What Does a Creative Writer Do?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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A creative writer is a person who writes stories, articles, essays, or poems. He or she can write in any genre or on any subject matter, as long as the characters and plot are fictionalized. A more recent type of creative writer is the creative nonfiction writer, who writes about real events or people, but does so in such a way that the story is engaging and entertaining. The job opportunities for such writers can be limited, but many writers have found success as magazine writers, television and radio content writers, film writers, and freelance writers.

The job of a creative writer is to create an engaging and entertaining story about real or imagined people, events, places, and things. There is no formal education requirement to become a creative writer, though many do complete high school and go on to college to earn a degree in writing. Some writers will even work toward a graduate degree in writing, which may qualify them to teach at the college or university level. Teaching writing is perhaps one of the most common jobs of a creative writer, though many others find success in entertainment fields as well.


Television and movie creative writers may work individually or as part of a team to create plots and characters that will be acted out on screen or stage. The writer must have a solid understanding of the common elements of plot — exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution — in order to create a story arc that makes sense for the reader or viewer. He or she must also be able to develop characters in such a way that viewers or readers can sympathize or empathize with these fictional people and engage in the story more fully. One of the most important things creative writers must be aware of is the presence of clichés in writing; clichés are overused passages that can indicate a lack of creativity or originality. Writers try to avoid clichés when writing so material is fresh and memorable.

A freelance creative writer may write short stories, novels, and other written works for specific outlets such as magazines or websites. This is an extremely difficult job because the pay scale can be quite low, so many creative writers will do such writing as a side job or hobby rather than as a primary career. Even well known writers may not make enough money to live comfortably, so they may combine their creative writing endeavors with other, more profitable types of writing.


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Post 3

I like this kind of wide definition for people who like to write in different forms. I write both poetry and short stories and sometimes I just don't know what to call myself when people ask.

I've never been able to restrict myself to just one kind of writing and I seem to do all right in both prose and poems, although I tend to get more poetry published.

It's going to be interesting to see how the digital revolution will effect authors and poets in the long run. I don't think poets could be any worse off when it comes to sales, quite frankly, but I know a lot of short story writers who can't make nearly as much money with their stories as they once could.

Post 2

@MrsPramm - Well, really you have some kind of obligation to the truth even when you're writing pure fiction. If what you write doesn't ring true then no one will believe it.

And you'd be surprised the amount of research that goes into even a fantasy novel. You can't just write about, for example, knights on horseback without some fundamental understanding about armor and horses (that is, unless you want your knowledgeable readers to groan and roll their eyes).

Post 1

I'm really glad that creative nonfiction is becoming more popular because it's so interesting to read and I think it's even more difficult to write than fictional creative writing.

I mean, you have to form a really good, compelling story out of real life raw material, which rarely has the shape of a good story, even if it is compelling.

You have to decide which real details to leave in and which to leave out and how to describe them in the right way. It's like fiction, except with an added responsibility to the truth.

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