Creative Story

Who doesn't love a good story? Stories create meaning and help us see things in new ways. Understanding — and even writing — a creative story will help you get closer to the English language, ultimately aiding you in your exploration of literature. Creative stories have characters and structure, which you can use to your advantage in your essays.

Creative Story Creative Story

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Table of contents

    Meaning of a Creative Story

    A creative story is a long, almost redundant term meaning story. You might say that a creative story is planned, whereas a story can be any impromptu tale you weave for a friend. You really only use the term "creative story" in school, though. In the storytelling world, you call all books, shows, and movies stories.

    You can further divide creative stories into two types, creative fiction and creative nonfiction.

    Creative Story: Types

    The two primary types of creative stories are creative fiction and creative nonfiction.

    Creative Fiction

    The first thing you might think of when someone says "creative story" is creative fiction.

    Fiction is literature that is made up or imagined. Fiction does not contain real events, characters, or facts.

    Creative Story. A martial artist. StudySmarter.Fig. 1 - A narrative is action or plot-oriented.

    Creative Nonfiction

    Even stories based on real experiences have some made-up elements. Creative nonfiction stories are based on true events; however, the author makes up the elements they use to tell the story.

    A biopic about a celebrity's life has both factual and fictional elements. While the facts of location and timing might be real, the details are fictionalized to make the story more interesting. The author might imagine what conversations took place, how a character felt, or what they might have worn.

    Examples of Creative Stories

    Creative stories are everywhere. Here are some examples of both fictional and nonfictional creative stories.

    Examples of Creative Fiction Stories

    You have probably seen a lot of fictional creative stories, such as:

    • Novels, e.g., Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).
    • Short stories, e.g., Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" (1948).
    • Fairy tales, e.g., Little Red Riding Hood (seventeenth century).
    • Films and television shows based on fictional characters and scenarios, e.g., The Matrix (1999)

    Even though creative fiction has made-up events and characters, it can still have real-world significance. For example, even though both Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is entirely fictional, it was written with real-world issues in mind.

    Examples of creative nonfiction stories

    Fiction isn't the only type of creative story! Here are some creative stories based on real events:

    • Memoirs, e.g., Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love (2006).
    • Personal essays, e.g., Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own (1929).
    • Novels based on real events, e.g., Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1965).
    • Poetry collections, e.g., Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969).
    • Film and television shows based on real events, e.g., Inventing Anna (2022).

    Just because creative nonfiction is based on real stories, that doesn't mean authors can't be creative in how they tell those stories! For example, in his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood, Truman Capote tried to be as true-to-life as possible in retelling the 1959 murders of four members of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas.

    Outlining a Creative Story with Elements

    Whether you are writing a story of creative fiction or nonfiction, you will need to use the same elements: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and themes. All creative stories contain these elements.


    Stories are populated with characters.

    Characters are people, animals, beings, creatures, or things in a story. They can be fictional or nonfictional.

    Characters drive the story. Without characters, we would have no one to root for!

    StudySmarter. A fantasy alchemist carrying their latest invention. StudySmarter. Fig. 2 - Characters have unique traits and personalities.

    Flat vs. Round Characters

    Not all characters are the same. Some are flat and some are round.

    • Flat characters are uncomplicated characters. You can sum up their personality in 1 to 2 sentences.
    • Round characters are complex characters who often feel real.

    Static vs. Dynamic Characters

    Characters also differ in their abilities to change throughout the story.

    • Static characters do not change.
    • Dynamic characters change a lot.

    Audiences tend to root for the dynamic characters and the changes they are undergoing. Of course, this doesn't mean they have to change for the better. Some dynamic characters change for the worse:

    Anakin Skywalker of the Star Wars series changes a lot over time. He starts out as a Jedi, but as he experiences hardships, he embraces the dark side and becomes a Sith lord.

    Main Characters

    The first characters we think of when we think about stories are the main characters or heroes at the center of the story. When most people think of the main character, they think of the protagonist.

