What are the Main Elements of Creative Writing? | Superprof (2022)

Like all artistic endeavours, there is no one skill that creative writing demands. Rather, it is a collection of lots of different skills and elements that need to hang well together.

Creating a compelling character, for example, is not the same skill as writing a beautiful description of a place or action. Nor is profundity and originality of thought the same as metrical fluency or ability to rhyme.

All of the different elements of creative writing require different skills – and to write a masterpiece they all need to coalesce, balance, and complement each other. A novel with a cracking plot can easily fall down if the characters aren’t convincing, or if the writing style is clumsy or jarring.

When you are writing your own work, fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, you will need to ensure that you practice all of the skills that you will need to make your work a marvellous whole. And that means cracking every single one of these main elements of creative writing.

So, let’s take a look at what they are – for your fiction writing, your poetry writing, and your playwriting. Whilst some elements are shared between forms, they feature in different ways.

At the end, we’ll take a look at three of the main skills that are relevant to all of the major forms of creative writing too. Find out more in our article,What is Creative Writing?

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The Main Elements of Prose Fiction.

Prose fiction is the form of creative writing that is written in continuous prose – and that is fictional... Forms like the short story and the novel fall under this category, whereas prose texts such as the personal essay fall under the remit of creative nonfiction.

In prose fiction, you are going to be wanting to create compelling character and engaging plots – enabled by convincing dialogue strong descriptive writing when it is necessary.

Why you need to register for a a creative writing course.

(Video) Elements of Creative Writing

Character Development.

Some people will tell you that character development is the most important element of novel writing. And they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.

Characters are the things through which you propel your narrative forward, and they are vehicles through which you explore your theme. But they are more than that too: they are what make people remember books, they are what allow people to relate and empathise.

Making time to think about who you want your characters to be is a crucial part of writing fiction.

Plot Development.

What is it that happens in your novel or piece of short fiction? A novel needs to have some forward motion, there needs to be some sort of events, conflicts, tensions, crises, and resolutions. Unless you are Samuel Beckett or Raymond Queneau, of course, who determinedly wrote books in which nothing happens.

Despite this, there has to be a reason why your audience will keep reading. Plotting out the main events – even if these are purely cerebral happenings – can help you make sense of the structure of your fiction.


Writing convincing dialogue in an age of realism is a notoriously difficult skill. Yet, it is one of the really crucial elements of effective fiction.

The novelist, Will Self, has spoken of how, during his writing process, he would go to cafes just to listen to people talk. Listening carefully to the cadences of real speech enables you to render them well – whilst banal imperatives like ‘write like you talk’ are never quite as easy as they seem.

Whilst writing dialogue, think about whether the speech in your fiction needs to be directly spoken, or whether it can sit indirectly in your prose.

Find out how to improve your creative writing!

(Video) 8 Elements of Creative Writing

What are the Main Elements of Creative Writing? | Superprof (51)

Descriptive Writing.

Another major feature of fiction writing is writing the scenes themselves, the flesh of the world that you are creating.

And one of the most important writing techniques in this is knowing what actually needs to be said. What are people wearing and where do they live? What details does your audience need to know? What can you leave out without harm? Too much irrelevant information bogs down the flow of your piece.

Finally, how are you going to write this? To learn how to write well – in terms of the cadence, fluency, and sound of your sentences – is just as important as everything else here.

Search for a GCSE English tutor on Superprof.

The Main Elements of Screenwriting and Stage Writing.

Now, it is a little unfair here to collapse writing for screen and writing for stage. The professional writers among you will surely have something to say about this.

Yet, the difference between writing a text to be read and a text to be heard is huge – and if you are juggling both prose and drama, you’ll need to keep this in your head the whole time. Good writing in theatre or film is not the same as good writing when you are writing a novel.


Dialogue, of course, is the main element of these texts – and you will need to hone your dialogue skills if you hope to stand a chance in the world of scriptwriting.

A screenwriter and playwright needs to use dialogue in a different way. Dialogue is the action on stage – as much as it is the character. And it is much more alive than it can possibly be in a book.


On stage or screen, there is no way to verbally describe a character as there is in a book. You can show them, yes, or you can reveal their nature through the things that they say.

(Video) Elements of Creative Writing: Characters

A creative writer therefore needs to feed details about their character through that character’s own words, or through the words of other characters.

The characters need to be more unified too – as they don’t have the markers that they can hide behind in novels.

Check out our introduction to creative writing for more!

The Essential Features of Poetry.

You’ll see that creative writing courses split up those people interested in writing poetry from the writing program for novelists. This is because reading and writing poetry is completely different to writing fiction, or even drama: being a good novelist does not make you a good poet – and vice versa.

In a poetry workshop you will focus on completely different things than you would in a creative writing course for fiction or creative non-fiction. In poetry, language takes on a different form, a difference as large as that between travel writing and technical writing.


