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Discovery: The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing

Friday 4th, March 2016

Elyse Popplewell

If you’re a first time reader, then you might not be aware of my free online HSC tutoring for English (including HSC creative writing), and other subjects. Check it out! Also – I have a deal for you. If this post is crazy helpful, then you should share it with your friends on Facebook . Deal? Awesome.

HSC Creative Writing: The Guide.

HSC creative writing 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 HSC 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, HSC creative writing doesn’t have to be the foe that it is in your head! Let’s get started.

Surprise: You’re the composer!

Write about what you know

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. If you want to ask questions about your form, then please check out my free online HSC tutoring for English and other subjects.

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. In HSC creative writing, 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:

Click here if you want 50 quirky writing prompts – look for the spoiler in the post!

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 HSC creative writing.

Part two: Editing and Beyond!

This next part is useful for your HSC creative writing when you have some words on the page waiting for improvement.

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 piece of HSC creative writing that you can.

Why should you critique your writing and when?

What seems to be a brilliant piece of HSC creative writing 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 an HSC creative writing 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:

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 in HSC creative writing. 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. Exactly what you don’t want to do in HSC creative writing.

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 in HSC creative writing, 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!

George Orwell’s wise words:

Looking for a bit of extra help?

We also have a free HSC creative writing marking thread here!

Don’t be shy, post your questions. If you have a question on HSC creative writing or anything else, 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!

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Don't let the pressure get to you this exam season

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Your Year 12 study questions answered!

Your Year 12 study questions answered!

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Module C – Creative Writing Exemplar (InspirED)


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How to Write a Band 6 Creative?

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HSC Module B: Band 6 Notes on T.S. Eliot’s Poetry

Full mark band 6 creative writing sample.

hsc creative writing samples

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hsc creative writing samples

Following on from our blog post on how to write creatives , this is a sample of a creative piece written in response to:

“Write a creative piece capturing a moment of tension. Select a theme from Module A, B or C as the basis of your story.”

The theme chosen was female autonomy from Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (Module C prescribed text).

This creative piece also took inspiration from Cate Kennedy’s Whirlpool .

Summer of 2001

For a moment, the momentum she gained galloping in the blossoming garden jolted, and she deflated like a balloon blown by someone suddenly out of breath. A half-smile, captured by the blinking shutter.

Out spluttered the monochrome snapshot. A bit crumpled. A little too bright.

Two dark brown braids, held by clips and bands and flowers, unruliness constrained. The duplicate of her figure came out in the Polaroid sheltered between a stoic masculine figure, and two younger ones just as unsmiling as their father. The mother stood like a storefront mannequin, the white pallor of her skin unblemished by her lurid maroon blush.

Father told the children that their mother was sick. That’s all. Having nightmares about their grandmother who left mother as a child. “Ran off,” he had said, and his nose twitched violently. “Left a family motherless, wifeless.”

I run, too, the girl had thought excitedly. When she ran, she could see the misty grey of the unyielding lamp-posts, and hear the same grunts and coos of pigeons unable to sing, melodies half-sang, half-dissonant. Why don’t they ever sing? Like the parrots and the cockatoos and lorikeets?

Out spluttered another photograph.

Void of the many distresses as analogous to adulthood, her face brimmed with childlike innocence, untroubled by the silhouettes of her father and brothers. 

Spring of 2012

“Can you take a picture for us?”

She was on the other side of the camera, and for a moment she was lost in a transitory evocation of her childhood. The soft blush of the children and the hardened faces of the adults. The forced tightness of their figures. They too looked happy, she supposed, amidst the golden sand and waves that wash the shore.

Away from the flippancy of clinking wine glasses and high-pitched gossip, she felt could almost hear the ticking seconds of each minute, each hour.

She returned the phone to the family.

How still they stood! The unmoving figures on the compact screen. A snapshot of the present that has instantaneously become the past. If only her childhood could extend infinitely to her present, and future, then she would again experience that luscious happiness that seemed to ebb with age. The warm embrace by her mother. The over-protectiveness of her father. How strange it was, to think that she had once avoided both.

But no matter.

She can’t return to the past. All she could do is reminisce about it. It was futile, she knew. The physician had told her so.

“Think about the present!” he had said. “You live too much in the past! Talk to your family! Your husband!”. After a glance at the confounded face, he added, “You grew up with caring brothers, I believe?”.

She nodded.

