In literature, creative writing is often considered to be an encompassing term – used to describe all kinds of writing that is not necessarily “traditional” or follows a set formula. However, there are some specific kinds of creative writing that are considered to be high-quality and have gained a lot of recognition, specifically:
Fiction is, at its most basic level, storytelling. However, with today’s complex world, fiction can take many forms. It can be something as simple as making up pretend stories and acting them out as a play, or it can be a more serious form of fiction that requires a lot of research and planning._p>
In terms of the writing process, a lot of fiction is drafted in a similar way to non-fiction. However, a lot of research goes into fiction. Before I wrote my first book, for example, I did extensive research into the topic and drew on my experiences as a journalist to create a unique story that I feel will entertain and educate my audience. My book, Unsung Heroes, which I wrote about the real-life unsung heroes who prevented and solved major terrorist attacks, was very heavily researched and I delved into this subject matter in-depth to give the book its depth. Although fiction can be a very creative writing form, it can also be very academic and requiring a lot of research and planning in order to ensure the authenticity of the story. It requires a lot of talent to write creatively while still adhering to the highest possible standards of factuality!
Non-fiction is, simply put, information packaged in a literary style. Think of all the wonderful documentaries you’ve ever seen, like Michael Moore’s great movies Bowling for Trump and Tricky Dicky: The Art of Dealing or David Grann’s wonderful non-fiction books, The Lost City of Z or River of Doubt. All of these documentaries and books are a form of non-fiction writing that uses literary techniques to examine important topics, often from a new or unique perspective. They all fall under the umbrella term of non-fiction creative writing.
Like with fiction, the process of writing non-fiction is quite varied. However, a lot of research usually goes into non-fiction. Think of all the great journalists who did extensive reporting on the Roaring Twenties. Even before that, consider the works of 19th century British essayists like Henry David Thoreau, who chronicled his adventures in the woods and natural history in such books as Walden and Cape Cod. Thoreau’s insights into nature and psychology, much like my own, would not have been possible without his extensive fieldwork and fact-checking during the writing process. In fact, one of my favorite essays is probably “Civil Disobedience” – an excellent piece by Thoreau, which still rings true today:
“I heartily accept the motto, ‘That this nation should have religion and morality, poetry and philosophy, education and invention, commerce and science.’ But I would suggest that this motto should be inscribed on the reverse side of a coin – for fear that what is left of our civilization will see the poetry and philosophy as useless, the commerce and science as irrelevant, and only the other two remain.”
The point is that non-fiction can be used to examine almost any subject, which gives you a huge leg up as a writer. There is a seemingly unending supply of non-fiction books, academic journals, and news organizations that continue to publish, which means you have a bountiful source of inspiration for your writing.
Any type of non-fiction, whether creative or not, can be an excellent source of ideas for fiction writers. Many famous novelists and writers, like William Golding, Agatha Christie, and Graham Greene, utilized their non-fiction writing skills in their fiction. The list of non-fiction writers who’ve gone on to write novels is a veritable who’s who of literary greats.
Like with fiction, the process of writing poetry is quite varied. However, a lot of research usually goes into poetry. The poems of American poet Hart Crane offer a fantastic example of the sort of research and planning that can go into a poem. In his poem “The Bridge”, Crane presents a fantastic poetic depiction of the New York City Bridge, which he actually saw being built (though it was not yet completed). Crane, who was known to drink heavily, researched the effects of alcohol on the human mind and body, as well as the effects of stress and anxiety on his own creativity, which is exactly what made this poem so unique and powerful. It’s an excellent example of the type of research that can go into a poem.
Similarly, consider the work of the American author, Jack London. London is best known for his 1912 classic, The Call of the Wild, but he also wrote poems, short stories, and novels, including The Girl With The Golden Hair. Much like Crane, London also drew on his experiences as a reporter, particularly for his novel The Valley of the Moon, though he relied on his own travels as well for much of his information. This is another example of how blending creative and non-creative writing can yield unique and powerful results: both The Call of the Wild and The Girl With The Golden Hair are considered masterful literary achievements.
Dramatic & Screenwriting
Dramatic writing is, essentially, the same as screenwriting, only with a different emphasis. With traditional dramatic writing, you’re concerned with the dialogue and the action, which is something that comes naturally to anyone who’s ever watched a movie or TV show. However, in screenwriting, the emphasis is on the storyline, which can be anything – a love story, an action sequence, an adventure story – and the dialogue is something that emerges as you progress through the writing process. It is, therefore, a very flexible and open-ended form, which could be considered a hybrid of non-fiction and fiction writing.
Much like non-fiction and poetry, dramatic writing can be a great source of ideas for fiction writers. It can also be a very useful tool in itself – if, for example, you want to write a play, you can use dramatic writing as a sort of ‘script doctoring’ service to help you fix up your otherwise un-filmable story (or vice versa). A lot of academic research has been done into the relationship between drama and entertainment – resulting in a volume of work, titled, appropriately enough, “The Drama–Entertainment Dialogues” – that examines the complex interactions between theatre and television, examining, among other things, the unique roles that each play form plays in the process of conveying news stories and educating the public. So, if you’re looking to break into the world of entertainment, this field can certainly be of use to you!
As you can see, there are numerous kinds of writing that could be considered creative, which gives you a lot of flexibility as a writer. Additionally, because these forms are all considered to be “creative”, they can all be used to great effect by fiction writers. One of the things that makes literature so wonderful is that it offers so many different ways for writers to express themselves and can, therefore, be used for a variety of purposes, depending on the writer and the circumstances. The more you know, the more you can write!