Every piece of creative writing has four essential ingredients:
- Literary Form
Let’s examine how you can use them.
Content: Content is the building block of any creative writing. It is the idea around which your creative work revolves. To be a successful creative writer, you should base your content on experience. Observe the nuances of life around you. Absorb the events happening around you. Internalize them and then write them down in your own words as a story or a poem. Even a complete work of fiction must draw from real life. Otherwise, it will lack depth and credibility.
Literary Form: A creative writing work can come wrapped in different literary forms—novels, short stories, flash fiction, and poems. You will generally decide the literary form of your work at the same time that you decide the idea or content of the work. Sometimes, you may be in a tizzy over an idea—should I write this as a short story? Should I turn it into a poem? In such cases, it may help to write a small section (a paragraph or a verse) in both forms and then make your decision.
Structure: The structure of a creative writing work decides its flow—how should the story open, what should be the sequence of events in the story, what should happen in the end. Most successful creative writers plan out the structure of their stories on paper before they start writing. At the least, you must plan out the story in your head before you sit down to write.
As defined by Aristotle, the traditional structure for any creative writing work is Beginning-Middle-End. However, talented writers can often write in such a way that beginning, middle, and end are not necessarily in chronological sequence. Pick up a typical Sidney Sheldon novel and you’ll find the storyline going back and forth between past and present before racing on to a dramatic conclusion.
Style: Each creative writer has a unique style that defines her writing. Style is the way in which a writer expresses her thoughts and feelings—the word she uses, the tone of writing she adopts. As a beginner, you may feel that you really don’t have a style of writing yet. Don’t worry. Many authors develop their trademark style of creative writing over a period of time, after writing several works.
That’s it. Just ensure that you add the above four essential ingredients of creative writing, and you are on your way to becoming a successful creative writer!