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27 Creative Writing Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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 , 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, 9. journalism / newspaper articles, 11. last wills and obituaries, 12. dating profiles and wanted ads, 13. greeting cards.

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. 

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. 

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…. ” 

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’)

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: 

From Chris Stocks on January 3rd, 2022 : 

“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)

From TinyTalesbyRedsaid1 on January 2nd, 2022 : 

“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

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….” 

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: ‘Sure.’

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?’

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.” 

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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….  “

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 (

“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?…. “

From “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (blog post) by Mark Manson :

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…. “

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 

“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 : 

“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…. “

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.”

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? 

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Last updated on Feb 14, 2023

10 Types of Creative Writing (with Examples You’ll Love)

A lot falls under the term ‘creative writing’: poetry, short fiction, plays, novels, personal essays, and songs, to name just a few. By virtue of the creativity that characterizes it, creative writing is an extremely versatile art. So instead of defining what creative writing is , it may be easier to understand what it does by looking at examples that demonstrate the sheer range of styles and genres under its vast umbrella.

To that end, we’ve collected a non-exhaustive list of works across multiple formats that have inspired the writers here at Reedsy. With 20 different works to explore, we hope they will inspire you, too. 

People have been writing creatively for almost as long as we have been able to hold pens. Just think of long-form epic poems like The Odyssey or, later, the Cantar de Mio Cid — some of the earliest recorded writings of their kind. 

Poetry is also a great place to start if you want to dip your own pen into the inkwell of creative writing. It can be as short or long as you want (you don’t have to write an epic of Homeric proportions), encourages you to build your observation skills, and often speaks from a single point of view . 

Here are a few examples:

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The ruins of pillars and walls with the broken statue of a man in the center set against a bright blue sky.

This classic poem by Romantic poet Percy Shelley (also known as Mary Shelley’s husband) is all about legacy. What do we leave behind? How will we be remembered? The great king Ozymandias built himself a massive statue, proclaiming his might, but the irony is that his statue doesn’t survive the ravages of time. By framing this poem as told to him by a “traveller from an antique land,” Shelley effectively turns this into a story. Along with the careful use of juxtaposition to create irony, this poem accomplishes a lot in just a few lines. 

“Trying to Raise the Dead” by Dorianne Laux

 A direction. An object. My love, it needs a place to rest. Say anything. I’m listening. I’m ready to believe. Even lies, I don’t care.

Poetry is cherished for its ability to evoke strong emotions from the reader using very few words which is exactly what Dorianne Laux does in “ Trying to Raise the Dead .” With vivid imagery that underscores the painful yearning of the narrator, she transports us to a private nighttime scene as the narrator sneaks away from a party to pray to someone they’ve lost. We ache for their loss and how badly they want their lost loved one to acknowledge them in some way. It’s truly a masterclass on how writing can be used to portray emotions. 

If you find yourself inspired to try out some poetry — and maybe even get it published — check out these poetry layouts that can elevate your verse!

Song Lyrics

Poetry’s closely related cousin, song lyrics are another great way to flex your creative writing muscles. You not only have to find the perfect rhyme scheme but also match it to the rhythm of the music. This can be a great challenge for an experienced poet or the musically inclined. 

To see how music can add something extra to your poetry, check out these two examples:

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

 You say I took the name in vain I don't even know the name But if I did, well, really, what's it to ya? There's a blaze of light in every word It doesn't matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah 

Metaphors are commonplace in almost every kind of creative writing, but will often take center stage in shorter works like poetry and songs. At the slightest mention, they invite the listener to bring their emotional or cultural experience to the piece, allowing the writer to express more with fewer words while also giving it a deeper meaning. If a whole song is couched in metaphor, you might even be able to find multiple meanings to it, like in Leonard Cohen’s “ Hallelujah .” While Cohen’s Biblical references create a song that, on the surface, seems like it’s about a struggle with religion, the ambiguity of the lyrics has allowed it to be seen as a song about a complicated romantic relationship. 

“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

 ​​If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks Then I'll follow you into the dark

A red neon

You can think of song lyrics as poetry set to music. They manage to do many of the same things their literary counterparts do — including tugging on your heartstrings. Death Cab for Cutie’s incredibly popular indie rock ballad is about the singer’s deep devotion to his lover. While some might find the song a bit too dark and macabre, its melancholy tune and poignant lyrics remind us that love can endure beyond death.

Plays and Screenplays

From the short form of poetry, we move into the world of drama — also known as the play. This form is as old as the poem, stretching back to the works of ancient Greek playwrights like Sophocles, who adapted the myths of their day into dramatic form. The stage play (and the more modern screenplay) gives the words on the page a literal human voice, bringing life to a story and its characters entirely through dialogue. 

Interested to see what that looks like? Take a look at these examples:

All My Sons by Arthur Miller

“I know you're no worse than most men but I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father.” 

Creative Writing Examples | Photo of the Old Vic production of All My Sons by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller acts as a bridge between the classic and the new, creating 20th century tragedies that take place in living rooms and backyard instead of royal courts, so we had to include his breakout hit on this list. Set in the backyard of an all-American family in the summer of 1946, this tragedy manages to communicate family tensions in an unimaginable scale, building up to an intense climax reminiscent of classical drama. 

💡 Read more about Arthur Miller and classical influences in our breakdown of Freytag’s pyramid . 

“Everything is Fine” by Michael Schur ( The Good Place )

“Well, then this system sucks. in a million gets to live in paradise and everyone else is tortured for eternity? Come on! I mean, I wasn't freaking Gandhi, but I was okay. I was a medium person. I should get to spend eternity in a medium place! Like Cincinnati. Everyone who wasn't perfect but wasn't terrible should get to spend eternity in Cincinnati.” 

A screenplay, especially a TV pilot, is like a mini-play, but with the extra job of convincing an audience that they want to watch a hundred more episodes of the show. Blending moral philosophy with comedy, The Good Place is a fun hang-out show set in the afterlife that asks some big questions about what it means to be good. 

It follows Eleanor Shellstrop, an incredibly imperfect woman from Arizona who wakes up in ‘The Good Place’ and realizes that there’s been a cosmic mixup. Determined not to lose her place in paradise, she recruits her “soulmate,” a former ethics professor, to teach her philosophy with the hope that she can learn to be a good person and keep up her charade of being an upstanding citizen. The pilot does a superb job of setting up the stakes, the story, and the characters, while smuggling in deep philosophical ideas.

Personal essays

Our first foray into nonfiction on this list is the personal essay. As its name suggests, these stories are in some way autobiographical — concerned with the author’s life and experiences. But don’t be fooled by the realistic component. These essays can take any shape or form, from comics to diary entries to recipes and anything else you can imagine. Typically zeroing in on a single issue, they allow you to explore your life and prove that the personal can be universal.

Here are a couple of fantastic examples:

“On Selling Your First Novel After 11 Years” by Min Jin Lee (Literary Hub)

There was so much to learn and practice, but I began to see the prose in verse and the verse in prose. Patterns surfaced in poems, stories, and plays. There was music in sentences and paragraphs. I could hear the silences in a sentence. All this schooling was like getting x-ray vision and animal-like hearing. 