    The protagonist, also known as the hero, is the character that drives the story. They pursue the main goals of the story.

    Main characters are often protagonists, but they don't have to be.

    Where there is a protagonist, there is usually another type of main character: the antagonist.

    The antagonist is the adversary of the protagonist. They struggle against the protagonist's goals and often get in the way.

    The defining characteristic of the antagonist is that they oppose the protagonist. They make it difficult for the protagonist to meet their goals. Antagonists are often villains.

    Creatie story. Mean old dragon. StudySmarter.Fig. 3 - What has the wicked dragon done this time?

    Minor Characters

    Not all characters can be main characters. Some characters only pop up occasionally. These characters serve specific purposes and are often flat and static. They are known as minor characters.

    Minor characters help or interfere with the goals of the main characters. However, their role and personality are limited, sometimes even to a single scene or chapter.


    Creative stories take place in different locations and times. They have different moods and atmospheres. All of this makes up the setting.

    The setting is the background in which a story takes place. It includes the time, place, weather, and overall mood of the story.

    The setting can influence how the reader feels about the story. It sets the mood (or atmosphere) for the story.

    The mood (or atmosphere) is the feeling a writer tries to evoke in the reader.

    Writers use the setting of a story to influence their reader's emotions. When creating a setting, think about what you want the reader to feel.

    Settings have several elements that can affect the mood of a story. Here are just a few:

    • Weather
    • Lighting
    • Architecture
    • Language and dialect
    • Technology


    What happens in a story? The plot.

    The plot is the sequence of events in a story.

    The plot includes a series of actions, choices, and experiences that shape the story. Each event causes another event. One thing always leads to the next.

    Creative story. Treasure map. StudySmarter.Fig. 4 - Where did the characters come from, and where are they going?

    Every plot follows a logical organization. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end. To convey the plot, you should follow a basic structure with these key elements:

    • Exposition
    • A conflict
    • Rising action (complications and conflict)
    • The climax
    • Falling action
    • The resolution

    The Hook

    The best way to grab your reader's attention is to start the story with a hook.

    A hook is used to grab the reader's attention at the beginning of a story.

    Great stories start with an attention-grabbing hook. For example, Charles Dickens grabbed readers' attention with this opening line of A Tale of Two Cities (1859): "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." 2


    Have you ever been dropped into a story with no idea of what's going on? You wonder who these characters are and how they got here. A little background information can help with that. Good stories use exposition to provide this background.

    The exposition provides background information on the characters, setting, and main conflict.

    Exposition often appears toward the beginning of a story. It does not have to come first, though. At some early point in the story, it helps to include:

    • An introduction to the main characters. Who are they?
    • An explanation of the conflict. How did the characters get to this point?
    • A description of the setting. Where are these characters? When is this story taking place?

    Rising Action, Complications, and Conflict

    As characters overcome the main conflict, they might find smaller conflicts along the way. Complications make things more exciting.

    Complications get in the way of characters reaching their goals.

    Complications can be internal (character against themselves) or external (character against outside forces). Complications are a form of conflict, which is when two or more forces interact in a way that creates action or drama.

    Creative story. A singing mermaid. StudySmarter.Fig 5. - A minor character can create complications by distracting the protagonists.


    At some point in every story, the action reaches a peak. This is known as the climax.

    The climax is when the protagonist faces their biggest source of conflict. The climax is the point of the story with the most action and excitement.

    Everything else in the story leads up to this moment.

    Falling Action and Resolution

    After the tension of the climax, the reader might need some relief. This is where falling action comes into play.

    After the climax, falling action ties up any loose ends so the story can come to a close.

    The very end is called the resolution.

    A resolution says goodbye.

    The resolution offers the reader a sense of closure and ends the story, whether this is a "and they lived happily ever after" ending or not.

