What is 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.
Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered as one of the type of creative writing, even though they fall under journalism because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development.
Both fictional and non-fictional works fall into this category of different types of creative writing. This list of different types of creative writing also includes novels, biographies, short stories, and poems. In the academic setting, creative writing is typically separated into fiction and poetry classes, with a focus on writing in an original style, as opposed to imitating pre-existing genres such as crime or horror.
Writing for the screen and stage—screenwriting and playwriting—are often taught separately, but fit under the creative writing category as well.Source: Wikipedia
What are the different types of Creative Writing?
Whether you’re a reader or a writer, understanding different types of creative writing can be confusing. The category is so vast and so rich that it is easy to lose your bearings. Worry not- we’ve made a list of the major types of creative writing. Equipped with this, you will be able to tell the difference between all the major types of creative writing!
(P.S– Check out the examples for extra clarification on the types of creative writing.)
Types of Creative Writing
Novels are one of the most popular types of fiction around. Any work of fiction that is of considerable length, and uses characters to tell a story may be considered a novel. The essential components in a novel are generally agreed to be the characters, the plot, the setting, the conflict, and the resolution. The traditional structure for a novel includes the exposition, the climax, and the conclusion. Novels may be standalone or part of a series.
Because novels consist of such a vast category, there are many, many different kinds of novels that form sub-categories. These subcategories may be on the basis of language, genre, style, literary school, time period, or setting.
Example: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
A novella is essentially a short novel. Generally, if a work of fiction is between 20,000-50,000 words, it may be considered a novella and not a novel. Just like novels, novellas can be of many types.
Example: A Flight of Pigeons by Ruskin Bond
Short stories are pieces of narrative fiction writing that are considerably shorter than novels and novellas. A short story is prose that deals with imaginary events and characters and are less complex than a novel. They can be of various types, and span most genres.
Example: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
Flash Fiction is fiction that is shorter than a short story- in other words, a very short story. Structurally, it is similar to a short story but generally less complex. Flash fiction can even be a sentence long, as long as it is an entire story.
Examples: Unseen by Jose Varghese
A vignette is a very short piece of fiction writing. It differs from flash fiction in one crucial aspect. Flash fiction must have a plot. A vignette can be less structured and is generally used to evoke a feeling. It can be a brief account of anything but does not need to follow a strict structure.
Example: Various excellent examples can be found in Ruskin Bond’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life: Roads to Happiness’.
Narrative Nonfiction is writing where real events are narrated in the style of a fictional novel or story. It is also known as literary or creative nonfiction. This is also a vast category under which various types of narratives can be classified. A common and popular example of narrative fiction is travel books and accounts.
Example: Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul by Taran Khan
Biography and Autobiography
Biographies and autobiographies are both nonfiction books that narrate the life of a person. Autobiography refers to an account of a person’s life written by said person. A biography is written by someone else. Some biographies are approved by the individual whose story is being told. Other times, especially where historical figures are concerned, many people attempt to write biographies. How a biography is written depends on who is writing it, and why. Where scholarly biographies may be concerned with certain details of someone’s life, a personal biography may focus on completely different details.
Example: And Then One Day: A Memoir by Naseeruddin Shah
An essay is a short piece of writing focused on a particular topic. It could be written to analyze, persuade or explain. Essays can be of many different kinds, but broad categories include descriptive, narrative, and argumentative essays. A descriptive essay, as the name implies, focuses on describing an event, an object, or something else. Narrative essays are similar to short narrative nonfiction or fictional short stories. Argumentative essays are opinion pieces that are meant to persuade readers to accept a certain side of an argument, while clearly outlining the debate.
The usual structure of an essay includes an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. The introduction generally contains a thesis statement, which poses the main question of the essay. The conclusion should include the restatement of the thesis statement. While this does not apply to every essay, for most types it is a useful rule of thumb.
