Creative Writing

Creative writing refers to a writing style that expresses thoughts and ideas in an imaginative way. It involves creating a work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, going beyond the technical, professional, journalistic, and academic form of literature.

4,531 Questions
Writing: Characters and Dialogue
Literary Terminology
Creative Writing

What are the features and elements of narratives?

Basic Elements and Features of Narrative have characters with delineate personalities and/or identities, dialogue often included (tenses do changes), and descriptive language is used.. While the common elements are the setting, character, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, and comprise the theme and the atmosphere.

Elements of Narrative

One of the starting points for interpreting and writing about imaginative works is to analyze the elements of narration. Here are some questions that may lead you to consider how the various elements are working in a particular text.

Themes--the central meaning of a text

What is this work about? What evidence can you provide to reveal this is so? How is theme expressed through character or action, scenes or language, the social and material conditions within the text? What issues or ideas are raised? About individuals and their emotional, private or political lives? About social or racial justice? Are the ideas limited to members of the group represented by the characters (age, class, race, nationality, dominant culture)? Are these ideas applicable to general conditions of life? What values are embodied in the idea?


How are ideas in the work expressed by character? What actions bring out important traits of the character? Is this character realistically depicted? If not, is the character supposed to represent an idea, belief, or value system? How is the character described? Why is this important? To what extent do the traits and the character's actions permit you to judge him/her? Is the character consistent or inconsistent? Believable or not? Dimensional or stereotypical? Has the character changed in any way from the beginning of the narrative? How?

Plot and Structure--selection and arrangement of incidents that give a story focus. How and why do certain events happen.

PLOT: Are there characters that come into conflict with each other? Or is the plot driven by internal motivation and/or outward circumstances? If the conflict stems from contrasting values or idea, what are these and how are they brought out? What dilemma does the protagonist deal with? How does she deal with it? What obstacles do the characters overcome? Do they realize their goals? Is there resolution in the end?

Structure: Is the work told in flashback or does it proceed chronologically? What effect do flashbacks have? Are there different narrative threads or interlocking narratives used? Are there stories within stories? How do they reverberate, highlight, respond to themes in the main narrative? Is there a climax, a high point of the story, that leads to resolution? Where does the tension lie in the story? Between characters? Between conflicting perspectives? Between contrasting values? Does the work withhold any crucial details until the end? How does the work end? Open-ended or closed?

Setting--cultural, social, physical context of story's action.

Types of settings: natural world: weather and climate, geography, animal life, seasons and conditions. Objects of human construction and manufacture: personal effects, interiors and exteriors, possessions, buildings. Historical and cultural conditions: perceptions and values of society, assumptions, prevalent ideas or trends. How does setting influence character? Create mood? What cultural, religious, and political conditions are assumed? How do objects take on importance and symbolic meaning? How important are sound or silences? How do weather conditions highlight themes?

Features and elements of narratives

Characters with defined personalities/identities

Dialogue often included tense may change to the present or the future

Descriptive language to create images in the reader's mind and enhance the story

common elements:










Basic Features of a Narrative

  • Quotations- Make quotes part of the dialogue.
  • Details- Use sensory detail to place the reader within the story-this is sort of covered by language i.e. using figurative language such as metaphors/similes etc.
  • Structure- Make sure you have a basic structure- a story with a solid beginning, middle and end, where action flows through time.-this includes whether it's linear/non-linear. Whether it's written 1st/2nd/3rd person.
  • Context-this would include the social background of the characters, the time period it's set in, the culture of the setting.
  • Language: see above 'Details'.

Journalists tend to think in terms of the basics of journalism: Who, what, when, where, why, how. Narrative journalists must think in terms of story elements: setting, character, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, dialogue, theme, action, scenes.

