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Invention for Secondary School Students: Creative Writing

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Creative writing lets you break away from traditional or “normal” papers. You get to use your own imagination to write a story, a poem, a reflection, and more. However, creative writing requires different details that you might not find in another genre like research writing. A few strategies for starting your creative writing can be found in the next section.

Invention Strategies for Creative Writing

Warm Up First

  • Warm up by writing something easy or something that you do not plan to use in your final product.
  • Warm up by writing something that you know won’t be “perfect” or even close to the final product. Allow yourself space to write pieces that aren’t ideal. Just keep the pen or pencil moving (Goldberg 11).
  • Form the habit of writing every day. Even if you don’t have something to say, writing everyday in a journal or notebook can help keep the words and ideas flowing.

Learn to trust your own voice and ideas (Goldberg 13). Your writing will be different from your friend’s work and your favorite author’s work, and that is just fine! You have something to say and an individual way to say it. Use your words and style to express your ideas. Sometimes creative writing can be scary because you just don’t know what to say. Trust yourself, and know that no one expects you to be a professional or perfect writer immediately. The more you write, the better you will become.

Look at Examples for Inspiration

Who is your favorite writer? Why? What does this writer do that makes him or her cool, fun, or interesting to you? You might look at these things:

  • What is the topic of the writing? In other words, what is the writing about?
  • What is the mood of the writing? Is it happy, sad, exciting, adventurous, mysterious, scary, calm, funny, etc…?
  • What type of description does the writer use?
  • Why do the characters interest you?
  • What are the sentences like? Are they long, short, detailed, simple?
  • How do your favorite stories end?

Consider looking at a variety of writers as well. Pick up pieces of writing that you haven’t looked at before. If you have a favorite writer or book, ask your teacher about other writers or books that might be similar. This can give you more ideas to spark your own creative writing. However, make sure that your ideas are your own or give credit to the to the other person’s ideas see the Avoiding Plagiarism handout on the Purdue OWL.

Creative Writing Invention Questions

When you begin to invent a piece of creative writing (like a story or a poem), asking yourself questions can be a great way to allow ideas flowing.

General Questions for Creative Writing

  • Is there a story or message or moral that I think others should hear?
  • Do I have any unique ideas or experiences that would be interesting and fun for me to write about?
  • How can I make my writing different and unique to me?
  • What makes me unique as a person? How can I show that through my writing?
  • Who is my favorite author? What is my favorite book or poem?
  • What does my favorite author/writer do in his/her work that I like? How can I do that too?

Questions For Inventing a Fictional Character

The following questions can help you create your own unique characters:

  • How old is the character?
  • What is the character’s greatest wish?
  • What is the character’s greatest fear?
  • What are the character’s hobbies?
  • Where does the character live?
  • What types of words does the character use? Does he/she speak differently than you do? If so, how?
  • How does the character look?
  • What does the character think about him/herself?
  • What do other people think about the character?
  • Where was the character at 10 minutes before the story begins?
  • What can the character see? What is the setting?
  • What is the character’s job?
  • Who is the character’s best friend?

For more information on writing fiction, see the Fiction Writing Basics handout on the Purdue OWL.

Questions For Inventing a Poem or Prose Narrative About a Personal Experience

If you are writing about a personal experience, use these questions to remember the interesting details of that experience:

  • What did I see?
  • What did I hear?
  • What did I taste?
  • What did I smell?
  • What did I touch?
  • What did I imagine?
  • What did it remind me of?
  • Who else is in the story?
  • What emotions did I feel?

For additional information on general invention strategies, click here.