There are many different types of creative writing and the different types change rapidly. Look at the idea of flash fiction. This is a relatively new idea.  Flash fiction is the idea of a very short story. There is no universal agreement of how short, but the word length ranges from 300 words to 1000 words. 

Poetry – There are many different types of poetry, from ballads to rhyming couplets to free verse.  Poets will develop their own style and way of writing their poems. They may be about nature or situations or events or love.  The way that we write poetry has evolved and changed over time. How poets write and what the public wants to read has obviously changed. A poet, like a novel writer, will develop their own style of writing poetry.

Essays – In the modern world, we are used to thinking of essays as something that we write at school.  But essays have been a form of creative writing. An essay is a piece of writing from the author’s point of view, such as their thoughts on politics, literary criticism and so on.  Essays are usually written in prose, but occasionally can be in verse. Examples of famous essays include –

  • An Essay on Criticism – Alexander Pope
  • An Essay on Man – Alexander Pope
  • An Essay on the Principle of Population – Thomas Malthus
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding – John Locke

News Items – A news item is obviously not fiction, but the way that the story is put together involves creativity. How it is phrased, organised and so on.  Next time you listen to the news, think about how they present the story. Look at the little ticker tape at the bottom of the TV screen – look at how they summarise a story. This is creative writing, based on the facts of the story, but still creative.  Think about headlines in a newspaper. These present the story in a certain way.

News is obviously factual, but it can also be creative and biased. It can also be sensationalised by some writers. A news story can be biased depending on who is reporting the story. This is the same in any “factual” story. Think about history – history is written by the person who has told or written it – his-story.  The news is the same. So the news is created depending on the bias of the writer(s) and how they wish to present the news.

There are also news programmes, blogs, magazine articles and so on, which can also present the news, but talk about it from a person’s point of view.  Robert Peston is a British journalist who has become famous for his writing about the financial services industry.  He is also a public speaker and writes blogs and articles about his own opinions of different stories.

For example, the new budget may appear on the news, but a journalist may write about THEIR opinion of the new budget, or present it in a certain biased way. For example, “NEW TAX BAD FOR THE MIDDLE CLASSES”. 

Spin Doctors – A spin doctor is spokesperson who gives a favourable version of events to the media or general public. Spin doctors are usually used by political parties.  To be able to put a positive spin on a negative situation can require a great deal of creativity.

Screenplays and Stage Plays – Screen plays are plays written to appear on the screen – TV or cinema.  Stage plays are obviously plays written to appear on the stage.  Stage plays will be written in slightly different ways to screen plays, but they can obviously overlap. For example, a stage play can become a film, such as Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men etc. Or the other way around screen plays can become stage plays eg.The Full Monty was a film first and has now become a stage play.

Obviously stage plays and screenplays  can also come from other forms of creating writing. For example, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was a book originally.  Poems can be made into plays as well. For example, Beowulf has been made into a film.

Novels – Novels are one of the most popular forms of creative writing.  Novel writers seem to be the most well known writers and may present as the greatest role model to new writers.  Obviously poets, such as John Betjemen or stage play writers, such as Shakespeare, are well known, but in recent times, the most famous writers have been novel writers, such as J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Charlene Harris, Robert Ludlum and so on.  Novels can basically be about any topic, but there are obviously fashions within novels, different genre that sell at certain times, then not at others. So the commercial aspects of writing do influence what actually sells.  With recent changes in self-publishing, eBooks and the internet, more and more authors are successfully self publishing. In some cases, they may sell books themselves. In other cases, this can result in an author obtaining a publishing deal after self publishing.  A novel can be shorter or longer.

Novella – Shorter novels are called novellas. They do not necessarily sell as well as novels, but again, this can be due to what is in “fashion” at a particular time. The amount of words considered to make a book a novella vary, but it is usually accepted to be between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Short Stories – Short stories are obviously even shorter. They usually appear in an anthology of an author’s work or an anthology of a group of authors’ works.  A short story is usually considered to be under 7,500 words. And as we saw earlier with the example of flash fiction, they can be a lot shorter.

Blogs – Blogs is a shortened form of weblogs. Anyone can have a blog online if they have access to a computer and the internet.  Blogs can be stories, factual, diaries and so on. There are many blogs out there. Some authors will keep blogs to talk about how they feel, to publicise their own stories and so on.  Have a look at blogs that are available. 

All of this is creative writing. This is obviously only a brief summary and there are many different types of creative writing. As a writer, you may find that you are interested in writing in various different formats. For example, you may write news articles and novels or poems and novellas, blogs and short stories. It really depends on you and finding out what suits you and your form of writing.

The Personality of the Creative Writer

So does the creative writer have a certain sort of personality? Is there a “type” of person who becomes a writer? 

We may often think that creative writers are introverts, some may be, but then we see other writers who are flamboyant and outgoing.  So we could argue that as with everything else in life – writers are all different. But there are some personality traits that writers may tend to possess.

Writers are obviously creative people.  So let’s look at some personality traits that creative writers may display.

A creative person will usually have a wide range of potential energy.  They may work for hours on end, then feel exhausted. They can focus their energy onto their writing project with great enthusiasm. But can also lose interest quickly.  We often have stereotypical images of the writer, writing away into the night at the exclusion of anything else. But then there are other authors who have the energy in a different way, they discipline themselves and work regularly at regular times. We also have to consider that often authors are working and writing at the same time. Eventually if they are successful, or they are lucky that they do not have to work, they may be able to write when they wish.  So if they are working and writing, energy is required to keep on with that process. We will never know how many writers are out there who just do not have the time or energy to put their master piece down on paper. 

Self Discipline
To be able to write and create, self discipline is required. To be able to get up at 5am on a cold winter’s day to write a story. Or to write late into the night when you are tired. Or to not give up on your writing after the 100th rejection. All require large amounts of self discipline.

Intelligence is usually high in creative people. They use that intelligence to create and make contributions. 

Introversion and Extroversion
As we said above, there is often a stereotype that writers are introverted, but this is not always the case.  Some writers may be extroverts, enjoying crowds and adulation. Other writers may not.  Psychologists generally view introversion as stable traits, a person is usually one or the other, but in creative people, this is not always the case. Some creative people may be introverted in some areas, but extroverted in others.  Interesting then that E.L. Doctorow says that “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

Great writing requires imagination. Writers can help us to see beyond ourselves, to think about things in a new way.  A non-fiction writer will still use their imagination on how to write that story, how to present the facts, how to make it interesting and entertaining. A fiction writer may use their imagination to take us into a new world.

Writers can have pride in their work, but they may also be humble. A great writer may doubt  his/her own abilities

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  Sylvia Plath

Rebelliousness and Conformity
Creative people can be both conformist and rebellious, traditional and extraordinary.  They may try to stretch boundaries to change the world. They make take risks in their work, but they may also conform to what is expected on them.

Being Open
Being open to new ideas, to new thoughts and new ways of thinking is another important trait in a writer. That overheard sentence can send a writer off into a new world or story.

The passion to write is also something of great importance to writers.  Self-discipline is important, but so is that passion to create, to share their work.