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Elements of Creative Writing

creative writing basics pdf

J.D. Schraffenberger, University of Northern Iowa

Rachel Morgan, University of Northern Iowa

Grant Tracey, University of Northern Iowa

Copyright Year: 2023

ISBN 13: 9780915996179

Publisher: University of Northern Iowa

Language: English

Formats Available

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Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Robert Moreira, Lecturer III, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on 3/21/24

Unlike Starkey's CREATIVE WRITING: FOUR GENRES IN BRIEF, this textbook does not include a section on drama. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Unlike Starkey's CREATIVE WRITING: FOUR GENRES IN BRIEF, this textbook does not include a section on drama.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

As far as I can tell, content is accurate, error free and unbiased.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

The book is relevant and up-to-date.

Clarity rating: 5

The text is clear and easy to understand.

Consistency rating: 5

I would agree that the text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

Modularity rating: 5

Text is modular, yes, but I would like to see the addition of a section on dramatic writing.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Topics are presented in logical, clear fashion.

Interface rating: 5

Navigation is good.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No grammatical issues that I could see.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

I'd like to see more diverse creative writing examples.

As I stated above, textbook is good except that it does not include a section on dramatic writing.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: One Great Way to Write a Short Story
  • Chapter Two: Plotting
  • Chapter Three: Counterpointed Plotting
  • Chapter Four: Show and Tell
  • Chapter Five: Characterization and Method Writing
  • Chapter Six: Character and Dialouge
  • Chapter Seven: Setting, Stillness, and Voice
  • Chapter Eight: Point of View
  • Chapter Nine: Learning the Unwritten Rules
  • Chapter One: A Poetry State of Mind
  • Chapter Two: The Architecture of a Poem
  • Chapter Three: Sound
  • Chapter Four: Inspiration and Risk
  • Chapter Five: Endings and Beginnings
  • Chapter Six: Figurative Language
  • Chapter Seven: Forms, Forms, Forms
  • Chapter Eight: Go to the Image
  • Chapter Nine: The Difficult Simplicity of Short Poems and Killing Darlings

Creative Nonfiction

  • Chapter One: Creative Nonfiction and the Essay
  • Chapter Two: Truth and Memory, Truth in Memory
  • Chapter Three: Research and History
  • Chapter Four: Writing Environments
  • Chapter Five: Notes on Style
  • Chapter Seven: Imagery and the Senses
  • Chapter Eight: Writing the Body
  • Chapter Nine: Forms

Back Matter

  • Contributors
  • North American Review Staff

Ancillary Material

  • University of Northern Iowa

About the Book

This free and open access textbook introduces new writers to some basic elements of the craft of creative writing in the genres of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The authors—Rachel Morgan, Jeremy Schraffenberger, and Grant Tracey—are editors of the North American Review, the oldest and one of the most well-regarded literary magazines in the United States. They’ve selected nearly all of the readings and examples (more than 60) from writing that has appeared in NAR pages over the years. Because they had a hand in publishing these pieces originally, their perspective as editors permeates this book. As such, they hope that even seasoned writers might gain insight into the aesthetics of the magazine as they analyze and discuss some reasons this work is so remarkable—and therefore teachable. This project was supported by NAR staff and funded via the UNI Textbook Equity Mini-Grant Program.

About the Contributors

J.D. Schraffenberger  is a professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of two books of poems,  Saint Joe's Passion  and  The Waxen Poor , and co-author with Martín Espada and Lauren Schmidt of  The Necessary Poetics of Atheism . His other work has appeared in  Best of Brevity ,  Best Creative Nonfiction ,  Notre Dame Review ,  Poetry East ,  Prairie Schooner , and elsewhere.

Rachel Morgan   is an instructor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. She is the author of the chapbook  Honey & Blood , Blood & Honey . Her work is included in the anthology  Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in American  and has appeared in the  Journal of American Medical Association ,  Boulevard ,  Prairie Schooner , and elsewhere.

