Creative Writing – How to Get Started

Creative Writing – How to Get Started

Here are some basic needs to begin your creative writing journey or to simply write a one-time creative story.

This blog focuses on writing stories or novels.

For most creative writing, you will want characters, setting, and plot.


Basically, characters are the people in your story, but they can also be animals or even inanimate objects. For example, you could write a story in which a tree is a main character – or a table for that matter, leaning heavily on the word “creative.”

One of the best things about creative writing is the freedom.


Setting is the time and place. This can be stable or change either as the story progresses or intermittently throughout. For example, you might incorporate flashbacks.

I am sure you have read stories or seen movies in which the setting or time changes frequently. Of course, try to provide enough consistency or explanation in some way for the reader to keep track.


Plot is the series of events, basically what is going to happen.

A couple of other important components are conflict and climax.


Conflict can be a clash between people, animals and people, or within one’s own mind. Conflict (or conflicts) are often what connects the series of events in the plot, so you will need to know which conflicts are being addressed in your story. Once you have decided on the conflict (or conflicts), you can build your plot around it.


Often, your story, or series of events, leads to a climax. As the conflict builds, the suspense reaches a pivotal point or peak. Sometimes the conflict is resolved, although not always - and not always in expected or satisfying ways.

After the climax, many stories have a resolution. The resolution describes how the conflict is solved or, at least, the final result.

Where to begin?

All writers have their own method and approach. Here are a few ideas to get you started using the basics mentioned above.



You could begin with a character or characters. Think of people you know including family, friends, and coworkers. Observe people whenever you have the chance because even strangers can provide fodder for fiction. You are not necessarily going to write about these people as they are, you are looking for traits that will lend themselves to a particular storyline or scene.

I have used people I know as well as complete strangers in my stories; however, the characters in the stories are usually a composite of many people.

When I am “people watching,” I often quickly imagine what that person’s life is like. Of course, in reality, I might be completely wrong. I would hazard a guess that I am, but it doesn’t matter. The inspiration is triggered and later I can incorporate the characters and scenes into a story. So, keep your eyes and ears open along with your imagination.


You might want to begin from a certain setting. Think of your favourite places. Think of places you have visited. It is often good to start with something you know. Don’t overcomplicate it. Parks, rivers, museums, schools, hotels, trails, and so on are all excellent settings – and thousands more.

Picture3 Although you might choose a well-known setting, now you can imagine a new set of circumstances or a new time period within the setting you have chosen.

I don’t usually start with setting, but it is often an important component that comes in shortly after I start with a character or scenario (plot idea).


Again, start with what you know. Think of events that have happened to you or stories you have heard – real or fictional. Rearrange the details and/or introduce new twists or conflicts. This might involve adding new characters as well. Remember, you are writing fiction, so play with everything in your mind and on paper (or the computer screen).

Often asking the question “what if?” can get you started down the creativity path.

What if a freak storm arrived when people were on a leisure cruise?

What if my friend was a spy?

What if the school principal was an alien?

I am always imagining odd twists and turns that can happen to people – or probably wouldn’t happen but are still interesting. Some have a kernel of truth to them; however, once the process begins, a story can take on a life of its own.

You might have heard authors say that the stories write themselves. I think that is being a little romantic, but there is at least a kernel of truth to it.


Some authors like to plan almost everything out in advance. Others do very little planning at all. The remainder of authors fit somewhere between these two extremes. There are advantages and disadvantages to whatever approach you take.

I would suggest making at least a brief plan, but you might limit yourself to only one of the starting points at first if you like.

As you begin writing, however, be sure to keep track of your characters, plot, setting, and so on. In this way you will be able to maintain continuity. This is a kind of “running” plan and record that develops as the story begins to take form.

Keeping track is especially important when writing longer works such as novels because with multiple characters and settings, it is extremely easy to lose that continuity. You don’t want a tall character to be suddenly short or a pro basketball player to suddenly become a pro baseball player!

Above all, enjoy creating!  I look forward to reading your stories.

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