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Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« on: February 15, 2016, 01:59:54 pm »
Hey everyone! Creatives can be a pain for some and the time to shine for others. Getting started is the most difficult part. When you have something to work with, it is simply a matter of moulding it to perfection. When you have nothing, you have a seemingly difficult road ahead. After several ATAR Notes members expressed that they need help with creative writing, I wrote this to give you some starting points. Then I edited this, and re-wrote it so that it helps you from the beginning stages until the very last days of editing. Fear no more, creative writing doesn't have to be the foe that it is in your head! Let's get started.

Surprise: You’re the composer!

   For every single Paper 1 or Paper 2 response, you are the responder…except one. For Creative writing in Area of Study - you are the composer. It’s important to keep in mind all of the things about your other texts that made you enjoy or appreciate them. Was it the gripping plot line? The wonderful imagery? The character that felt so real? You want to create a work that shows that you know what makes a great text – you study them all year. You also want to say, “I know what makes a great text, now watch me do just that.”

Write about what you know

When thinking about discovery, it is easy to fall into the X marks the spots pirate discoveries or the discovery of a key that leads to a magical realm of goblins. If you aren’t comfortable with creative writing – write about what you know. If you don’t know what it is like to land on Jupiter, then don’t write about it. As a basic rule, the most fool proof way to add an element of realness to your creative writing is to write about something you have experienced, either physically yourself or through plenty of research. Of course, this is creative writing, it doesn’t have to be a non-fiction memoir. If you are well-read in the Maoist dynasty of China – DO write about that! If you know a lot about Neil Armstrong – work with that. If you know nothing about life in the Royal Palace – avoid that. Your text will gain integrity from having a sense of reality which will organically appear in the description you provide.

There is a slight catch to what I’m saying here. Yes we want you to write about what you know, but if you are fresh out of a break up, really consider if you reallllllly want to write about that. Remember that your marker is probably well out of range with what it feels like to find text messages in bae’s phone revealing that he or she is talking to another bae behind your back. That’s a discovery, but not really of the Band 6 kind.

The form

In the years 2010-2015, not once has Paper 1 specified a form that you have to use. Every year in that time frame they have asked for “imaginative writing” except in 2011 when they asked for a “creative piece” of writing. Most commonly, students write in the short story form. However, students can also write speeches, opinion articles, memoirs, monologues, letters, diary entries, or hybrid medium forms. Think about how you can play to your strengths. Are you the more analytical type and less creative? Consider using that strength in the “imaginative writing” by opting to write a feature article or a speech.

Think about tense…

Tense is a very powerful tool that you can use in your writing to increase intensity or create a tone of detachment, amongst other things. Writing entirely in the present tense is not as easy as it seems, it is very easy to fall into past tense. The present tense creates a sense of immediacy, a sense of urgency. If you’re writing with suspense or about action, consider the present tense.

“We stand here together, linking arms. The car screeches to a stop in front of our unified bodies. The frail man alights from the vehicle and stares into my eyes.”

The past tense is the most common in short stories. The past tense can be reflective, recounting, or perhaps just the most natural tense to write in.

“We stood together, linking arms. The car screeched to a stop in front of us. The frail man alighted from his vehicle and stared into my eyes.”

The future tense is difficult to use for short stories. However, you can really manipulate the future tense to work in your favour if you are writing a creative speech. A combination of tenses will most probably create a seamless link between cause and effect in a speech.
“We will stand together with our arms linked. The man may intimidate us all he likes, but together, when we are unified, we are stronger he will ever be.”
It is also important to point out that using a variety of tenses may work best for your creative. If you are flashing back, the easiest way to do that is to establish the tense firmly.

Giving your setting some texture

You ultimately want your creative writing to take your marker to a new place, a new world, and you want them to feel as though they understand it like they would their own kitchen. The most skilled writers can make places like Hogwarts seem like your literary home. At the Year 12 level, we aren’t all at that level. The best option is to take a setting you know and describe it in every sense – taste, smell, feel, sound and sight.

