Creative Writing Basics

Sneak Peek

 

Many of us harbour a fantasy about being a creative writer, but what do we really mean by that? If we were to divide writing into two broad categories these would usually be fiction and non-fiction. Most people would consider creative writing to fall under the category of fiction, and indeed it usually does. In recent years however, a new genre of writing known as creative non-fiction has emerged in which the goal is to write a factual account which reads like fiction, but which utilises literary techniques. Creative non-fiction might be regarded as a hybrid between fiction and non-fiction.

How do our short courses work?

  • You can enrol any time of day or night
  • Start studying immediately or later (as you wish)
  • Configure your study sessions at any length and frequency you wish
  • Work through at your own pace- there are no deadlines for this course
  • Complete the course in as little as 20 hours
  • Help desk -email anytime- emails answered every workday [email protected]
  • Automated self assessment tests pop up at the end of each lesson. You can attempt these as many times as you wish and each time, upon completion, you can see your results
  • At the end of the whole course, you are presented with a major automated examination which can be attempted online, anywhere, anytime
  • If you achieve a 60% pass in the exam, you immediately receive a downloadable certificate of completion with your name on it.

 

Course Lessons

LESSON 1: SCOPE AND NATURE OF CREATIVE WRITING

  • Definitions of creative writing
  • Plots in creative writing
  • To be or not to be - creative
  • Characteristics of a creative writer
  • Oral storytelling
  • Types of creative writing
  • The personality of the creative writer

LESSON 2: METHODOLOGY AND TECHNIQUE - THE BRICKS & MORTAR OF WRITING

  • Methodology
  • Time management
  • Keeping notebooks
  • Using formulas
  • Writing the novel
  • Writing techniques
  • How to frame time
  • Constructing a timeline
  • Objectivity and subjectivity
  • Ordered versus disordered messages
  • Plotting a story
  • Conflict and obstacles
  • Point of view
  • Capturing attention
  • Developing your characters
  • The end of your story
  • Writing creative non-fiction articles
  • Writing dialogue
  • Script writing
  • Writing news scripts
LESSON 3: GENRES
  • Children’s books
  • Fantasy writing
  • Crime fiction
  • Poetry
  • Science fiction
  • Romance and relationship writing
  • Commercial genres
  • Creative marketing
  • Non-fiction writing
  • Which genre?

LESSON 4: CREATIVE NON-FICTION

  • Defining creative non-fiction
  • Literary journalism
  • Tips to write creative non-fiction
  • Examples of creative non-fiction
  • Picking your specialist areas

LESSON 5: CREATIVE WRITING TECHNIQUES

  • Rhythm of the story (peaks and troughs)
  • Landmark events
  • Crisis – Conflict – Resolution
  • Exaggerating reality
  • Escapism
  • Paradox
  • Metaphors and similes
  • Imagery
  • Language

LESSON 6: DEVELOPING YOUR SKILL, BUILDING YOUR CAREER

  • Choosing a genre or area of specialism
  • Research
  • Where do writers get inspiration?
  • Resources
  • Writer’s block
  • Writing & the law
  • Submitting work for publication
  • Self-publishing
  • Print versus electronic publishing
  • Distributing & selling your work
  • Grants for writing
  • Obtaining a contract
  • Continuity of contracts
  • Glossary – the meaning of words

FINAL ASSESSMENT

After completing the lessons, you are presented with a major online exam; testing you on the content of the entire course.

Upon getting 60% of the answers (or more) correct, you are awarded with a "Certificate of Completion" bearing your name and the date, which can be downloaded as a pdf, saved and/or printed off.

How Well are You Suited to Creative Writing?

You may have asked yourself whether the creative writer has a specific sort of personality, or whether a particular “type” of person becomes a writer.  

A stereotype which is often touted is that creative writers are introverts. Although some may be, there are many writers who are flamboyant and outgoing. We could argue that as with everything else in life – writers are all different. However, there are some personality traits that writers tend to possess which are worthy of further discussion.

