Creative writing is nothing more than putting words on a blank page – which someone else wants to read. Of course it is that last part that is the hard part and we have all had the experience of being forced to read excruciating writing because it contained information we needed to extract, or because we were obliged to say something about it for a school report or other learning exercise. So writers need to develop some basic writing skills to make sure they keep their audience reading or listening right to the end – and leaving happy.
Some people divide writing into creative and technical styles, with creative writing being designed to entertain and technical writing to inform. While that division is true enough, it hides that fact that in the end it is all writing. You can’t inform someone of something if the writing is so bad the reader cannot bring themselves to read it through. No matter what the goal of your writing, it all has to be created in your mind and written down, so it is all creative writing in the end. So let’s look at what writing skills and creative writing techniques are used by writers to produce writing that a reader or listener will enjoy.
At the top of the list has to be the basics of language. Using correct grammar and spelling for your audience is essential. That doesn’t mean always writing in the same way however. Writers first need to decide if they be using American or British English. American readers become confused when confronted with British spelling or expressions and British readers just get upset by what they see as the ‘Americanisation’ (notice that ‘s’) of their language. So consider your audience and set your proofing language accordingly!
Are you writing a formal or informal piece? The first of our creative writing tips is to use sentence-structures and word-choices that suit the purpose of your writing. Nowhere is this more important than in script writing. The way we speak is not the way we write, so for script writing, think how it is going to sound when spoken. Speak the words and see if they sound like natural speech, or just someone reading out loud.
Capturing the spoken word in fiction is even harder and one of the writing skills writers should develop is listening. How do people really speak? What kinds of sentences do they use and how do they change depending on their audience? Good script writing should capture the nature flow of speech, even if it means using repetition or hesitations. This is the way people often naturally speak.
A special kind of script writing is the preparation of notes for an impromptu presentation – these are known as writing prompts. Some speakers just like to see a summary of their key points, while others like full sentences they can use, or change to suit the moment. The second of our creative writing tips is to keep your sentences short and simple when writing prompts, since the user needs to be able to grasp the point in a quick glance.
Now for the last of our creative writing tips – always choose language that is appropriate to your audience. Nothing stops reading or listening faster than a lot of big words the audience doesn’t understand. Experts have a tendency to absorb their specialized vocabulary and abbreviations so well they then assume everyone knows what they are talking about. Use specialized words sparingly, if at all, and always be sure to give a brief explanation or use them in a way that shows their meaning. You shouldn’t leave your audience discombobulated – wait a minute, what was that?
Watch the video for a complete overview of “Improving your Creative Writing Skills”.
Please leave me a comment below letting me know of any writing tips that you use which you find the most helpful.