Grant Tracey   author of three novels in the Hayden Fuller Mysteries ; the chapbook  Winsome  featuring cab driver Eddie Sands; and the story collection  Final Stanzas , is fiction editor of the  North American Review  and an English professor at the University of Northern Iowa, where he teaches film, modern drama, and creative writing. Nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize, he has published nearly fifty short stories and three previous collections. He has acted in over forty community theater productions and has published critical work on Samuel Fuller and James Cagney. He lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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Creative Writing Handbook - Becoming a Complete Writer in all Genres

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This book is for and about amazing you. It contains three main parts beyond this section. The next, ‘Creatives’ and ‘Control’ explores each notion separately. Part three examines the all-important G-forces: Grail and Grails. Discussions in this chapter underpin the thematic title and core pursuit of this book – aiding writers to identify and tightly define the core goal or goals that they desire to realize from their textual quests and conquests. Part four explores 17 popular writing genres and provides an original example of each. Four of these illustrations are first-time attempts by this writer to compose a script in a foreign discipline that is outside his comfort zone and areas of interest. May these modest, raw offerings embolden you to likewise experiment at becoming a complete writer. The penultimate chapter, Part five, explores six topics that may aid writers to answer the holy grail writer’s question, as defined by this author. These topics in order are: Spelling, scripts, styles, solo writing, champions (i.e., role models) and circulation. This book does not aim to teach readers how to develop most technical skills required of competent writers. Open-access and commercial literature available on these topics are mature. Engaging these topics are best served by a medley of resources such as handbooks, video presentations, college curricula and years of dedicated writing practice. Part I Publishers’ edition © Jericho 15 The concluding part of most sections and each chapter is titled ‘Further reading’. These parts offer one or two open-access resources that explore material discussed in that section/chapter in further detail. The principal pursuit of this book aims to help you to identify the core goal/s that may motivate you to be the best writer possible in your chosen fields. There is a dearth of literature that unravels this all-important journey. This book is suitable for informal educational settings and structured teaching environments. It may support writers of all skill levels who thrive from learning solo, in groups or a mixture thereof. It may also guide Creative Writing Professors who teach applied education courses at all levels – from certificate to Graduate-level coursework. Creative writing author authors authorship publication publishing self-publishing self-publication writing creativity Creative Writing 101

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The creative writing coursebook : forty writers share advice and exercises for poetry and prose

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Writers' Treasure

Effective writing advice for aspiring writers

Creative Writing 101

Creative writing is any form of writing which is written with the creativity of mind: fiction writing, poetry writing, creative nonfiction writing and more. The purpose is to express something, whether it be feelings, thoughts, or emotions.

Rather than only giving information or inciting the reader to make an action beneficial to the writer, creative writing is written to entertain or educate someone, to spread awareness about something or someone, or to express one’s thoughts.

There are two kinds of creative writing: good and bad, effective and ineffective. Bad, ineffective creative writing cannot make any impression on the reader. It won’t achieve its purpose.

So whether you’re a novelist, a poet, a short-story writer, an essayist, a biographer or an aspiring beginner, you want to improve your craft. The question is: how?

When you write great fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, amazing things can happen. Readers can’t put it down. The work you wrote becomes a bestseller. It becomes famous. But you have to reach to that level… first .

The best way to increase your proficiency in creative writing is to write, write compulsively, but it doesn’t mean write whatever you want. There are certain things you should know first… it helps to start with the right foot.

To do exactly that, here we have a beginners’ guide from Writers’ Treasure on the subject:

  • An Introduction to Creative Writing
  • How to Get Started in Creative Writing in Just Three Steps
  • Creative Writing vs. Technical Writing
  • Fiction Writing 101: The Elements of Stories
  • Poetry Writing: Forms and Terms Galore
  • Creative Non-Fiction: What is it?
  • Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Creative Writing
  • Common Mistakes Made by Creative Writers

For novelists: do you want to write compelling opening chapters?

