Creative writing is the process of writing stories or narrations that focus more on entertaining and telling a story than simply relating facts. It is a form of fiction, or created work, and it can take the form of a novel, novella, short story, poem, essay, anecdote, biography, autobiography, memoir, and more. Even writing that is generally considered to fall into the non-fiction category can be written creatively, so creative writing is not limited to the fictional. Generally speaking, any story that uses figurative language, a narrative story arc, or other elements that allow the writer to focus on the narrative and writing rather than the simple relay of facts can fall into the creative writing category.
Short stories and novels are perhaps the most common forms of creative writing. A short story is a piece of prose writing that is usually 6,000 words or fewer; it generally follows a plot structure, which includes an introduction or exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement or resolution. This plot structure can be altered to suit the author's purposes, but usually at least some of these elements are included in the story. Fictional characters are also generally included in the narrative, as well as a setting and specific tone to the writing.
Novels are much longer stories that usually range anywhere from 60,000 words to 200,000 words or more. These stories also usually follow some sort of plot structure, though novels tend to have a more complex plot structure and more characters. The novel may include several different settings over the course of the narrative, and more than one plot line may be present in this creative writing form. Shorter stories that are too long to be short stories and too short to be novels are known as novellas.
Creative writing can also be done in non-fiction. This relatively new craft is sometimes known as creative non-fiction, and it involves writing about factual events while paying attention to the quality of the prose. Traditional non-fiction generally focuses on relating facts, while creative non-fiction aims to relate facts stylistically. The writing may be more interesting and may contain figurative language, plot structure, character development and assessment, and a less direct manner of relating facts. Memoirs often employ such writing, as may biographies, essays, anecdotes, and so on. Events may also be analyzed during the narrative to enhance any humorous aspects of the event, dramatic aspects, poignant exchanges, and so on.