This resource is also a target for off-wiki links encouraging the use of Wikiversity for Creative writing. Original writing may best be started in user space, rather than mainspace. To create a page to work on, as a registered user, search for to User:Your User Name/Your Page Name (correct Your User Name and Your Page Name) and you may generally write anything, even nonsense, which can be fun. Another way to start the page is to link to it on your own User page, creating a redlink, then follow that link and create the page. This is also a way to practice creative writing as described below.
This learning resource is part of the Portal:Writing Center.
If you often shudder at the thought of having to let your imagination run wild and settle down onto paper, then you've come to the 'write' place. Descriptive narratives are usually what's on the list, when you first begin to learn to write creatively. But the rule of the thumb is: No one can ever teach you to write 'creatively', although they can give you a few jumpstarts. Why not start with something a little closer to home: Descriptive, Personal Narratives? True, it sounds very philosophical and intelligent, but really, it's not. It's just your own words on paper. And if you have a good sense of humor, are a sensitive being or are a dramatic person, it will show through in your writing.
Let's take you through it slowly:
- Forget about what anyone has ever taught you about creative writing. We shall now begin afresh.
- Lock yourself in a tiny room, leaving several windows open so you can breathe easily, and not get stifled by the overwhelming creativity that empties itself out of your brain. You can either sit on the floor, or at your desk. Although the floor-sitting yoga position is most desirable.
- Make sure all distractions are out of the way before you begin. If your window's still open and you can hear the cars outside, so be it. But cut off all other distractions, such as music, your TV, etc.
- Take out a blank sheet of paper and place it in front of you. Stare at it hard, but keep your mind as blank as the paper. Try to keep all thoughts out of your mind. Don't worry about anything else.
- Next, when your mind is truly blank, and all you can hear (other than the cars and your neighbors yelling) is blankness, think about your happiest moment in life. Just think about it, and let the mood leave your body and envelope the room. You can now dance or jump around. What you need to feel is lightness and warmth.
- Next, think about the darkest day of your life, when everything went wrong. Feel the emotion weighing heavily on your soul.
- After this, take your paper, and on the front write "The day I was the happiest was when...". You don't need to write anything down just yet. Just go back to the memory of your happiest moment.
- Pretend you're talking to someone, and relating what happened on your happiest day. Try to recall the place, the people, what exactly happened, and how you felt. Now, on your paper make three columns. In the first one, write down the 'setting': where and when this happy memory took place. Be specific. Jot down one or two descriptions of the place and the time. eg; "On the first day of junior high, next to the lockers. Sunny day, busy school."
- On the next column, note down who the 'characters' or people involved were. Describe them the way you remember them. The characters could be animals, people, imaginary friends, etc. eg; "Sparky, my pet rabbit. Frisky, friendly, loving. Lives in my backyard."
- In the last column write down what happened in a few words. The cause-effect, or what you felt when it happened. eg; "Sparky followed me all the way to junior high. Made a lot of friends because of her, on that first day."
- Now see if you can add a few more descriptions to each column, each detail a little more specific than before. Try your hand at linking them all together.
- Don't bother at all about grammar. This is your imagination running wild here, and we want to know what it has to say, without being bombarded by adjectives, capitalization, and conjunctions. That can come later. Get the creative process going first. Just imagine you're telling your friend (real or imaginary) about what happened that day. As you speak to yourself, write down what you're saying. Add the descriptions where appropriate.
- Congratulations! You've written a a descriptive narrative!
- If you're still lost, check out the sample Personal Narrative I've written below. It's written more like a diary entry, because that's what diaries are. They're just narratives, pieces of writing that you 'narrate', or relate to others, including yourself.
The cycle of Romantic Literature
Joseph Campbell, in his book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), outlines the journey of the hero which is an encapsulation of the Romantic Cycle itself. The progression below is an alternate listing of the journey, which is pictured at left. This method is the most formal of Dramatic structure:
- Dedication to the quest
- Harrowing of Hell