Why Studying Literature Can Improve a Student's Creative Writing Skills

Why Studying Literature Can Improve a Student's  Creative Writing Skills
Image by Freepik

Studying literature can expand your imagination. You will learn how to think critically about different topics from various perspectives. Studying books about topics like slavery, adolescence, love, marriage, and much more will give you a fresh understanding about life. Literature opens up your mind to the unknown and can enhance your creativity.

Learn how to identify different styles and develop your own

What better way to develop your own style than to study literature? It will expose you to many different styles of famous authors. The works of famous authors like Hemingway are often immediately identifiable. If you are worried about picking up the styles of other authors you read, it limits you.

The study of literature helps you to identify different styles and develop your own. If you aren’t even aware of other styles, there is no real incentive to improve yours. A good exercise for you is to try to emulate the style of famous writers. Try out the clipped short sentences of Lee Child or the ironic style of Jane Austin. When you do exercises like this, it becomes easier to figure out your own unique style.

Identify techniques for describing characters

As a modern-day writer, a study of literature will introduce you to past authors and how writing styles have progressed. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, you can learn from the techniques they use in storytelling and describing characters.

You may discover how some writers give the first impression of a character and then gradually reveal other aspects of their characters that can change your mind about the person. Many authors show rather than tell when describing characters – you learn more about the character from the actions they take than from direct descriptions.

Borrowing another writer’s techniques is not regarded as plagiarism, although directly copying their prose is obviously not acceptable.

Read free essay examples

For students in literature and writing at college, you may have to write a Great Gatsby thesis. Interested students find "The Great Gatsby" essay on GradesFixer and many other free essay examples. You can be inspired by these examples to exercise your imagination and come up with your own essay. If you feel you don’t have time to study, you can also reach out to a professional writer to help you with an academic paper.

Image by Freepik

It can spark creative ideas

Studying literature will inspire interesting ideas of your own. When you realize what made authors write about a certain topic, you may decide that your own opinions about the topic would interest readers too.

Your ideas can benefit from the traditions you draw on, whether it's dystopian or romantic fiction. Studying classic novels can make you think about using a similar story but setting it in a modern-day context. You may prefer to take a modern story and use a historical setting. You can also mix and match genres to create interesting new ideas. There are many creative permutations you can come up with when you have a vast repertoire of existing literature to draw on.

Learn what to do and what not to do

When you study literature, you may come across books you love and authors whose writing really appeals to you. You will also study authors you don’t enjoy as much. It can help to think about why you enjoy the one and not the other. The question of what makes literature good or bad is central to literature studies.

When you learn how authors create intricate plots and make a character come to life, you can apply it in your own writing. You may feel a certain author has a heavy-handed approach which you want to avoid in your writing. Studying literature gives you the chance to avoid mistakes other authors have made in the past. You will know where Dickens played up to Victorian reader sentimentality.

You will understand that certain authors would write long stretches of dialogue only because they were paid by the line. George Eliot, Samuel Butler, Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth Gaskell and many more were all marvelous writers that you should read.


All the great writers of the past were human beings first and foremost – they were also trying to please audiences and survive financially, just like writers in modern times. If you compare yourself to the very best, you may get discouraged. In most cases, you will be inspired by what you learn in your studies of literature. Rather than being intimidated, you will understand how much your own creative writing skills can benefit from your studies.

Author’s Bio

Mary Cardoza loves to write about everything that brings about a change in society, and her hard-hitting articles are a good proof of that. Racism, bullying, discrimination, cancel culture – she addressed everything that students need, and she does so with great confidence. Her writing abilities are really something to watch out for.