Stacks of multicolored hardcover books.

This deeply honest personal essay by Pachinko author Min Jin Lee is an account of her eleven-year struggle to publish her first novel . Like all good writing, it is intensely focused on personal emotional details. While grounded in the specifics of the author's personal journey, it embodies an experience that is absolutely universal: that of difficulty and adversity met by eventual success. 

“A Cyclist on the English Landscape” by Roff Smith (New York Times)

These images, though, aren’t meant to be about me. They’re meant to represent a cyclist on the landscape, anybody — you, perhaps. 

Roff Smith’s gorgeous photo essay for the NYT is a testament to the power of creatively combining visuals with text. Here, photographs of Smith atop a bike are far from simply ornamental. They’re integral to the ruminative mood of the essay, as essential as the writing. Though Smith places his work at the crosscurrents of various aesthetic influences (such as the painter Edward Hopper), what stands out the most in this taciturn, thoughtful piece of writing is his use of the second person to address the reader directly. Suddenly, the writer steps out of the body of the essay and makes eye contact with the reader. The reader is now part of the story as a second character, finally entering the picture.

Short Fiction

The short story is the happy medium of fiction writing. These bite-sized narratives can be devoured in a single sitting and still leave you reeling. Sometimes viewed as a stepping stone to novel writing, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Short story writing is an art all its own. The limited length means every word counts and there’s no better way to see that than with these two examples:

“An MFA Story” by Paul Dalla Rosa (Electric Literature)

At Starbucks, I remembered a reading Zhen had given, a reading organized by the program’s faculty. I had not wanted to go but did. In the bar, he read, "I wrote this in a Starbucks in Shanghai. On the bank of the Huangpu." It wasn’t an aside or introduction. It was two lines of the poem. I was in a Starbucks and I wasn’t writing any poems. I wasn’t writing anything. 

Creative Writing Examples | Photograph of New York City street.

This short story is a delightfully metafictional tale about the struggles of being a writer in New York. From paying the bills to facing criticism in a writing workshop and envying more productive writers, Paul Dalla Rosa’s story is a clever satire of the tribulations involved in the writing profession, and all the contradictions embodied by systemic creativity (as famously laid out in Mark McGurl’s The Program Era ). What’s more, this story is an excellent example of something that often happens in creative writing: a writer casting light on the private thoughts or moments of doubt we don’t admit to or openly talk about. 

“Flowering Walrus” by Scott Skinner (Reedsy)

I tell him they’d been there a month at least, and he looks concerned. He has my tongue on a tissue paper and is gripping its sides with his pointer and thumb. My tongue has never spent much time outside of my mouth, and I imagine it as a walrus basking in the rays of the dental light. My walrus is not well. 

A winner of Reedsy’s weekly Prompts writing contest, ‘ Flowering Walrus ’ is a story that balances the trivial and the serious well. In the pauses between its excellent, natural dialogue , the story manages to scatter the fear and sadness of bad medical news, as the protagonist hides his worries from his wife and daughter. Rich in subtext, these silences grow and resonate with the readers.

Want to give short story writing a go? Give our free course a go!



How to Craft a Killer Short Story

From pacing to character development, master the elements of short fiction.

Perhaps the thing that first comes to mind when talking about creative writing, novels are a form of fiction that many people know and love but writers sometimes find intimidating. The good news is that novels are nothing but one word put after another, like any other piece of writing, but expanded and put into a flowing narrative. Piece of cake, right?

To get an idea of the format’s breadth of scope, take a look at these two (very different) satirical novels: 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

I wished I was back in the convenience store where I was valued as a working member of staff and things weren’t as complicated as this. Once we donned our uniforms, we were all equals regardless of gender, age, or nationality — all simply store workers. 

Creative Writing Examples | Book cover of Convenience Store Woman

Keiko, a thirty-six-year-old convenience store employee, finds comfort and happiness in the strict, uneventful routine of the shop’s daily operations. A funny, satirical, but simultaneously unnerving examination of the social structures we take for granted, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is deeply original and lingers with the reader long after they’ve put it down.

Erasure by Percival Everett

The hard, gritty truth of the matter is that I hardly ever think about race. Those times when I did think about it a lot I did so because of my guilt for not thinking about it.  

Erasure is a truly accomplished satire of the publishing industry’s tendency to essentialize African American authors and their writing. Everett’s protagonist is a writer whose work doesn’t fit with what publishers expect from him — work that describes the “African American experience” — so he writes a parody novel about life in the ghetto. The publishers go crazy for it and, to the protagonist’s horror, it becomes the next big thing. This sophisticated novel is both ironic and tender, leaving its readers with much food for thought.

Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is pretty broad: it applies to anything that does not claim to be fictional (although the rise of autofiction has definitely blurred the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction). It encompasses everything from personal essays and memoirs to humor writing, and they range in length from blog posts to full-length books. The defining characteristic of this massive genre is that it takes the world or the author’s experience and turns it into a narrative that a reader can follow along with.

Here, we want to focus on novel-length works that dig deep into their respective topics. While very different, these two examples truly show the breadth and depth of possibility of creative nonfiction:

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Men’s bodies litter my family history. The pain of the women they left behind pulls them from the beyond, makes them appear as ghosts. In death, they transcend the circumstances of this place that I love and hate all at once and become supernatural. 

Writer Jesmyn Ward recounts the deaths of five men from her rural Mississippi community in as many years. In her award-winning memoir , she delves into the lives of the friends and family she lost and tries to find some sense among the tragedy. Working backwards across five years, she questions why this had to happen over and over again, and slowly unveils the long history of racism and poverty that rules rural Black communities. Moving and emotionally raw, Men We Reaped is an indictment of a cruel system and the story of a woman's grief and rage as she tries to navigate it.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

He believed that wine could reshape someone’s life. That’s why he preferred buying bottles to splurging on sweaters. Sweaters were things. Bottles of wine, said Morgan, “are ways that my humanity will be changed.” 

In this work of immersive journalism , Bianca Bosker leaves behind her life as a tech journalist to explore the world of wine. Becoming a “cork dork” takes her everywhere from New York’s most refined restaurants to science labs while she learns what it takes to be a sommelier and a true wine obsessive. This funny and entertaining trip through the past and present of wine-making and tasting is sure to leave you better informed and wishing you, too, could leave your life behind for one devoted to wine. 

Illustrated Narratives (Comics, graphic novels)

Once relegated to the “funny pages”, the past forty years of comics history have proven it to be a serious medium. Comics have transformed from the early days of Jack Kirby’s superheroes into a medium where almost every genre is represented. Humorous one-shots in the Sunday papers stand alongside illustrated memoirs, horror, fantasy, and just about anything else you can imagine. This type of visual storytelling lets the writer and artist get creative with perspective, tone, and so much more. For two very different, though equally entertaining, examples, check these out:

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

"Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure." 