Are you an aspiring novelist? Will your novel see the light of day? For that, you will need to make the first chapter of your story as compelling as possible. Otherwise, readers won’t even pick up your novel. That chapter can be the make-or-break point that decides whether your novel is published or not. It’s because good editors know how you write from the first three pages… or sometimes even from the opening lines.

To solve this problem, I created a five-part tutorial on Writing Compelling Opening Chapters . It outlines why you need to write a compelling opening chapter, my personal favourite way of beginning it, what should be told and shown in it, general dos and don’ts, and what you need to do after having written it. Check it out for more.

Need more writing tips?

Sometimes you reach that stage when you outgrow the beginner stage of writing but feel that you’re not yet an expert. If I just described you, no worries– Writers’ Treasure’s writing tips are here. Whether you want to make your writing more readable, more irresistible, more professional, we’ve got you covered. So check out our writing tips , and be on your way to fast track your success.

I offer writing, editing and proofreading , as well as website creation services. I’ve been in this field for seven years, and I know the tools of the trade. I’ve seen the directions where the writing industry is going, the changes, the new platforms. Get your work done through me, and get fast and efficient service. Get a quote .

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  1. PDF Introduction to Creative Writing

    Introduction to Creative Writing. The creative self is fundamental to the way we find meaning and purpose in the world. The best fiction, poetry, and drama draw on everyday habits of imagination that make interaction with others possible and fruitful. At the same time, literature and creative writing develop basic skills of the imagination ...

  2. PDF Creative Writing Fundamentals

    Creative Writing Fundamentals _____ 1 Creative Writing is a very subjective discipline and mode of writing. However, there are some universal elements to consider and strengthen, no matter what genre you wish to write in. This guide will briefly go over images, voice, setting and story, which are central to any kind of Creative Writing you wish ...

  3. Elements of Creative Writing

    This free and open access textbook introduces new writers to some basic elements of the craft of creative writing in the genres of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The authors—Rachel Morgan, Jeremy Schraffenberger, and Grant Tracey—are editors of the North American Review, the oldest and one of the most well-regarded literary magazines in the United States.

  4. PDF Creative Writing Teach Yourself to Write and Tell a Good Story

    You) covers the basics of writing in this guide for teens which also features advice from a number of popular YA authors. Just Write by Walter Dean Myers Award-winning YA author Walter Dean Myers shares how and why he writes. The book includes examples from his writing, reading experiences and pages from his own notebooks.

  5. PDF The Handbook of Creative Writing

    2. The Evaluation of Creative Writing at MA Level (UK) Jenny Newman 24 3. The Creative Writing MFA Stephanie Vanderslice 37 4. Creative Writing and Critical Theory Lauri Ramey 42 5.Literary Genres David Rain 54 6. The Writer as Artist Steven Earnshaw 65 7. The Future of Creative Writing Paul Dawson 78 Section Two - The Craft of Writing Prose 8.

  6. (PDF) The Handbook of Creative Writing

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  7. The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing

    This pioneering book introduces students to the practice and art of creative writing and creative reading. It offers a fresh, distinctive and beautifully written synthesis of the discipline. David Morley discusses where creative writing comes from, the various forms and camouflages it has taken, and why we teach and learn the arts of fiction ...

  8. PDF Creative Writing Guide

    Creative Writing Guide _____ 1 Creative Writing is a subjective discipline and covers many forms. This guide is a (very) brief introduction to some key elements that are often addressed in fiction writing courses. Links to references about particular topics and creative writing as a whole are provided throughout so you can extend your learning.

  9. (PDF) Creative Writing Handbook

    It may also guide Creative Writing Professors who teach applied education courses at all levels - from certificate to Graduate-level coursework. Creative writing author authors authorship publication publishing self-publishing self-publication writing creativity Creative Writing 101

  10. PDF Creative Writing

    genre includes poetry, fiction (novels, short stories), scripts, screenplays, and creative non-fiction. Elements1 Voice: An author's unique style and way of saying things. You should be able to recognize an author's written voice the way you recognize a person's spoken voice. In creative writing, one goal is to develop your written voice.

