An essay can be written creatively but it has a structure that is not seen in creative writing. Creative writing is free writing that goes outside the bounds of other forms of literature and typically shows imagination and invention.
It helps people to step outside of their reality and into an imaginative world. A formal essay is generally a piece of writing that presents the ideas of the author or proposes an argument, expresses an emotion or initiates a debate.
Types of essays
Essays can be descriptive, persuasive, narrative or expository and each type has certain structuring requirements. The main reason for these requirements is to make the material clear to the reader. The writing needs to flow logically and stick to the topic.
The introduction gives readers a glimpse into what topic the essay will discuss. The body fleshes out the topic and offers mounting evidence in the form of specifics to support the arguments of the writer. The reader should be able to follow the argument as it builds step by step. The end paragraph summarizes all the evidence put forward and makes inferences from it. Most essays, except for narrative essays, are written in the third person.
Types of Creative writing
There are many different types of creative writing, from poems and haikus to short stories and memoirs. Creative writing may include first, second and third-person accounts. The language is engaging and the focus is usually on the narrative. Creative writing, especially dialogue, will usually have colloquial expressions unique to a character.
Creative writing offers writers an opportunity to express themselves and convey their emotions. Some stories are historical and use real characters from history but the authors have the freedom to invent and do not have to stick to the facts.
Creative writing forms an umbrella for all kinds of written expression using just about any kind of structure. As long as the writer uses imagery to create an environment or a mood and makes a person feel a certain way, it can be classified as creative writing.
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The purpose makes the difference
Style is the main difference between creative writing and academic writing. Creative writing does not need to adhere to any specific format whereas the structure and execution of a formal essay have to be done according to a number of stringent guidelines.
Formal essays are written to inform readers, whereas the purpose of creative writing is to entertain them, inspire them and evoke emotions. When creative writing, a writer can do some subtle philosophizing about life and disguise it in the form of a story. Many good creative writers incorporate social issues into their fictional stories that can stir a response in readers.
A transition to academic writing can be difficult
It can be difficult for students to transition from writing high school essays to writing more formal, academic essays. They may be unused to all the requirements for writing academic essays and struggle with many aspects. For example, they may find it difficult to understand that they should not use any source without citing it or they could be accused of plagiarism. They may have to study all the requirements for referencing very carefully before they’re sure of how to format them.
It can be tricky to switch between academic writing and creative writing. Students used to creative writing may end up writing an academic essay in a more informal way using colloquialisms and more. They’re surprised to find that they get poor marks because they do not yet understand the difference between creative essay writing and writing a formal academic essay.
Those who enjoy researching a specific topic and imparting their knowledge to others may gravitate towards formal essay writing whereas those who enjoy telling a story and entertaining people may prefer creative writing.
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Writing academic essays
When writing an academic essay, it is necessary to follow standard citation practices. Students can use any reliable source as long as they cite it properly. They have a thesis and they have to defend it, proving that what they say is true. Advancing their arguments means gathering evidence to support them and perhaps responding to scholars who hold the opposite viewpoint.
The language used in an academic essay can sometimes be niche jargon because the readers are usually well-versed in the topic. However, using convoluted language in an essay in order to try and “sound” academic should be avoided, especially when a student doesn’t really understand the proper use of a specific word.
Academic essays usually have a specific goal and this will dictate the type of essay. It has to be precise, concise and accurate. Students have to use evidence that comes from recognized sources to support their assertions.
The ability to write good academic essays usually only comes with practice. When students begin to understand exactly what’s required, it gives them a chance to distinguish themselves and gain excellent grades.
Just as the best creative writers will not only entertain but inform too, the best academic writers can inform in an entertaining manner. Essays do not have to be dull and boring and a well-written formal essay may just as interesting for some people to read as creative writing. Both genres of writing have a unique style and purpose that distinguish them and make them what they are.
Michael Turner is working as the lead author for a storybook publishing company and is one of the main writers behind the success of the books by the company. He’s also into freelancing and takes up gigs from the number one essay and thesis online writing agency. In his free time, he loves playing chess, reading satire books and watching anime series.