In creative writing, there is a wide variety of techniques which can be used to draft a novel, short story, or screenplay. Some are more commonly used than others, but they all have their unique perks which make them special in their own right.
The Rise Of The Free Writer
In the past, in order to publish a creative work, you needed to have a lot of money and connections. Today, thanks to platforms like WordPress and Blogger, anyone with a good imagination can publish a blog. Furthermore, thanks to the rise of social media, anyone can become a published author with a large audience simply by creating the right content and cultivating a following.
What this means is that anyone with a creative mind can now achieve their dreams of writing a book without needing to worry about financial support or securing a publisher. Although this can be both exhilarating and inspiring, it comes with some serious responsibilities. If you’re looking for a way to write your book, it’s important to consider what you should and should not do. Here are some of the top-most drafting techniques to keep in mind:
The 5-Chapter Rule
One of the most common and effective creative writing techniques is known as the 5-Chapter Rule. This technique was originally used by F Scott Fitzgerald to draft The Great Gatsby. The idea is to start with a short story or novel and divide it into 5 different chapters. Then, you can apply this rule to each of the chapters and end up with a completed work of fiction (or non-fiction).
This technique has many advantages. First of all, it helps you to keep the narrative moving forward. If you follow this guideline and apply it to each of your chapters, they will largely build on each other, creating a cohesive unit which will feel natural and seamless to the reader. Furthermore, applying this technique will help you to establish suspense and tension, especially in the beginning of a chapter where you would typically open up with a big action scene. In the next section, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this technique in more detail.
Plotting Is The Key To Great Drafting
If you’re looking to write the next Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games, you’re going to need a plot. What is plotting, you ask? Simply put, plotting is the process of creating a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Plotting allows you to organize your material, know where you’re going, and make the most out of your available time.
Plotting is essential in any form of writing, but it’s particularly important in creative writing. In this case, you’re not just telling a story, you’re crafting one which you hope will entertain and enlighten your readers. Having a clear plot will also make it much easier to follow along and understand what’s going on, especially if you get distracted by all the sub-plots which unfold and interweave throughout the story. Remember: plots and sub-plots are not necessarily versus one another. Many dramas and romances have extremely intricate plotlines which contain plenty of sub-plots. Just remember that the more you have, the more you’ll need. You don’t want to run out of gas just when you need to be going the fastest.
Another important factor to consider when writing is your META-information. As you’re editing and re-writing your work, it’s important to keep track of the changes you’ve made. You can do this via a metadata wrapper which you can add around the text of your document. Doing this can help you to keep track of what’s changed and who’s changed it, what versions were previously published, licensing information, and much more.
This information is often presented in a table or list which follows the meta-data format of a header, a sentence, and a metadata footnote. For example, if you’re using Word 2016, you could create a table which contains the following:
- Table of Contents
- Meta-data (or Author’s notes)
- Meta-data (or Endnotes)
Then, to create a footnote which accompanies that meta-data, you would simply type the following:
- (This is the footnote)
As you can see, this is quite easy to do and it saves you a great deal of effort down the line. If you use a template, this process will be even easier and faster. Also, remember: you should use a different color for the footnotes so they’re clearly distinguishable from the text. This is a good practice which will make your work much more accessible visually.
Make It Exciting
Aside from a good plot, effective creative writing hinges on good structure and interesting characters. To make your story exciting, you need to pull in at least two of these elements. First, you need a good plot. Then, you need to add interesting characters to it. You don’t want to use stock characters, you want to use real people with a storyteller’s eye. Furthermore, you can use this technique to your advantage by using secondary characters to reveal more about the main ones. For example, in The Great Gatsby, the supporting characters Tom and Daisy are used to reveal more about Jay Gatsby, the main character. This technique is called character development and it can help you to make your work more engaging.
Use All The Appropriate Metaphors
Another effective writing technique is to use all the appropriate metaphors. Metaphors allow you to compare two things which are not necessarily related, but which you, as a writer, know are similar. The most effective metaphors will be those which are relevant to the story and the character. For example, if your main character is very picky about food and a certain dish keeps coming up in his stories, you can compare this to a taste for blood. This is an effective metaphor because the taste for blood is associated with hunger (which your character presumably would feel if he keeps repeating the dish).
Your use of appropriate metaphors will allow the reader to understand your writing more easily and will make your work more engaging. This is why the metaphors and similes you choose should be relevant to the story and characters. If you see yourself as a bit of a foodie, you can talk about the dishes your character has a love for and how their taste for certain foods will evolve as the story progresses. This is just one example of how your choice of metaphors can make or break your novel.
Keep The Reader Involved
The last but not least important tip to keep in mind when drafting is to keep the reader involved. In an attempt to create a sense of suspense, you can make the reader wonder what happens next. To achieve this, you can use a variety of techniques which will keep them intrigued and wanting more. One simple yet effective way to do this is to use the flashback device. These are events, situations, or images which the reader is made to re-live through the narrative. Using flashbacks can add a sense of suspense and tension to your work. It also makes your plot more engaging and entertaining.
Any form of writing, whether you’re crafting a story, a newspaper article, or even a pitch, is a lot of work. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s not that difficult. It just takes time to develop your craft. Once you achieve this, you’ll be able to tell the stories you want to tell and help your readers better understand the world you’re describing. Good luck!