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Author Topic: A Summer Holiday Checklist for EXT 2 English  (Read 4359 times)  Share 

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A Summer Holiday Checklist for EXT 2 English
« on: December 07, 2018, 09:29:21 pm »
Hello you budding authors!

Congratulations on making it through your first term of the HSC. You should be incredibly proud of yourselves for making it through so far. Four Unit English can be tricky, but it is something worth persisting with.

You should definitely take a few weeks to recuperate these holidays, but this Summer is the best time to get ahead on your Major Work. I got the bulk of my Major Workís foundations completed and conducted a large amount of research during my Summer Holiday. While I havenít yet received my results, I did achieve a 24/25 on my marked draft, something which I attribute to starting early. I know that Extension 2 English lacks in resources, so I thought I would compile a checklist for the Summer Holidays, in order to help you get ahead of the pack and create an excellent Major Work.


By now you should have a general idea that you want to explore in your Major Work and thus, further research into your concept is the next step. Even if you donít have a solid idea yet, you should still be researching a lot! This research needs to be conducted into both your form and concept. I wrote a short story which explored the psychological dilemmas of the contemporary journalist, meaning that in the Summer Holidays, I researched into both the short story form as well as the issues plaguing journalism. Here are some specific resources related to writing and short stories which were useful.

- The Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allan Poe (useful for understanding the importance of a single effect in a creative work.)
- Politics and the English Language by George Orwell.
- Articles on the Paris Review.
- This Guardian Article: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one
- Negotiating With The Dead by Margaret Atwood

And some excellent short stories:

- The Bet by Anton Chekhov.
- The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.
- Anything by Margaret Atwood.
- Anything by Helen Garner.
- Saboteur by Ha Jin.
- The Wall by Jean-Paul Sartre
- The Elephant by George Orwell.
- Translator, Traitor by Janek Drevikovsky (topped the state in 2014 and published in Wordexpress)

Experiment With Styles

I would recommend that you read as widely as possible in order to determine what style you like best and what style you want to use in your own work. This also might be one of the last holidays with a lot of free time so, if you can, spend a lot of it reading for personal pleasure while also taking note of the style.

Here are some texts which really influenced my writing style:

- This House of Grief by Helen Garner.
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
- Anything by Haruki Murakami.
- Joe Cinqueís Consolation Prize by Helen Garner.
- Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood.
- Modernist short stories such as The Wall by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Outline Your Major Work

I highly recommend that you have an outline for your Major Work completed by the end of the Summer Holidays, just so that you feel prepared when Term One rolls around. If youíre writing a short story, try to have a plot written out. If youíre writing a collection of poetry, perhaps have all of the poems briefly summarised. If youíre writing a critical essay, have an essay plan. This outline will keep you focused and youíll be less likely to feel out of your depth, because itís all written out in front of you. Having an outlined plot meant that in Term One, I didn't feel as stressed about my Major Work and was more focused in my Viva Voce. Which leads me to my next point...

Prepare For Your Viva Voce

At many schools, your Viva will be held in Term One. The Viva is a spoken assessment, and it isnít really a speech, so it is a little tricky to prepare for. I would suggest using some time in the holidays to outline your inspiration, form, concept, and links to the Advanced and English Extension 1 courses. There are specific questions which you could be asked outlined on NESAís website. Begin planning out some of the things you might want to say and start putting your concept into words (which is often the trickiest bit!) To do well in your Viva, you will need to discuss your research, so make sure you are keeping a big list of all the resources you have read.

Begin Writing!

While some people prefer to plan for a little while longer, I would highly suggest beginning your Major Work! Start working away at a first draft so that when Term One hits, youíll already have a lot done on your Major and instead of freaking out about EXT 2, you can focus on your other subjects.  It is also important to get into a daily writing habit, if you can. You donít necessarily have to write your Major Work everyday, but writing SOMETHING everyday is a really great way to develop yourself as an author. Also, these holidays are likely free of any exam or assessment pressure (it isn't the holiday before Trials) so you should strive to get some writing done while you are free of any stress or academic burdens. I know from personal experience that trying to write an EXT2 Major Work while stressed about other subjects was incredibly difficult, so get some writing done now if possible.

Discuss Your Idea With Others

Some of my best ideas which I included in my work arose from conversations with my mother! Itís really important to develop your work with others, rather than working on it in a vacuum. Literature, by nature, is collaborative and inextricably connected to the wider world, so bouncing ideas with others is a must for the Summer Holidays. You should also get onto ATAR Notes and start discussing your ideas in the EXT2 forum Ė it is a brilliant way to get advice and feedback on your concept.

Good luck! If you need any advice, feel free to contact me! I am more than happy to read over any drafts or ideas you have so far.

Lots of love,

HSC Class of 2018: English Advanced, English Extension 1, English Extension 2, Modern History, Ancient History, History Extension, and German Continuers.

2019: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Politics and International Relations) (Dalyell Scholars) at USYD.