“Surely,” he elongated the word so that it extended into the unforeseeable future, “they must understand.”

No, they didn’t, she thought. Not after their Marmee left.

She remembered how perfect  her family had been, captured undyingly on that monochrome photograph. Her brothers and her, mother and father. Yes, what a perfect family. Oh, how the opened eye of the camera would watch apathetically as they fastened together, to perfection.

It all fell apart five weeks afterwards, as they listened her father’s monotonous voice reading the last remnant of their mother – a note declaring how their perfection had compromised her, been too stifling, just as that Summer’s humidity had been. Wasn’t that what it meant to be a family, she had thought, to let give you to others willingly for the happiness of the entire family?

Absentmindedly, the grown woman picked up a bayberry branch and drew circles upon circles on the siliceous shore. Where it touched, the sand darkened and lightened again as the water rose.

The ultimatum of my life, she proposed to herself, a rebellious dive at sea! Amused by her dramatism, she continued to muse. How simple it would be, washed away and never coming back. Her family now was perfect enough. Big house. Big car. Big parties. Big dreams. But happiness? She thought of the riot of colour and flashing cameras that her husband loved. Oh, how they caused her migraines! And his insistence for her to abandon those childhood passions of hers, strolling amidst sunny afternoons amidst the greenery, only embody their “Marmee” and his “Honey”. How ridiculous!

Her hand halted to a stop.

For a fleeting moment, the continuum of her oblivion terminated, the angular momentum her hand gained by drawing those perfect circles on the shore jolted. She inflated with the sudden realisation of what she had written on the sand.

Short, and incomplete without the usual Jennings that followed it. But her name nonetheless.

Yes, those ephemeral imprints of her name will be washed away by the infinite rise and fall of the tide. But she still watched. So that when the present became the past, she would still have a snapshot in her memory to hold on to.

She knew she could not go, just like her name. Into the ocean and never come back. She could not possibly go like her mother, who when she was eleven, left a family without a mother and husband without a wife. She could not possibly go like her mother, who left a daughter crushed by the milliseconds of perfection that succumbs so soon after the click of a camera.

With a long sigh, she turned back and the sea becoming a reverberating picture of her past. Intangible, yet outrageously glorious…

11th March, 2015

The mother, on her phone, manicured fingernails swiping the screen absentmindedly. Across the room, the father looked concerned at both the inattentiveness of his wife and the sounds of clanking metal emanating from the cameramen.

“We’re ready, Mrs Jennings,” said one of them, “Please get into position for the family photo!”

The opened eye of the camera watched as the family fastened itself together, the rosy-cheeked daughter and son, the unison of the family creating the epitome of perfection. They smiled vibrant smiles, posed jovially at the flashing lights.

But immediately after the click of the shutters, they all fell apart, insubstantial as a wish.

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Current selection

Select a different module, select a different course, english advanced – setting and symbolism in imaginative writing.

The activities in this resource will help you develop your skills in answering questions in the examination for module c.

English standard – setting and symbolism in imaginative writing

Exploring sample answers – an imaginative response and reflection.

This resource will support students to unpack a sample examination response from the 2019 HSC.

Finding inspiration for the discursive in the prescribed texts

This resource will exploring module c through the lens of discursive writing.

Practising discursive writing – resource 4

This resource will support students to practise writing discursively.

Staying focused on Module C – part 1 and part 2

Reviewing the key ideas in relation to sample examination questions.

Staying focused on module C part 3 components 1-4

Reviewing the key ideas in relation to examination questions

Supporting students with writing discursively in English Standard

This resource will support students to re-engage with the module statement for module c

Unpacking sample questions and discursive writing samples

This resource will support students to respond to and unpack sample HSC questions

hsc creative writing samples

Approaching creative writing in the HSC: some general advice

Creative writing can be very difficult in exam conditions. This is because you don’t necessarily have a base structure to fall back upon, like in the essay. The freedom to write can in turn become something intimidating – that is, without enough preparation. I know that I felt this way during the HSC.

The first thing to remember is that because this is English, you need to be showing the marker that you understand how to use language to express ideas creatively – this means those dreaded two words, language techniques . You can achieve this by using metaphors and imagery. Try and appeal to all five senses if you’re describing an environment, as it can add interest to what you’re writing. Likewise, using colour symbolism is a sophisticated way to add depth. You can also try exploring different tones – for instance, writing in a sarcastic tone, an indignant tone or a humorous tone. Playing with structure is another way to show that you can manipulate English in a sophisticated manner – a story told in reverse chronological order, or incorporating flashbacks or dream sequences.

