5 Hacks to Improve Your Creative Writing

5 Hacks to Improve your Creative writing
Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Content Writer At Gradehacker

What Are the Five Elements of Creative Writing?

One might think that creative writing is actually easy. “After all, you only need to develop a good story and tell it,” some believe. But if you’ve ever had to do a fiction writing assignment, you know this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s not just about being imaginative or thinking outside the box. You may have an intriguing plot, but your writing can leave much to be desired if you don’t have a guiding theme or good character development.

Especially when starting, the creative writing experience can be complex, uncertain, and filled with writer’s block.

You may have questions such as: What should I focus on if I want to tell a good story? How can I create better characters? How can I keep the reader invested in my writing?

Here at Gradehacker, the number one most trusted resource for non-traditional students, we are experts in all types of writing. That’s why we will share with you the best five hacks to improve your creative writing and make you an experienced author.

5 Hacks to Improve your Creative writing

What Is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is the writing in which you develop a subject, usually by telling a story, with creativity and imagination.

Contrary to academic writing, critical thinking or technical skills are not required. Even though all skills can be helpful, creative writing majors go further away from the formality and factual process of writing an academic essay.

It requires innovation and out-of-the-box thinking skills to develop an interesting story with strong written visuals, complex characters, and clear themes that can evoke specific emotions in the reader.

Creative writing can be fiction or nonfiction and can be written in tons of different forms: short stories, novels, poems, screenplays, comics, and more! But it is always about the life of storytelling.

While both styles share some elements, it’s worth mentioning that we’ll be mainly focusing on fiction writing.

Academic and Career Outlook as a Creative Writer

Besides these tips, we recommend enrolling in advanced writing workshops or creative writing exercises. Academic study will always make you develop new skills and give you real-world experience in the subject.

There’s a variety of writing degrees. Like a degree in writing, a degree in nonfiction writing, a degree in fiction writing, and a creative writing bachelor’s degree.

Some universities that have this degree are the University of Iowa Press, Susquehanna University, Harvard University Press, and Southern New Hampshire University, where you will learn all the foundations of writing skills. Just check which is the application process for each!

This is an ideal writing career. According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual salary for creative writing graduates is $73.000. There are a lot of writing jobs in the publishing industry, educational services, and self-employed workers.

The job outlook is 4% faster than the average for the community of writers.

What Are The Elements of Creative Writing?

If you want to enhance your skills truly, you must understand the elements of creative writing.

These are:

To write an outstanding story, you should always develop each of these elements in-depth. It may sound hard at first, but you’ll see how greatly it benefits your writing once you finish it.

This is because all elements are related, and the more you focus on each, the more the others will improve.

Now that we understand what creative writing is and what elements we need to consider, we can start with the tips.

5 Hacks to Improve your Creative writing

1. Choose a Theme From The Start

The theme is the soul of writing, and it’s the true meaning behind a story and the message that adds your unique touch to the creative writing sphere.

Some critics argue that the theme is not as important as it used to be. Instead, readers of contemporary literature now find it sufficient to have a cohesive story with proper plot development.

So, you should always start by defining the theme you’ll be covering. Not only will it make your work stand out from the rest, but it will also help you shape the rest of your writing.

Once you have the theme, it will be easier to create your characters, visualize the setting, and organize how all of these elements can merge into a well-defined plot.

2. Develop Thoroughly Your Characters

Characters are the ones who drive your narrative. Whether it’s a protagonist or a secondary character, they are the big stars of your story, and their actions make a fiction story compelling.

See it for yourself. Think of all of the best short stories, novels, comics, or whichever you pick, and you’ll see that they all have unique characters.

If you want to write an unforgettable story, focus on your characters’ development.

How can you do this? Well, you’ll need to know more about your characters than what you will actually use in your story.

Besides having a vague idea of their age, ethnicity, and appearance, try imagining all the details you can and why they define them.

You can write an outline where you can fill in the following:

And if you think of any other trait, be sure to add it to your file! Fill in this information, and you’ll know your characters better than themselves!

It doesn’t matter if you leave some of these details behind during the writing process. This will happen, and sometimes, including too much information all at once feels overwhelming and boring to the reader.

Always remember that character development is really essential.

As the reader will end up with a limited scope of your character, you need to consider the most important details they have to understand when writing.

5 Hacks to Improve your Creative writing

3. Think About How You Can Use Tension to Build The Climax

The imminent revelation of how the protagonist will act and the consequences of those actions is why a reader is still reading your story; they want to know how it all ends.

But before seeing how you can keep the reader’s attention, it’s important to know how the plot works.

As we briefly mentioned before, a plot consists of conflict, crisis, and resolution.

Conflict occurs at the beginning after we meet our characters, and something happens that challenges them. This can be an internal or external conflict, and next, it becomes a crisis that the protagonist has to overcome.

Once the characters choose to face this crisis, the climax occurs, the crisis is resolved, and then the story concludes with the denouement.

Everything that takes place between the beginning of the conflict and the climax includes most of the story. Getting from one place to the other can sometimes be hard.

You need to keep up with the rhythm, continue developing your characters, and, most importantly, keep the reader hooked on your writing. And the best way to achieve this is through tension.

Make sure the stakes are high so the reader feels invested in your complete story. Keep it interesting by creating a complex conflict where the protagonist’s action (or inaction) can lead to a terrible consequence. Or keep adding new conflicts or crises while the main characters move through their journey.

These are the elements of storytelling that, if well written, will create a powerful understanding of the plot. So, always keep it in mind as an application tool.

Fiction creative writers who lose the tension out of sight lose their readers, too.

And that’s it, the art of storytelling

4. Know Which Emotions You Want to Evoke in Your Reader

Just as having a clear theme to organize your writing, you’ll need to know beforehand which emotions you want your readers to feel to determine your style. So ask yourself:

Knowing what emotions you want to evoke is key to defining your writing style, vocabulary, which point of view you’ll use, and the rhythm of your story.

If you ever feel stuck during your creative writing experience, try thinking about the feelings you want to transmit. You’ll have a better idea of how you can follow up.

5. Read, Read, And Read

We saved for last, arguably the most important tip you should know. Never stop reading, and always be open to reading about new things.

There is so much you can gain from reading almost everything out there. Read your favorite short story collection, go back to the novel that made you want to start writing, discover beauty in a book of poems, and learn something new while reading a journalistic magazine.

Try new things as well!

Even if it’s not something you really like or completely understand, if you find a topic at least a bit interesting, it’s worth the time.

It will open your mind to new worlds, situations, and ideas you can return to when you are writing! Or do you think award-winning authors only read books within their area of expertise?

Plus, reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary and gain further knowledge in new areas you would have never learned at any other moment.

You can also read some old personal essays, creative nonfiction articles, and literary journals. Just be open to consuming a wide variety of original stories.

So, if you are a creative writing student who wants to improve your skills, read and add notes and ideas in a journal for writers.

5 Hacks to Improve your Creative writing

Time to Put Your Creative Writing Into Practice

With this creative writing program, you are ready to put these five hacks into practice and see how you get better at writing. But remember, polishing writing skills takes time and practice to stand out in the publishing industry.

We hope you better understand how creative writing works and what you can do to truly excel with this article. However, don’t miss the opportunity to join creative writing courses or workshop classes. 

If you have any doubts or need further help with your college assignments, you can count on  Gradehacker to help you with anything you need.

And if you are looking for more tips to keep improving your creative writing skills, check out our related content: