Top Tips for creative writing
By Martin Willis, Head of eLearning, Edinburgh Academy
1. Find your voice
Don’t try to be somebody else. Don’t get hung up on trying to make your piece sound like something you’ve read in school. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not. Write in your own time, your own culture and importantly, your own voice. Find a style and tone that reflects the most authentic version of yourself; you are in control of how the reader feels when they read your piece.
2. Write about something you are passionate about
We all tell the best stories when we are familiar with the content and can share a personal reflection. Think about a special match you attended or watched on television; how were you feeling at the time and what happened?
3. Try not to share the obvious
Something I always tell my students is to ‘show not tell’. When you show your reader something rather than telling them, you describe something such as a time of day or a type of person without stating the obvious and it makes your piece of writing much more interesting to read. For example, if a character is poor, you might say that they wear tatty clothing and live in a dilapidated house.
4. Vary your sentence structure
Keep your reader engaged by mixing up the length of your sentences a little. Long sentences tend to slow the pace of your reader and can create a sense of relaxation or time dragging. Short sentences are more punchy, quick and dynamic and are good for describing dramatic events or action… especially in injury time!
5. Stuck for inspiration? Use your senses
When discussing a setting, such as a football stadium or terrace, think about your senses. Try to create that smell, the sounds and the sights using interesting vocabulary.
Planning Document: Story / Narrative
– Introduce the main characters
– Introduce the story setting
– Develop the characters and the setting
– The points that lead up to the climax, incident or conflict (high point) in the story
Conflict / Climax
– The conflict or climax in the story
– How do the characters react?
– How the conflict is resolved and the ending of the story
Planning Document: Match Report / Reflection
Headline and Tagline
Your headline should attract the reader’s attention quickly, so make sure you use a short, sharp sentence, no longer than six words.
Start by listing the key events in the order they happened:
– Incidents such as penalties and significant substitutions Injuries / stoppages in play
– Particularly well executed moves / periods of play
Add a short introduction to set the scene
– What was the weather like?
– What state was the pitch in?
– How many were in attendance?
Include some background information
– What have been the past results between the two teams?
– League positions
– Form going into the game
Once the body of the report is complete, write a conclusion summing up the team’s performance.
Perhaps add some match analysis
Planning Document: Match Report / Poetry
Poetry is probably the most challenging genre to attempt. However, using the right vocabulary can make it much easier and even the shortest poem can be incredibly powerful. Before starting, try to gather some great vocabulary using these categories and then see if you can incorporate these into your piece.
A word that describes a person, place, thing or idea (locations, names, objects).
A word used to describe an action or occurrence (throwing, accepted, ran).
Using the same letter or sound at the beginning of closely connected words (sweet birds sang).
Words using to describe an attribute (sweet, red, technical, beautiful).
Words used to modify a verb or adjective (she swims quickly)
The formation of a word from an associated sound (sizzle, bang, whoosh)
A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another (she is an angel, their cheeks are roses).
A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an action or object which is not literally applicable. (she is an angel, their cheeks are roses).
The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something that is non-human (lightening danced across the sky)