Creating a story using extended metaphors shows the marker that you have higher order thinking skills. For example, in English Extension 1 my creative story was based on the tale of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ – however, in the end of my tale, the wolf ate Little Red. The whole story was actually a metaphor/allegory for the existential crisis people faced during the Cold War.

If you want to incorporate sophisticated vocabulary, don’t just break out a thesaurus and hope for the best. This can result in some words sounding slightly “off”. It’s always best to get a second opinion.

This brings me to my next point. It is absolutely essential that you do not write a creative writing piece “blind” during the final exam. You should have 2-3 plot outlines prepared well before the exam. If you can, try to actually write a story for each outline, taking care to ensure that you’ve included language techniques and sophisticated language. Seek opinions from teachers, and refine your creative writing pieces! Also, use practice questions to “test” yourself, by adapting your pre-plotted story into the parameters of the writing task where possible. Of course, this may prove impossible to do if you are given a very specific question, such as writing a script, but at the very least this practice will give you the experience of thinking about how to incorporate language techniques into your writing.

Lastly, time is crucial in the exam! Forty minutes is not enough to write terribly much, and as a result your story is more a ‘snapshot’ than an epic novel. Make sure that you get your point across quickly – don’t spend three quarters of your piece building up towards a plot point that never emerges!

Happy writing!

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English 11-12, 20 craft of writing practice questions to get you mod c ready.

The best way to prepare for The Craft of WRiting is practice. And we've got plenty here for you in these 20 Craft of Writing practice questions.

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Module C: The Craft of Writing, was introduced from the 2019 HSC by NESA to ensure students develop the skills to become better writers, it all stops students memorising responses. Although you cannot memorise a response for this module, you can practice answering different types of questions to become more confident in your writing. To help you prepare, we’ve put together 20 Craft of Writing Questions to get you Mod C ready. Working through these questions will allow you to feel more prepared when tackling the question and allow you to save time in the exam.

How do I prepare for Module C?

Are you unsure of how to practice? Unsure what styles of writing you would need to practice? Unsure what questions could possibly be asked in Paper 2 for this module?

Don’t worry! We got you covered.

Below are 20 questions which we’ve put together for you, so you can practice for Module C.

Remember, you’ll only develop mastery through regular creative and discursive  writing and answering different types of questions.

20 Craft of Writing Questions to Get You Mod C Ready

Question 1:.

“Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.” George Orwell

a. In his essay, “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell presents this rule for writing. Defy this rule in your re-imagination of a particular scene which stood out to you whilst studying Module A, B or C. (12 marks)

b. Assess your effectiveness in defying the rule and explain the reason behind your choice of the particular stylistic device you have defied. (8 marks)

Question 2:

a. Explore the relationship between 2 characters you have studied in one of your prescribed texts in Module C. Express their thought process, and the emotions which drive their choices through your perspective. (12 marks)

b. Justify the reason behind the creative choices you have made in Part A. (8 marks)

Question 3:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R Tolkein The Lord Of The Rings

a. Use this quote as a stimulus for a piece of imaginative, discursive or persuasive writing, which is written through the voice of a prominent character you have encountered in a prescribed text in Module A, B or C.

In your response, you must include at least ONE stylistic or literary feature that you have explored during your study of a prescribed text in Module C. (20 marks)

Question 4:

“The climax hits close to the very end of the story. It is the point at which the story turns from being an interrelated deliberately arranged set of scenes to gold.” Martha Alderson

a. Disobey this rule by Martha Alderson in your persuasive, imaginative or discursive piece by starting it with the climax.

In your response, you must include at least ONE stylistic and literary feature that you have explored during your study of a prescribed text in Module C. (12 marks)

b. Explain the reason behind your choice and how it has influenced your writing in Part A.  (8 marks)

Question 5:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird

a. Use this quote as a stimulus for an imaginative, discursive or persuasive piece of writing, which presents a unique perspective from the point of view of a character you have encountered in your study of Module A, B or C.