If you are a poet yourself, you won’t need to be told that the crucial feature of poetry is metre and rhythm. Take a writing sample from any poet in the history of English and you will see that rhythm takes centre stage.

Finding a way to write both naturally and within the confines of the form is the great negotiation that a poet has to make, so that metrical alertness becomes second nature within the creative process.

Structure and Form.

Are you going to write an ode or a sonnet, a ballad or a limerick? And how do you engage with the specificities of these forms once you have made that decision? Moreover, indeed, how have you made that decision, and why?

As the very essence of a poem, the form is the thing that gives the poem sense. And according to your personal poetics, you’ll give it that sense you feel most appropriate.

(Video) Elements of Creative Writing

Meaning and Symbolism.

When we write poems, what happens to language? Does it become more compressed? More ambiguous? More symbolic, allusive, elusive?

‘Meaning’ in the conventional sense doesn’t quite function in the same way. Language shimmers here, whilst it takes on much more of a solid form in a poem.

What you are trying to say – or what you want the poem to be – matters.

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What are the Main Elements of Creative Writing? | Superprof (52)

Other Creative Writing Skills You Need to Know.

All of the above are elements that you will need to decide on with the form of your creative piece – whether a prose poem or a selection of personal essays.

However there are elements of creative writing that go unseen in the finished work. These are the processes of research, planning and editing, which hold the book together and bring it into existence.


Research is everything that happens to a text before it is written into words. It is the ideas, the inspirations, the considerations of style, the factual details and descriptive phrases that you need to pin down and be sure of.

No novel is possible without research.


Planning brings together the research with the framework you will create. How is one event or idea going to follow the next one? And why? And is that the best way to do it?

(Video) Creative Writing - Definition, Types, Elements


Once you have finished your writing, you still have more writing to do. That writing is what we conventionally call editing.

Find out about jobs in creative writing!

Discover the best English tutors Sheffield here.


What are the Main Elements of Creative Writing? | Superprof? ›

What are the 8 elements of creative writing? The eight elements of creative writing that are used in short stories and novels are character development, setting, plot, conflict, theme, point of view, tone, and style.

What are the elements of creative writing? ›

Suspense and conflict, figures of speech and points of view, rhyme and rhythm, setting and scene, form and structure, diction and dialog, exposition and narration, plot and theme, assonance and consonance, induction and deduction, line breaks and stanzas: these are just some of the elements of creative writing.

What is the most important element in creative writing? ›

The most important element of creative writing is the mood. The mood is an elusive concept, but it's important because it can change the way a piece comes across to readers. This includes the tone of a story and language used in a piece.

What are the 3 main purposes of creative writing? ›

Creative writing can be used for entertainment, informative, or persuasive purposes. This type of writing can also be used to convey an emotion.

What are the 8 elements of creative writing? ›

The 8 elements of a story are: character, setting, plot, conflict, theme, point-of-view, tone and style. These story elements form the backbone of any good novel or short story. If you know the 8 elements, you can write and analyze stories more effectively.

What are the elements of creative writing Mcq? ›

What are the elements of creative writing? Character, setting and language. Plot, structure and action. Issues, narration, dialogue and style.

What are the 7 elements of creative writing? ›

The 7 elements of literature, complete list
  • Character. The most fundamental of the literary elements, the root of all storytelling, is this: character. ...
  • Setting. Your setting is where, when, and to some degree how your story takes place. ...
  • Narrative. ...
  • Plot. ...
  • Conflict. ...
  • Theme. ...
  • Voice.
Sep 20, 2021

What is the importance of creative writing? ›

As you learn to clarify your thoughts and emotions more efficiently and accurately, through creative writing, you will communicate more effectively; a skill that's exceedingly important in all areas of life.

What is the importance of learning the elements in writing a short story? ›

Why is this an important concept? When students can describe literary elements such as character and plot, they are better able to interpret and respond to a text. Focusing on and discussing key details of literary elements supports the understanding of the author's message and purpose.

What is the element idea for creative why do you consider it as creative? ›

The first and the foremost element of creativity is willingness to do something new. No one can teach or force you to become creative. An artist sees various shapes and colours even in a crumpled ball of paper thrown in the dustbin. A creative person would never throw an empty soft drink can.

What are the 4 main purposes of writing? ›

There are four purposes writers use for writing. When someone communicates ideas in writing, they usually do so to express themselves, inform their reader, to persuade a reader or to create a literary work.

What is creative writing explain? ›

Creative writing is an expressive form of literature; one which demands you to use your own creativity, imagination and story to portray a particular message, emotion, or plot. It defies the traditional bounds of other forms of writing and is completely subjective to our own preferences and experiences.