1. Characters with defined personalities/identities

2. Dialogue often included tense may change to the present or the future

3. Descriptive language to create images in the readers mind and enhance the story

narrative, a telling of some true or fictitious event or connected sequence of events, recounted by a narrator 2 to a narratee (although there may be more than one of each). Narratives are to be distinguished from descriptions of qualities, states, or situations, and also from dramatic enactments of events (although a dramatic work may also include narrative speeches). A narrative will consist of a set of events (the story) recounted in a process of narration (or ), in which the events are selected and arranged in a particular order (the. The category of narratives includes both the shortest accounts of events (e.g. the cat sat on the mat, or a brief news item) and the longest historical or biographical works, diaries, travelogues, etc., as well as novels, ballads, epics, short stories, and other fictional forms. In the study of fiction, it is usual to divide novels and shorter stories into. As an adjective, 'narrative' means 'characterized by or relating to story-telling: thus narrative technique is the method of telling stories, and narrative poetry is the class of poems (including ballads, epics, and verse romances) that tell stories, as distinct from dramatic and lyrics poetry. Some theorists of have attempted to isolate the quality or set of properties that distinguishes narrative from non-narrative writings: this is called narrativity. For a fuller account, consult Michael J. Toolan, Narrative (1988).

Literary Terminology
Creative Writing

What are the different kinds of narrative?

Here are some of the different types or kinds of narratives:

Epics - lengthy stories of heroic exploits

Fables - stories that teach a lesson, often using animal characters

Folk Tales - old stories that reveal cultural customs

Fantasy - fiction stories about unrealistic characters and events that would never happen

Science Fiction - fiction stories based on scientific fact

Horror - fiction stories that are scary or horrific

Historical Fiction - fiction stories set in the past, containing some true facts

Legend - stories based on fact, but with exaggeration about the hero

Myth - ancient stories meant to explain nature or life

Plays - stories in the form of dialogue, meant to be performed on the stage or in a movie

Realistic Fiction - stories whose characters and events could occur in real life

Short Stories - brief stories focusing on one character and event

Tall Tales - humorous exaggeration stories focusing on a mythical hero

Biography - detailed accounts of someone's life

News - information about current events

There are also sub-categories of the above, such as:

Captivity narratives - the progatonist is captured and describes a foreign culture

Quest narratives - the character(s) must work to achieve a goal

A narrative is a story told in words. Any story you can think of, any telling of what happened--and then what happened--and what happened next--is a narrative, whether it's written down or spoken aloud. A book that tells a story is one example of a narrative.

There are six different types of narratives and they are linear, multinarrative, dual, flashback, fragmanted, and metafictive.

A personal narrative, an autobiography, a poem, a short story, a novel, or any literary work. It can also be used in fine art for pictoral illustrative narrations.

Stream of Consciousness: This resembles a train of thought or internal monologue.

Inadequate Narrator: Leaves a lot of blanks in the novel/text due to the individuals ignorance of the plot.

Unreliable Narrator: Deliberately bias with the information they are given, manipulating the events they are told or experience.

Free indirect narrator: Honest thoughts and feelings expressed personally. Take 'asides' in plays for instance, or say if someone were muttering under their breath. This allows the reader to follow how the narrator feels about certain characters and so on.

Focalizer: This is where events are told from a particular point of view, i.e. the story of a woman may be told from someone elses point of view.

Self-conscious narrator: Reminding you constantly it's a novel/text you are reading.

Multiple narration: More than one narrator.

Intrusive Narrator: Intervenes with the normal narrative.

Omniscient narrator: A narrative mode in which the reader and narrator are aware of all of the action that occurs within the novel.

Literary Terminology
Creative Writing

What are the stages or elements of a plot?

1) Exposition/Introduction: This part introduces the characters and their personalities.

2) Rising Action: This part helps recognize and reveal the conflicts of the characters to another character or to himself. This also shows the progression of the story.

3) Climax: This Part shows suspense (Turning point) In the novel that suprises the reader.

4) Falling Action or Resolution: this part demonstrates how the character had done accordingly in the rising action. (If we have a rising action we have the falling action.)

Major plot elements would be:

  • Character
  • Conflict
  • Complication
  • Crisis-Climax
  • Change
  • Resolution

There is, however, another school of thought that involves 8 parts of a plot:

  • Point of entrance
  • exposition
  • defining event
  • rising action
  • crisis
  • falling action
  • denouement
  • closure

To be technically correct, a plot can be generalized as "whats going to happen" in a story. All stories are different, and some will have more or less plot points than 5.

Creative Writing
Latin to English

What does Res stand for?

Thing; matter; issue.

Academic Writing
Creative Writing

Can you write a description of a scary person?

One description could be a person with long wretchy hair, oily and wrinkly skin, big eyes, and bloody.

Think of Dracula or something scary. It might not be their appearance, It might be something you know about them...