A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. A little blond boy Calvin makes multiple silly faces in school photos. In the last panel, his father says, "That's our son. *Sigh*" His mother then says, "The pictures will remind of more than we want to remember."

This beloved comic strip follows Calvin, a rambunctious six-year-old boy, and his stuffed tiger/imaginary friend, Hobbes. They get into all kinds of hijinks at school and at home, and muse on the world in the way only a six-year-old and an anthropomorphic tiger can. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is, Calvin & Hobbes ’ popularity persists as much for its whimsy as its use of humor to comment on life, childhood, adulthood, and everything in between. 

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell 

"I shall tell you where we are. We're in the most extreme and utter region of the human mind. A dim, subconscious underworld. A radiant abyss where men meet themselves. Hell, Netley. We're in Hell." 

Comics aren't just the realm of superheroes and one-joke strips, as Alan Moore proves in this serialized graphic novel released between 1989 and 1998. A meticulously researched alternative history of Victorian London’s Ripper killings, this macabre story pulls no punches. Fact and fiction blend into a world where the Royal Family is involved in a dark conspiracy and Freemasons lurk on the sidelines. It’s a surreal mad-cap adventure that’s unsettling in the best way possible. 

Video Games and RPGs

Probably the least expected entry on this list, we thought that video games and RPGs also deserved a mention — and some well-earned recognition for the intricate storytelling that goes into creating them. 

Essentially gamified adventure stories, without attention to plot, characters, and a narrative arc, these games would lose a lot of their charm, so let’s look at two examples where the creative writing really shines through: 

80 Days by inkle studios

"It was a triumph of invention over nature, and will almost certainly disappear into the dust once more in the next fifty years." 

A video game screenshot of 80 days. In the center is a city with mechanical legs. It's titled "The Moving City." In the lower right hand corner is a profile of man with a speech balloon that says, "A starched collar, very good indeed."

Named Time Magazine ’s game of the year in 2014, this narrative adventure is based on Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. The player is cast as the novel’s narrator, Passpartout, and tasked with circumnavigating the globe in service of their employer, Phileas Fogg. Set in an alternate steampunk Victorian era, the game uses its globe-trotting to comment on the colonialist fantasies inherent in the original novel and its time period. On a storytelling level, the choose-your-own-adventure style means no two players’ journeys will be the same. This innovative approach to a classic novel shows the potential of video games as a storytelling medium, truly making the player part of the story. 

What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow

"If we lived forever, maybe we'd have time to understand things. But as it is, I think the best we can do is try to open our eyes, and appreciate how strange and brief all of this is." 

This video game casts the player as 17-year-old Edith Finch. Returning to her family’s home on an island in the Pacific northwest, Edith explores the vast house and tries to figure out why she’s the only one of her family left alive. The story of each family member is revealed as you make your way through the house, slowly unpacking the tragic fate of the Finches. Eerie and immersive, this first-person exploration game uses the medium to tell a series of truly unique tales. 

Fun and breezy on the surface, humor is often recognized as one of the trickiest forms of creative writing. After all, while you can see the artistic value in a piece of prose that you don’t necessarily enjoy, if a joke isn’t funny, you could say that it’s objectively failed.

With that said, it’s far from an impossible task, and many have succeeded in bringing smiles to their readers’ faces through their writing. Here are two examples:

‘How You Hope Your Extended Family Will React When You Explain Your Job to Them’ by Mike Lacher (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

“Is it true you don’t have desks?” your grandmother will ask. You will nod again and crack open a can of Country Time Lemonade. “My stars,” she will say, “it must be so wonderful to not have a traditional office and instead share a bistro-esque coworking space.” 

An open plan office seen from a bird's eye view. There are multiple strands of Edison lights hanging from the ceiling. At long light wooden tables multiple people sit working at computers, many of them wearing headphones.

Satire and parody make up a whole subgenre of creative writing, and websites like McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Onion consistently hit the mark with their parodies of magazine publishing and news media. This particular example finds humor in the divide between traditional family expectations and contemporary, ‘trendy’ work cultures. Playing on the inherent silliness of today’s tech-forward middle-class jobs, this witty piece imagines a scenario where the writer’s family fully understands what they do — and are enthralled to hear more. “‘Now is it true,’ your uncle will whisper, ‘that you’ve got a potential investment from one of the founders of I Can Haz Cheezburger?’”

‘Not a Foodie’ by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (Electric Literature)

I’m not a foodie, I never have been, and I know, in my heart, I never will be. 

Highlighting what she sees as an unbearable social obsession with food , in this comic Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell takes a hilarious stand against the importance of food. From the writer’s courageous thesis (“I think there are more exciting things to talk about, and focus on in life, than what’s for dinner”) to the amusing appearance of family members and the narrator’s partner, ‘Not a Foodie’ demonstrates that even a seemingly mundane pet peeve can be approached creatively — and even reveal something profound about life.

We hope this list inspires you with your own writing. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be that there is no limit to what you can write about or how you can write about it. 

In the next part of this guide, we'll drill down into the fascinating world of creative nonfiction.

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Going Up North

The trip alone to Nana Evie's was an adventure. Mum took us into town and we sat in the hollow bus-stop waiting for a big green one with yellow kowhai flowers to take us up to Leigh. She'd buy us some lollies and a comic then give us a big hug and a kiss before we climbed up the big metal steps into the bus.

I always felt a little sad as we waved to Mum, I almost wanted to hop off and run back to her. But once the bus rumbled and hissed its way north we forgot all about Auckland. We sat with our faces pressed up against the windows making steamy patterns as buildings, cars, lights and shops all whizzed by. Slowly they'd break up and change until there was only big stretches of green. I never could read my comics on the bus. I'd get a headache. We'd talk and laugh about the people on the bus and try to guess where they'd hop off. Hardly anyone ever went all the way to Leigh. That was our stop.

Leigh is a little place with only two shops at either end on the road. It always seemed quite empty and lonely but it was peaceful and nice at the same time. At Nana's funny little batch down by the creek we'd and pile over the gate to race down to get there first. Nana was always waiting on her steps leaning against her broom that was never far from her reach. Her big skirts swung in the wind and her sparkly old eyes watched us closely as we ran to hoard around and hug her big waist. We'd all chatter non-stop about everything we'd done and she'd just grin and say 'Ah my little city mokopunas aye - talk talk non-stop no time for nothing but your news, by crikey aye'.

We'd spend our days doing a hundred things. Climbing to the top of the hills that enclosed us and sliding down on the biggest nikau palms we could find. Tramping through the soft mud down by the creek and swimming from a big macrocarpa tree hanging over its banks. We'd roll and hide in the huge white sand dunes that covered the beach and wander through the paddocks looking for blackberries to pick for Nana.

Our stay always seemed so short. Nana was so good to us. She'd have a far-off misty look and smile on us so that we knew, although we had to go home, she would always be with us and we would always be with her. The trip home was long and tiring and we were all worn out yet full of satisfaction. That's how I remember going up North to visit Nana and how I always will.

