With all the types of creative writing to choose from, it’s hard enough to focus on just one or two of your favorites.
When it comes to writing your own examples, don’t be hard on yourself if you hit a wall.
We’ve all done it.
Sometimes, all you need is a generous supply of well-crafted and inspirational creative writing examples.
Good thing you’re here!
For starters, let’s get clear on what creative writing is.
- What Is Creative Writing?
- How to Start Creative Writing
- 27 Creative Writing Examples
- 1. Novels and Novellas
- 2. Short Stories and Flash Fiction
- 3. Twitter Stories (140 char)
- 4. Poetry or Songs/Lyrics
- 5. Scripts for Plays, TV Shows, and Movies
- 6. Memoirs / Autobiographical Narratives
- 7. Speeches
- 8. Essays
- 9. Journalism / Newspaper Articles
- 10. Blogs
- 11. Last Wills and Obituaries
- 12. Dating Profiles and Wanted Ads
- 13. Greeting Cards
What Is Creative Writing?
Knowing how to be a creative writer is impossible if you don’t know the purpose of creative writing and all the types of writing included.
As you’ll see from the categories listed further on, the words “creative writing” contain multitudes:
- Novels, novellas, short stories, flash fiction, microfiction, and even nanofiction;
- Poetry (traditional and free verse);
- Screenplays (for theatrical stage performances, TV shows, and movies)
- Blog posts and feature articles in newspapers and magazines
- Memoirs and Testimonials
- Speeches and Essays
- And more—including dating profiles, obituaries, and letters to the editor.
Read on to find some helpful examples of many of these types. Make a note of the ones that interest you most.
How to Start Creative Writing
Once you have some idea of what you want to write, how do you get started?
Allow us to suggest some ideas that have worked for many of our readers and us:
- Keep a daily journal to record and play with your ideas as they come;
- Set aside a specific chunk of time every day (even 5 minutes) just for writing;
- Use a timer to help you stick to your daily writing habit;
- You can also set word count goals, if you find that more motivating than time limits;
- Read as much as you can of the kind of content you want to write;
- Publish your work (on a blog), and get feedback from others.
Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to begin let’s move on to our list of examples.
Creative Writing Examples
Read through the following examples to get ideas for your own writing. Make a note of anything that stands out for you.
1. Novels and Novellas
Inspiring novel-writing examples can come from the first paragraph of a well-loved novel (or novella), from the description on the back cover, or from anywhere in the story.
From Circe by Madeline Miller
““Little by little I began to listen better: to the sap moving in the plants, to the blood in my veins. I learned to understand my own intention, to prune and to add, to feel where the power gathered and speak the right words to draw it to its height. That was the moment I lived for, when it all came clear at last and the spell could sing with its pure note, for me and me alone.”
From The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin:
“‘I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination…. ”
2. Short Stories and Flash Fiction
The shorter your story, the more vital it is for each word to earn its place. Each sentence or phrase should be be necessary to your story’s message and impact.
From “A Consumer’s Guide to Shopping with PTSD” by Katherine Robb
“‘“Do you know what she said to me at the condo meeting?” I say to the salesman. She said, “Listen, the political climate is so terrible right now I think we all have PTSD. You’re just the only one making such a big deal about it.”
“The salesman nods his jowly face and says, “That Brenda sounds like a real b***h.”’
From Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (collection of short stories)
“Something happened when the house was dark. They were able to talk to each other again.” (From ‘A Temporary Matter’)
3. Twitter Stories (140 char)
Use the hashtag #VSS to find a generous sampling of short Twitter stories in 140 or fewer characters. Here are a few examples to get you started:
“With the invention of efficient 3D-printable #solar panels & cheap storage batteries, the world was finally able to enjoy the benefits of limitless cheap green energy. Except in the UK. We’re still awaiting the invention of a device to harness the power of light drizzle.” #vss365 (Keyword: solar)
“A solar lamp would safely light our shack. But Mom says it’ll lure thieves. I squint at my homework by candlelight, longing for electricity.” #vss #vss365 #solar
4. Poetry or Songs/Lyrics
If you’re looking for poetry or song-writing inspiration, you’ll find plenty of free examples online—including the two listed here:
From “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson
“I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
“How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
From “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons
“I wake up to the sounds
Of the silence that allows
For my mind to run around
With my ear up to the ground
I’m searching to behold
The stories that are told
When my back is to the world
That was smiling when I turned
Tell you you’re the greatest
But once you turn they hate us….”
5. Scripts for Plays, TV Shows, and Movies
If you enjoy writing dialogue and setting a scene, check out the following excerpts from two very different screenplays. Then jot down some notes for a screenplay (or scene) of your own.
From Mean Girls by Tina Fey (Based on the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman
“Karen: ‘So, if you’re from Africa, why are you white?’
“Gretchen: ‘Oh my god, Karen! You can’t just ask people why they’re white!’