The most dangerous people can be beautiful to look at, have lovely smiles and an engaging, fun personality but they are hiding a black heart. A psychopath/sociopath is someone who feels no empathy or emotional connection to other people. They just don't care about anyone. They only pretend to. The more unattractive people can have wonderful personalities and kind hearts.

Writing and Composition
Creative Writing
Short Stories

What are literary elements for short stories?

This is copied from a teaching syllabus -- I can't remember the author because I copied it down quite awhile ago!

Characters and how we get to know them:

1. Through the author's physical description of them

2. Their actions

3. Their words

4. Their inner thoughts

5. Through what other characters say and think about them

Plot - A pattern of events that develops from the interactions between characters.

A plot is a pattern of events in a cause and effect relationship.

1. Cause - Things that make something happen.

2. Effect - What happens because something was done.

Conflicts - The problems the characters encounter.Their conflicts can be:

1. External - conflict with others and with nature

2. Internal - conflict within themselves

Setting - Time and place of the story

Theme - The meaning behind the events and the characters' actions.

Narrative - The Point of View and Verbal tense of the narrator. How much the narrator intrudes into the story.

Style of Writing - Rhetorical devices, word choice, and sentence structure.

Plot Outline:

1. Exposition: the background or introductory information that the reader must have in order to understand the story.

2. Rising Action - all of the events that take place leading up to the climax.

3. Climax - The turning point. Here the story is turned in a different direction, toward the conclusion, which is the wrapping up of the story.

4. Falling Action - The immediate reaction to the climax.

5. Denouement - The conclusion of the plot.Loose ends are tied up.

Literature and Language
Literary Terminology
Creative Writing

What are the foiling techniques?

To develop a character foil, many parallels are drawn between the character and his/her foil. These mostly include similarities. However, to establish the foil, the characters are contrasted in a more fundamental element of character, in order to more clearly emphasise this character trait in the primary character.

Creative Writing

What would be a good book character dress up idea?

a horror from one day at horrorland

Creative Writing

What are some good writing topics?

Wow! This is one of those things known as "loaded questions!"

Nobody can tell you what to write about! If I write a list of topics, they won't be anything you'd be interested in, and your writing will be dull and boring because you used my list instead of your own.

Let's work on getting your brain to work up your own topic list instead.

New question: How Do I Come Up With Topics?

  1. Write What You Know - list all your favorite things; list everything that you know how to do well or that you like doing; list things that you hate; list everybody that you know; list everybody that you would like to meet; etc.

  2. Use Your Assignment - if your teacher has given you a general topic, and you want to narrow it down, do a web search for the general term (use www.google.com or www.dogpile.com or any other search engine) and see what other topics come up from that search.

  3. Use the News - read a newspaper (either online or an actual paper) and write about the things you see there - you can use broad topics like "crime" or specific ones like "teenager killed in car crash"

  4. Browse the Web - just go surfing and see what pops up!

Anything can be a good topic if you are interested enough to write about it!

Creative Writing
Literary Terminology

What is an example of in medias res?

Medias res means to start in the middle as in the middle of a tale. The Odessy begins in the middle of the story; not at the beginning and not at the end working backwards.

Creative Writing
Fiction Writing

Can someone help me think of a good scary story title about a girl trapped in the ground and she tries to get out and she's dreaming the whole thing but she really is in a coffin and eventually dies?

Only you can come up with a good name! Titles come from the story, not from some anonymous person on the internet! Titles are not as important as some writers think - your title might change many times between your first write and your final draft!

Think about your story - what is going on and who are the people involved? What is something special about the story that might make a good title? Don't sweat it - just write something down and get on with the story!

Check out the Related Questions for help with your book, too!

Well how bout:

The Dreamer in the Coffin?

Creative Writing
Fiction Writing

What is a good title for a bully story?

Only you can come up with a good name! Book Titles come from the story, not from some anonymous person on the internet!

Think about your story - what is going on and who are the people involved? Bullies are mean and cowardly - think of a title that reflects that; or you could have a title about being scared or being bullied.

Check out the Related Questions for help with your book, too!

Creative Writing

How do you write a ballet story?

First, you need to do a LOT of research so that you can portray the world of ballet accurately. Dancing is hard work, and most dancers actually hurt themselves trying to dance their best.