Published on: 23 Nov 2010

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AS 91101B Annotated exemplars

Produce a selection of crafted and controlled writing (2.4b), download all exemplars.

This annotated exemplar is intended for teacher use only. Annotated exemplars are extracts of student evidence, with commentary, that explain key parts of a standard. These help teachers make assessment judgements at the grade boundaries.

Download all exemplars and commentary [PDF, 268 KB]

TKI English assessment resources (external link)

Low Excellence

For Excellence, the student needs to create an effective, crafted and controlled selection of writing that commands attention.

This involves developing, sustaining and structuring ideas effectively and using appropriate language features to create meaning, effects and audience engagement.

This student has effectively developed, sustained and structured ideas in a eulogy for Thomas Bryant. The student does this by developing and sustaining a compelling pre and post war portrait through contrasting details about Thomas Bryant’s personality (2) (10), his changed relationships (4) (9), his changed appearance (7) and his changed pastimes (3) (8).

This student has commanded the reader’s attention about the impact of war by structuring ideas through a narrator who is delivering a eulogy before a congregation (1). Personal details are effectively integrated with more general details to show how war impacts on all families (5) (6) (12).

The student has used appropriate language features to command attention by engaging the audience through the use of a distinctive personal voice (2) (13) and deliberately selecting language to reflect different viewpoints (7) (14).

For a more secure Excellence, the student could provide further insight into the mind of the man who had ‘always believed in the equal, fair treatment of others…’ (5) and who was now ‘not the man that left this village 4 years ago’ (11).

In order to make the piece more persuasive, the student could further develop exactly what was the ‘impression in between the lines’ (6), and how he ‘no longer fitted into daily life’ (9).

For Merit, the student needs to create a crafted and controlled selection of writing that is convincing.

This involves developing, sustaining and structuring ideas convincingly and using appropriate language features to create meaning, effects and audience interest.

This student has convincingly developed, sustained and structured ideas through an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The student does this by modernising elements from the original story, e.g., the three prophecies (8) (10) (12) (14), so that it becomes a more relevant conflict between modern day motorbike gangs (2).

This student has structured the letter so that a sense of immediacy is created, with the opening and final words to Lady Macbeth in the present tense (1) (16). The chronological description of the conflict, with references and allusions to known characters and incidents (5) (11) (13) (15) helps to build and sustain the tension and suspense, up to the dramatic ‘P.S.’ at the end (17).

The student has used appropriate language features to create convincing effects, deliberately selecting vocabulary to create appropriate and effective imagery (4), a sense of place (2) and a sense of person through the use of appropriate asides (6) (16). Tension has been created through the use of balanced sentences (2) (3).

To reach Excellence, the student could further develop and sustain ideas about Mac’s conflicted state of mind to make the parallels more compelling. Some awkward sentences could be reworked to create a more commanding effect (7) (9) (11).

This student has convincingly developed, sustained and structured ideas about the fostering and adoption of children by same sex couples. The student does this by developing and sustaining a clear focus (2), and building to a reasoned and balanced conclusion (12). Relevant examples, statistics and research (3) (9) help to build on ideas.

This student has used appropriate language features to create convincing effects by deliberately selecting vocabulary to communicate the writer’s sense of conviction (2) (4) (10) (11). The use of language devices help to sustain the argument and maintain reader interest, such as rhetorical questions (6), emotive appeals (1), balanced arguments (7) and a balance of objective and subjective comments (5) (8).

For a more secure Merit, the student could further develop and sustain ideas about what makes good parents, and provide more evidence to support the New Zealand context (rather than using American data).

High Achieved

For Achieved, the student needs to create a crafted and controlled selection of writing that is appropriate to audience and purpose.

This involves developing, sustaining and structuring ideas and using appropriate language features to create meaning and effects.

This student has developed, and structured ideas about how the director establishes the ruthlessness of the Joker in the film The Dark Knight. The student has done this by building on the idea of the Joker’s ruthless nature, which allows him to exploit people (6) (7), his lack of loyalty (9), his lack of conscience (10) and connecting his actions to the dialogue (11). Relevant details about the mask help to sustain the idea (1) (2) (4).

This student has used language features appropriately and accurately to create effects. The student has done this by deliberately using repetition (9) (8) and crafting language features appropriately to create meaning and effects (12).

To reach Merit, the student could develop a broader view of ruthlessness by, for example, developing and sustaining  the idea of the similarity with terrorism (4) and by linking  the idea of the ‘green tinge’ ( 5) with that of ruthlessness. Some awkward passages (3) (5) could be reworked to create convincing effects.

Low Achieved

This student has just sufficiently developed, sustained and structured ideas in a profile about Eric Johnson. The student does this by developing and connecting ideas about how events in the man’s youth affected him as an adult (6) (9) (10), and by building on the ideas of the man as a soldier (4) (7) and as a family man (2) (3).

This student has used language features sufficiently appropriately and accurately to create effects. The student has done this by deliberately selecting some appropriate language features to reflect the nature of the man, such as ‘whispers’ (8) and ‘simply’ (11). There is some variation in syntax, such as balanced sentences (5), short and long sentences, and a mix of dialogue, description and exposition.

For a more secure Achieved, the student could re-work passages to improve syntax and tense use (1) (6). The student could also proof-read to correct minor errors.

High Not Achieved

For Achieved, the student needs to construct and deliver a crafted and controlled text that is appropriate to audience and purpose.

This student has begun to develop, sustain and structure ideas about the effect of institutionalism (1) on Brooks. The student does this by generally structuring the text so that each paragraph contains a new point and providing and sustaining some details about Brooks, and the fact that he is institutionalized (5) (6) (7).

This student has provided some evidence of language features used to create an effect. The student has done this by deliberately making some vocabulary choices to create meaning and effects (9), and generally using text conventions accurately so that the writing contains only minor errors.

To reach Achieved, the student could develop and sustain ideas by providing fuller explanations to connect the examples to the idea about the ‘effects that institutionalism can have on someone…’ (2) (3) (4) (8).

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10 Examples of Engaging and Well-Crafted Creative Writing Pieces for Inspiration

1. the great gatsby by f. scott fitzgerald, 2. to kill a mockingbird by harper lee, 3. pride and prejudice by jane austen, 4. catch-22 by joseph heller, 5. the catcher in the rye by j.d. salinger, 6. 1984 by george orwell, 7. the adventures of huckleberry finn by mark twain, 8. the hobbit by j.r.r. tolkien, 9. the handmaid's tale by margaret atwood, 10. animal farm by george orwell.

Searching for creative writing examples can be overwhelming, but fear not! We've compiled a list of ten engaging and well-crafted creative writing pieces for you to gain inspiration from. These works will not only spark your imagination but also aid in developing your own unique writing style. So, let's dive into these fantastic examples of creative writing!

