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Creative Writing: Everything You Need to Know

Tornike Asatiani - Co-founder & COO of Edumentors


In the heart of every storyteller lies the vibrant pulse of creative writing, a world where imagination reigns and where emotions, thoughts, and ideas find their voice. But what exactly is creative writing? At its core, creative writing is an art form that revolves around expressing oneself through narratives, poetry, scripts, and other forms of literature. It’s not just about stringing words together, but about crafting worlds, moulding characters, and eliciting emotions, all from the power of the pen (or keyboard).

The importance of creative writing stretches beyond the pages of a novel or the verses of a poem. Creative writing cultivates cognitive development, fosters empathy, and offers a therapeutic escape. Whether you’re penning an epic tale, jotting down a heartfelt poem, or expressing your thoughts in a personal diary, you’re delving into a form of self-exploration. Additionally, in the academic world, initiatives like the 11+ creative writing and A-level creative writing emphasise the pivotal role this skill plays in shaping young minds, boosting their analytical thinking, and enhancing their linguistic abilities.

With this guide, we hope to unravel the many facets of creative writing, from its foundational elements to the benefits it offers and how you can master it. Whether you’re a budding writer a seasoned author, or simply a student looking to learn, there’s always something to discover in this expansive world of creativity. 

The Foundations of Creative Writing

Creative writing, much like any art form, has its foundational principles that guide and enrich the craft. Whether you’re preparing for 11+ creative writing or diving into A-levels, understanding these foundations is crucial.

The 4 Types of Creative Writing

    1. Narrative Fiction

This involves storytelling, and it’s what most people think of when they hear “creative writing.” Examples include novels, short stories, and novellas.

    2. Poetry

A rhythmic and metaphorical form of writing, poetry allows writers to express feelings, thoughts, and stories in a condensed and poignant manner.

    3. Drama

 Written to be performed, drama includes scripts for movies, plays, and television shows.

    4. Creative Non-Fiction

 This merges the truth and the artistic flair. Memoirs, biographies, and personal essays fall under this category. 

The 5 Genres of Creative Writing-Breaking down the Differences

    1. Fantasy

A genre that uses magic and other supernatural elements as main plot elements, themes, or settings.

    2. Mystery

 This centres on a mysterious event, often a crime, exploring the solution and the circumstances around it.

    3. Romance

A narrative driven by a relationship, exploring the nuances of love and connection.

    4. Horror

Aimed at evoking fear and excitement in the reader, it often delves into the supernatural and unknown.

    5. Science Fiction

 Utilising futuristic settings, advanced technology, space exploration, and often commenting on the state and direction of society.

The 6 elements of creative writing: What makes a story resonate?

    1. Plot

 The sequence of events or the main story arc.

    2. Characters

The individuals who move through the narrative, driving and being affected by the plot.

    3. Setting

 The time and place where the story unfolds.

    4. Theme

The central idea, message, or lesson that’s conveyed.

    5. Point of View

 Through whose eyes or perspective we understand the narrative.

    6. Style/Tone

 The manner in which a story is told can dramatically affect its reception and impact.

Whether for GCSE creative writing exercises or other creative writing courses, always remember the power and impact of these foundational principles. They serve as the backbone of compelling narratives and resonate deeply with readers.

Education and Creative Writing

Creative writing, while inherently artistic, is also deeply rooted in the educational fabric. Through structured courses and examinations, students are offered an avenue to hone their skills, understand key techniques, and showcase their abilities. Two critical facets in the UK’s education system that emphasise creative writing are the GCSEs and 11+ exams.

GCSE Creative Writing Learning from Real-world Samples.

Many students often wonder how to write creative writing in English for the GCSE or how to get an A in English GCSE creative writing. One of the best ways to grasp the expectations is to analyse real-world samples. By understanding the structure, tone, and content of top-scoring pieces, students can identify the qualities that examiners look for. 

    How to Get an A in English GCSE Creative Writing

 Achieving a top grade requires a combination of factors:

        1. Understanding the Prompt

Ensure you’ve fully grasped the theme or topic.