Choose a place special and known to you. Does your grandmother’s kitchen have those old school two-tone brown tiles? Did you grow up in another country, where the air felt different and the smell of tomatoes reminded you of Sundays? Does your bedroom have patterned fabric hanging from the walls and a bleached patch on the floor from when you spilled nail polish remover? Perhaps your scene is a sporting field – describe the grazed knees, the sliced oranges and the mums on the sideline nursing babies. The more unique yet well described the details are, the more tangible your setting is.

Again, it comes back to: write about what you know.

How much time has elapsed?

You want to consider whether your creative piece is focused on a small slot of ordinary time, or is it covering years in span? Are you flashing back between the past and the present? Some of the most wonderful short stories focus on the minutiae that is unique to ordinary life but is perpetually overlooked or underappreciated. By this I mean, discovering that new isn’t always better may be the product of a character cooking their grandmother’s recipe for brownies (imagine the imagery you could use!). Discovering that humans are all one and the same could come from a story based on one single shift at a grocery store, observing customers. Every day occurrences offer very special and overlooked discoveries.

You could create a creative piece that actually spans the entire life span of someone (is this the life span of someone who lived to 13 years old or someone who lived until 90 years old?). Else, you could create a story that compares the same stage of life of three different individuals in three different eras. Consider how much time you want to cover before embarking on your creative journey.

Show, don’t tell:

The best writers don’t give every little detail wrapped up and packaged, ready to go. As a writer, you need to have respect for your reader in that you believe in their ability to read between the lines at points, or their ability to read a description and visualise it appropriately.

“I was 14 at the time. I was young, vulnerable and naïve. At 14 you have such little life experience, so I didn’t know how to react.”

This is boring because the reader is being fed every detail that they could have synthesised from being told the age alone. To add to the point of the age, you could add an adjective that gives connotations to everything that was written in the sentence, such as “tender age of 14.” That’s a discretionary thing, because it’s not necessary. When you don’t have to use extra words: probably don’t. When you give less information, you intrigue the reader. There is a fine line between withholding too much and giving the reader the appropriate rope for them to pull. The best way to work out if you’re sitting comfortably on the line is to send your creative writing to someone, and have them tell you if there was a gap in the information. How many facts can you convey without telling the reader directly? Your markers are smart people, they can do the work on their end, you just have to feed them the essentials.

Here are some examples of the difference between showing and telling.

Telling: The beach was windy and the weather was hot.
Showing: Hot sand bit my ankles as I stood on the shore.

Telling: His uniform was bleakly coloured with a grey lapel. He stood at attention, without any trace of a smile.
Showing: The discipline of his emotions was reflected in his prim uniform.

Giving your character/persona depth

If your creative writing involves a character – whether that be a protagonist or the persona delivering your imaginative speech – you need to give them qualities beyond the page. It isn’t enough to describe their hair colour and gender. There needs to be something unique about this character that makes them feel real, alive and possibly relatable. Is it the way that they fiddle with loose threads on their cardigan? Is it the way they comb their hair through their fingers when they are stressed? Do they wear an eye patch? Do they have painted nails, but the pinky nail is always painted a different colour? Do they have an upward infliction when they are excited? Do the other characters change their tone when they are in the presence of this one character? Does this character only speak in high/low modality? Are they a pessimist? Do they wear hand-made ugly brooches?

Of course, it is a combination of many qualities that make a character live beyond the ink on the page. Hopefully my suggestions give you an idea of a quirk your character could have. Alternatively, you could have a character that is so intensely normal that they are a complete contrast to their vibrant setting?

Word Count?

Mine was 1300. I am a very fast writer in exam situations. Length does not necessarily mean quality, of course. A peer of mine wrote 900 words and got the same mark as me. For your first draft, I would aim for a minimum of 700 words. Then, when you create a gauge for how much you can write in an exam in legible handwriting, you can expand. For your half yearly, I definitely recommend against writing a 1300 word creative writing unless you are supremely confident that you can do that, at high quality, in 40 minutes (perhaps your half yearly exam isn’t a full Paper 1 – in which case you need to write to the conditions).

There is no correct word count range. You need to decide how many words you need to effectively and creatively express your ideas about discovery.

