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Creative Writing: Not That Different from Academic Writing?

April 5, 2023

Creative Writing: Not That Different from Academic Writing?

Think creative writing is all that different from writing a research paper in class? You might be surprised! Read on as New Milford, NJ tutor Matthew H. explains…


No one ever said that academic writing and creative writing were the same, but is there really that big of a difference? 

After all, both types of writing require you to come up with ideas, organize them in a logical way, and communicate your thoughts effectively. In some ways, academic writing may be a little bit stricter in terms of formatting and style considerations, but at its heart, good writing is good writing. 

If you’re having trouble getting started on your next essay or story project, try thinking about it as if you were just outlining an assignment for class – what are the main points you want to make, and how can you best structure your argument or narrative? Once you have a basic skeleton in place, you can start to fill in the details and bring your work to life. 

In this post, we’ll give you more creative essay writing tips so you can write like a pro each and every time!

How Can I Improve My Creative Writing?

Many people struggle with creative writing. It can be difficult to coax the creative muse into revealing itself, but there are a few things that can help. 

  • First, it’s important to read widely and learn as much as you can about your chosen genre. This will give you a better understanding of what’s been done before and how you can put your own spin on it. 
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and styles. The more you play around, the more likely you are to stumble upon something that works for you. 
  • Don’t forget that the best way to improve your writing is simply to keep doing it. The more practice you get, the easier it will become to find your voice and tell your stories.

Of course, the best way to improve your creative writing skills is to work with a writing tutor who will provide you with the personalized instruction you need to make major strides. Sign up for writing lessons today and check out the benefits of doing so in the video below:

What Are the 7 Elements of Creative Writing?

Creative writing can be defined as any piece of writing that falls outside the bounds of traditional academic, journalistic, or technical forms of literature. 

Creative writing is often perceived as a more open and personal form of expression than other types of writing. It is typically characterized by its use of imaginative, often fantastic language; its departure from conventional grammar and syntax; and its focus on expressive rather than informational content. 

The 7 elements of creative writing are: character, plot, setting, point of view, style, theme, and symbolism. 

When used skillfully, these elements can come together to create a work that is both powerful and moving. When one or more of these elements is lacking, the result can be a work that feels flat or uninspired. 

The best way to learn how to use these elements effectively is to read and study a variety of works by master writers in the genre. 

By doing so, you will develop an understanding of how each element contributes to the whole and how they can be used to create a work that is both original and deeply satisfying.

Creative Writing Tips and Techniques

Creative writing tips seem to be counterintuitive; how can someone tell someone else how to be creative? The truth is that the secret to writing any good creative literature is not really that different from what you need for a really great academic paper: strong structure.

I tutor many students for the SAT and GRE. I have a few major rules when it comes to writing those kinds of essays that I am going to share with you now as creative writing tips.

Define Your Key Terms

When writing a persuasive essay, you cannot convince your reader of the perspective you are defending unless you define how you understand the topic. If you have to defend how financial stability is the root to success, then you must start by explaining what success is for your argument to be logical. The same goes for creative writing; if you are inventing your own fantasy world, the audience has to have a vivid understanding of what that new literary universe entails. You have to define in resolute terms what your world and characters are like.

Be Specific

After defining your key terms, the best way to support what you’ve created is by being specific. In essay writing, this means providing solid examples to correspond with the definitions you’ve provided. In creative writing, this translates to strong character development that follows the exposition you have established.

A big difference between academic and creative writing, however, is the degree of implicit to explicit explanations. In other words, you have to explicitly spell everything out in academic papers, which are more straightforward in nature. In creative fiction, you want to show rather than tell. So, if you want to be specific by providing an example of a character’s personality, do not merely write, “He is an impatient person who gets upset easily.” Instead, provide the same information this way: “His face looked perpetually pained anytime someone said anything he didn’t want to hear. In fact, he often turned purple when lashing out to whomever challenged him.” See the difference? You are providing specific information that supports the world and characters you’ve begun to define without being too obvious.

Vary Your Language

Lastly, any good writing needs to have varied language. Unless a five-year-old is reading “See Spot Run,” no one wants to see choppy sentences with the same words used over and over. It not only becomes hard to read, but worse, boring. Knowing your target audience’s level of understanding, choose a selection of words that effectively fit the style of the story. If you are having a hard time thinking of another word for “direct,” the thesaurus is your best friend, use it!

Tips for Creative Writing for Students

While there are more specific issues to discuss, these are the most basic creative writing tips that, when properly implemented, will greatly impact the quality of your writing. Regardless of your style or audience, keeping these particular suggestions in mind ultimately ensures that your product is understandable, believable and enjoyable. And that’s the most important part of creative writing; enjoying it!

The best way to improve your writing skills is by practicing, and we hope these creative writing tips for students have given you a few ideas on how to get started. Writing can be a challenging but rewarding activity, and we believe that with a little practice everyone can become a great writer. 

If you’re looking for more help or want to start learning about writing in a structured setting, sign up for writing lessons with one of our talented instructors today. We promise that with some dedication and hard work, you too can develop the skills needed to write beautiful prose that engages and inspires your readers.

MatthewHMatthew H. provides tutoring in various subjects both online and in New Milford, NJ.  He recently received his MA from NYU with a background in Sociolinguistics and related research. Learn more about Matthew here! 



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