Discovery Creative writing always seems easier than it is. Lots of people think that the hardest part of creative writing is coming up with a good storyline, while this is certainly not easy, the hardest part of creating a significant text is how you set out your story so that you can get the highest marks possible. I am a student who has just come out of year 12 and am starting uni soon so studying for these sort of tests is fresh in my mind. I have been a finalist in national writing competitions through school in both fiction and non-fiction categories. As well as writing on behalf of my previous school in the Cairns Post. Below are my top creative writing tips:
Tip 1: Use Your Criteria Sheet
As you should probably already know, the criteria sheet used to grade your assessments is one of your best resources as a student. It shows you exactly what you need to do in order to get the mark you want. For example, in the criteria section for grammar and punctuation, the text might read: “the student showed a competent understanding of grammar and punctuation and where to apply it correctly”- this might land the student in the C column. Whereas, the ‘A’ column might read something along the lines of: “the student showed an advanced understanding of grammar and its applications.” Meaning, if you just used full stops correctly you will land in the ‘C’ column, but if you were able to use the full stops effectively to enhance your story, then you’re more likely to land yourself in the ‘A’ column.
For example, making deliberately short or long sentence can aid in creating a pace, and overall mood for your text. Using the criteria sheet is the easiest way to make sure your story is on the right track.
Tip 2: Use Your Draft
This tip is fairly obvious, but it can’t be stressed enough. USE YOUR DRAFT. The feedback that you get from handing in a significant draft literally tells you how to modify and enhance your story so that you can get the best marks possible. If your school or teachers do not allow drafts, or do not have a drafting system in place, then try and get feedback from your peers and family members. There are lots of times where seemingly obvious mistakes are completely oblivious to you until they are pointed out by someone else.
Tip 3: Go above and Beyond
If you are writing your piece of creative writing make sure you use everything you can to your advantage. Use bigger and better words, more fitting metaphors and aim at creating an overall theme/mood for your piece. Everything that you have been studying in your English class will have some benefit to your assessment. If your teachers have mentioned anything about certain techniques and writing style, make sure that you implement it – it will only save you time and make writing your assessment a lot easier.
For example: If your creative task is a short story, and you have a scene where a man is walking down an alley at night, make sure you set up the atmosphere, the environment and overall mood for the scene. Instead of writing, “the man walked down the alley at night,” you would write, “the man walked precariously down the alley, trying not to make any noise, while staying in the shadows cast by the citadels of concrete that rose above, breaking the light that shone down from the moon.”
The best piece of advice that I’ve ever been given was from my Year 12 English teacher. He mentioned to me that when you’re writing show me what’s happening, don’t just tell me what’s happening. Write so that the audience understands what’s happening without having to be told explicitly what’s going on.
Take the above example or instance, I never explicitly mentioned that the man was walking at night, but you understood that he was because I mentioned the moon and the shadows that it cast. Your audience is intelligent enough to be able to associate the moon with night-time.
Use Your Time Wisely
This goes for all assessments in your life, but it is very important for creative writing. Using your time wisely can make writers block basically non-existent. You should have enough time available to put it down for the day and come back tomorrow, with a fresh pair of eyes.