The Great Gatsby is a classic example of engaging and well-crafted creative writing that has stood the test of time. Set in the roaring 1920s, this novel offers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy and the pursuit of the American Dream. Here's what makes this piece a great source of inspiration for creative writers:

  • Imagery: Fitzgerald masterfully uses vivid descriptions to bring the opulent world of Gatsby to life. From the extravagant parties to the lavish mansions, his words paint a picture that transports readers to another era.
  • Symbolism: Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald employs various symbols, such as the green light and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, to convey deeper meanings and themes.
  • Character development: The complex and multifaceted characters in The Great Gatsby are what truly drive the story. As you read, you'll witness their motivations, desires, and flaws, making them feel like real people.
  • Themes: The Great Gatsby explores timeless themes such as love, wealth, and the pursuit of happiness, which continue to resonate with readers today.

As you explore this classic example of creative writing, take note of Fitzgerald's techniques and consider how you can incorporate them into your own work. Remember, the key to great creative writing is to read engaging and well-crafted pieces like The Great Gatsby and learn from the masters!

To Kill a Mockingbird is another remarkable example of creative writing that has captivated readers for generations. Set in the Deep South during the 1930s, the novel tackles themes of racial injustice and moral growth through the eyes of a young girl named Scout Finch. Here are some key aspects of this work that make it an excellent source of inspiration for aspiring creative writers:

  • Point of view: The story is narrated from Scout's perspective, giving readers a unique and innocent outlook on the events that unfold. This helps to create a powerful emotional connection between the reader and the characters.
  • Dialogue: Harper Lee skillfully crafts authentic and engaging dialogue that brings the characters to life. The conversations in the novel are a great example of how to create natural-sounding dialogue that advances the plot and reveals character traits.
  • Setting: The vivid descriptions of Maycomb, Alabama, provide a strong sense of place that is integral to the story. The well-drawn setting helps to immerse readers in the world of the novel and adds depth to the narrative.
  • Themes: To Kill a Mockingbird addresses important themes like racism, prejudice, and the loss of innocence, which remain relevant today. The novel serves as a reminder of the power of literature to shed light on social issues and challenge our perceptions.

As you read this creative writing masterpiece, observe how Harper Lee weaves these elements together to create a powerful and thought-provoking story. Keep in mind that learning from creative writing examples like To Kill a Mockingbird can help you develop your own engaging and well-crafted creative writing pieces.

Pride and Prejudice is a timeless example of creative writing that continues to be popular more than two centuries after its publication. It is a delightful romantic comedy that explores themes of love, marriage, and social class in 19th-century England. The novel is filled with memorable characters, witty dialogue, and humorous insights into human nature. Here are some key elements of Jane Austen's writing that you can learn from and apply to your own creative projects:

  • Characterization: Austen's characters are complex, relatable, and engaging. Each character has their own distinct personality, making them memorable and interesting to read about. Observe how Austen uses subtle details and dialogue to reveal her characters' traits, motivations, and flaws.
  • Humor and wit: Pride and Prejudice is known for its clever, witty dialogue and humorous observations about society and human nature. As you read, pay attention to how Austen uses irony, sarcasm, and wordplay to create humor and keep the reader entertained.
  • Structure and pacing: The novel is well-structured, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Notice how Austen masterfully builds tension, develops relationships, and resolves conflicts throughout the story, while maintaining a steady pace that keeps the reader engaged.
  • Themes: Pride and Prejudice explores themes such as love, marriage, social class, and individual growth that remain relevant today. Consider how Austen's exploration of these themes adds depth and meaning to the story, making it more than just a light-hearted comedy.

By studying creative writing examples like Pride and Prejudice , you can gain valuable insights into crafting engaging and well-crafted creative writing pieces. Let Jane Austen's brilliant storytelling inspire you to create your own unforgettable characters and captivating stories.

Catch-22 is a satirical novel by Joseph Heller that is set during World War II. It tells the story of Yossarian, a bombardier who is desperately trying to avoid flying more missions. The novel is renowned for its unique blend of humor, absurdity, and dark themes, making it an excellent creative writing example to study and learn from. Here are some key aspects of Heller's writing that can inspire and inform your own work:

  • Unique narrative style: Heller's writing style is distinct, with frequent use of repetition, non-linear storytelling, and absurd situations. Observe how this unusual narrative approach adds to the overall impact and message of the story, and consider how you can experiment with different storytelling techniques in your own writing.
  • Humor and satire: Catch-22 uses humor and satire to explore serious themes such as war, bureaucracy, and the human condition. Notice how Heller's use of comedy and absurdity not only entertains the reader but also serves to emphasize the novel's deeper messages.
  • Strong characterization: The novel features a large cast of colorful, memorable characters. Study how Heller brings each character to life through their distinct personalities, quirks, and actions, and consider how you can create equally vivid characters in your own writing.
  • Themes and symbolism: Catch-22 is filled with symbolism, as well as overarching themes like the power of bureaucracy and the paradoxes of war. As you read, take note of how these themes and symbols enhance the story's impact and resonate with the reader.

When looking for creative writing examples, Catch-22 is a great choice to study and learn from. Joseph Heller's unique storytelling approach and expert use of humor, satire, and symbolism can inspire you to take risks and explore new ideas in your own writing.

The Catcher in the Rye is a classic novel by J.D. Salinger that follows the story of Holden Caulfield, a troubled teenager who has just been expelled from his prep school. The novel is known for its raw, honest portrayal of teenage angst and alienation, making it a valuable creative writing example to learn from. Here are some aspects of Salinger's writing that can inspire you and help improve your own work:

  • First-person narration: The novel is narrated by Holden Caulfield, giving the reader an intimate look into his thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to how Salinger uses first-person narration to create a strong connection between the reader and the protagonist, and consider how you might use this technique in your own writing.
  • Authentic voice: Holden's voice is distinctive and authentic, capturing the thoughts and feelings of a disillusioned teenager. Study how Salinger develops Holden's voice through his use of language, tone, and colloquial expressions, and think about how you can create a unique, authentic voice for your own characters.
  • Character development: Throughout the novel, Holden experiences growth and change, revealing new facets of his character. Analyze how Salinger develops Holden's character over the course of the story, and consider how you can create dynamic, evolving characters in your own writing.
  • Themes and motifs: The Catcher in the Rye explores themes such as alienation, the struggle for identity, and the loss of innocence. As you read, take note of how these themes are woven into the narrative, and think about how you can incorporate meaningful themes into your own writing.

As one of the most powerful creative writing examples, The Catcher in the Rye can inspire you to develop authentic voices for your characters, experiment with first-person narration, and explore meaningful themes in your work. J.D. Salinger's novel is a testament to the power of engaging and well-crafted creative writing pieces, and studying it can help you grow as a writer.

