I hope you are all doing well! We’ve made it to the end of our Creative Writing Elements series! It’s certainly been an adventure and I am so excited to launch the next one: Novel Writing Elements. Between now and then I will be posting a short story illustrating the various techniques described in the CWE (Creative Writing Elements) series. Please check it out when it posts and let me know what you think 🙂
This post is dedicated to reviewing the seven elements we have covered over the past few weeks. Each part names and describes the past seven posts.
Element One: A Captivating Plot
In this post, we established that a captivating post needs the following elements:
- A clear direction for your story
- A well-established main character with a compelling, believable motivation
- A strategically created challenge to up the ante for your character
- A nerve-wracking climax to push your main character to their absolute limit
- A credible resolution that resolves most, if not all, of the problems
- Note – If you’re planning on writing a sequel don’t solve everything – leave enough to fuel your next masterpiece!
- A well-defined story outline to guide your novel
- A dauntless imagination!
Make it memorable!
Element Two: A Mesmerizing Setting
Creating a viable, intriguing setting requires something writers like to call ‘world-building.’ Establishing a credible world requires a few well-constructed techniques:
- You need provide enough general information to fill in your world
- Examples: location, climate, people and history
- You need to establish a time period for your events
- For instance – 1920’s New York; 1200 AD; distant planet in the far future
- You need to create the physiography
- Such as cities, states, mountains, hills, rivers, animals and plants
- You need to establish your non-physical environment
- Political, media-based, under-world information circulation, etc.
In order to make this process seem seamless, remember that your readers are not in your head. They don’t see what you see or hear what you hear when you dream about your world. Describe it effectively so that they can visualize the atmosphere, ground, animals and people. Let them know how wonderful your imagination really is! Make it captivating!
Element Three: A Thoughtful Theme
Developing a thought-provoking central theme requires some dedication. First, you need to develop a meaningful idea. Secondly, you have to learn how to weave it into your story line using literary techniques such as repetition, allusions to other stories and important imagery. This is just the short list – there are many other literary devices available for use in developing your theme. Thirdly, you have to remember that your theme depends on the purpose of your story. Is your story about bravery, resilience, inner strength or faith? There’s your theme. Don’t waste the theme element on something soft-core – really go for the gold. Readers decipher theme and take a lot away from your main idea. Make it count!
Element Four: Characters Parts 1 and 2
Part one of this segment discussed the various types of characters, including protagonists, antagonists, foils, and stock characters as well as static, dynamic, flat and round characters. Part two focused on direct and indirect characterization techniques and how to accomplish them. All it takes to explain this section up is this: Write like life: real, passionate and possible. Make it real!
Everyone comes in contact with so many people throughout the course of life, each so different and yet so similar. Character’s need motivation just like real people do, and sometimes life’s wildest adventures are right in front of our eyes. That’s why we have to trust God and go forward to wherever He leads us. He know’s what He’s doing and is the only One in truly in control.
Element Five: Symbolism
This element discussed symbolism as a literary technique and how to employ it to deepen your story’s meaning. Each symbol within your writing holds a double meaning that enables you as a writer to broaden your scope of reference. Symbols give your reader more to gain from your story and pull them further into the plot.
Common symbols include:
- The cross of Christ, symbolizing Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and invitation to eternal life
- Light, symbolizing truth, enlightenment and safety
- Water, symbolizing purification and cleansing
- Fire, symbolizing anger or passion
More recent symbols include:
- The rose from Beauty and the Beast, symbolizing beauty amidst tragedy; love and appearance as well as internal vs. external beauty (the rose is beautiful on the outside but symbolizes the Beast’s entrapment until true love sets him free!)
- The Mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games, series symbolizing defiance of the Capitol and unexpected growth and survival
- The array of faction colors in the Divergent series, symbolizing things like conformity, happiness, truth, rebellion and calm.
These are just a few examples that should help facilitate your understanding of symbolism.
Remember – no one likes a book that lacks depth. Avoid reader fatigue by utilizing symbolism to bolster your plot and theme. Make it meaningful!
Element Six: Juxtaposition
This segment discussed the difference between Juxtaposition and Foil and determined that while foil focuses only character-on-character contrast, juxtaposition covers various types of contrast.
Life in itself can be a huge juxtaposition. Think about it: everywhere we look we see perceived beauty versus true beauty. Life provides difficulty that creates ingenuity. Difficult conflict turns into amazing strength. All in all, life is a wonderful, fascinating path full of people who intrigue us, inspire us, change us and challenge us as we go. My favorite quote about true beauty is found in Psalm 139:14.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Element Seven: Prose
Lastly, we focused on learning how to construct memorable prose. Prose is the style of writing used to create a story and is best created by adhering to seven rules:
- Good use of adjectives and adverbs
- Avoidance of weak writing techniques
- Concise Sentences
- Writing in the Positive
- Concrete Descriptions
- Strong Structure
Each of these rules helps to construct a powerful, memorable style of writing that lasts a lifetime in reader’s minds.
We’ve covered a huge amount of material over the past few weeks and I truly hope you have learned something useful to you in your writing career. My goal is to equip you with as much information as possible as you journey down your path to authorship. I’ll announce the next post series soon and look forward to you joining me on another adventure. Don’t miss the short stories that will coming up!
Go forth in your God-given writing talent and conquer the writing world!
All the best,