~ Introduction ~
What You’ll Find at the Creative Writing Turf
If you have found your way to A Garden of Art & Stories then it is likely you have an interest or curiosity in writing, reading, short stories, verse or poetry and art. My endeavour was always to create a place where interested people could visit of their own free will and whilst here, explore, dream, read stories and poems, find ideas that might help them or others improve their writing or perhaps even try some writing exercises. I hope A Garden of Art & Stories becomes a fun place to hang out. I hope too, that readers will eventually contribute and share ideas at A Garden of Art & Stories. If you have any thoughts and ideas and would like to make a suggestion, I have provided a place for recommendations and submissions here.
I went to university to learn my craft, but not everyone needs to go to university to learn how to write. You won’t learn creativity at university, although, by attending writing workshops and classes, you might experience creativity and the ideas, hints and tips that help you develop your writing, thinking skills and ideas. Everyone is unique and creative in their own way and this allows us all to be individual. We already know some people are good at painting and art, while others are good at technology or sport, and the list goes on.
But, where do you start? Good question. Everybody is going to be at a different starting position.
But, that’s okay. I will start with the very basics and you can find the place where you find the most relevance. This website is a journey and a work in progress, so you may have to wait until I reach your place of relevancy, but I thank you in advance for your patience.
Some people may have stumbled upon this website and be wondering, “Well, what exactly is creative writing?”
So I guess, that’s as good a place as any to start.
Can Somebody Please Tell Me What Is Creative Writing?
Creative writing is a form of artistic expression, which draws upon the writer’s imagination to convey meaning through the use of devices such as imagery, narrative, and drama. This is in contrast to analytic or pragmatic forms of writing. This genre includes poetry, fiction (novels, short stories), scripts, screenplays, and creative non-fiction.
Creative writing can help you and your readers escape the boredom of reality. You can use your imagination to create any situation and characters you want. When you engage in creative writing your creative energy ignites. Not only can creative writing be an outlet for a writer, but it can be therapeutic as well. It can be beneficial to express your feelings in this way and perhaps, examine them.
Some examples of writing listed here are NOT considered creative writing: reports, academia papers, business letters, business documents, memoranda, etc.
The Elements of Creative Writing
Creative writing has elements that qualify it as a creative writing piece. These elements include the following:
Point of View:
When reading a work of fiction, take notice from whose perspective the story is being told? Stories are told from a point of view (POV) and it is up to the reader to work out who is telling the story. Is it the narrator? Could it be the main character, (the protagonist)?
Fiction can be told in the first person, like an eye witness account by the narrator or the protagonist. This point of view (POV) uses the personal pronoun ‘I’ when one character narrates the story.
An example of First Person:
I needed to make town by daylight or I knew I would find myself in danger. There was a chill in the air and it went deep down inside my bones.
Third person is another perspective where the narrator describes the events that take place to the reader using impersonal pronouns.
An example of Third Person:
Sarah had always dreamed of one day owning a pony. Could she now afford to hope today, this very instant, that her dream was about to be realised?
The All-Seeing (Omnipresent) Eye:
When this perspective is used, impersonal pronouns are once again used as in third person, however, the main difference is that several characters are given equal importance and the audience is permitted to see how the same event may have a different effect on each of the characters.
An example of All-Seeing Eye:
Chapter One –
Sarah had always dreamed of one day owning a pony. Could she now afford to hope today, this very instant, that her dream was about be realised?
Chapter Two –
Sarah’s mother held her breath until it stung her lungs. She watched every move Sarah made as she realised her dream was about to come true. Adele Murphy exhaled and smiled at the same time. Her eyes could no longer hold back their tears.
Chapter Three –
Bill Murphy, Sarah’s father, reached for his daughter’s shoulder and gave her a pat. “She’s all yours, young lady,” is all he said. But his smile stayed with Sarah, tucked in her heart forever.
There is also a less used point of view (POV), that of the second person, in which the narrator or protagonist is referred to and uses the personal pronoun, ‘you’.
An example of Second Person:
You always looked at him with your big blue eyes, pleading for him to take you away, far away from this small town. And suddenly he is here, ready to do as you begged and yet you feel you are not ready? When will you be ready? Why do you sabotage yourself this way? Here is an opportunity, the perfect opportunity you have been longing for, and now you chance to throw it all away. And for what?
As the writer, you need to decide through whose eyes your story is going to be told.
Characters of the story or poem are generally people or things, for instance, animals, inanimate objects, forces of nature who carry out the action of the story. Character development is the art of conjuring up or imagining characters who portray believable lives and roles that convince both the reader and the author. Enough detail needs to be written in order for the the character and the life they are leading in the fictional plot to be believed, even though their situation might be highly exaggerated.
Voice is an important element that takes time to develop. An author’s voice is their unique style and way of saying what they have to say. An author’s written voice should be as recognisable as the voice they use to speak with. Connecting with your ‘author’s voice’ is a goal that all writers should work towards. Your voice should be natural, clear and consistent to the reader and as unique to you, just like your laughter and your fingerprints are. It is important to keep things simple. Wordiness, the use of awkward language and sentence structure or lack of clarity all help to hinder the voice of the writer.
I am going to finish here because it is better to receive information in small chunks.
So far, we have covered some of the elements of writing a short story, however, there are quite a few more that you will need to know. But what I have shared with you here is enough for you to now go and have a play with. Check out some of your favourite books and see what perspectives they have been written in. This is great practice for learning to identify quickly, what the POV (point of view) each story has been written in. Do this for every story you encounter from now on. Soon you will become an expert at quickly identifying POVs. This is also a great exercise in finding out what works for you. What POV’s did you enjoy the most from the books you have read so far? Do you think that a particular POV might be a way you would like to tell a story?
Have a play. Make up some short passages, just like my examples above. Now, write them using the different points of view and discover which works best for you. Can you hear your voice in your writing.
and until next time
PS Don’t forget…I love hearing your comments and feedback, so please write (in the box below) and tell me about your favourite POVs and let me know if you feel this writing exercise helped you. What did you discover while carrying out the exercise?
It is not the purpose of this website to make anyone or everyone a creative writer. There are always questions raised like, “Can you teach creativity?” or “Can you teach people to become creative writers?” These questions are good questions and have complex answers. I am in no way trying to suggest to people who visit this website that I can guarantee you will become a famous writer or even a creative writer, or for that matter, a writer of any description. However, there will be some exercises posted here from time to time that just might help some to improve their writing habits or the way they write in general. Just like anything you try…to improve, you must practice and find what works for you. If you don’t practice something, how can you expect to improve? If something’s not working and you don’t change anything in order for you to make some improvement, then how do you expect to change what’s not working? So…unfortunately, there are no guarantees here. Everything is up to you, including whether you stay and look around, decide to try some of the suggestions, play in the gardens or leisurely read some of the poems and stories posted here. But whatever you decide, feel positive and enjoy yourself.