How to Write Creatively
by Chris Angelopoulos
Creative writing is a very large umbrella that covers a wide variety of literature from poems, to true stories, to stories that are only true in your mind. It is a form of communication that allows the artist to present an entire universe that readers inhabit for the duration of the story. As with many writing endeavors, the most important step with creative writing is to just begin.
Overcoming the inertia of inaction is the first step. Often the best ideas are not readily available during an official writing session but come and go throughout the day. One way to overcome this dilemma is to always keep a notepad handy. Speare offers a way to use your smartphone to collect good ideas throughout the day by speaking or writing them into the palette.
Define the Focus
Finding the central theme of the story is critical for organizing writing efforts and communicating with readers. The visceral impact of the story often depends on whether or not readers can discern which characters, moments, moral decisions and other story aspects are important.
Who Is Reading
Another critical element of storytelling is connecting with readers. Different target audiences will have different interests and concerns. Age, life experiences, reading ability, cultural background, interests, and other factors can greatly influence how a story is perceived. The ability to empathize, which greatly aids in the process of storytelling, is essential for connecting with readers.
Who Is Speaking
Every story must have a way for the reader to connect to it. First person accounts make it clear that the writer is telling the story from a personal perspective. The writer is saying, “This is the way I experienced a particular event.” A classic style is to write in third person about others and the events affecting them. It would read more like “The following events happened to our very relatable characters.” This is the perspective of most movies as well. It’s easy for the reader to watch events unfold and characters interact while still being involved in the happenings of the tale. It is also possible to only follow one character while still using the third person observer perspective.
A good story has a way of capturing a reader’s attention from the very start to the last page. It is a strong opening thesis that makes all of this possible. Early reader investment in storylines, characters, and outcomes can make all the difference in whether or not a book stays on the shelf or becomes a flurry of turning pages.
The Sections of Success
The opening hook in the set-up is the first component of a good story. After the reader is involved enough to continue, there should be a good payoff for doing so. The apex of the story is the one idea or event that is most important. It is the fight scene, the showdown, the culmination of everything to that point. Once this stage has been fully explored, the final step is to complete the idea that the story is based on and satisfy the reader by wrapping up unsolved business. Some stories do not follow this pattern closely, but at the very least it is a good starting point.
Paint a Picture
Writing is much like painting. It all starts with an idea, takes form with sketches and drafts, and finally becomes a completed piece of art. Any writer should endeavor to use evocative language to paint a picture of the universe they are asking readers to live in. Speare helps writers create stories by offering tools that support the artistic workflow. A writer can start with a palette of ideas, add and remove them from the canvas as it makes sense, and move them around until the order matches the story being conveyed. Take a step back, and the work is complete.
Creative writing can be a rewarding yet difficult process. Coming up with good ideas, choosing a focus, and painting a scene with words are all intensive tasks. However, with the right tools, it is possible to remove some of the barriers to the creative process. All you have to do is start.