Second, find some good, solid characters with which the readers can identify.

Third, the rest is up to you as a writer. You must find the story inside your own heart for it to be a good story. I suggest reading some ballet stories and books to see how other writers have done it.

Another Opinion:

Being a dancer is very hard work. Taking ballet or a hardcore dance class would be helpful in writing a ballet story - but you don't have to. Your reader should be able to experience the hardships involved in dancing, as well as the fun.

The opinion of a dancer:

If you are writing a ballet play think of any random story and use ballet steps and ballet dances to tell the audiences what the story is.

If your writing a story about ballet dancers then it's best to watch ballets and watch students in ballet class and find out what ballet dancers do when they are not dancing in class.

Literary Terminology
Creative Writing

What are the elements of a narrative?

Elements of a narrative:

Setting - Where the story takes place; usually every scene has a change of setting.

Character - Description of the character and a little of their background.

Plot - The series of events that unfold in the story.

Conflict - The struggle between two opposing forces.

Climax - The strongest part of the story, where the conflict builds up to the emotional peak.

Resolution - Where the conflict is resolved.

Another user defines it this way:

The elements of narrative are the plot, style, theme, point of crew, exposition, resolution, climax, conflict, characters, and setting.

Six Elements of a Narrative:

Plot: the sequence of events that take place in a story.

Setting: the time and place in which the events of a story take place.

Characterization: the methods used to present the personality of a character in a narrative.

Direct--the author describes the character. Example--She was a large woman with a large purse.

Indirect--the reader judges what the character is like based on what they say or do, or what other characters say about them. Example--We believe the narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is crazy because he talks nervously and frequently repeats himself.

Atmosphere: the general mood or feeling established in a piece of literature. Atmosphere is created through word choice and pacing.

Word Choice--the author uses words that make the reader feel a certain way. A spooky atmosphere is created in "The Tell-Tale Heart" through the use of words like "hideous," "marrow," "chilled," and "nervous."

Pacing--the author controls the speed at which we read through sentence length, punctuation, repetition of words and other techniques.

Point of View: who is narrating the story (2 main types: First Person, Third Person)

First person: the narrator uses "I" to tell the action, and is involved in the story.

Third person: the story is told from a perspective outside the story. The characters are referred to by name, or as he, she or they.

Conflict: the central problem that drives the action of a story. (two main types)

Internal: The conflict happens in a character's mind. A character with a guilty conscience is an example of internal conflict.

External: The conflict happens between characters, or between a character and some outside force, like nature. Sherlock Holmes pursuing a criminal is an example of external conflict.

Creative Writing
Writing: Characters and Dialogue

What are some good teacher names?

Teachers are people. Any name is a good teacher name.

Try the links below.

Creative Writing
Writing: Characters and Dialogue

What are some ugly names for fictional characters?

You need to invent your own names - writers who copy ideas from other people end up in trouble for plagiarism! If you copy someone's names or ideas, then when you publish your story, they could claim you stole those from them and sue you for part of your money.

I use online name generators for the names of my secondary characters - the main characters, I take my time and choose special names from baby name books!

For "ugly" names, just pick names you think are ugly - everybody has their own idea of what's pretty and what's ugly.

Click on the LINKS for character name generator websites!

History of England
Adjectives and Articles
Creative Writing

Why do authors use adjectives?

They use adjectives because they want to express themselves or the characters in a good way. It will get the readers attention and can make the book a good read. It can make other people want to get the book and see how well you wrote and adjectives is a big help to succeed and they might even be looking for adjectives that come near.

Hope i helped! ;)

Creative Writing
Writing: Characters and Dialogue

How do you come up with good character names?

You can come up with good character names in an assortment of ways.

You can use a name generating website (click on Add Related Links to the left),You can use a baby name book,You can use old census records,You can use a phone book,you can use a school yearbook,You can use the credits list of any movie or television show,You can use a newspaper or journal - some writers swear by British tabloids,You can use a word in another language which has a meaning relevant to your character,You can use any word you like for a name (For example there are actual people named Stone. Tequila, Locutus, London, Mary Christmas, Maryetta Pancake, Iamme Perfect and Texas sisters Ura Hogg and Imma Hogg!), and,You can make up a name that sounds good to you. One way is to write a song lyric out without spaces (ohsaycanyousee, for example) and pick out interesting or unusual letter combinations (Sayca, Cany, etc.)

