Creative writing is an extremely vast field. This means that you can find your very own space in it! If you love writing and want to know the possibilities that exist within imaginative or creative writing, the next few articles are for you! Read on to understand the different types of creative writing that we will cover in the coming articles.

A blank notepad, pen, and lightbulb on a yellow table. This can be seen as an abstract representation of the process of creative writing.
Creative writing as a field has endless possibilities. Give your imagination free rein!

Important:

  1. You should note that any and every type of writing can be creative! Forms of writing such as copywriting and content writing, no matter for what type of concern, involve a level of creativity you cannot compromise on. However, in this article, we will be focusing on forms of writing that are mainly considered imaginative or creative.
  2. This is a very basic and therefore limited list of creative writing types. There are many subdivisions and hybrid forms. Take this as a starting guide for your journey!
  3. It is not necessary that you only stick to writing  in one of the given categories. You can pick multiple! You can even blur the lines between the categories. The possibilities are endless.

So let's get on with it!

Poetry

Most of us have read some poetry, one way or another. It is one of the most popular forms of creative writing and has been claimed by each era in a unique way. Poetry has an extremely long history. Poetry was once used by the Greek classical poets, Shakespeare, is a major part of postcolonial literature, and has recently gained popularity in the form of slam or performative poetry.

Put simply, poetry is writing in verse as opposed to prose (which we will also come to). Poetry has a kind of rhythm, which is why sound is very important in this form of writing. All creative writing has layers of meaning, but poetry has especially been known to create powerful effects using a variety of ways (imagery, sound, other literary devices such as metaphor, etc). That is, most poems seek to convey more than what is on the surface. If you want to try writing poetry, you should also know that rhyming is not at all a necessity! Some of the best poetry of recent times (and interestingly even of the 17th century) is unrhymed! Length also is not relevant: different poets have written poems of varying lengths. If you think you have a forte for sound and rhythm as well as powerful writing, poetry might be just the option for you.

Read more about poetry here.

If you want to get started with poetry, you can find some great prompts here.

Short Fiction

Now we come to prose. Do not go by the adjective “prosaic” here: creative prose is anything but dull. Short fiction is a wider category because it can go anywhere from a few words to nearly 8,000 words. Here we mention two categories: the microtale and the short story (an intermediary category often talked about is flash fiction, which is less than 1000 words). Both of these involve the art of storytelling in a brief yet impactful manner.

Microtales are relatively newer to the literary scene but have become very popular. They involve the talent it takes to communicate a lot while saying (here, writing) very little. A lot of microfiction can be found on Instagram. Terribly Tiny Tales is just one example!

The short story has a long history.

An image of Munshi Premchand on the left and Mahasweta Devi on the right. Both are Indian authors who have written excellent short stories. They have depicted themes and characters who often challenge mainstream perceptions on caste, gender, etc.
Munshi Premchand and Mahasweta Devi are Indian authors who have written brilliant short stories that depict marginalised perspectives.


Its usual length is anywhere from 1000 to 7500 words. Here, you would have more space to develop characters, the setting, and the plot. Usually, short stories stay limited to a single location and only deal with a few characters. Writers such as Premchand, Saadat Hasan Manto, and Mahasweta Devi have written some brilliant short stories that are relevant to date.

Want to practice writing short fiction? You can find some interesting prompts here.

Novella and Novel

These are longer and very popular pieces of prose.

A novella falls between the short story and the novel, and it usually ranges between 17,500 and 60,000 words (there is also another intermediate type called the novelette, which falls between the short story and the novella). A Novella offers more space for elaboration and development. The story too can get a bit more complex, but usually, novellas keep their main action simple. Famous writers like Hemingway and Kafka have been very successful in this type of writing.

Novels are so well-known today that they need very little introduction. Most of the bestsellers you hear about are over 60,000 words and fall under novels. Well-known books such as Gulliver’s Travels and Pride and Prejudice are classic examples of novels.

An image of the famous novelist Jane Austen. Her novels such as 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Emma' are well-known and loved till date.
Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' is enmeshed in popular culture. There have been a number of cinematic adaptations of it, including the 2005 Joe Wright film starring Keira Knightley.

As mentioned earlier, another thing about these two categories, especially the novel, is the “bestseller” phenomenon associated with them. Both poems and novels have evolved to be attuned to the factors of the market. Interestingly, novels proliferated in the first place as print technology improved. We know that today technology in every sphere is improving, and the popularity of bestsellers is immense.

If you have a longer story to tell, one that involves complicated characters, settings, and plots, consider either of these two forms of writing as a potential long-term project.

Creative writing, as the name suggests, is supposed to be all about your creativity. So, explore different types of writing before you decide on the ones that you wish to pursue further. Do not hold yourself back by worrying about whether your piece will be “good enough”. Every famous author started somewhere. Make your start now!

Stay tuned for the coming articles if you want to know more about poetry, short fiction, novellas, and novels!