“Regina: ‘Cady, could you give us some privacy for, like, one second?’
Cady makes eye contact with Janis and Damien as the Plastics confer.
“Regina (breaking huddle): ‘Okay, let me just say that we don’t do this a lot, so you should know that this is, like, a huge deal.’
“Gretchen: ‘We want to invite you to have lunch with us every day for the rest of the week.’
“Cady: ‘Oh, okay…’
“Gretchen: Great. So, we’ll see you tomorrow.’
“Karen: ‘On Tuesdays, we wear pink.’”
#10: From The Matrix by Larry and Andy Wachowski
“NEO: ‘That was you on my computer?’
“NEO: ‘How did you do that?’
“TRINITY: ‘Right now, all I can tell you, is that you are in danger. I brought you here to warn you.’
“NEO: ‘Of what?’
“TRINITY: ‘They’re watching you, Neo.’
“NEO: ‘Who is?’
“TRINITY: ‘Please. Just listen. I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone and why, night after night, you sit at your computer. You’re looking for him.’
“Her body is against his; her lips very close to his ear.
“TRINITY: ‘I know because I was once looking for the same thing, but when he found me he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer.’
“There is a hypnotic quality to her voice and Neo feels the words, like a drug, seeping into him.
“TRINITY: ‘It’s the question that drives us, the question that brought you here. You know the question just as I did.’
“NEO: ‘What is the Matrix?’
6. Memoirs / Autobiographical Narratives
Sharing stories from your life can be both cathartic for you and inspiring or instructive (or at least entertaining) for your readers.
From The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
“It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster, we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred: the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. ‘He was on his way home from work—happy, successful, healthy—and then, gone,’ I read in the account of the psychiatric nurse whose husband was killed in a highway accident… ”
From Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt:
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”
From Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s by Jennifer Worth:
“Nonnatus House was situated in the heart of the London Docklands… The area was densely-populated and most families had lived there for generations, often not moving more than a street or two away from their birthplace. Family life was lived at close-quarters and children were brought up by a widely-extended family of aunts, grandparents, cousins, and older siblings.
The purpose of most speeches is to inform, inspire, or persuade. Think of the last time you gave a speech of your own. How did you hook your listeners?
From “Is Technology Making Us Smarter or Dumber?” by Rob Clowes (Persuasive)
“It is possible to imagine that human nature, the human intellect, emotions and feelings are completely independent of our technologies; that we are essentially ahistorical beings with one constant human nature that has remained the same throughout history or even pre-history? Sometimes evolutionary psychologists—those who believe human nature was fixed on the Pleistocene Savannah—talk this way. I think this is demonstrably wrong…. “
From “Make Good Art” by Neil Gaiman (Keynote Address for the University of Fine Arts, 2012):
“…First of all: When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing.”
“This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.”
“If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do. And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.”
More Related Articles
From “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (TEDGlobal)
“…I come from a conventional, middle-class Nigerian family. My father was a professor. My mother was an administrator. And so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help, who would often come from nearby rural villages. So, the year I turned eight, we got a new house boy. His name was Fide. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. My mother sent yams and rice, and our old clothes, to his family. And when I didn’t finish my dinner, my mother would say, “Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing.” So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family.
“Then one Saturday, we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket made of dyed raffia that his brother had made. I was startled. It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.”
Essays are about arguing a particular point of view and presenting credible support for it. Think about an issue that excites or angers you. What could you write to make your case for a specific argument?
From “On Rules of Writing,” by Ursula K. Le Guin:
“Thanks to ‘show don’t tell,’ I find writers in my workshops who think exposition is wicked. They’re afraid to describe the world they’ve invented. (I make them read the first chapter of The Return of the Native, a description of a landscape, in which absolutely nothing happens until in the last paragraph a man is seen, from far away, walking along a road. If that won’t cure them nothing will.)”
From “Fairy Tale is Form, Form is Fairy Tale” by Kate Bernheimer (from The Writer’s Notebook):
“‘The pleasure of fairy tales,’ writes Swiss scholar Max Lüthi, ‘resides in their form.’ I find myself more and more devoted to the pleasure derived from form generally, and from the form of fairy tales specifically, and so I am eager to share what fairy-tale techniques have done for my writing and what they can do for yours. Fairy tales offer a path to rapture—the rapture of form—where the reader or writer finds a blissful and terrible home…. “
9. Journalism / Newspaper Articles
Picture yourself as a seasoned journalist brimming with ideas for your next piece. Or think of an article you’ve read that left you thinking, “Wow, they really went all out!” The following examples can inspire you to create front-page-worthy content of your own.