Relating to a stimulus

Since 2010, Paper 1 has delivered quotes to be used as the first sentence, general quotes to be featured anywhere in the text and visual images to be incorporated. Every year, there has been a twist on the area of study concept (belonging or discovery) in the question. In the belonging stage, BOSTES did not say “Write a creative piece about belonging. Include the stimulus ******.” Instead, they have said to write an imaginative piece about “belonging and not belonging” or to “Compose a piece of imaginative writing which explores the unexpected impact of discovery.” These little twists always come from the rubric, so there isn’t really any excuse to not be prepared for that!

If the stimulus is a quote such as “She was always so beautiful” there is lenience for tense. Using the quote directly, if required to do that, is the best option. However, if this screws up the tense you are writing in, it is okay to say “she is always so beautiful.” (Side note: This would be a really weird stimulus if it ever occurred.) Futhermore, gender can be substituted, although also undesirable. If the quote is specified to be the very first sentence of your work: there is no lenience. It must be the very first sentence.

As for a visual image, the level of incorporation changes. Depending on the image, you could reference the colours, the facial expressions, the swirly pattern or the salient image. Unfortunately, several stimuli from past papers are “awaiting copyright” online and aren’t available. However, there are a few, and when you have an imaginative piece you should try relate them to these stimuli as preparation.

The techniques:

Don’t forget to include some techniques in there. You study texts all year and you know what makes a text stand out. You know how a metaphor works, so use it. Be creative. Use a motif that flows through your story. If you’re writing a speech, use imperatives to call your reader to action. Use beautiful imagery that intrigues a reader. Use amazing alliteration (see what I did there). Avoid clichés like the plague (again…see what I did) unless you are effectively appropriating it. You need to show that you have studied magnificent wordsmiths, and in turn, you can emulate their manipulation of form and language.

Some quirky prompts:

I’m going to list some unique prompts for the sole reason that many students don’t look at the obscure sources of great writing. Each can be interpreted differently. Here are 50 funny, bizarre, sad, useful or not-so-useful prompts that may just get you on your way. Click the "spoiler" tab to open them.
1.   Someone was supposed to call the emergency centre but they accidentally called the local butcher.
2.   The most unlikely romance…
3.   Write about what sits on your window sill.
4.   Getting married in a purple dress.
5.   Limitless love
6.   The moment the kettle boiled
7.   The right to be right
8.   Two letters
9.   When I finished digging the hole…
10.   I was a victim of classical music
11.   My dad, the postman
12.   My sister’s ear
13.   Boiling point
14.   Fahrenheit
15.   Yellow
16.   If your eyebrows had balayage
17.   The eye of the tornado
18.   The Great Catsby
19.   The librarian who hadn’t read a single book
20.   The doctor who wanted to make people ill
21.   The laugh that came from the mouth of the saddest person
22.   I had a dream last week that Donald Trump lived next door
23.   You won’t believe it
24.   The weed amongst roses
25.   The twelfth son
26.   “Let there be bearded-dragons”
27.   Bye for now but not forever
28.   The day that Stalin dropped his ice cream on his shoe
29.   A dystopic world where in order to give birth, you need to strategically take a life.
30.   What does paradise look like?
31.   Major key
32.   Nothing really matters to me.
33.   Asian pie
34.   The Arctic dream
35.   I’ve got bills.
36.   I’ve had it! I’m done! I cannot stand the way he puts his hand on his stupid hip when he brushes his teeth!
37.   Can you hear me?
38.   A ghost town where everyone is deaf
39.   A city where no one can taste
40.   Four steps at a time
41.   I’m in love with a robot
42.   It’s easier to be bitter than to be sweet
43.   The girl in the boys only school. No one knows the girl is a girl.
44.   Is gender anatomical or emotional?
45.   Forgiveness is a crime
46.   I wrote a letter to a cello
47.   A zoo where there are cages for each emotion – because they are the true beasts to be contained.
48.   Such is life.
49.   Temptation.
50.   Relationship with the mirror.

How do I incorporate Discovery?

