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Get Writing! Be creative

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This activity gives you some ideas about how to write creatively and lets you try getting creative yourself. You will probably be used to writing official documents like letters, reports and maybe memos at work. Here you will have the chance to really let your imagination fly and get creative! Is creative writing for you? First you will look at how characters might be created. Second, you will think about how a setting is established. Then you can have a look at the different genres to see if any of them inspire you to get creative writing!

Creating characters

Most creative writing is structured around one or more main characters and several minor or peripheral characters. It can be great fun inventing characters and sometimes one of the best ways to do this is to draw on your own life experience and try to develop what is called round characters, rather than a flat one. Round characters have three dimensions, rather like a ball, they are full of contradictions and may behave in unexpected ways. Flat characters are usually stereotypes e.g., fat doughnut eating cop, forgetful professor, jovial fat person, anorexic model, shifty-eyed thief or lecherous truck driver. Showing the contradictions in characters is one way of making them ‘round’.

Create your own character

Take one of the stereotypes mentioned (shifty-eyed thief, jovial fatso, etc.) or use one of your own.
Write a brief scene (about a page) in which you portray that character in a complex way, going against the usual expectations.
For example:
The bullying headmaster with a tender sentimental side;
The meticulous manager who lives in a messy house;
The shy librarian who goes bungee-jumping;
The habitual flirt who avoids relationships.

Think about this

Check what you've written to see if you've shown the character in a sympathetic light. If your portrayal seems distant or aloof, rewrite it. Try to identify more closely with the character. If you haven't already used the first person (‘I’), write it in the character's own voice. Does that make a difference?
Now you can build the detail of your character by looking at setting the scene.

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