What are 5 important benefits of creative writing? ›

5 Ways a Creative Writing Course Will Benefit Your Future
  • Imagination. Creative writing boosts your imagination as you create new worlds, situations and characters in your work. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Better Thought Clarification. ...
  • Broader Vocabulary. ...
  • Critical Review.

What are the 5 types of writing? ›

Learn about the major writing styles: narrative, descriptive, persuasive, expository, and creative, and read examples of each.
The 5 Types of Writing Styles and Why You Should Master Each
  • Narrative Writing. ...
  • Descriptive Writing. ...
  • Persuasive Writing. ...
  • Expository Writing. ...
  • Creative Writing.
Apr 19, 2021

What are the elements in writing creative nonfiction? ›

The main elements of creative nonfiction are setting, descriptive imagery, figurative language, plot, and character.

What are the 4 main elements of literature? ›

Literary elements include plot, theme, character and tone.

What are the 5 major story elements? ›

These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow. The characters are the individuals that the story is about.

How do you write creative writing? ›

Top tips for creative writing
  1. 1 Write about what you know. Beginning writers always get told 'write what you know', but it's good advice. ...
  2. 2 Write about what you don't know. ...
  3. 3 Read widely and well. ...
  4. 4 Hook your readers. ...
  5. 5 Get your characters talking. ...
  6. 6 Show rather than tell. ...
  7. 7 Get it right first time. ...
  8. 8 Keep polishing.

How can students improve creative writing skills? ›

Remind students that writing is a process that helps us clarify ideas.
  1. Developing ideas.
  2. Finding a focus and a thesis.
  3. Composing a draft.
  4. Getting feedback and comments from others.
  5. Revising the draft by expanding ideas, clarifying meaning, reorganizing.
  6. Editing.
  7. Presenting the finished work to readers.

How can I write better creative writing? ›

5 Tips for Writing More Creatively
  1. Learn from the best—but don't copy them. ...
  2. Create a character based on someone you know. ...
  3. Use the snowflake method to brainstorm. ...
  4. Find an environment that encourages creative flow. ...
  5. Try freewriting.
Aug 25, 2021

How these elements work together in a story? ›

The basic bones of a story are setting, character, plot, conflict, and theme. These elements work together to create the basic structure of a story. Without any one of these components, a story will fall flat, and changing any one of these elements can dramatically affect a story's structure and impact.

How do the elements of a short story essential in crafting or making a story? ›

Great stories have exciting twists, relatable characters, vivid descriptions, and lasting effects. But behind your favorite story is a strong structure, made up of the essential elements of storytelling: plot, character, setting, theme, point of view, and tone.

What are the key elements of creativity and creative thinking? ›

Initiative, innovation, and inspiration are essential factors that keep a company moving onwards and upward and they are also all components of creative thinking. Creative thinking is a way of looking at a situation or problem and coming up with unique ideas or solutions to improve or solve it.

Why is creative thinking skills important? ›

Creativity allows us to view and solve problems more openly and with innovation. Creativity opens the mind. A society that has lost touch with its creative side is an imprisoned society, in that generations of people may be closed minded. It broadens our perspectives and can help us overcome prejudices.

Why is creative problem-solving important? ›

Creative problem-solving helps overcome unforeseen challenges and find solutions to unconventional problems. Fueling innovation and growth: In addition to solutions, creative problem-solving can spark innovative ideas that drive company growth.

What are the elements in writing creative nonfiction? ›

The main elements of creative nonfiction are setting, descriptive imagery, figurative language, plot, and character.

What are examples of creative writing? ›

Here are some instances of creative writing:
  • Novel writing.
  • Short stories.
  • Flash fiction.
  • Poetry.
  • Song lyrics.
  • Plays.
  • TV or film scripts.
  • Memoirs.

What makes great creative writing? ›

Good writers have a love for words – and the vocabulary to show it. Creative writing is all about using words effectively, whether you are bringing a story to life and transporting readers into another world or trying to convince them to use a different brand of soap.

What is the process of creative writing? ›

Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process. While you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.

How can I improve my creative writing skills? ›

5 Tips for Writing More Creatively
  1. Learn from the best—but don't copy them. ...
  2. Create a character based on someone you know. ...
  3. Use the snowflake method to brainstorm. ...
  4. Find an environment that encourages creative flow. ...
  5. Try freewriting.
Aug 25, 2021

What is creative writing in your own words? ›

Creative writing is an expressive form of literature; one which demands you to use your own creativity, imagination and story to portray a particular message, emotion, or plot. It defies the traditional bounds of other forms of writing and is completely subjective to our own preferences and experiences.

What do you mean by creative writing? ›

Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics.

What is creative writing essay? ›

Creative writing essays are one of the most open-minded, and free-spirited writing prompts that a student will face in either high school or college. This essay falls into the category of narrative essays, since it gives students the freedom of self-expression, and trains them to stretch their imagination.

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Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.