1984 is a dystopian novel by George Orwell that presents a chilling vision of a future society ruled by an oppressive government. As one of the most iconic creative writing examples, 1984 offers a wealth of inspiration for aspiring writers to learn from. Here are some key aspects of Orwell's writing that you can study and apply to your own work:

  • World-building: Orwell creates a vivid, immersive world in which the story takes place. Observe how he constructs the setting, incorporating elements like the oppressive government, the Thought Police, and the telescreens. Consider how you can create a rich, believable world for your own stories.
  • Characterization: The novel features memorable characters like Winston Smith and Julia, who struggle against the oppressive regime. Examine how Orwell brings these characters to life through their actions, emotions, and inner thoughts, and think about how you can create compelling, relatable characters in your own writing.
  • Symbolism: Orwell uses symbols like the omnipresent Big Brother, the telescreens, and the paperweight to convey deeper meanings and themes. Study how these symbols are woven into the narrative, and consider how you can use symbolism to enhance your own writing.
  • Exploration of themes: 1984 delves into themes such as totalitarianism, surveillance, and the power of language. Notice how these themes are developed throughout the story, and think about how you can explore important themes in your own work.

With its gripping story and thought-provoking themes, 1984 is a prime example of engaging and well-crafted creative writing. By studying George Orwell's novel, you can gain valuable insights into world-building, characterization, symbolism, and thematic exploration that will help you elevate your own writing.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic American novel written by Mark Twain that follows the adventures of a young boy named Huck Finn as he travels down the Mississippi River. This engaging and well-crafted creative writing piece is perfect for studying and drawing inspiration from. Here are some aspects of Twain's writing to focus on:

  • Distinctive voice: Twain writes in a unique, colloquial voice that brings the characters and story to life. Pay attention to the way he uses dialect and slang to create an authentic, engaging narrative. Think about how you can develop a distinctive voice in your own writing.
  • Memorable characters: In addition to the eponymous Huckleberry Finn, the novel is filled with memorable characters such as Tom Sawyer, Jim, and Pap. Study the way Twain crafts these characters and makes them feel real and relatable. Consider how you can create unforgettable characters in your own stories.
  • Humor and wit: Twain is known for his clever humor and sharp wit, which permeate the novel. Take note of how he uses humor to entertain the reader and to make serious points. Reflect on how you can incorporate humor and wit into your own writing to make it more engaging.
  • Exploration of social issues: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn addresses important social issues such as racism, classism, and moral values. Observe how Twain weaves these themes into the story without losing the narrative's sense of adventure. Think about how you can tackle significant issues in your own writing while maintaining an engaging plot.

By examining The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you can learn valuable lessons in crafting an engaging, well-written story. Studying Mark Twain's writing style, memorable characters, use of humor, and exploration of social issues will provide you with a wealth of inspiration for your own creative writing pieces.

The Hobbit is a beloved fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien that tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a small and unassuming hobbit who embarks on an unexpected adventure. This captivating and well-crafted creative writing piece is an excellent source of inspiration for aspiring writers. Here are some of the standout elements in Tolkien's writing that you can learn from:

  • Imaginative world-building: Tolkien created an entire world called Middle-earth, complete with its own history, geography, and languages. This level of detail makes the story immersive and believable. Consider how you can develop a rich, vivid setting for your own stories that will draw readers in.
  • Engaging plot: The Hobbit follows a classic quest narrative, with Bilbo and his companions facing numerous challenges and obstacles along their journey. Study how Tolkien crafts a compelling plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Think about how you can create an exciting, well-paced plot in your own writing.
  • Memorable characters: From the lovable Bilbo Baggins to the wise wizard Gandalf, Tolkien's characters are unforgettable and well-developed. Analyze how he brings each character to life through their actions, dialogue, and relationships. Reflect on how you can create your own memorable, multidimensional characters.
  • Themes of courage and personal growth: The Hobbit explores themes of bravery, self-discovery, and the importance of stepping out of one's comfort zone. Notice how Tolkien weaves these themes into the narrative without being heavy-handed. Think about how you can incorporate meaningful themes into your own stories that resonate with readers.

By studying The Hobbit and the way J.R.R. Tolkien crafted his engaging, well-written story, you will find a treasure trove of inspiration for your own creative writing pieces. Taking the time to analyze Tolkien's imaginative world-building, compelling plot, unforgettable characters, and thematic exploration will provide you with the tools you need to create your own captivating stories.

The Handmaid's Tale is a powerful and thought-provoking novel by Margaret Atwood that delves into the world of a totalitarian society where women's rights have been stripped away. This gripping and expertly crafted creative writing piece serves as a great source of inspiration for writers who want to explore complex themes and create compelling narratives. Here are some key elements of Atwood's writing that you can learn from:

  • Dystopian setting: Atwood creates a chilling, believable dystopia in the Republic of Gilead, where women's roles are strictly controlled. Consider how you can build your own unique and thought-provoking setting that challenges readers to think critically about societal issues.
  • Strong, complex characters: The protagonist, Offred, is a multidimensional character whose experiences and emotions are vividly portrayed. Examine how Atwood develops her characters, making them relatable and sympathetic even in a disturbing world. Reflect on how you can create complex, engaging characters in your own writing.
  • Addressing important themes: The Handmaid's Tale tackles themes such as gender inequality, power dynamics, and resistance. Notice how Atwood weaves these themes into the narrative without overwhelming the story. Think about how you can address important issues in your own writing, making your work both meaningful and engaging.
  • Powerful, evocative language: Atwood's writing is rich in imagery and symbolism, giving the story depth and emotional resonance. Study her use of language and how it adds layers to the narrative. Consider how you can use powerful, evocative language in your own creative writing pieces to bring your stories to life.

By analyzing The Handmaid's Tale and Margaret Atwood's skillful writing, you can gain valuable insights and inspiration for your own creative writing projects. Take note of her compelling dystopian setting, complex characters, exploration of important themes, and powerful language to help you craft engaging and well-crafted creative writing pieces that will captivate your readers.

Animal Farm is a brilliant and engaging creative writing piece by George Orwell that uses allegory and satire to critique the events and ideas surrounding the Russian Revolution. This classic novel serves as an excellent example for writers who want to use symbolism and humor to convey deeper meanings and comment on societal issues. Here are some key aspects of Orwell's writing that you can learn from and apply to your own writing:

  • Allegorical storytelling: Orwell uses the story of farm animals rebelling against their human owner as an allegory for the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism. Consider how you can use allegory in your own writing to explore complex concepts or historical events in an accessible and engaging way.
  • Well-developed characters: The animals in Animal Farm are more than just talking farm animals—they represent various historical figures and social classes. Study how Orwell develops these characters, giving them distinct personalities and motivations, while also using them to symbolize larger ideas. Think about how you can create rich, multi-layered characters in your own writing that serve a symbolic purpose.
  • Sharp satire: Orwell uses satire to criticize the hypocrisy and corruption of the Russian Revolution, making the story both entertaining and thought-provoking. Examine how he uses humor and irony to convey his message, and contemplate how you can incorporate satire into your own writing to comment on societal issues or human nature.
  • Clear, concise language: Orwell's writing is straightforward and easy to understand, making his message accessible to a wide range of readers. Pay attention to his use of simple vocabulary and sentence structures, and think about how you can employ clear, concise language in your own creative writing examples to ensure your message is effectively communicated.

