Creative Writing Techniques: Not Just for Short Stories

Posted on March 15, 2012 by Emma S

You know that feeling you get when you’re reading a fantastic novel? You are riveted by the plot, enthralled by the descriptions, eager to turn the page. This feeling, however, is rarer when reading nonfiction articles. But it doesn’t have to be. Using some simple creative writing methods can make your work more engaging and personal for readers. Here, we’ll examine a few techniques that can be applied to virtually any piece.

Vivid Description and Imagism

While these are tactics we most often associate with poetry and flowery prose, employing them can give all writing a boost. Remember those classes in elementary school when you were told to think about all five senses as you wrote? Go back to that. You don’t need to cover everything – your clients certainly don’t want you telling customers what, say, a luxury couch might taste like. However, you can use sensory language when appropriate. Praising a vacation spot? Tell the client how the sun will feel as they bask on golden beaches. Outdoor blog? Describe the feel of cool wind rushing through your hair on a bike ride, the ground spreading out below a high peak. Make your audience want to see, feel, hear, even taste and smell things, for themselves. Make it vivid and it will stick with them.

Place the Reader in the Scene

As children, many of us read choose-your- own-adventure books, where you’d turn to different pages to find new outcomes. Of course, you have one goal with readers-getting your point across. But, to do that, try getting in their heads. Make them feel like it’s their story. Writing about a product or service aimed at tired moms? Show them you know how they feel, that you understand what it feels like to be always on your feet, always busy. Show them you can relate. Sympathize with office managers on endless paperwork or hoards of responsibilities. Whatever you are communicating, make it personal, and place them there. Let the reader be an involved part of the piece. Did you catch the example aimed at you in the first paragraph?

Conflict

No, I’m not suggesting you pick a fight with your readers. But remember the old story map? Introduce a conflict, let it peak in a climax, then give resolution? People thrive on tension followed by release. It’s the scene in a movie where the walls are closing in on the hero: you’re terrified, but you can’t look away. So, try this idea of conflict and resolution on a smaller scale. Introduce a conflict – let’s use the example above of the tired mother. You are writing content for a nannying service. Describe the readers’ issue to them: they care greatly about their children, but are also trying to work, or run a household. On top of that, they need time for themselves – but they are never alone. Now, you’ve got your reader hooked; they are thinking about the problem. You get to offer the solution. An affordable nannying service! The walls have stopped closing in – you have offered release.

Next time you sit down to write, don’t follow the same old pattern! Consider one of these creative ideas, and draw your reader in.

Emma S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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