Famous Authors' Suggestions:

"I'm always in the lookout for clever character names. I harvest them from theater programs, maps, telephone books, TV listings. But my newest resource comes right out of the internet age. It costs nothing if you have access to the Web. In fact, those names arrive by the bucketful every day in your e-mail in-box. That's right! It's spam! Or rather, spammers, those falsely named 'senders' who are constantly flogging mortgages and Russian brides and male enhancement products. The names are usually too eccentric for your hero or heroine, but they're great for secondary characters, proving that spam is actually good for something. "

~Linda Needham

"I think the naming of characters is one of the most important elements in storytelling. If you start with the belief that your story lives or dies with character, then you begin to see how important a name could be. I believe it is important that the writer never misses an opportunity to say something about character. A name is a good starting point. "

~Michael Connelly

When inventing character names, Evan Marshall recommends you keep these questions in mind:

  • Does the character's background suggest any names or types of names?
  • Would the character's parents have been likely to choose a certain name or kind of name?
  • What names were in fashion when the character was born?
  • Would a nickname or less formal version of a name be appropriate for this person?

"It took us forever to name our mystery series character. Thank goodness for the global find-and-replace feature in Word. Finally, we settled on Peter for a first name because it's masculine but not macho. For the last name we wanted something short, strong, and easy to remember. We settled on Zak. We might have chosen differently if we'd realized that the name would have to be modified in the Dutch translations. In Dutch, both 'Peter' and "Zak' are swear words - I believe for the same unmentionable. "

~Hallie Ephron, half of G.H. Ephron

"For many of my books, I give the protagonists names I always wished my parents had given me. [...] I named the secondary characters after people I had sat beside in elementary school."

~Sarah Mlynowski

"It's very popular in the African-American culture for new moms to make up their own names based on an existing name - 'updating them' with a new rhythm, usually by adding sounds to the beginning or the end. For example, in 'A Personal Matter' I created several young black women who had made-up names like Diamonique, T'keysa, and Nalexi. "

~Karyn Langhorne

More ideas and tips from WikiAnswers Contributors:

Try to make sure that first and last names start with different letters - remember all those characters in the Superman comics whose initials were all L.L. ?Vary the sound and length of the character's first and last names - if they have a short first name, try using a longer last name, or vice versa.Try to avoid having all the character names coming from one ethnic background, or sounding alike, or beginning or ending in similar ways.Try to avoid overly long first names for your main characters.Check via search engines (e.g., Google) to be sure that none of the names you picked have any unusual problems (e.g., see paragraph below).

Any list of names can help you come up with a character name. There is only one thing to remember: never use the name of anybody who is even slightly famous! If you use an actual person's name, like Kanye West, then he can sue you for writing about him. If you simply adore the name Kanye, be sure that your character has a totally different middle and last name so that the real Kanye can't claim you are slandering him.

When using a list of names, it's a good idea to use only one of the names given, especially if the name is unusual. That way, there's almost no chance that you will hear from an actual person complaining that you've written something bad about them.

Some tips on names from different fiction genres:

Stories set in the modern era(s) -

use more modern sounding namesstick to more modern name lists such as a phone book or baby name bookkeep the stereotypes in mind; most modern names have a mental image that goes along with them, such as the idea of a man named Dick versus a man named Rick

Stories set in the past -

use older names or historical namesuse older lists of names, or use a fantasy name generatorkeep the location in mind; older names are not going to cross ethnic boundaries the way modern names do. You're not going to find a Viking named Alonzo or a Bedouin named Daisy

Fantasy tales -

make up your own languageuse older names or historical nameschoose an ethnic base for your names, such as Norse for one area and Arabic for anothercombine different ethnic flavors to create unique names

Science Fiction tales -

make up your own languageuse any name that you wish - your planet might have a background which would make the citizens use historical or fantasy type names, or it might be a more modern planetchoose an ethnic base for your names if the planet was colonized by people from Earthmake your alien names descriptive - short, harsh names for bad aliens, for example; or melodic names for good aliens

Names are so important when it comes to creating a character. The sound of the name can reflect what kind of personality the character has, or hint at your plans for the character's future. For example:

