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Four Keys to Quality Creative Writing

This is a guest post from Brandy Olsen

Writing quality creative work is difficult. While there's no other form of writing that's freer from the confines of rules and research, the virtually bottomless bag of material that can be used to craft creative writing leaves many a writer unable to work past the inevitable analysis paralysis of having too much to choose from. The tenacity it takes to overcome this vehement objective standing between you and your fiction will define you as a creative writer. But before you set off down that road, stop and consider the following four keys to quality creative writing that can take years to realize if you choose to go about it by yourself:

UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS UNDERSTOOD

A good creative writer is able to read their own work through the mind of a reader who only has the writing itself to go off of. Otherwise, you can be writing what you think is a detailed yarn, which is in fact a befuddled mess of character actions. Readers don't have the luxury of free psychic readings to determine what your intent is as an author. It's imperative that you always be aware of what your reader is aware of. This helps you include all necessary information and cut out the fat.

AVOIDING OVERWRITING


“Jonathan's eyes began to dribble with shame, and the young lad did all he could to resist the urge to emit tears in front of the other boys.”
Overwriting might sound good, but when “An embarrassed Jonathan did his best not to cry in front of the other boys” works just fine in a fraction of the space, there's no reason to write more than you have to. Lovers of the written word will often pack their sentences, all the while forgetting that readability is key. Nobody likes to read long complicated sentences or an unnecessary number of words.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT WORD OVER ALMOST THE RIGHT WORD

Mark Twain once said that “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between a lightening bug and a bolt of lightening.” Never let a boring word make it into your writing if you can help it. “It was a dark night” and “It was a black night” say basically the same thing, but “black” sounds just a bit more vivid than “dark”.

MASTERING THE METAPHOR

“Love is a rose.” Creative writing almost invariably comes down to whether or not a writer is able to speak to a bigger truth than the flesh and blood of the story itself. Understanding metaphor, and the ability to create something fictional that represents the real world in some way, is essential in becoming a quality creative writer.
The number of aspiring writers versus professional writers in the world is an indicator of how difficult it is to commit quality creative writing to the world. The freedom of creative writing is incredibly alluring, yet the lack of rules can be the biggest obstacle in a young writer's way. The best strategy is to realize there are no rules, only keys, to writing creative works worth being noted and remembered.

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