You’re in college, and the admissions officers at your dream school have just finished reading your creative writing essay. They loved your unique voice and originality, but they also want to see that you can follow formal writing conventions. While you’re relieved that they didn’t toss your application in the trash, you’re also a bit deflated. You’re feeling pressured to write something that has never been written before. You want to write what you want to write, and not what some professor or professor’s course might recommend. So how do you write the perfect essay for creative writing? Let’s look at some of the basics.
Know Your Audience
An expert reader for a creative writing class will generally identify two types of essays: personal essays and narrative essays. A narrative essay is, as the name suggests, a story that you’re telling about yourself, usually involving a series of events that led you to that point. An example of a narrative essay is the one you’ll write for your creative writing course. You’ll start by simply describing your daily routine, including what you eat for breakfast, what classes you have, and what your favorite books and bands are. As the story develops, you’ll briefly describe the sequence of events that led to the climax, which will then serve as a transition to the next section. The goal of this type of essay is to entertain your reader with an original story, while still adhering to the formal conventions of writing. A narrative essay will generally follow a specific formula, so you can clearly define the structure before you begin writing.
Your professor might suggest that you write about a topic that you’re passionate about, because the essay will be a reflection of your interests and opinions. But while your interests and opinions are important, your creative writing essay will also need to be engaging and original. So while it’s no secret that you have an interest in cats, you might not want to write about them in your essay. Instead, you could write about the prejudice that many people have against cats, or you could even write a parody about cats and how they’re viewed in the media. Your essay will be much more effective if you put your own spin on everyday topics, rather than rehashing what others have said or done. Of course, some of your classmates will also benefit from your unique take on things, so don’t be afraid to share your essays with others. Writing about an interesting subject you’re passionate about, while still following the rules, is what makes your essay stand out.
Make It Short
Your professor will also likely ask you to write a short essay, as part of your application. A short essay is simply an essay that’s shorter than the usual 500 words. This isn’t a strict word-count, but it is a guideline that will help you write a more effective essay. Sometimes, a short essay will accompany a long story or article, in order to give the reader a short break after reading a long piece of content. When you write a short essay, you need to keep the same general idea in mind as you would for any other essay: engage the reader and make your points clearly. But since short essays are often accompanied by longer ones, you also need to make sure that the longer piece doesn’t overwhelm the reader. This means that you need to develop a bit of a framework for your essay, so that the long story doesn’t end up being the star of the show. Your goal is to make your reader interested in your topic, while still keeping the integrity of the essay form. So while you want to go over all of the interesting facts, make sure that your points are made clearly.
Style Is Everything
As with any type of writing, your essay will need to follow a specific format in order to be effective. The most basic element of any essay, particularly one that’s creative, is to have some type of structure. A structure can help you organize your ideas, and it can also help your essay flow smoothly and logically from point to point. As a general rule, start each new section with a new paragraph and end each one with a new paragraph. This will make it much easier for your reader to follow the flow of your ideas, and will help them stay engaged in what you’re writing. It also helps the reader understand your main points, by clearly defining each section and keeping the continuity of your argument. Now, the actual content of your paragraphs doesn’t necessarily need to change for each new section. Instead, it’s a good idea to simply develop and elaborate on one main idea or point, while incorporating some new information along with the old. If your professor has a specific style for their essays, like Richard Simmons (yes, that Richard Simmons) then you need to follow it. Fortunately, most professors will be good enough to let you write your own essay, but they will hold you accountable for the formal aspects, like spelling and grammar. This is why you want to be absolutely sure that you’re producing a flawless piece, before you turn it in.
Focus On One Main Idea
While you may have several ideas that you want to share in your essay, you should focus on one main point. Why? Because having multiple ideas jumbled together will make your essay quite difficult to follow, and it also presents a challenge when it comes to editing. If you have one main idea that you’re trying to get across in your essay, then you need to make sure that all of your supporting details lead up to that point. Make sure that each section builds on the previous one, and provide a clear path toward the conclusion. Remember, a conclusion will usually consist of one or two sentences that summarize what you’ve just read. The key is to maintain a clear flow of ideas and information, without becoming overly verbose or wordy. Of course, you want to use your words efficiently and effectively, but you also want to avoid going over the top. The perfect creative writing essay will have one main idea, supported by a series of clearly defined subsections. Most importantly, make sure that what you write is honest and has an authentic voice.
An excellent way to make your essay interesting and original is to incorporate some research. Research is simply something that you’ve read or encountered in the course of your life. Even if you’ve never done any research, you still have access to an infinite number of bits of information, thanks to the internet. For example, if you want to write about modern art, then you could look at artists like Warhol, or you could even look at art historians or curators online, who will be able to give you a clearer picture of what you’re talking about. Remember, your research doesn’t necessarily need to be academic: it could be anything that you read, or anything that was said or done by someone that you interviewed. Including research in your essay will give it a sense of authenticity that comes from depth, rather than simply having a bunch of keywords thrown in there.
If you’re writing about an interesting topic, you’ll most likely be expected to write a bit about the history and development of that topic. But while this is certainly relevant to your essay, it doesn’t mean that you have to rehash everything that’s already been said about the topic. Instead, you could use your knowledge of the subject to provide specific details about the history of the genre, or about a particular artist that you’re studying. Incorporating details like this will provide a deeper understanding of the topic, as well as give your essay a more personal touch. It’s also a great idea to provide specific examples of how the genre or topic has developed, or been used in different situations. For instance, if you’re writing about modern art, then you could talk about how artists used new media to their advantage, or you could even cite one or two specific pieces of art and explain why they’re unique and special.
While numbers don’t always have to be used in an academic context, they can certainly help to make your essay sound more professional. For example, if you want to write about fashion, the average person will simply be able to relate to the numbers that you throw in there. After all, we all wear clothes, and we all care about what other people think about us, particularly when it comes to our outfits. So if you’re writing about fashion, then you can almost certainly use numbers to back up your claims. Have you ever seen an overwrought fashion essay that didn’t include a few numbers in there somewhere?
As you can see, there are several basic elements that you need to keep in mind, as you write your creative writing essay. Formalizing these elements will help you write an essay that is both original and effective. Make sure to take your time, and develop a clear plan before you begin writing. If you follow these guidelines, then you’ll be able to write an effective and interesting creative writing essay that will leave your professor (and perhaps even yourself) feeling proud.