From “The Deadliest Jobs in America” by Christopher Cannon, Alex McIntyre and Adam Pearce (Bloomberg: May 13, 2015):
“The U.S. Department of Labor tracks how many people die at work, and why. The latest numbers were released in April and cover the last seven years through 2013. Some of the results may surprise you…. “
From “The Hunted” by Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic: March 29, 2010)
“… poachers continued to infiltrate the park, and to the Owenses they seemed more dangerous than ever. Word reached them that one band of commercial poachers had targeted them for assassination, blaming them for ruining their business. These threats—and the shooting of an elephant near their camp—provoked Mark to intensify his antipoaching activities. For some time, he had made regular night flights over the park, in search of meat-drying racks and the campfires of poachers; he would fly low, intentionally backfiring the plane and frightening away the hunters. Now he decided to escalate his efforts….. “
It doesn’t have to cost a thing to start a blog if you enjoy sharing your stories, ideas, and unique perspective with an online audience. What inspiration can you draw from the following examples?
#21: “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World” by Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger (Problogger.com):
“After all, that’s the dream, right?
“Forget the mansions and limousines and other trappings of Hollywood-style wealth. Sure, it would be nice, but for the most part, we bloggers are simpler souls with much kinder dreams.
“We want to quit our jobs, spend more time with our families, and finally have time to write. We want the freedom to work when we want, where we want. We want our writing to help people, to inspire them, to change them from the inside out.
“It’s a modest dream, a dream that deserves to come true, and yet a part of you might be wondering…
“Will it?…. “
Headline: “Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many f*cks in situations where f*cks do not deserve to be given.”
“In my life, I have given a f*ck about many people and many things. I have also not given a f*ck about many people and many things. And those f*cks I have not given have made all the difference…. “
11. Last Wills and Obituaries
Whether you’re writing a tribute for a deceased celebrity or loved one, or you’re writing your own last will and testament, the following examples can help get you started.
From an obituary for the actress Betty White (1922-2021) on Legacy.com:
“Betty White was a beloved American actress who starred in “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
“Died: Friday, December 31, 2021
“Details of death: Died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 99.
“A television fixture once known as the First Lady of Game Shows, White was blessed with a career that just wouldn’t quit — indeed, her fame only seemed to grow as she entered her 80s and 90s. By the time of her death, she was considered a national treasure, one of the best-loved and most trusted celebrities in Hollywood…. “
From a last will and testament using a template provided by LegalZoom.com:
“I, Petra Schade, a resident of Minnesota in Sherburne County — being of sound mind and memory — do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be my last will and testament…
“At the time of executing this will, I am married to Kristopher Schade. The names of my (and Kristopher’s) four children are listed below…
“I hereby express my intent not to be buried in a cemetery. I ask that my remains be cremated and then scattered at the base of a tree.
“None will have any obligation to visit my remains or leave any kind of marker. I ask that my husband honor this request more than any supposed obligation to honor my corpse with a funeral or with any kind of religious ceremony.
“I ask, too, that my children honor me by taking advantage of opportunities to grow and nurture trees in their area and (if they like) beyond, without spending more than their household budgets can support…. “
12. Dating Profiles and Wanted Ads
Dating profiles and wanted ads are another fun way to flex your creative writing muscles. Imagine you or a friend is getting set up on a dating app. Or pretend you’re looking for a job, a roommate, or something else that could (potentially) make your life better.
Example of dating profile:
Headline: “Female 49-year-old writer/coder looking for good company”
“Just moved to the Twin Cities metro area, and with my job keeping me busy most of the time, I haven’t gotten out much and would like to meet a friend (and possibly more) who knows their way around and is great to talk to. I don’t have pets (though I like animals) — or allergies. And with my work schedule, I need to be home by 10 pm at the latest. That said, I’d like to get better acquainted with the area — with someone who can make the time spent exploring it even more rewarding.”
Example of a wanted ad for a housekeeper:
“Divorced mother of four (living with three of them half the time) is looking for a housekeeper who can tidy up my apartment (including the two bathrooms) once a week. Pay is $20 an hour, not including tips, for three hours a week on Friday mornings from 9 am to 12 pm. Please call or text me at ###-###-#### and let me know when we could meet to discuss the job.”
13. Greeting Cards
These come in so many different varieties, we won’t attempt to list them here, but we will provide one upbeat example. Use it as inspiration for a birthday message for someone you know—or to write yourself the kind of message you’d love to receive.
Happy 50th Birthday card:
“Happy Birthday, and congratulations on turning 50! I remember you telling me your 40s were better than your 30s, which were better than your 20s. Here’s to the best decade yet! I have no doubt you’ll make it memorable and cross some things off your bucket list before your 51st.
“You inspire and challenge me to keep learning, to work on my relationships, and to try new things. There’s no one I’d rather call my best friend on earth.”
Now that you’ve looked through all 27 creative writing examples, which ones most closely resemble the kind of writing you enjoy?
By that, we mean, do you enjoy both reading and creating it? Or do you save some types of creative writing just for reading—and different types for your own writing? You’re allowed to mix and match. Some types of creative writing provide inspiration for others.
What kind of writing will you make time for today?