Creative Writing and Communication: More Building Blocks

Creative Writing and the Creative Writer


This week we will be learning more about the building blocks and the tools of creative writing, and also the different kinds of narrative formats available to the creative writer. Writing is a key form of communication. It has the power to influence, express ideas, values and beliefs, sell products, inspire and entertain. As creative writers we have a multitude of literary formats available to us such as: the theater play, the short story (one of my favorites), the novel, the screenplay, poetry, comic strips, and due to the Internet - blogs, microfiction, and yes, even Twitter.

In the context of professional writing, creative skills are useful as well. Professional writing can include: feature journalism, speeches, posters, advertising and slogans, promotional blurbs. You can see that written communication offers endless opportunities for the writer to get busy!

So let's get back to creative writing. Once you have your writer's took-kit full of glossary terms and their definitions, then you can get started with your story-world. Every creative writer has their own way of approaching their work, but during my first year at university, I learned a valuable literary lesson. To craft a great story, a  creative writer needs to understand the tools, rules or guidelines of their trade.

Here are some more building blocks or tools:

Allusion or intertextuality– a reference to a well known idea/theme or literary title that exists outside a literary work. Ransom by David Malouf – is a re-telling of Homer's The Iliad, with some textual differences.

Closure– A narrative ends in a way that satisfies or resolves the expectations of the reader or viewer and/or answers any questions that may have been raised. * This is a rule or guideline that can be broken. Not all stories have to have a neat and tidy resolution. Readers would prefer closure, but be brave – challenge this expected ideology.  🙂

Foreshadowing – a hint to the reader of what is to come in a literary work.

Metaphor – a poetic technique that can also be used in a story. An implied comparison between dissimilar objects - “Her heart was broken”.

Motif – a significant recurring narrative unit (image or phrase) that is relevant to the theme of a literary work. In a fairy tale: a magic mirror or a hero's clock of invisibility, or the phrase, they lived happily every after”, can be a 'motif'.

Omniscient Narration - Narration by a narrator who is outside the story-world, but knows everything connected with the story and characters.

Simile – a poetic technique that can be used in a story. A direct comparison of dissimilar objects – using like - “He roared like a lion”.

Stereotype – a conventional idea/thought or belief structure about characters/plot and settings - the passive princess, or “they lived happily ever after”.


Tip for this week: Invest in a narratology/creative writing dictionary, and a guide to narrative theory and discover the many tools that are available for the creative writer.



The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, Second Edition. H. Porter Abbott.

Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics, Second Edition, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan. (Available at


Next week.  We will be exploring the different literary genres that you can choose from. And don't be a stranger, I would love to chat with you about your ideas, your experiences with your writing, or if you have any questions relating to the world of narrative.



The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, Second Edition. H. Porter Abbott.




Posted in Creative writing.

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