In your response, use at least ONE literary device you have explored in one of your prescribed Module C texts. (12 marks)

b. Justify the creative choices you have made in Part A and how they contribute to presenting a unique perspective. ( 8 marks)

Question 6:

“You know the myth: Everybody had to fit into Procrustes’ bed and if they didn’t, he either stretched them or cut off their feet. I’m not interested in cutting the feet off my characters or stretching them to make them fit my certain point of view.” Margaret Atwood Interview with Mother Jones

a. Use this quote by Margaret Atwood as a stimulus for a piece of persuasive, discursive or imaginative writing that expresses a significant concern or idea that you have engaged with in ONE of your prescribed texts from Module A, B or C. (20 marks)

Question 7:

“The Resolution is not just the ending of this story, but also the beginning of the story the characters will live in after readers have closed the back cover.” K.M. Weiland

a. Use this sentence as a stimulus to write an imaginative, persuasive or discursive piece which is based upon the conclusion of ONE prescribed text you have studied in Module A, B or C.

In your response, you must include at least ONE stylistic feature you have explored during your study of prescribed texts in Module C. (20 marks)

Learn to ace Module C, fast!

Get detailed feedback on your writing from HSC English Experts. Learn more.

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Question 8:

“Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.” Anthony Doerr All the light We Cannot See

a. Use this quote as a stimulus to write a re-imagination of a particular scene of conflict present in a prescribed text you have studied in Module A, B or C as an imaginative, discursive, or persuasive piece.

In your response, use at least ONE literary device you have studied during Module C. (14 marks)

b. Reflect on your thought process for writing in Part A, critically analysing the choice of literary device used. (6 marks)

Question 9:

a. Write a short children’s story using an idea or concern conveyed in one of the prescribed texts you have studied in Module A, B or C.

In your response, you must include at least ONE stylistic or literary feature that you have explored during your study of a prescribed text in Module C. (12 marks)

b. Explain how at least ONE of your prescribed texts from Module C has influenced your writing style in Part A. (8 marks)

Question 10:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

a. Use this quote as stimuli for a piece of imaginative, discursive or persuasive writing which has arisen from an idea you engaged with in a prescribed text from Module A, B or C. (12 marks)

b. Reflect on the idea you chose and why you were inspired to write about it. In your reflection, focus particularly on the stylistic choices you have made to convey the untold story inside you. (8 marks)

Question 11:

Write a discursive, creative, or persuasive piece about a key event that has occurred in one of the prescribed texts you have studied in Module C.

Question 12:

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” Frank Herbert

a. Using this quote as stimuli, write a new ending for a prescribed text you have studied in Module A, B or C.

In your writing, ensure you pay close attention to the emotions felt by the characters that you have encountered in the text. (12 marks)

b. Justify why you believe this ending would also be suitable for the prescribed text. (8 marks)

Question 13:

Seeking the big picture he instead fell into a smaller frame and ever since has been unable to break out of it unable or unwilling

Will Fraser

Use Will Fraser’s poem as stimuli to write a creative, persuasive or discursive piece which focuses on feelings of disorientation.

In your piece, draw upon ideas and concerns which have been explored in ONE or more of your prescribed texts. (20 marks)

Question 14:

Choose a moment of tension that has occurred in ONE of the prescribed texts you have studied in Module C and re-write it from the point of view of an outsider watching the moment play out. Express the thought process of the outsider, what they have seen, and its impact on them. (20 marks)

Question 15:

a. Write an excerpt which could be inserted near the climax of a prescribed text you have studied in Module A, B or C. (12 marks)

b. Explain the choices you made whilst writing this excerpt and the process of editing you went through. Focus particularly on how these choices influenced the final composition. (8 marks)

Question 16:

hsc creative writing samples

a. Use the image above as stimuli, to write a discursive, imaginative or persuasive piece which has arisen from an idea you engaged with in a prescribed text from Module A, B or C. (12 marks)

b. Evaluate the stylistic features you have used and their effect on creating meaning in your piece. (8 marks)

Question 17:

“And if you didn’t know better, you’d think that no one lived here anymore. That all these places were abandoned. But people were in there somewhere, hidden and burrowed in. They were there.” Favel Parrett Past The Shallows

“There are some people who leave impressions not so lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water.” Kate Chopin The Awakening

a. Use one of the quotes above as stimuli for the start of a discursive, imaginative or persuasive piece, written from the point of view of a persona you have encountered in Module A. B or C. In your piece incorporate at least ONE extended metaphor. (20 marks)

Question 18:

a. Write a discursive, imaginative or persuasive piece which causes feelings of uncertainty within a young reader.