If you click here you will be taken to an AOS rubric break down I have done with some particular prompts for creative writing.

Part two: Editing and Beyond!
This next part is useful for when you have some words on the page waiting for improvement.

Then what?
Once you’ve got a creative piece – or at least a plot – you can start working on how you will present this work in the most effective manner. You need to be equipped with knowledge and skill to refine your work on a technical level, in order to enhance the discovery that you will be heavily marked on. By synthesising the works of various genius writers and the experiences of HSC writers, I’ve compiled a list of checks and balances, tips and tricks, spells and potions, that will help you create the best creative text that you can.

Why should you critique your writing and when?

What seems to be a brilliant short story when you’re cramming for exams may not continue to be so brilliant when you’re looking at it again after a solid sleep and in the day light. No doubt what you wrote will have merit, perhaps it will be perfect, but the chances lean towards it having room for improvement. You can have teachers look at your writing, peers, family, and even me here at ATAR Notes. Everyone can give their input and often, an outsider’s opinion is preciously valuable. However, at the end of the day this is your writing and essentially an artistic body that you created from nothing. That’s special. It is something to be proud of, and when you find and edit the faults in your own work, you enhance your writing but also gain skills in editing.

Your work should be critiqued periodically from the first draft until the HSC exams. After each hand-in of your work to your teacher you should receive feedback to take on board. You have your entire year 12 course to work on a killer creative writing piece. What is important is that you are willing to shave away the crusty edges of the cake so that you can present it in the most effective and smooth icing you have to offer. If you are sitting on a creative at about 8/15 marks right now (as of the 29/02/2016), you only have to gain one more mark per month in order to sit on a 15/15 creative. This means that you shouldn’t put your creative to bed for weeks without a second thought. This is the kind of work that benefits from small spontaneous bursts of editing, reading and adjusting. Fresh eyes do wonders to writer’s block, I promise. You will also find that adapting your creative writing to different stimuli is also very effective in highlighting strengths and flaws in the work. This is another call for editing! Sometimes you will need to make big changes, entirely re-arranging the plot, removing characters, changing the tense, etc. Sometimes you will need to make smaller changes like finely grooming the grammar and spelling. It is worth it when you have a creative piece that works for you, and is effective in various situations that an exam could give you.

The way punctuation affects things:
I'll just leave this right here...

Consistency of tense:
You need to find a tense and stick to it. You may not realise when you write that you slip into the present tense for a sentence even though the rest of the verbs in the paragraph take the past tense conjugation. It’s confusing for a reader. You might slip into the present tense because you got lazy, because you forgot, or because that particular sentence had the urgency of a different tense. However, without this being skilled and strategic tense variation, you will just cause chaos in your work and the textual integrity will be lowered. It is a very simple mistake, so much so that you may not pick it up for a few readings. Mixing up tense is particularly easy to do if English is not your first language (when I studied HSC French, I realised how easy it is to slip into what you feel most comfortable conjugating!). However, when you realise, you realise. Tense needs to be uniform in order to show that you are using correct language conventions.

Are your sentences a little intense?

It is very exhausting for a responder to read complex and compound sentences one after the other, each full of verbose and unnecessary adjectives. It is such a blessed relief when you reach a simple sentence that you just want to sit and mellow in the beauty of its simplicity. Of course, this is a technique that you can use to your advantage. You won’t need the enormous unnecessary sentences though, I promise. “Jesus wept.” This is the shortest verse in the Bible (found John 11:35) and is probably one of the most potent examples of the power of simplicity. The sentence only involves a proper noun and a past-tense verb. It stands alone to be very powerful. It also stands as a formidable force in among other sentences. Sentence variation is extremely important in engaging a reader through flow.

