Whether you are taking Standard or Advanced HSC English it’s inevitable… you are going to have to write a creative writing piece, and a good one, if you want to get a top band mark.
Instead of getting back into bed, curling up in the foetal position, and binge watching your guilty pleasure Netflix series, why not work on your creative writing skills now? With a little bit of effort, you can seriously improve your writing and ace the Paper 1 exam.
The ‘imaginative writing’ section of Paper 1 is stimulus based. Students are given a written or visual stimulus and are asked to write a piece that ties in with the Area of Study – Discovery. A broad, yet equally risky category that lends itself to some cringe inducing clichés.
If you take only one thing away from this article let it be this: when you first see the stimulus think… what is everyone else going to write about?
Then, DO NOT write about that!
I repeat… even if it feels safe, DO NOT write about that!
Every stimulus, whether it is written or visual, can be spun in some way. The whole point of ‘Discovery’ is to uncover unknown things. So there is no reason for an HSC marker to read the same story over and over in different hand writing.
Back at school I competed in a public speaking competition. The impromptu speech topic was simply “fire”. About ten students (myself included) rattled on about the danger and destruction of fire. However, it was the kid that told a hilarious anecdote that initially seemed to have nothing to do with fire, until the punch line “I was on fire”, that won. Most of us had interpreted ‘fire’ as the element, but he interpreted it as the idiom and captivated the audience.
This should be every HSC English students’ objective when writing creatively.
The spin on the stimulus could be symbolic. Google search practice creative writing stimuli. Rather than writing a full blown story for just a few, expose yourself to many different types of stimuli and spend just one-minute brainstorming what your plan would be if it were the exam stimulus and how it could be interpreted differently.
Say you were given an image of an apple rolling off a table.
Instead of wasting valuable time writing and hand muscle strength using every word in the thesaurus to describe what the apple looks and tastes like, consider what it could symbolise.
The rejection of healthy foods leading to childhood obesity?
Sin and temptation?
Whilst Discovery should still be at the forefront of every creative writing piece, these interpretations would inspire a much more engaging and unique story.
With these tips even the most unenthusiastic student can develop their creative writing skills and set themselves apart from the thousands of other students sitting Paper 1. Do your HSC marker, and in turn, yourself, a favour by allowing them to discover something novel!