Greetings English Language Boffins!
I'm looking for a single word that describes the act of "creative writing"
or the person who is a creative writing author?

I've been trying to think & google for it, but so far no luck.
Noted this Q/A: One word in describing a person who always trying to be creative
which is similar, but I'm looking for a word that is specific to writing.
Hope you can help!

  • 1
    Have you thought about fiction?
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 4:38
  • @Jim good, succinct word. (thanks!) Fiction is a subset of creative writing and if the type of writing we were doing was limited to that genre, it would be perfect. I'm actually writing a non-fiction book and hoping to capture the essence of the activity in a single word. I know it's a bit of a stretch but was hoping the StackExchange community would have better vocab than me. ;-)
    – nelsonic
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 8:48
  • 1
    @nelsonic That would depend on whether we are talking about the written or the act of writing. And either way, there is more to creative writing than fiction: poetry may be fictional, but far from most of it is.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Nov 18, 2018 at 20:33
  • @Tuffy agreed. I've attempted to clarify the question. (though as a "beginner" I feel increasingly unwelcome on StackExchange. my question was "down voted" without any clarification as to why the question was unsuitable ... :-( I don't understand what is "wrong" with asking for help finding a word ...)
    – nelsonic
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 6:05
  • 1
    english.stackexchange.com/questions/308575/… . This may help ; consider the 'accepted' answer.
    – user323059
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


There is no single word for the expression creative writing. This is because it arose in the post war period, largely in connection with with education and above all in relation to the teaching of English in schools in the anglophone world.

Historically, most writing in English lessons concentrated on exercises of dictation, comprehension, paraphrase and précis. Essays came later, either on ethical and historical topics or as interpretation or appreciation of some work of literature.

The idea that that children should express themselves by writing their own poems or stories, grew early in the twentieth and became increasingly established after 1945, reaching its zenith in the 1960s. But it was never given a name.

There is a general term for writing: LITERATURE and in days gone by writers were often described as men of letters (ignoring, of course, in those times, the existence of female writers).

But literature will not really do. It is true that the ‘English Literature’ taught to British schoolchildren would cover the content of what is generally understood by creative writing. But it does not involve students in creating anything.

No novelist, playwright or poet known to me has ever claimed the title of creative writer.

Creative writing is a well established term. Everyone knows what you mean if you tell them you are taking a creative writing course. It doesn’t take long to type. If you want to shorten it for. tweet, try CW. Acronyms are very popular.

  • +1; per Wikipedia, ... creative writing is a more contemporary and process-oriented name for what has been traditionally called literature, including the variety of its genres. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 9:13
  • @Tuffy thanks for the insightful background on origins of creative writing. 👍
    – nelsonic
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 10:51

Nope, not so far as I know. If there was one, every English department of every university would be using it to describe their creative writing courses. But no, they're all just called 'creative writing'. Dull, huh?

  • thanks for getting involved. It's a shame that StackExchange does not reward "No" answers ... I suspect that most schools & universities use the two-word form (a) because they haven't gone searching for a more concise alternative, and (b) the longer form sounds more involved/distinctive than just "writing". Perhaps that is the best way of referring to it? ;-)
    – nelsonic
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 10:46

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