        2. Planning

 Before diving into writing, structure your thoughts, plot, and character arcs.

        3. Using Varied Vocabulary

 Showcase your linguistic prowess without overcomplicating the narrative.

        4. Engaging the Reader

The opening should hook the reader, and the narrative should maintain interest throughout.

        5. Editing and Refining

Always review and revise. It’s at this stage that good writing often becomes great.

11+ Creative Writing

The 11+ examination, aimed at students transitioning to secondary education, places a significant emphasis on creative writing. The 11+ creative writing segment tests a student’s ability to construct a coherent narrative, use varied vocabulary, and demonstrate grammatical prowess. 

Why is it Essential?

The 11+ creative writing not only evaluates a student’s writing capabilities but also their cognitive abilities like imagination, logical structuring, and time management. High-quality 11-plus creative writing examples showcase a blend of creativity and structured thinking, essential skills for further education and life in general.

Incorporating the educational aspects into your creative writing journey can seem challenging, but remember, every exam and grade is merely a stepping stone. What truly matters is the continuous growth, learning, and love for the craft.

The Career of a Creative Writer

Choosing a career path often involves aligning one’s passion with practicality. For those drawn to the art of storytelling and expression through words, creative writing emerges as a captivating choice. But is it a viable profession? What does the day-to-day life of a creative writer look like? Let’s delve into these queries.

Is Creative Writing a Good Major? The Pros and Cons


      1. Passion for Profession

For those who have an innate love for writing, this major allows them to pursue what they genuinely love.

      2. Versatility

 A degree in creative writing isn’t just limited to penning novels or poetry. Graduates can venture into journalism, content creation, advertising, scriptwriting, and more.

      3. Skill Development

Beyond writing, this major hones skills like critical thinking, communication, research, and more, which are valuable in numerous professions.

      4. Networking

 University programs often provide opportunities to meet authors, agents, publishers, and other industry professionals.


      1. Job Market Competition

While there are opportunities, the writing domain can be competitive, with many vying for the same positions.

      2. Income Variability

Unlike some professions, writing may not always offer a stable monthly income, especially for those freelancing or looking to publish.

      3. Subjectivity

 Writing is subjective. What one editor or publisher loves, another might reject. This can be challenging for emerging writers to navigate.

What Do Creative Writers Do? An Overview of the Profession

At the core, creative writers craft stories, narratives, poems, articles, and content that resonate with readers. Their days might be spent:

      Brainstorming Ideas

This is where every piece begins—finding a theme, message, or story worth sharing.


Especially crucial for genres like historical fiction or specific articles. Research ensures accuracy.

      Writing and Re-writing

Crafting the initial draft and then refining it multiple times to ensure it aligns with the desired quality.

      Pitching and Submitting

For those looking to publish, a significant time might be spent pitching to agents, editors, or publishers.

      Continuous Learning

Like any profession, trends and techniques in writing evolve. Writers often attend workshops, seminars, or courses (like online creative writing courses) to enhance their skills.

In conclusion, the life of a creative writer is multifaceted. It’s a blend of creativity, determination, continuous learning, and, at times, resilience in the face of rejection. But for those truly passionate, the joy of creating worlds with words and impacting readers is unparalleled.

Starting with Creative Writing

Diving into the vast ocean of creative writing might seem overwhelming at first, especially for those new to the craft. It’s like staring at a blank canvas, waiting for that first brushstroke of inspiration. But fear not, every writer, renowned or budding, has been there. With the right guidance and techniques, that daunting blank page can turn into a canvas filled with words, stories, and imagination.

Creative Writing Ideas-Where They Come From and How to Cultivate Them


Everyday life is brimming with stories. Observe people, places, and situations. Ask yourself, “What if?”.


Books, articles, blogs – they all can spark an idea. Notice what intrigues you in others’ writings.


Our subconscious mind can be a treasure trove of bizarre, exciting, and unique ideas.

    Mind Maps

Start with a central theme and branch out with related concepts, characters, conflicts, and backgrounds.