In your response, you must include at least TWO stylistic or literary devices which you have explored in the prescribed texts you have studied in Module C. (12 marks)

b. Evaluate the stylistic or literary devices you have used in your piece and how they contribute to feelings of uncertainty. (8 marks)

Question 19:

hsc creative writing samples

a. Use the image as stimuli to write about an internal conflict experienced by characters in one of your Module A, B or C prescribed texts, in the form of a discursive, imaginative or persuasive piece.

In your response, use at least ONE literary device or stylistic feature that you have encountered in Module C. (12 marks)

b. Critically analyse the literary choices you have made and their impact on the piece you have crafted. (8 marks)

Question 20:

Write a discursive, imaginative or persuasive piece which uses rhetorical and linguistic devices to shape meaning. Your piece should present a unique perspective to ideas or concerns which you have encountered in at least ONE of the prescribed texts you have studied in Module C. (20 marks)

We hope this helped!

We hope these questions help you prepare for the upcoming exam.

Practice answering these questions and get them marked for feedback! This will help you hone in on your craft of writing and become a better, more confident writer for Paper 2.

If you want some advice on how to write Module c responses, you should read our Guide on Module C: The Craft of Writing .

Written by Matrix English Team

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How do I know you’ve finished writing my paper?

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hsc creative writing samples


  1. 😊 Hsc creative writing examples. Hsc Creative Writing Band 6 Examples

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  2. Creative Essay

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  4. HSC English

    hsc creative writing samples

  5. How To Write A Good Creative Writing Piece Hsc

    hsc creative writing samples

  6. HSC English Creative Writing

    hsc creative writing samples


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  3. Introduction to Writing Task 1

  4. Summary Writing || HSC English 1st Paper || Online Education ||

  5. """"" HSC FACT""""🤣🤣

  6. writing practise


  1. HSC Discovery Creative Writing Sample

    HSC Discovery Creative Writing Sample Read a Band 6 creative that scored a former student and current English tutor a Band 6. Creative writing is part of the HSC English Paper 1 Area of Study exam. Through a creative writing piece, students are required to demonstrate the concept of Discovery.

  2. How to Write a Band 6 HSC Creative Writing Story

    Step 1: Develop Your Story Idea Step 2: Develop Your Character Step 3: Develop a Setting Step 4: Develop Your Point of View Step 5: Using A Formula To Write A Band 6 Plot Step 6: Pick Your Narrative Type Step 7: Edit and Proofread Your Piece Step 8: Adapt your Piece to Exam Stimuli What is Module C: The Craft of Writing all about?

  3. HSC Exemplar Band 6 Module C Creative Response

    English 11-12 HSC Exemplar Band 6 Module C Creative Response In this article, we'll be sharing with you an exemplary Module C creative for the 2021 HSC English Advanced exam, so you can see what you need to produce to attain a Band 6 result. Wondering what it takes to achieve Band 6 for a Module C creative? Well, look no further!

  4. ATAR Notes

    Awesome. HSC Creative Writing: The Guide. HSC creative writing 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.

  5. DOCX imaginative work samples transcript

    (placid music) Welcome to the HSC Hub student support sessions. This is part one of a two part resource that focuses on English Standard and Module C, The Craft of Writing. And in this resource, we will be exploring student writing samples from the 2019 HSC examination.

  6. Module C

    Resource Description. Module C - Creative Writing Exemplar by InspirED. Report a problem. Speech on George Orwell '1984' - Human Experiences. How To Survive the HSC. One Night the Moon - Analysis (Video) 2020 - Physics - PHS (Trial Paper) Business Studies Influences on HR (Quiz) Sci Ext - Portfolio Pack.

  7. Belonging Creative Writing Sample

    Belonging Creative Writing Essay Sample. A creative writing piece for the Area of Study: Belonging. Creative writing is part of the HSC English Module 1 exam. Through a creative writing piece, students are required to demonstrate the concept of Belonging. Here is a sample of a Belonging Essay written by a Matrix English Tutor.

  8. Full mark Band 6 Creative Writing Sample

    Full mark Band 6 Creative Writing Sample Published by Amy Categories Tags Following on from our blog post on how to write creatives, this is a sample of a creative piece written in response to: "Write a creative piece capturing a moment of tension. Select a theme from Module A, B or C as the basis of your story."

  9. Exemplar Creative Writing

    Past HSC Questions Exemplar Creative Writing Teacher Notes Discussion Board The Creative Process ``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````dd text Exemplar Creative writing. This creative piece received a Band 6 in the HSC Area of Study 'Journeys'. It has strong links to 'Discovery'.