Energy

A creative person will usually have a wide range of potential energy.  Some tend to work in intense bursts. They may work for hours on end, then feel exhausted. They can focus their energy onto their writing project with great enthusiasm, but can also lose interest quickly.  We often harbour standardised images of the writer, working away into the night at the exclusion of anything else - but not all authors work like this. In fact, probably not too many live in environments where they are able to do this. It might cause too much friction in close relationships, or it might affect other work they need to do or interfere with daily commitments. 

There are other authors who utilise their energy in a different way. They discipline themselves and work regularly at set times. Many authors are working and writing at the same time. Eventually if they are successful, or they are lucky enough that they do not have to work, they may be able to write when they wish.

 

Self Discipline 

As alluded to under energy above, writers must have some degree of self-discipline to be able to write and create. Sometimes this might mean getting up at an unearthly hour in the morning on a cold winter’s day to continue writing, or to write late into the night when you are exhausted. It could entail not giving up on your writing after the one hundredth rejection. All of these things require large amounts of self discipline. 

Intelligence 

One would assume that intelligence is usually high in creative people. Many noteworthy authors have been to university. Many have studied the classics, but a university education is not a prerequisite to becoming a published author. 

Intelligence is a multi-faceted concept. Clearly, creative intelligence is just one aspect of intelligence, and one which is usually abundant in creative types. Whilst many authors are intelligent in other ways, a creative writer would not necessarily need to be scientifically astute - though it might be an asset if their interest is in science fiction.

Introversion and Extraversion

As stated above, a popular misconception is that writers are introverted. On the contrary, many writers display extroverted behaviour. They may be seen to enjoy crowds and adulation. Extraverts are at their happiest when they are surrounded by people who give them attention, and who agree with their views. 

Psychologists generally view introversion as a turning inwards. The introvert becomes preoccupied with their own thoughts and less interested in those of others. In extreme cases this is considered abnormal, but the need to share thoughts and ideas would probably mean that most writers would not become too introverted. 

Although, there is a tendency to view a person as being one or the other, these days it is widely accepted that most people exhibit both introverted and extraverted behaviours. At best we might be able to say someone exhibits largely introverted or largely extraverted behaviours, but they are not the polar opposites that were originally proposed. In light of this, some creative people may be introverted in some areas, but extroverted in others. It is interesting then to note that E.L. Doctorow said that “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia”. 

Imagination

Great writing requires great imagination. Writers can help us to see beyond ourselves, to think about things in a new way.  A non-fiction writer will use their imagination in deciding how to write a story, how to present the facts, how to make it interesting and entertaining. A fiction writer may use their imagination to take us into a new world, to make a purely fictional narrative come to life in the mind of the reader.

Lateral Thinking

Lateral refers to from the side, away from the central axis. When applied to thinking, the term means to approach a problem from many different angles rather than straight on. Good writers have a capacity to see the same thing from different perspectives.

Humour

Humour is creative. In writing, humour is quite an art because with does not always translate well from the written word. It may be construed as sarcasm or it may simply offend the reader if the humour is too subtle. 

There are many different types of humorous writing. Satire is probably one of the oldest forms. Another is the double entendre or using words with double meanings into what you write. Malapropisms are where a word is substituted with another incorrect word in speech to make a sentence sound comical. The use of malapropisms was popularised in the play 'The Rivals' written by Sheridan. In it, Mrs. Malaprop continually uses words in speech which sound like the correct word but are actually incorrect.   

Pride

Writers often have pride in their work, but they may also be humble. A great writer may doubt his or her own abilities, or play them down.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
- Sylvia Plath

Rebelliousness and Conformity

Creative people can be both conformist and rebellious, traditional and extraordinary.  They may try to stretch boundaries to change the world. They make take risks in their work, but they may also conform to what is expected on them. 

Openness

Being open to new ideas, to new thoughts and new ways of thinking is another important trait in a writer. That overheard sentence can send a writer off into a new world or story. 

Passion 

The passion to write is also something of great importance to writers.  Without passion, motivation is diminished; so it is always better to write about something that you are passionate about than something you have little interest in. Self-discipline is important, but so is that passion to create, to share work. 

Who is this course for?

  • those interested in improving their writing skills;
  • School teachers;
  • academic students;
  • kindergarten and pre-school teachers;
  • parents;
  • artists,
  • story tellers;
  • other professionals interested in creative writing.



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