Of course, writing completely in simple sentences is tedious for you and the reader. Variation is the key. This is most crucial in your introduction because there is opportunity to lose your marker before you have even shown what you’re made of! Reading your work out loud is one of the most effective ways to realise which sentences aren’t flowing. If you are running out of breath before you finish a sentence – you need to cut back. Have a look here and read this out loud:

The grand opening:

Writer’s Digest suggested in their online article “5 Wrong Ways to Start a Story” that there are in fact, ways to lose your reader and textual credibility before you even warm up. It is fairly disappointing to a reader to be thrown into drastic action, only to be pulled into consciousness and be told that the text’s persona was in a dream. My HSC English teacher cringed at the thought of us starting or resolving our stories with a dream that defeats everything that happened thus far. It is the ending you throw on when you don’t know how to end it, and it is the beginning you use to fake that you are a thrilling action writer.
Hopefully neither of these apply to you – so when Johnny wakes up to realise “it was all just a dream” you better start hitting the backspace.

Students often turn to writing about their own experiences. This is great! However, do not open your story with the alarm clock buzzing, even if that is the most familiar daily occurrence. Writer’s Digest agrees. They say, “the only thing worse than a story opening with a ringing alarm clock is when the character reaches over to turn it off and then exclaims, “I’m late.””

So, what constitutes a good opening? If you are transporting a reader to a different landscape or time period than what they are probably used to, you want to give them the passport in the very introduction otherwise the plane to the discovery will leave without them. This is your chance to grab the marker and keep them keen for every coming word. Of course, to invite a reader to an unfamiliar place you need to give them some descriptions. This is the trap of death! Describing the location in every way is tedious and boring. You want to respect the reader and their imagination. Give them a rope, they’ll pull.

However, if your story is set in a familiar world, you may need to take a different approach. These are some of my favourite first lines from books (some I have read, some I haven’t). I’m sure you can appreciate why each one is so intriguing.

•   “Call me Ishmael.” -Herman Melville, Moby Dick.
-This works because it is simple, stark, demanding. Most of all, it is intriguing.

   “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984.
-Usually, bright and sunny go together. Here, bright and cold are paired. What is even more unique? The clocks tick beyond 12. What? Why? How? You will find out if you read on! See how that works?

•   “It was a pleasure to burn.” Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451.
-This is grimacing, simple, intriguing.

•   “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” -Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle.
-Already I’m wondering why the bloody hell is this person in a kitchen sink? How did they get there? Are they squashed? This kind of unique sentence stands out.

•   “In case you hadn’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it?” – Michael A Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journal Beyond Yourself.
-This works because it appeals to the reader and makes them question a truth about themselves that they may have never considered before.

•    “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Pivet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
-Who was questioning that they weren’t perfectly normal? Why are they so defensive and dismissive? I already feel a reaction to the pompous nature of the pair!

Resolving the story well!

There are so many ways to end stories. SO many. What stories have ended in a very efficient way for you? Which stories left you wanting more? Which stories let you down?

Because you are asked to write about discovery, you want the ending to be wholesome. This means, you need your marker to know that the ending justifies the discovery. You can't leave your marker confused about whether or not the discovery had yet occurred because this may jeopardise your marks. If your discovery is an epiphany for the reader, you may want to finish with a stark, stand alone sentence that truly has a resonating effect. If your story is organised in a way that the discovery is transformative of a persona's opinions, make sure that the ending clearly justifies the transformation that occurred. You could find it most effective to end your story with your main character musing over the happenings of the story.

In the pressure of an exam, it is tempting to cut short on your conclusion to save time. However, you MUST remember that the last taste of your story that your marker has comes from the final words. They simply cannot be compromised!

John Marsden (Aussie author of "Tomorrow When the War Began) suggests the story structure of "going in circles." He suggests this as being very wholesome for a reader. Bringing the ending of the story back to the initial starting point. This can have the effect of showing that this story is simply a snippet of time and life continues. This also can have the effect of showing how much has changed, even within a tight environment. For example, if your story starts with a child being sent to his room by his Dad because he talked back to his parents and then the character undergoes a discovery that he can control his own anger and then the story ends by the boy sending himself to his room before taking his anger out on his parents so that he can focus on his emotions. (That was a very long sentence - do not do this in your creative writing  :P) This kind of structure shows the evolution of the boy even within small confines. This circular structure helps to highlight transformations - which can be a product of discovery!

