“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Albert Einstein, 1929
Creative writing starts with the imagination. From a young age, curiosity and creative thinking through play, exploration and stories are key contributors to developing a child’s imagination. It is then up to us as parents and educators to ensure this imagination is fed in order for it to grow further. This could be through: reading, telling stories, developing talents, learning new skills, questioning and in some cases, boredom!
The more imaginative the writer, the more creative the writing! Below are 5 tips on how to get creative with writing:
1. Be inspired
Reading unlocks the imagination and takes the reader into new worlds. There are a wealth of stories available to children of all ages that could inspire and trigger imagination and ideas for creative writing. ‘What If’ by Samantha Berger, ‘Daniel finds a poem’ by Micha Archer, ‘The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton, ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Family’ by Roald Dahl and ‘Darwin’s Dragons’ by Lindsay Galvin are to name a few.
2. Find a stimulus
The ‘open-nature’ of the task of creative writing gives writers the opportunity to write with freedom and enjoyment however this can be a daunting task, particularly for reluctant writers.
A visual stimulus is often a good starting point for creative writing as it sparks interest and excitement whilst removing the fear of getting it wrong. The stimulus could be an object, movie clip or a picture/photograph from which the writer can evoke curiosity by considering questions relating to the object or picture using the question starters: who? what? where? why? when? How?
Working collaboratively on this would help the writer to see different perspectives and possibly develop new vocabulary.
Where was it found? Who found it?How was it found?Who does it belong to?What does it unlock?Why is it rusty?
3. Plan your writing
Whether you are writing a story or a descriptive paragraph, you should always plan your work so that you are clear on where your writing needs to go and what you will need to include.
If you are describing a character or setting, an effective way to plan is to consider the five senses. What can you or your character see? Hear? Smell? Touch? Taste?
Another consideration at the planning stage of writing is the language that you would like to include. Creating a checklist would help to ensure you are varying your language choices.
E.g. similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, adventurous vocabulary
4. Make your writing exciting
There are many ways to build tension and grip your reader:
- Use short sentences / one word sentences e.g. Determined, he tried again. It didn’t work. Again. Nothing.
- Don’t tell the reader everything at once e.g. Suddenly, a dark silhouette filled the night sky.
- Ask questions e.g. Could this really be happening?
- Use Repetition e.g. He thought he was alone. He thought he was safe.
- Show, don’t tell (story and characters are related through sensory details and actions rather than exposition) e.g. Tears ran down his cheeks as he watched his Dad walk away from him.
- Use punctuation – ellipsis or dashes for longer pauses
E.g. Cautiously, she edged forwards…closer…until she could go no further.
Re-reading your own work helps you to see your ideas in new ways. If you write a draft and then re-read it, you will almost always find ways of improving it. Writing a draft gives you an opportunity to let others read what you are writing. This can also help you to find ways of improving your work.
Enjoy writing and keep your imagination alive!
Written by Sarah Hope