Do you want them to have a really pretentious name? Go with an old European name - especially one of the little-used English ones like Leslie for a guy or Phillipa for a girl.Do you want the name to flow and sound calm? Listen to the syllables and get a rhythm going. Sharon Elizabeth might be good for a girl, or John Michael for a guy.Do you want the name to be short and choppy? Try a nickname or an Oriental name.Do you want the name to sound silly? Go with rhyming names, or alliteration, or really mixed-up ethnic names like Joshua Ching Sanchez.Do you want an exotic character? Look up some names from exotic cultures or little-known countries.Do you want your character to be marked for greatness? Try giving them a "hero" name like Arthur, or a name that means "kingly" or "great." You could give them a nickname that hints at greatness - Jim Butcher's Furies series has a character named Tavi, who you learn is actually nicknamed that from his true name Octavian (he's the eighth generation of rulers and has been hidden away as a child to save his life).

There are many ways to come up with good character names. Here are some places where you can find lists of names:

  • a baby name book
  • a telephone book
  • the credits list on any movie or tv show
  • the obituary column in a newspaper
  • a company directory
  • a magazine or newspaper - they have pages listing their contributors
  • a charity list of donors
  • the internet - use a search engine to look up "names"
Creative Writing
Short Stories

What are the elements of a story or novel?

The basic elements of a story or novel are:

1. Setting: The first important element of a short story is the Setting. The setting refers to the time and place that the event(s) in the story take place.

2. Conflict: The conflict or complication refers to the tension, the fight or the struggle between the various characters or forces in the story. It actually is what gives fuel to the story and influences its flow (i.e. its plot). Without the conflict, then you have no story. It's that important!

3. Character: The character element is the person or people in a story. Sometimes the characters are not human, but may be animals or spirits. Even when non-human characters are used, they tend to have human characteristics. Characters are usually of two types: the protagonist and the antagonist.

The protagonist is the main character. He or she is in conflict with another character known as the antagonist. An example of a protagonist and an antagonist are Superman, the protagonist, and Lex Luthor, the antagonist.

4. Theme: This element refers to the topic that the writer writes or comments on in his or her writing. The theme is the motif of the story, that is, it permeates the whole story and recurs throughout the narrative. An example of a theme is the topic of "bravery" in Harry Potter.

5. Plot: The plot refers to the flow of events in the story. Essentially, the plot refers to what is happening in the story.

6. Climax: The climax is the most exciting part of a story. It is when the conflict is about to or is getting resolved.

7. Dialogue: Not all stories have dialogue, but it is an important element of most of them. Dialogue is a conversation between the characters. Generally, stories will be primarily composed of narrative, and will have dialogue interspersed within the narrative For example: Sally had always loved Bill. She looked at him and smiled, "Hi Bill." "Hi Sally," he replied. The first two lines are narrative, and the part within quotations is dialogue.

Plot and setting, characters and dialogue, mood, style, tone.

Creative Writing
Writing: Characters and Dialogue

What are some good killing names?

I don't know what you mean by "killing name" but here's a name generator website.

Creative Writing

What are some ideas for a scary story?

Only you can tell what you think is scary or not! If you're going to be a writer, you need to think up your own ideas. Here are some links to help you out.

Creative Writing

Is there a website where you can write a story and other people can read it?

Check out the links below for original fiction - for fanfiction, try the related question!

If you don't want to use one of those sites, try a blog like Livejournal or Deviant Art!

There are a multitude of websites available for this exact reason. A quick google search of the terms "free writing community" will yield dozens of quality sites. To answer your question, here are a few specifics to get you started:


(always free)


(limit of 10 posts then you have to pay)


(free to post your stories and books)

Creative Writing

Can you give me ideas for my story or novel?

Any idea that is interesting enough to you will be a good idea. You cannot write a story or novel based on ideas that someone else invents - you won't be interested enough in the subject to be able to research and write anything that will actually sell. Plus, anonymous people on the internet have no idea how old you are, what your interests are, or how well you can write!

In order to write, you need a personal connection to the subject. Write about whatever you enjoy, or whatever you find interesting, and you will end up with your novel or story.

WikiAnswers is happy to help you learn how to write better. We will not do your writing for you by giving you ideas and paragraphs to copy.