    Creative story. A chest brimming with treasure! StudySmarter.Fig. 6 - A resolution tells you what situation the characters end in. Lined with loot perhaps?

    Point of View

    Stories are always told from somebody's point of view.

    The point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. Think of it as the eyes through which the reader sees the story.

    The point of view is conveyed by the narrator.

    The narrator is who or what is telling the story. The point of view is told through them.

    There are different types of narrators. Each type of narrator offers a different point of view (POV) or perspective on the story. The two main POVs are 1st-person and 3rd-person.

    A 1st-person POV uses "I." The narrator here is usually the main character, but this isn't always the case.

    A 3rd-person POV uses "they." The narrator often isn't a character here, and they can describe the various thoughts of the characters.


    In a story, themes lie at a deeper level.

    Themes consist of a story's underlying meaning, morals, and questions.

    When you write essays on creative stories, themes are a big part of the conversation because writers don't lay them bare: a reader must interpret themes. Additionally, readers can interpret themes a writer never intended. This guesswork enriches the discussion of a story in academia and beyond.

    For instance, in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968), you might say that a theme is "how compassionate can a machine be?" You'd say this because there are many artificial creations in the story, and their levels of compassion differ.

    Creative story. An android or AI. StudySmarter.Fig. 7 - Themes often explore society, culture, and humanity.

    A story can have many themes. In fact, the number is only limited by a reader's imagination! This is why some analysts use the term "central" or "core" theme: to distinguish such themes from the endless ones possible.

    Creative Story Analysis

    You can analyze a creative story in innumerable ways. However, two ways stick out, and they go hand in hand. You can analyze themes, and you can analyze literary devices.

    A literary device is a writer's technique to tell a story or creatively communicate a theme.

    A literary device is something like symbolism, where one thing represents something else throughout a work. A symbol often represents a theme.

    For instance, a writer might use the protagonist's car to symbolize the theme, "people don't know what they really want." The protagonist might switch out their car throughout the story, trying to find one they're satisfied with (whether it's powerful enough, safe enough, big enough, or glamorous enough), but they never are. That car becomes a symbol of the character's unhappiness.

    Here is a list of literary devices that might lead you to a powerful theme.

    • Metaphor

    • Extended metaphor

    • Imagery

    • Irony or satire

    • Tone

    • Description

    • Dialogue

    When analyzing creative stories, examine how literary devices illuminate themes. You'll have shining results in no time.

    Creative Story - Key Takeaways

    • A creative story is planned out. Although it is an academic term, it does distinguish a planned story from an impromptu anecdote.
    • The two primary types of creative stories are creative fiction and creative nonfiction.
    • Creative stories contain characters, settings, plots, points of view, and themes.
    • Plots contain a hook, an exposition, rising action and conflict, a climax, and some form of resolution.
    • To analyze a creative story, explore the convergence of literary devices and themes.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Creative Story

    What is a creative story?

    A creative story is one you plan out. It's an academic term, but it's useful in distinguishing planned stories from impromptu anecdotes and the like.

    How do you write a creative story?

    To write a creative story, select characters, a setting, a plot, a point of view, and themes. Put them all together to create an entertaining story.

    What is an example of a creative story? 

    An example of a creative story is the Brothers Grimms's "Little Red Riding Hood." It has several characters, a forest setting, an exciting plot, an omniscient narrator, and light themes of mischief and trust.

    What are the types of creative story? 

    The types of creative story are creative fiction and creative nonfiction.

    What is the best story in English?

    The best story in English is a subjective opinion. Everybody like something different. However, one of the most popular types of story in the English language is the hero's journey. In the hero's journey, the main character comes of age while going through fantastical trials and tribulations. Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and The Chronicles of Narnia are some examples of the hero's journey.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    What is a creative story?

    A novel is based on a true story. However, the dialogue and details are made up. What type of creative story is this an example of?

    A character in a story is well-developed with a complex personality. They do not change throughout the story. What kind of character does this describe?

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