  11. PDF The Basics of Creative Writing

    The Basics of Creative Writing Outline Module 1 - Learning the Craft of Writing • Introduction • The difference between formal or business writing and story telling • The basic elements of creative writing: Action • The basic elements of creative writing: Description • The basic elements of creative writing: Dialogue

  12. PDF Creative Writing

    finds new engagements for creative writing in the creative academy and within science. Accessible, entertaining and groundbreaking, The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing is not only a useful textbook for students and teachers of writing, but also an inspiring read in its own right. Aspiring authors and teachers of writing will find ...

  13. PDF Lesson 1. INTRODUCTION LESSON AIM WHAT IS CREATIVE WRITING?

    The common ground of fiction and non-fiction writing is the creativity the writer uses to express his or her thoughts and emotions. The following examples show that, to some degree, all writing is creative, since it always involves re-creation, ie. the selection of some components, imagined or real, and exclusion of others. 1.

  14. The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing

    This pioneering book introduces students to the practice and art of creative writing and creative reading. It offers a fresh, distinctive and beautifully written synthesis of the discipline. David Morley discusses where creative writing comes from, the various forms and camouflages it has taken, and why we teach and learn the arts of fiction ...

  15. Creative Writing Introduction

    The distinction between beginning and intermediate writing is provided for both students and instructors, and numerous sources are listed for more information about fiction tools and how to use them. A sample assignment sheet is also provided for instructors. This resource covers the basics of plot, character, theme, conflict, and point-of-view.

  16. The creative writing coursebook : forty writers share advice and

    The creative writing coursebook : forty writers share advice and exercises for poetry and prose. Publication date 2001 Topics Creative writing, Authorship -- Technique, Rhetoric ... Pdf_module_version 0.0.17 Ppi 360 Rcs_key 24143 Republisher_date 20220129101144 Republisher_operator [email protected] ...

  17. Creative Writing 101: A Beginner's Guide to Creative Writing

    Creative Writing 101. Creative writing is any form of writing which is written with the creativity of mind: fiction writing, poetry writing, creative nonfiction writing and more. The purpose is to express something, whether it be feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Rather than only giving information or inciting the reader to make an action ...

  18. PDF General Principles of Creative Writing

    Creative Writing and its Significance Structure 1.0 Objectives 1.1 Introduction 1.2 What is Creative Writing? 1.3 Scope and Area of Creative writing 1.4 Analysing a Creative Composition 1.5 Things that must be avoided by a Writer 1.6 Gradation of Creative Writing from Pulp to Great Writers 1.7 Origin of Thought and Birth of an Idea

  19. 8 Tips for Getting Started With Creative Writing

    5. Read, read, read. It's a lot harder to get the hang of creative writing if you don't have any references from which to draw. Notable writers throughout history have penned excellent examples of well-written creative work that should be required reading for any budding creative writer.

  20. PDF Creative Writing: Short Stories

    1 of 6. Creative Writing: Short Stories. This handout will help you understand and analyze the formal craft elements used by writers in the creation of short stories so that you can effectively employ them in your own. Definition of the Short Story. By its very nature, the short story is difficult to define.

  21. PDF INTRO TO CREATIVE WRITING

    Finding a Writing Community chats for writers #StorySocial Wednesdays @ 9PM EST (Hosted by Kristen Kieffer from #StoryCrafter Sundays @ 8PM GMT (Hosted by Faye Kirwin from Writerology) Writing challenges NaNoWriMo.org (National Novel Writing Month, November) CampNaNoWriMo.org (April and July) Writing websites Wattpad.com

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    For educators, creative writing pro-vides a great way to broaden the curriculum and give stu-dents new, different challenges. Creative writing enhances our imagination and understanding of strategies that help us to create original ideas and new solutions to challenges we face. Thinking about personal growth, creative writing