Here are some more suggestions from WikiAnswers contributors:

  • Write about what you know. A good idea for a first novel is to write your own personal story. Everyone has at least one novel in them waiting to be written.
  • Observe the world around you. Anything interesting can be an idea for a story or novel.
  • Research. The more you know, the more ideas you will have.
  • Read stories and books that other authors have written in your chosen genre. This way, you can see how other people do things.

Here is more advice from our WikiReaders:

  • A story can be either plot driven, character driven, or both. Most are stories are both but one or the other usually takes precedence. Charles Dickens' novels are primarily character driven Ian Flemings' are plot driven (although all the plots are the same.) If you need a place to start - trying thinking up interesting characters who can be developed and evolved against an interesting plot, or think up a good crises that characters can be illuminated through. In the genres of science fiction and fantasy setting and reality also become important but they must never take precedence over plot and character or they become essays, not stories. (The same is true for the detective story.)
  • Great stories are relevant to the reader and have subject matter that may be new, controversial, unexplored, or based on real life events. For instance some of the greatest stories were "The Christmas Carol" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" because both stories touched upon current social problems. In the Christmas Carol we see Dickens is addressing the problem of greed, child labor (indirectly), money lenders who were unethical and poverty in England during his lifetime. In To Kill a Mockingbird the author takes the reader back in time to explore the faults and poor actions of racists and the conflicts of rape and truth telling in the face of moral sins. It can be perceived to be about the legal system and its injustices toward ethnic groups too.
  • So find a topic that would be interesting to the reader. Try to be original and not copy other author's work. For instance I read a novel about a doctor who is sent back in time to accomplish something important during a certain era and the main character frets over whether she will ever return to her own time. It was very different and had a lot of themes about fear, forgiveness and hate. The conflicts in the story were believable and resolved in the story. You must have great conflicts and climaxes.
  • Look in Barnes and Noble bookstores for a book about writing good plots by James Scott Bell. He really helps you open up your mind to new and great story plot ideas.
  • When you go to bed think "story ideas, story ideas!" over and over again until something just pops into your head. Your probably thinking why I said when you go to bed to do that and this is why, If nothing pops into your head keep saying it over and over again until you fall asleep. Most likely you will have a dream that will give you an idea, but make sure you think about the dream straight after you wake up otherwise you will forget it. (it is probably a good idea if you put a note pad on your bedside table so then you can remember!)
  • If your brain keeps running around in circles, a random plot generator can knock it out of its rut and set it on a new path. See the links.

This question is asked all the time and the answer is always the same, read and find inspiration.

Academic Writing
Creative Writing

How many words is one handwritten page?

It depends entirely on your writing -- how large your words are. If you type it out, one page is around 250 words, but how many handwritten words depends on what size your writing is.

Creative Writing

How do you start a story?

  1. exposition on setting (The night was dark and stormy...)
  2. exposition on character (She was a tall gorgeous blond with legs that went on forever.)
  3. exposition on Plot (We went into Panama with guns loaded. I was number 5.)
  4. establishing narrator (Hello my name is Charlie Gordon and Doctor Strauss told me...)
  5. philosophy (It was the best of times it was the worst of times.)
  • Dialogue
    • Argument - "GET OUT!"
    • Arrangement - "When shall we three meet again?"
    • Question - "Why is there a gun in your back pocket?"
  • Description
    • Setting - On and on the road wound, to the edge of the world
    • Character - He sat at his desk, head in hands, wretchedness written on every line of his body
  • Little bit of action that seems irrelevent but interesting at the start but will turn out to be vitally important

For a story, you need a slightly different sort of opening than you do for an academic paper, where you introduce your topic.

In a story, you need to introduce your character and/or your situation in a catchy way, so the reader will keep on reading.

Here are some tips:

  1. Start in the middle of some kind of action - don't start off with the background, or the explanation, or a description! Start right in the thick of things, and you can add all the rest once you hook the readers' interests.
  2. Show, don't tell - this means have your characters doing something, not just standing around talking!
  3. Describe the action so that it makes a movie in the reader's head.

Here are some famous story openers - you can see how they catch your interest.

  • Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. - Gabriel García Márquez
  • If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. - J. D. Salinger
  • Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.
  • There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. - C. S. Lewis

You must start your story however you want to. You cannot write a story that some anonymous person on the internet decides is a good story. You're the writer! Write what you are interested in, because that's the only story you're going to want to write.

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