  10. MOD C sample creatives

    Year. 2021. Type. Notes. - full marks for both responses. - first one is from CSSA 2020, second one is from NESA HSC sample paper 2019. - sorry for any typos or errors! personally these creatives make me cringe so pls don't judge. anyways hopefully these help for those prepping for Mod C!! arm044, pineappleavacado, mikrokosmos and 3 others.

  11. Exploring sample answers

    Part 1 - Imaginative response Part 2 - Reflective response Microsoft Stream To see this content, New to Microsoft Stream? sign up This resource will support students to unpack a sample examination response from the 2019 HSC. The sample is an imaginative response and the associated reflection.

  12. How to Write a Reflective Statement For HSC English Module C

    The assessment task being written about. The level of English you're taking (Advanced or Extension) What your marking criteria says! Reflection statements will generally be between 300 and 800 words, likely hanging around the 400-word mark. However, for English Extension 2, your reflection statement is 1500 words long.

  13. Year 12 HSC Module C : The Craft of Writing Practice Questions

    We have got you covered with 8 brand new questions! TutorTime would like to help you prepare for the HSC English Advanced Module C The Craft of Writing (paper 2). "In this module, students strengthen and extend their knowledge, skills and confidence as accomplished writers. Students write for a range of audiences and purposes using language ...


    SAMPLE HSC EXAM-STYLE QUESTIONS FOR PAPER 2, SECTION III Before you begin to experiment with your own writing, it is important to understand the types of questions you may be ... What makes a creative piece of writing engaging is the ability of the writer to relate the characters, ideas and story to their readers' experiences. Appealing to ...

  15. The craft of writing

    English advanced - setting and symbolism in imaginative writing. The activities in this resource will help you develop your skills in answering questions in the examination for module c. Year 12 English Advanced. The craft of writing. NSW Department of Education.

  16. Exemplar HSC Paper 2 Discursive Essay and Reflection

    English 11-12 Exemplar HSC Paper 2 Discursive Essay and Reflection - Carmen Zhou The HSC Paper 2 Module C question can require you to write a discursive response and a reflection statement.

  17. Approaching creative writing in the HSC: some general advice

    Creative writing can be very difficult in exam conditions. This is because you don't necessarily have a base structure to fall back upon, like in the essay. The freedom to write can in turn become something intimidating - that is, without enough preparation. I know that I felt this way during the HSC. The first…

  18. 20 Craft of Writing Practice Questions to Get You Mod C Ready

    Question 1: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.". George Orwell. a. In his essay, "Politics and the English Language," Orwell presents this rule for writing. Defy this rule in your re-imagination of a particular scene which stood out to you whilst studying Module A, B or C. (12 ...

  19. Creative Writing Hsc Samples

    Creative Writing Hsc Samples 77.3% 360 Reviews Saatva Mattresses Review Rewards Best Children's Hospitals Honor Roll Offices Located in: Virginia, Maryland, New York, Florida Education for All Coalition, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations.

  20. Hsc Creative Writing Samples Band 6

    Hsc Creative Writing Samples Band 6 - The Education for All Coalition (EFAC), Inc. is a 501(c) (3), nonprofit, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to creating education opportunities and finding solutions that empower displaced children in refugee camps and settlements around the world.

  21. Sample Hsc Creative Writing Responses

    Sample Hsc Creative Writing Responses, Dissertation Dnp, Good Strong Words To Use In Essays, Annotated Bibliography Summary Example, Essay On Topic Of Importance Of Education, Write Me Drama Argumentative Essay, Whatever your topic is, make sure you have a good thesis statement. If you don't have a thesis statement, you'll have trouble ...

  22. Hsc Creative Writing Samples Band 6

    Hsc Creative Writing Samples Band 6. Essay writing help has this amazing ability to save a student's evening. For example, instead of sitting at home or in a college library the whole evening through, you can buy an essay instead, which takes less than one minute, and save an evening or more. A top grade for homework will come as a pleasant ...

  23. PDF HSC Area of Study Creative Writing Hot Tips

    HSC Area of Study - Creative Writing Hot Tips This section of the paper is the only time in the HSC English exam that you become the composer. The other 5 sections, you are the responder. Purpose of creative writing in the HSC is to display you: Ability to write in the nominated text type - (P.I.L.S)