At the first seminar we discussed Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Drama, Essay-writing, and Poetry. Below you will find some tips to writing within these genres!


When writing fiction, you are the creator of the elements of literature:

  • Setting: Where and when does the story take place?
  • Characters: Who is in the story?
  • Plot: What happens in the story? (the ACTION)
  • Conflict: What is the problem? (what brings INTEREST)
  • Resolution: How is the problem solved? (the CONCLUSION
  • Style
    • Voice
        • Does the author give a clear view of the characters in the story?
        • Can you hear the story being told?
        • Does the author use engaging language
      • Point of view
        • Who is the speaker in the story? If it is in the third person, does the speaker know the thoughts of all characters [omniscient] or just one [limited omniscient]?
        •  First person=I
        • Second person=you
        • Third person=he, she
      • Theme
        • What is the central idea or message?
        • Is the theme something people can relate to?
      • Word choice
        • What language does the author use?
        • Does the language fit with the theme and characters?

Creative Nonfiction:

1) Tell the truth (as best you can); do a little research if you need to!

2) Tell a strong story; don’t forget about important things like character development and conflict.

3) Don’t just report facts; show rather than tell.

4) Make it matter to others; don’t forget the “So What?”

5) Show yourself and share; include your own reflections about the event/story.

6) Write well; be thoughtful about your writing style and choose creative and colorful language.

Essays: (tipping over essays)
– Create a strong and original theme statement that tells readers something they don’t already know.
– Choose and use a type of essay and a a structure that supports your purpose.
– Develop and support your theme with vivid and specific examples.
– Draw readers in with a good hook and maintain their interest with voice and attention to style.

Drama: (a story through conversation and stage)

– Write your script with holes in it – let the stage fill the gaps in for you.
– The stage has its own life.  Learning to thrive within its creative power means letting go of some control.
– Always leave the audience wanting more.
– Performance is a tool for writing drafts and making revisions (sometimes very rapidly).
– Your first audience will be the people who must then complete your work – the cast.

Poetry: (Poetic Laws, Space vs. Story)

  • When writing, pay more attention to the moment (the essence of feeling) than the story that made the moment.
  • Create a space.
  • Give a glimpse of what makes your space so
  • Say something without saying anything at all
  • Make your own rules and then figure out how to break them
  • Choose your punctuation and line structure wisely
  • Play with where words belong on a page (poetry is not confined to one side of the page)
  • Do not rhyme just for the sake of rhyming. Have a purpose and reason to rhyme
  • In Poetry, grammar is not a god

1 thought on “Genres

  1. Hey gang, just a thought on found poetry:
    Have you ever been checking your gmail account and noticed the news headlines at the top? And you read the beginning of one while you click on something and while the page changes, the headline turns into another one?
    I was reading one headline and it turned into another and I didn’t notice until I got to the end of the sentence and thought, “Giant robot ant appoints militia leader to cabinet. Wait – that can’t be right … or can it?!” OMG, another found poetry moment. Don’t you love it?

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