  Current Events

News stories can provide a backdrop for a timely and relevant narrative.

Creative Writing Exercises

   Free Writing

Set a timer (maybe 10 minutes) and write without stopping or editing. Let your thoughts flow onto the page.

   Word Association

Begin with a word and jot down everything it makes you think of. It can lead to unexpected connections and ideas.

   Character Development

Invent a character from scratch. Consider their background, fears, dreams, and quirks, and then place them in a situation.

   Image Inspiration

 Look at a photograph or artwork and craft a story around it.

   Story Prompts

There are countless prompts available online. They give a starting point, and you take it from there.

There will be moments of uncertainty, thrill, discovery, and enlightenment. But with the right tools and mindset, the process can be incredibly rewarding. So, grab your pen or keyboard and let the stories unfold.

Benefits of Creative Writing

Creative writing, often viewed as a whimsical hobby or a tool for academic enhancement, harbours a depth of benefits that many overlook. Its impact resonates not just in the literary world but also in our cognitive and emotional development.

Does Creative Writing Make You Smarter?

Contrary to the isolated image of a writer lost in their imagination, creative writing demands a lot from our brains. It sharpens our cognitive abilities, enhancing analytical thinking, vocabulary, and understanding of complex concepts. Storytelling requires a blend of logic and imagination, thus exercising both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. So, while it might not raise your IQ overnight, it undeniably sharpens your mind and hones your critical thinking skills.

How Creative Writing Helps Students: Academic and Personal Advantages

Beyond the realms of grades and classroom performance, creative writing offers students a unique set of advantages:

  Academic Growth

It improves vocabulary, grammar, and writing structure, which are vital across various subjects.

  Enhanced Empathy

Crafting stories allows students to step into different characters’ shoes, fostering a deeper understanding of human emotions and perspectives.

   Boosted Creativity and Imagination

Regular writing can expand a student’s horizon, encouraging them to think outside the box.

   Problem-Solving Skills

Developing plots and resolving story conflicts cultivate a student’s ability to tackle real-life challenges.

   Self-expression and Confidence

Creative writing provides an outlet for emotions, ideas, and opinions, boosting self-worth and confidence.

Creative Writing and Mental Health

The intertwining of pen, paper, and emotions runs deep. Creative writing is more than an art form; for many, it’s a lifeline.

Does Creative Writing Help Depression?

While creative writing isn’t a replacement for professional treatment, many individuals battling depression have found solace in the written word. Writing allows a release of pent-up emotions, creating a safe space for expression without judgment. Narrating their experiences provides a form of self-reflection and understanding, offering a means to navigate their feelings and potentially find a path towards healing.

How Creative Writing Helps Mental Health and Provides Therapeutic Value?


Writing about traumatic or emotional events can serve as a release, helping individuals process their feelings.


The act of writing focuses the mind, keeping it in the present moment, similar to meditation.

   Sense of Accomplishment

Completing a piece, regardless of its length, provides a boost of self-worth and achievement.

   Reduction in Stress

Translating thoughts into words has been shown to lower anxiety levels, promoting a state of calm.

   Enhanced Self-awareness

It offers insights into one’s own emotions, behaviours, and triggers, promoting personal growth.

In conclusion, creative writing is a multifaceted tool that enriches our minds, enhances academic prowess, and offers therapeutic value. Whether pursued as a profession, hobby, or therapy, its benefits are profound and far-reaching.

11-Plus Student Practicing Creative Writing

Online and Traditional Creative Writing Courses

Creative writing in education has seen a significant transformation in recent years. With the rise of digital platforms and the ever-evolving nature of traditional institutions, aspiring writers are now spoilt for choice. Let’s delve into the contrasts and benefits of both.

Where to Learn Creative Writing: Physical Institutions vs. Online Platforms

Traditionally, universities and colleges have been the primary source for structured creative writing programs. These institutions offer comprehensive curriculums, renowned faculties, and the immersive experience of a classroom setting. Engaging directly with professors and peers can be invaluable, fostering a sense of community and providing hands-on feedback.