By studying Animal Farm and George Orwell's clever writing techniques, you can gain valuable insights and inspiration for crafting your own engaging and well-crafted creative writing pieces. Utilize allegorical storytelling, well-developed characters, sharp satire, and clear language to create captivating stories that both entertain and provoke thought in your readers.

If you're looking to sharpen your writing skills and take your craft to new heights, don't miss the workshop ' Everything You Need To Be A Skilled Writer ' by Christina Wolfgram. This comprehensive workshop will provide you with valuable insights, tips, and techniques to become a skilled writer and excel in your creative endeavors.

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AQA English Language Creative Writing Exemplar (Top Band)

AQA English Language Creative Writing Exemplar (Top Band)

Subject: English

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Assessment and revision

MrGradgrind's Shop

Last updated

11 March 2020

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pdf, 1.27 MB

This resource includes a top-band exemplar piece of creative writing about the touching relationship between an old man and a dog.

As per Section B of AQA’s English Language Paper 1 (worth 40 marks), this creative writing is a response to an image, which is also included here in a PowerPoint.

Students could read, annotate, and discuss this response either before or after trying to produce a story of their own from the image.

The creative writing exemplar could equally be used as a model to other GCSE pupils not studying the AQA syllabus.

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The Creative Writing Excellence Program

The program aims to foster an understanding of universities as appealing and inclusive organisations providing opportunities for all students.

Description The Creative Writing Excellence Program is a joint initiative between the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and schools in the Sunshine Coast region. It is taken into regional schools as an extracurricular excellence program, and aims to raise aspirations and demystify university for students from Years 6–12.

The program entails an eight week course that teaches the basic elements of creative writing to school students who have an interest in the discipline. The teaching model is the short story, with each week’s workshop content focused on a specific element of narrative, giving the students a thorough understanding of how narrative is constructed and the techniques writers apply to create memorable fiction. The program culminates with the students writing a short story which is edited and published in an anthology.

Objectives The program has three core objectives revolving around introducing students to the university experience, with the aim of motivating their educational aspirations and increasing their participation in tertiary education. The program aims to ‘demystify’ the tertiary environment while fostering an understanding of universities as appealing and inclusive organisations providing opportunities for all students.

The program also fosters the development of long-term, mutually productive partnerships between USC and schools, particularly those with a high proportion of disadvantaged students, in the wider Sunshine Coast area. These partnerships are beneficial to the students, teachers and their communities, while also developing and enhancing USC’s reputation throughout the region.

Finally, the program seeks to encourage youth in exploring and developing their creativity, while enhancing their reading, comprehension and analytical skills. As an adjunct to this objective, the program aims to encourage student-writers to explore career opportunities in the creative industries, including in the areas of editing and publishing.

HEPPP Funding The program is financially supported by both the participating schools and HEPPP funding.

Measurement Four core aspirational measurement items, as well as an overall question item, sought to measure the impact of the program on students’ current education interest, awareness of tertiary education, likelihood of tertiary education, and career linkage awareness.

In 2012, after the Creative Writing Excellence Program:

65%were in general agreement that they became even more interested in their school work

88% were in general agreement that their overall awareness of the possibility for further study after high school increased

88% were in general agreement that they were more likely to actively pursue further study after high school

82% were in general agreement that they increased their understanding that further study after high school will help them get the kind of job they want, and

82% were in general agreement that overall, the Creative Writing Excellence Program increased their desire for further study.

The Future USC’s Widening Participation programs, such as the Creative Writing Excellence Program, are supported through both University and Commonwealth HEPPP funding and are a long-term commitment with the aim of continuing to build an aspiration for higher education, particularly among those who might not otherwise have the opportunity or awareness.

Illustration of three circles, each labelled as either outreach, access, or support, with the outreach circle filled with colour

This case study is one of a series of 39 presented in our case study publication, Access and Participation in Higher Education: Outreach – Access – Support .

Posted 29 January 2014 Posted in General

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Exemplars performance material provides teachers and administrators a way of teaching and assessing writing and communication skills.

Our material is classroom tested and may be used for assessment, instruction, and professional development. Standards-based rubrics and student anchor papers are integral components.

Alignments are available for state and national standards.

Explore our K-4 writing products:

Bookmarks: Responding to Text offers 70 classroom-tested lessons that teach students how to write analytically about texts. Our introductory guide, Writing is E lementary: Teaching Young Children to Write , is also included.

Bookmarks: Responding to Text

Bookmarks: Narratives strengthens students' imaginations and teaches them the art of communication. Through direct instruction and guided writing, this resource, teaches students the qualities of a narrative in three developmental levels. 70 Classroom-tested lessons are included along with the introductory guide, Writing is Elementary: Teaching Young Children to Write , is also included.

Bookmarks: Narratives

The Developing Writers Set is a systemic guide for grades K–4, created to help children become more effective writers. 110 classroom-tested lessons provide success for students at all cognitive levels.

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Fondren Library Awards for Undergraduate Literary Excellence

Spotlights on a stage with the words, "The winners are..."

We are excited to announce the winners of the Fondren Library Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards.

The winner of the  Larry McMurtry Prize in Fiction  is Wenshi Chen. The winner of the  Max Apple Prize in Nonfiction  is Maria Morkas. The winner of the  Susan Wood Prize in Poetry  is Trinity Eimer. Please save the date to hear the prizewinning works at the  Fondren Undergraduate Creative Writing Showcase  on April 10, 2024 at 7:00 PM in Sewall 309! In addition, this year Fondren Library begins a new collaboration with the Rice English Department to bestow the  Paul Otremba Award for Literary Citizenship . This award, given in memory of the beloved teacher and poet, Paul Otremba, celebrates an outstanding graduating senior who embodies Paul’s spirit of literary service, engagement, and activism. It comes with a $1000 prize. Selected by Rice Creative Writing faculty members, this year's winner is McKenna Tanner. 

The judges write: McKenna Tanner is a senior double-majoring in Psychology and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. A champion for the literary arts on campus, McKenna has been a mainstay for The Rice Review, serving for the last two years as one of the magazine's dauntless co-editors-in-chief. In addition to her commitment to writers on campus, she has worked for the nonprofit publisher, Bloomsday Literary, using her editing and design skills to help amplify the work of queer and trans poets in particular. She has also contributed to significant projects in the well-being and mental-health space through her internships with Norton Professional Books. McKenna's special combination of thoughtfulness, artistic ambition, and generosity is reminiscent of the poet Paul Otremba who displayed all of these qualities in abundance. Thank you to the Hobby Family whose generosity has funded these awards, to our Creative Writing faculty for your partnership, and to all the students who submitted their amazing writing. Below are judges' citations for the creative writing awards. Each judge is an established professional writer in their genre, selected by our Creative Writing faculty. Ian Stansel writes of Wenshi Chen's story, "Her": “Her” unfolds with a strange magnetism. What, in a more sentimental version of the story, might have seemed slight or even maudlin feels instead absolutely pregnant with portent. Told with a voice unnervingly matter-of-fact, the story pulls the reader forward towards an end that is utterly haunting. This is a story that moves from the quotidian to the thrilling with admirable restraint and remarkable emotional force. Lars Horn writes of Maria Morkas' nonfiction piece, "A Trip to Jerusalem": Weaving between elegant scene work and nuanced reflection, Maria Morkas offers a compelling exploration of faith, place, and politics. The writing vividly conjures the streets of Bayt al-Maqdis and Hebron, as the narrator meditates upon her own devotions as a Muslim in the US and those of Muslim women in Gaza. In its intellectual and emotional presence, “A Trip to Jerusalem” deftly moves between intimacy, sorrow, despair, and even hope, which is to say: it moves as prayer. Jennifer Chang writes of Trinity Eimer's poems: An effortless dynamism gives these deft lyric poems a heady music that I find irresistible. In “love in medieval times: 1,” the speaker imagines another potential lover as she dances and kisses her boyfriend in a Houston club. All in the course of one sentence. There’s nothing glib or trite about this experience of youth; rather, we witness a person caught up in sensual experience, the urgent matter of being in the body and being attentive. In “love in medieval times: 2,” that attention focuses on time, as a rhythm and a pattern of fractured syntax. What measures that time, the poet soon makes clear, is the other, “two little mouths,” that is almost within reach. Swift, unaffected, lightly adorned, quietly intense, these poems exude an elegant sense of line and diction and are poised at the precipice of self-knowing.