George Orwell’s wise words:

Orwell wrote an essay, “Politics and the English language,” where he offers six very valuable writing tips.
1.   Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2.   Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3.   If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4.   Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5.   Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6.   Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Elmore Leonard’s tips:

Leonard has written about two dozen novels and many have been best sellers. These are two of his many writing tips that I think are relevant to HSC students – you can take of them what you wish!
1.   Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
2.   Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Kurt Vonnegut:

In the preface to a short story collection, Vonnegut put forth 8 basics of what he calls Creative Writing 101:
1.   “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2.   Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3.   Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4.   Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
5.   Start as close to the end as possible.
6.   Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7.   Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8.   Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.”

This final note from Vonnegut shows exactly what most of you dread: there is no right or wrong way to write. With purpose, you could disregard everything I have said above, punctuation and all (you wouldn’t be the first writer to do that!).

Looking for a bit of extra help?

Facebook - Like the page "The Writer's Circle" on Facebook so that you get a daily feed of creative discussion.
Book - John Marsden's "Everything I Know About Writing" is under $20 and super easy to read. Marsden discusses everything from writing about death, to tautologies, to characterisation.
Do you have any questions?

If this has been helpful to you, you've used one of the writing prompts, you want some help, or you have a question, just comment below (you need to make an account first) and I'll get back to you. You can have a look at my own creative writing piece here. It is downloadable. It is a speech. I used a variation of it for Extension 1 English.

We also have a free creative writing marking thread here!

Don't be shy, post your questions. If you have a question, it is guaranteed that so many other students do too. So when you post it on here, not only does another student benefit from the reply, but they also feel comforted that they weren't the only one with the question!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 05:19:47 pm by jamonwindeyer »
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Re: Discovery: A Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2016, 08:30:29 pm »
Whoa, thank you so much Elyse!! <3 This is absolutely amazing! :)
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Re: Discovery: A Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2016, 09:49:08 pm »
THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR LEGENDARY POSTS ELYSE ! never fails to motivate me to work even harder  ;D

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Re: Discovery: A Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2016, 10:17:46 pm »
Thanks for the feedback Karen and Christine! I'm glad it is helping. Post any questions you encounter! Happy writing :)
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Re: Discovery: A Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 05:57:02 pm »
To everyone reading this thread sent here from the email - I wasn't kidding about asking questions! If you've got any concerns or misunderstandings, please join in and help us help everyone else by asking away ;)
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Re: Discovery: A Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2016, 12:37:36 am »
thank u so much, this is the bomb diggity!!!  8)
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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2016, 07:37:22 pm »
Hi I dont know how to link visual stimulus  that is given on the day with my creative writing. My creative writing is about a person discovering a clock and revisits his past of his moments with his grandfather. If the picture of like a ship, plane or whatever is given  how am i supposed to alter it to fit my story with it?
Am i also allowed to change the quote eg. the tense/ from first person to third person
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 08:21:35 pm by katherine123 »


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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 07:00:23 pm »
Hi I dont know how to link visual stimulus  that is given on the day with my creative writing. My creative writing is about a person discovering a clock and revisits his past of his moments with his grandfather. If the picture of like a ship, plane or whatever is given  how am i supposed to alter it to fit my story with it?
Am i also allowed to change the quote eg. the tense/ from first person to third person

Hey Katherine :)
Okay, so you want to keep the stimulus, if a quote, as close to as it is given. However, small tweaks of tense and persona change are no enormous deal. So don't stress there - it is totally acceptable!

If you are given an image that has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to talk about, try turn it into a metaphor, or a distraction/plot feature in the story. So if it is a tree - talk about the metaphor of growth, or talk about an actual memory you intended to discuss, but say it takes places next to a tree (obvs actually describe it a bit, don't just put the word "tree" and expect that to be all ok haha. A ship, you can use the idiom, "that ship has sailed" or "ships in the night." Always avoid cliches, but sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do to incorporate a stimulus. Else, you could direct your plot in a way that incorporates your grandfather being a naval officer in the war, for example.

I always espouse metaphorical over plot change, just for the reason that changing your plot in an exam can be stressful! So you want to stick to your plan as much as possible. :)
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conic curve

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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2016, 10:09:40 pm »
How do I prepare a creative before an exam?