Examples: Walking with the Comrades by Arundhati Roy
Poetry is a form of writing that is difficult to define. According to Merriam-Webster, poetry is ‘writing that uses rhythm, vivid language, and often rhymes to provoke an emotional response.’
Because poetry is so loosely defined, it encompasses vastly different styles from all over the world. Poems may be classified by style, literary school, era, language, region, content, or form. Poems may follow a rigid structure or no structure at all. They are not necessarily narrative in nature. Generally, poems are shorter than prose, though there are works of epic poetry that are novel length and longer.
Example: On Killing A Tree by Gieve Patel
Songwriting may be considered a form of poetry. However, it is specifically poetry that is meant to be sung, with accompanying music. Unlike a poet whose work is meant to be read, the songwriter is concerned much more closely with rhythm, beat, and rhyme.
Songwriting has to take into account that their work will be composed and sung, and be mindful that the lyrics are compatible with the song. Often, songwriters compose the music for their own lyrics, but it is equally common for the composition to be done by someone else.
Example: Empire of Fear by Anoushka Maskey
Rap is a form of songwriting, and by extension, poetry. Associated with hip-hop, rap is a very specific kind of performance poetry. Rap is a type of music that involves fast speech, strong rhyme, and rhythm. It is not sung. It is also strongly associated with street culture and the poetry of resistance and anger.
Examples: On My Own by Brodha V
Screenplays are scripts for movies, TV and web series, and short films. Writing screenplays requires not only an understanding of prose writing but also the movie-making process. For example, it is important to keep in mind that the dialogues written will be spoken on screen by actors. Similarly, a director and cinematographer will decide what the content looks like on screen. Screenplays are divided into scenes and within scenes, shots. The location is clearly established, and dialogues are of utmost importance.
Example: The Disciple by Chaitanya Tamhane
Playwriting is a kind of dramatic writing. It is the writing of scripts that are to be performed on the stage. There are many, many kinds of plays that are different from each other in almost every respect. For example, the absurdist theatre has very little in common with classical theatre, and the respective playwrights use a variety of different tools. However, all plays are supposed to be performed, so there are many practical commonalities between playwrights.
Example: Harlesden High Street by Abhishek Majumdar
A blog is a personalized online platform where a person writes about any topic that is of interest to them. Sometimes, organizations and companies also have a blog with a theme and different writers contribute to it. The style of writing, as well as the content, can vary hugely. Blog writing is a fairly flexible medium that allows for different kinds of expression.
Speeches are generally addressed to the public and have a purpose behind them. Political figures and leaders of all sorts need to make speeches all the time. They may be to inspire, persuade or explain. Speeches are written with a clear aim in mind, and try to evoke strong emotion of some sort.
Example: ‘Tryst with Destiny’ by Jawaharlal Nehru
Merriam Webster defines journalism as the act of collecting and editing news for presentation through the media. Journalists write for different media- print, radio, and television being the most prominent. The presentation of news in all of these follows different formats, as does the job of a journalist. However, the fundamental role of the journalist- the collection of relevant news, and editing remain common.
Comic Strips/ Graphic Novels
Comic strips and graphic novels are interesting avenues for creative writing. They essentially present a collaboration between writers and artists. The artist draws the comic panels, and the writer writes in them. The way characters and stories are developed through this medium is very different from other types of fiction. The collaborative aspect, as in film and stage, cannot be forgotten.
Example: Corridor by Sarnath Banerjee
Letters are addressed to people and fall into two broad categories. Formal letters, and informal letters. Formal letters are written in an official or professional capacity. For example, letters to the municipality complaining about an issue is a formal letter. Informal letters are more personal in nature and more relaxed in their tone and use of language. For example, a letter written by a sister to her brother is an informal letter.
Example: Letters From A Father to His Daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru
While this list is by no means exhaustive, an effort has been made to include the main types of creative writing. All of the above can be published- but there are also other types of creative writing, like personal diaries and journals that are usually kept private.
We hope this helps you to better navigate the wonderfully chaotic world of reading and writing!