Claudia Looi

Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations

By Claudia Looi 2 Comments

Komsomolskaya metro station

Komsomolskaya metro station looks like a museum. It has vaulted ceilings and baroque decor.

Hidden underground, in the heart of Moscow, are historical and architectural treasures of Russia. These are Soviet-era creations – the metro stations of Moscow.

Our guide Maria introduced these elaborate metro stations as “the palaces for the people.” Built between 1937 and 1955, each station holds its own history and stories. Stalin had the idea of building beautiful underground spaces that the masses could enjoy. They would look like museums, art centers, concert halls, palaces and churches. Each would have a different theme. None would be alike.

The two-hour private tour was with a former Intourist tour guide named Maria. Maria lived in Moscow all her life and through the communist era of 60s to 90s. She has been a tour guide for more than 30 years. Being in her 60s, she moved rather quickly for her age. We traveled and crammed with Maria and other Muscovites on the metro to visit 10 different metro stations.

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Moscow subways are very clean

Moscow subways are very clean

To Maria, every street, metro and building told a story. I couldn’t keep up with her stories. I don’t remember most of what she said because I was just thrilled being in Moscow.   Added to that, she spilled out so many Russian words and names, which to one who can’t read Cyrillic, sounded so foreign and could be easily forgotten.

The metro tour was the first part of our all day tour of Moscow with Maria. Here are the stations we visited:

1. Komsomolskaya Metro Station  is the most beautiful of them all. Painted yellow and decorated with chandeliers, gold leaves and semi precious stones, the station looks like a stately museum. And possibly decorated like a palace. I saw Komsomolskaya first, before the rest of the stations upon arrival in Moscow by train from St. Petersburg.

2. Revolution Square Metro Station (Ploshchad Revolyutsii) has marble arches and 72 bronze sculptures designed by Alexey Dushkin. The marble arches are flanked by the bronze sculptures. If you look closely you will see passersby touching the bronze dog's nose. Legend has it that good luck comes to those who touch the dog's nose.

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Revolution Square Metro Station

Revolution Square Metro Station

3. Arbatskaya Metro Station served as a shelter during the Soviet-era. It is one of the largest and the deepest metro stations in Moscow.

Arbatskaya Metro Station

Arbatskaya Metro Station

4. Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station was built in 1935 and named after the Russian State Library. It is located near the library and has a big mosaic portrait of Lenin and yellow ceramic tiles on the track walls.

Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station

Lenin's portrait at the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station


5. Kievskaya Metro Station was one of the first to be completed in Moscow. Named after the capital city of Ukraine by Kiev-born, Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor.


Kievskaya Metro Station

6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station  was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.17.53 PM

Novoslobodskaya metro station

7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power. It has a dome with patriotic slogans decorated with red stars representing the Soviet's World War II Hall of Fame. Kurskaya Metro Station is a must-visit station in Moscow.

creative writing excellence exemplars

Ceiling panel and artworks at Kurskaya Metro Station


8. Mayakovskaya Metro Station built in 1938. It was named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky. This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world with 34 mosaics painted by Alexander Deyneka.

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya metro station

One of the over 30 ceiling mosaics in Mayakovskaya metro station

9. Belorusskaya Metro Station is named after the people of Belarus. In the picture below, there are statues of 3 members of the Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II. The statues were sculpted by Sergei Orlov, S. Rabinovich and I. Slonim.


10. Teatralnaya Metro Station (Theatre Metro Station) is located near the Bolshoi Theatre.

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Have you visited the Moscow Metro? Leave your comment below.

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January 15, 2017 at 8:17 am

An excellent read! Thanks for much for sharing the Russian metro system with us. We're heading to Moscow in April and exploring the metro stations were on our list and after reading your post, I'm even more excited to go visit them. Thanks again 🙂

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December 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Hi, do you remember which tour company you contacted for this tour?

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  15. AQA English Language Creative Writing Exemplar (Top Band)

    File previews. pdf, 1.27 MB. pdf, 52.36 KB. This resource includes a top-band exemplar piece of creative writing about the touching relationship between an old man and a dog. As per Section B of AQA's English Language Paper 1 (worth 40 marks), this creative writing is a response to an image, which is also included here in a PowerPoint.

  16. Student Writing Models

    Student Models. When you need an example written by a student, check out our vast collection of free student models. Scroll through the list, or search for a mode of writing such as "explanatory" or "persuasive.".

  17. The Creative Writing Excellence Program

    Description. The Creative Writing Excellence Program is a joint initiative between the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and schools in the Sunshine Coast region. It is taken into regional schools as an extracurricular excellence program, and aims to raise aspirations and demystify university for students from Years 6-12.

  18. Writing Products

    Powerful ToolsEffective Writers. Exemplars performance material provides teachers and administrators a way of teaching and assessing writing and communication skills. Our material is classroom tested and may be used for assessment, instruction, and professional development. Standards-based rubrics and student anchor papers are integral components.

  19. Fondren Library Awards for Undergraduate Literary Excellence

    We are excited to announce the winners of the Fondren Library Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards. The winner of the Larry McMurtry Prize in Fiction is Wenshi Chen. The winner of the Max Apple Prize in Nonfiction is Maria Morkas. The winner of the Susan Wood Prize in Poetry is Trinity Eimer. Please save the date to hear the prizewinning works at the Fondren Undergraduate Creative Writing ...

  20. Portillo, Williams win NSU-Argus Award for Excellence in Creative

    NATCHITOCHES - Lia Portillo of Galliano and Nathan Williams of Elysian Fields, Texas, have been named the winners of the annual NSU-Argus Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. Argus is Northwestern State's literary magazine. Associate Professor and Coordinator of Creative Writing Programs Rebecca Macijeski is the faculty sponsor of Argus.

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  23. Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations

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