-fiction prompts. Write a thank you letter for a present you didn't want. You are about to interview someone for a job. Write a list of questions you would like to ask the applicant. Write a letter to complain about the uniform at your school.

  11. 11 Creative Writing Techniques: Explanation + Examples

    6. Show don't tell. To let readers experience your story, show don't tell. Showing means using sensory details and describing actions to direct a mental movie in your reader's mind. Get inspired by these examples of "show, don't tell" …. Show don't tell examples >>. 7. Repetition in writing.

  12. Fiction Writing Basics

    The short story, as in all literary forms, including poetry and creative nonfiction, depends on the parts of the poem or story or essay making some kind of sense as a whole. The best example in fiction is character. The various aspects of a character should add up to some kind of meaningful, larger understanding of the character.

  13. 6 Elements of Good Fiction Writing

    4. Science fiction: Science fiction is a genre of fiction that often depicts stories set against the backdrop of futuristic technology and dystopian societies. 5. Children's fiction: Children's literature is a genre of fiction that can range from books for toddlers to full length young adult novels. 6.

  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. Introduction to Creative Writing

    Writing in first-person point of view brings the readers closer to the story. They can read it as if they are the character because personal pronouns like I, me, my, we, us, and our are used. Third-person point of view means that the narrator is not in the story. The third-person narrator is not a character.

  16. Types of Creative Writing

    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 ...

  17. The most recommended creative writing books

    For example, she explores concepts such as first sentences and their impact on the narrative. Prose suggests that "close reading" is the key to understanding and learning about literature, for the reader and writer. ... This comprehensive guide to writing creative fiction collects the lectures of the Pulitzer Prize winning author, Robert ...

  18. 11 Examples of Fight Scenes

    Read all eleven fights and then read my commentary afterwards on what writers can learn from these examples. Also, if you want to read my extended post on how to write a fight scene, look at my 21 Rules for Writing a Fight Scene post. And happy fight writing! 1. Sword Fight. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

  19. 151 Fictional Story Ideas to Ignite Your Creative Spark

    Merging different genres, like science fiction and romance. Pondering mysteries of ancient societies or imagining futuristic worlds. What are some examples of creative writing prompts? A young woman discovers she has magical powers on her 21st birthday. In a sci-fi world, a college student stumbles upon an ancient device that can control time.

  20. Creative Nonfiction: How to Spin Facts into Narrative Gold

    Creative nonfiction is a genre of creative writing that approaches factual information in a literary way. This type of writing applies techniques drawn from literary fiction and poetry to material that might be at home in a magazine or textbook, combining the craftsmanship of a novel with the rigor of journalism.

  21. 16 Writing Tips for Fiction Writers

    Writing a fictional story is an adventurous undertaking that allows your imagination to run wild as you create characters and build worlds. While there is no definitive list of rules you should follow for fiction writing, there are a number of widely-used techniques to help you start writing, write better, and craft a great story.

  22. 10 Examples of Creative Nonfiction & How to Write It

    3. World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. If you're looking for examples of creative nonfiction nature writing, no one does it quite like Aimee Nezhukumatathil. World of Wonders is a beautiful series of essays that poetically depicts the varied natural landscapes she enjoyed over the years. 4.

  23. Difference Between Creative Writing and Fiction Writing

    Fiction can be defined as any story that is created in the imagination. Since they are created in imagination, they are not real stories. Therefore, fiction writing refers to writing stories using your imagination. Fiction is a subcategory of creative writing. Novels, novellas, short stories, and dramas are some examples of fiction writing.

  24. What is Project 2025? What to know about the conservative blueprint for

    Here is what to know about Project 2025: What is Project 2025? Project 2025 is a proposed presidential transition project that is composed of four pillars: a policy guide for the next presidential ...

  25. Pron vs Prompt: Can Large Language Models already Challenge a World

    fiction writers in autonomous creative text writing. In this work, we make the first attempt (known to us) to conduct a formal contest of autonomous creative writing between two top writers: GPT-4 Turbo 1 (gpt-4-0125-preview, the best current LLM at the time of conducting this