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How to Format a Creative Writing Paper

A creative writing paper is quite different from any other academic paper you might write. For one thing, it is generally less formal, and you will be asked to tailor your writing to fit the conventions of a particular genre. For another, many of the topics you will explore are completely fictional, so you will need to choose your words carefully to ensure that the paper seems as realistic as possible.

Know What To Include

Since you are writing a creative writing paper, you will need to consider what exactly you should include. Naturally, you want to include everything you have written, but you also want to make sure you have covered all the necessary aspects of the assignment. Therefore, it is a good idea to look back over your paper several times, while adjusting and refining it. When you have arrived at a stable version of the paper, you can then go ahead and show it to your teacher. Knowing what to include will make your paper stand out among the rest, and ensure your professor does not re-read the same old material. The more you include, the greater the chance your professor will re-read it.

Make Smart Use Of Citing

Another important point to make is regarding citations. A good review should contain enough relevant information for the reader to understand and grasp the concepts and ideas you are trying to convey. However, excessive quoting can easily turn your paper into a monster of a paper, filled with a lot of unnecessary information. When selecting quotations, make sure you keep in mind the style and tone of your paper, and that you are using the right source. You should also avoid directly quoting poems or songs; instead, paraphrase or summarize what they are saying.

Plan Your Paper

When you are writing a creative writing paper, it is imperative you plan out the layout of your paper, in order to ensure everything flows smoothly and that the paper looks presentable. You should not just throw together a few fragments of prose, and call it a paper. Instead, you should take the time to plan and arrange your ideas, so that they make sense and flow nicely as a whole. Your teacher will not have the time to spare, if you have not made the effort to plan your paper, and the result will be a sloppy and unstructured mess.

Proofread, And Proofread Again

Once you have finished writing, you will need to go through the paper, and edit it, making sure the grammar, spelling and structure are all correct. This is especially important since you are editing your own work, so you will need to make sure all the guidelines and rules of editing are followed to the letter. When you are editing, it is also a good idea to look for any errors in logic or information, and correct them as soon as you notice them. Going through your paper, and finding every typo, mistake and flaw, will make you appreciate the paper more, as you are expanding on your own creations. When you have made all the necessary adjustments, you should look for any stray thoughts or ideas you had while writing, and either integrate them into the main plot or subplot, or eliminate them completely. It is also a good idea to read your paper aloud, and make sure each word, and sentence, sounds correct and natural. When you have finished reading, you can then go back and edit, adjusting your wording, as needed.

Make It Digital

If you are writing on a computer, you are in luck, as many word processing programs have a built-in spell checker, and the process of editing grammar, spelling and layout are made much easier. Nevertheless, even without digital assistance, you can still format your paper the old fashioned way, using a typewriter or a hand-held printer. If you decide to go this route, make sure you type your paper on a plain, boring sheet of paper, so that the ink does not mix with the elements on the page, causing chaos. Once you have finished editing your paper, you should then format it so that it looks good on a computer screen, as well as the printed page.

Keep In Touch

As with any long-term assignment, whether it is academic or otherwise, it is a good idea to stay in touch with your professor, and let them know what you are up to. This may mean sending them an email from time to time, or arranging a meeting, to discuss the progress of your paper. Since creative writing is subjective, and open to interpretation, this is something you will need to discuss with your professor, in order to make sure they understand exactly what you are going for, and approve of the final product. Without their oversight, it is easy for things to go wrong, and you to finish up with an unsatisfactory paper, that does not live up to your potential. Keeping in touch with your professor, and showing them periodic progress, will make them feel as if they are a part of the process, and invested in your success. This, in turn, will make you much more likely to achieve a good grade on the paper, and show these individuals you have what it takes to be a successful writer. Your professor’s opinion matters a great deal, so make sure you get everything right, and do not let them down.