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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2016, 11:38:15 pm »
How do I prepare a creative before an exam?

Hey conic!! In short: Practice, practice, practice  ;D

Creatives are tricky, in that you probably won't be able to memorise a creative and always use it. It won't work for every stimulus. Rather, you'll probably have a bank of ideas, or one idea that can be adapted easily, and you'll want to practice responding to creative writing stimuli in exam situations. This is the tough bit, making it fit the question in front of you, and constantly practicing is the best way to get there.

I had a few creative writing scripts that I continually improved throughout my HSC. Once I hit probably this point in the year I decided on one and began working on ways to adapt it to different questions. I did some practice, got feedback, improved. I never memorised, but by the time I got to the HSC I had written the same creative in so many different ways so many times that it flowed from the pen really easily  ;D

So that's my advice. Practice heaps! Remember once you reach a point where you want some detailed feedback you can post your Creative in our Creative Marking Forum! I hope this helps  :D

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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2016, 09:50:55 am »
Usually in creative writing do you need to integrate the 5 senses in your story?


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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2016, 11:05:10 am »
Usually in creative writing do you need to integrate the 5 senses in your story?
The point of appealing to the 5 senses is to set the atmosphere in order to make the piece more engaging. You don't have to appeal to all 5, but probably just a few ... the common ones are usually like sight, hearing etc. How many of these you appeal to also depends on the scenario.
If I had a tense situation, i.e. a moment of silence in a heated debate, I'd appeal to:
sight: The looks on peoples faces (these can speak volumes ie from a face you can tell if someone's pissed, or if they're uncertain, if they're tired etc)
hearing: The silence (What can you hear through the silence?...kinda contradictory but yeah, like maybe it's a moment where you can finally hear your self think)
touch: Sweat maybe? Goosebumps? Etc?
I probably wouldn't go far into taste and smell in this situation.
So basically, it depends on your scenario.

Although appealing to the senses paints a picture in the reader's mind, you should be careful to keep the piece flowing. If you have a paragraph on something important, then a whole paragraph with sentence-after-sentence appealing to the senses, then you might drive the reader away from the point of the piece.
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Justina Shehata

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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2016, 01:01:09 am »
Does writing a creative in a "philosophical" type of way detract from the plot?
i have gotten this comment from my teacher before but i feel that when i dont write creatives like that, they end up being so literal and simple


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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2016, 09:16:44 am »
Does writing a creative in a "philosophical" type of way detract from the plot?
i have gotten this comment from my teacher before but i feel that when i dont write creatives like that, they end up being so literal and simple

Hey Justina,
Writing in a "philosophical" way can be really cool and set you apart from others since it shows an awesome depth of thought, however your teacher is correct in saying that the plot is important too. If there's no strong plot and nothing actually happens in the story then the piece can end up just being some kind of rant that's pretty hard to read.

Generally think of your creative like a big birthday cake: the plot/story aspect is the luscious cake part, while the philosophical aspects are like the fluffy icing sandwiching each cake layer together and spread all over the top. A plain cake can be pretty dry and boring, however a huge blob of icing on a plate isn't that nice either. Both things work together to make something incredibly delicious.

If you have a practise creative that you've done you can post it onto here: Free AOS Creative Writing Marking! to be marked and help you polish off a really conceptual story.

Sarah  :)
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Re: Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2016, 10:22:39 pm »
Does writing a creative in a "philosophical" type of way detract from the plot?
i have gotten this comment from my teacher before but i feel that when i dont write creatives like that, they end up being so literal and simple

Sup Justina!! I'll add to Sarah's awesome response by saying that plots themselves can be driven by thought processes, which might play into the philosophical style you like!! I say this because, like you, I prefer that style of writing, so I went with plots that allowed me to show if off a bit more. For example, one of the creatives I used often was purely a "stream of consciousness" style piece of a guy going to Church, the mass from start to finish, and reflecting on the types of Belonging that the church created and destroyed. Simple plot, extended to have much greater meaning. You may want to play with that too!  ;D