On the flip side, the digital era ushered in online learning platforms that break geographical boundaries. Online courses offer flexibility, allowing learners to progress at their own pace and often at a fraction of the cost of traditional programs. Whether you’re a working professional, a parent, or someone who resides in a remote location, online platforms can make learning accessible.

Online Creative Writing Courses: The Digital Learning Revolution

The proliferation of online courses has revolutionised how we perceive education. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and MasterClass, among others, have democratised access to top-tier instructors and curriculums from around the world. From beginner workshops to advanced storytelling techniques, there’s a digital course for every level of writer.

Another advantage is the myriad of formats available: video lectures, webinars, interactive assignments, peer reviews, and more, catering to diverse learning styles.

Advantages of Online Learning and Where to Find the Best Courses

   Flexibility and Convenience

Study anytime, anywhere. This adaptability is especially beneficial for those juggling multiple responsibilities.

   Diverse Course Offerings

With no physical constraints, online platforms can offer a broader range of courses, from niche genres to unique writing techniques.


Without the overheads associated with physical institutions, online courses often come at a reduced price.


Engage with a global community of writers. Online forums and discussion boards allow for networking opportunities that span continents.

   Up-to-date Material

Online platforms can quickly update their content, ensuring that courses remain current with evolving literary trends and technologies.

As for finding the best courses, thorough research is essential. Check for reviews, curriculum details, instructor qualifications, and any available trial periods or sample lessons. Edumentors is a great platform when it comes to online tutoring. They offer assistance from tutors from UK’s top universities-weather you’re a GCSE, A-level or 11-plus student looking for some guidance. With individually fitted assistance, you can be sure of a positive teaching experience.

In conclusion, whether you’re drawn to the allure of a traditional classroom or the flexibility of online platforms, the options for creative writing education are diverse and expansive. It’s a golden era for aspiring writers, with quality education just a click or a campus away.

Debates in Creative Writing

As with any art form or discipline, creative writing isn’t without its controversies and debates. At the heart of these discussions lie questions about the teachability of the craft and its influence on cognitive processes. Let’s delve into these topics.

Can Creative Writing Be Taught? Exploring Both Sides of the Argument

   The Affirmative Side

Proponents of creative writing courses argue that while innate talent can’t be instilled, the skills and techniques that refine this talent can be imparted. They point to the structured environment of a class or workshop where students learn about plot development, character arc, pacing, and other foundational elements. Further, a guided environment can provide feedback, enabling budding writers to identify their strengths and areas of improvement.

  The Skeptical Side

 Detractors, on the other hand, believe that writing, especially its creative facet, springs from personal experiences, innate talent, and individual interpretation of the world. They assert that while techniques can be learned, genuine creativity cannot be taught. Moreover, they warn against the risk of homogenising voices, where students might end up emulating the style of their instructors or popular trends rather than finding their unique voice.

Regardless of where one stands on this debate, the surge in creative writing courses, both online and offline, suggests a significant demand and belief in the merits of guided learning.


For many, creative writing becomes a sanctuary—a space free from the confines of reality, where thoughts, emotions, and experiences metamorphose into stories, characters, and worlds. It provides a canvas for our deepest fears, joys, dreams, and hopes. As writers shape narratives, they’re not just building stories; they’re often reconstructing their understanding of life and their place in it. This continuous process of introspection and externalisation fosters personal growth, making creative writing an invaluable tool for self-awareness and development.

With the plethora of resources available today, from online courses to local workshops, there’s a platform for everyone. But the most crucial tool in your arsenal will always be your unique perspective and voice. Nurture it, believe in it, and let it resonate.

In the final reckoning, creative writing isn’t just about producing literary masterpieces. It’s about evolution, both personal and societal. It’s about finding clarity amidst chaos and deriving meaning from the mundane. So, as you close this blog and ponder over the world of creative writing, remember it’s a journey, and like all journeys, it’s best enjoyed one step, or in this case, one word at a time.


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