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Thread: I'm panicking

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    I'm panicking

    Third week of year 12 and I have no idea what I'm doing for my short story. My teacher is mad at me and everyone in my class has a solid concept that works for them. I have a hard time committing to things and tend to be a perfectionist. I find so many things interesting but I cant seem to figure out a concept that I could stick with and not doubt. Any advice? I feel like shit lmao

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    Senior Member Orwell's Avatar
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    Re: I'm panicking

    Don't worry, I'm in the same boat you are.
    Macquarie Law/Arts 2018.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by mollytee View Post
    Third week of year 12 and I have no idea what I'm doing for my short story. My teacher is mad at me and everyone in my class has a solid concept that works for them. I have a hard time committing to things and tend to be a perfectionist. I find so many things interesting but I cant seem to figure out a concept that I could stick with and not doubt. Any advice? I feel like shit lmao
    don't worry, same !!! kind of...even though I have a concept right now it's kinda vague and I'm doubting some aspects of it...

    Besides, teachers at my school have constantly mentioned that heaps of people COMPLETELY change their idea midway through the course so it's okay (lowkey self-reassuring here)!???? just find a starting point I guess
    Also, if you find a lot of things interesting, maybe find a way to combine them all into a single overarching concept that is easier to explore in your major work???

    Or maybe even talk to someone about all of your ideas/the things that interest you??? After talking about my idea out loud to someone, I felt like I found a concept that I could potentially stick to and work with in the form of a short story, as well as something I could present in my Viva Voce (due in 2 weeks fml). My ideas are also slightly more organised than when I was just stressing myself out from brainstorming HAHAHA so maybe give it a try if you haven't
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    Re: I'm panicking

    short story for advanced or extension?

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by tloos View Post
    short story for advanced or extension?
    well..it is in the extension english 2 section
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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by tloos View Post
    short story for advanced or extension?
    Look at the subforum this is in. English Extension 2 major work

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Yeah, my teacher signed the EE2 students up for it
    Macquarie Law/Arts 2018.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Relax! Most of my Ext 2 class this year changed their concept/form much later than a few weeks into the course. As long as you have the drive to finish whatever you (eventually) choose to pursue, it's going to end up way better than if you made a reckless decision on the basis of an arbitrary time constraint right now and hated your work for the rest of the year (or worse, dropped the course, as quite a few did at my school!). I was lucky enough to have a good idea to start on almost right from the start, but a lot of people didn't, and the ones who were committed to writing something powered through. Just make sure that you're not only committed to learning about the subject matter, but that you're also really engaged with exploring the form. So my advice would be stop panicking and just keep reading short stories (if that's what you want to write), even if you're lost on what to read about. It might start as simple emulation but you would be surprised how your relationship with the medium will shape your project, so keep (or start) reading, and keep (or start) writing for the next few weeks, as much as you can. If you're still stuck by the time it gets to the viva, you can always pretend you're more committed to one or two of your ideas than you really might be at heart and try to flesh them out during the viva with your teacher(s). It might give you a bit of a push in the right direction.
    And good luck! Ext 2 is a blast if you put the hours in.
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    Re: I'm panicking

    I recommend doing exercises from Kate Grenville's 'Writing from Start to Finish' .

    Honestly, tell your teacher to gtfo, Term 4 should be all about trial and error, messing about with writing styles, doing character profiles and readings of short stories. After doing this, you will be able to see what kind of material you consistently produce and what you find yourself writing about.

    Then over these summer holidays work on your first draft, then periodically revise the draft every week until submission. This is what my teacher told us to do and her cohorts consistently get into the top bands - because in the reflection statement (which actually makes up a huge component of the work, enough to separate an E3 from an E4), you can talk about reading Kate Grenville, your trials and errors, what you discovered about yourself, how you went about planning your major work etc etc.

    As my teacher said: "Markers will eat that shit up." and they do, they really do.
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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by mollytee View Post
    I have a hard time committing to things and tend to be a perfectionist. I find so many things interesting but I cant seem to figure out a concept that I could stick with and not doubt. Any advice? I feel like shit lmao
    Build your reflection statement around this!!! Markers will eaaat that shit up!
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    Re: I'm panicking

    Oh my god yall are the best. Seriously thanks so much for this! I'm going to take in all this great advice and hopefully manage to form an idea to give to my teacher next week. Idk why she's rushing so much and putting all that pressure on me. Her attitude literally made me consider dropping like girl bye I'm sticking this through. Thanks again

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by grapegatsby View Post
    Relax! Most of my Ext 2 class this year changed their concept/form much later than a few weeks into the course. As long as you have the drive to finish whatever you (eventually) choose to pursue, it's going to end up way better than if you made a reckless decision on the basis of an arbitrary time constraint right now and hated your work for the rest of the year (or worse, dropped the course, as quite a few did at my school!). I was lucky enough to have a good idea to start on almost right from the start, but a lot of people didn't, and the ones who were committed to writing something powered through. Just make sure that you're not only committed to learning about the subject matter, but that you're also really engaged with exploring the form. So my advice would be stop panicking and just keep reading short stories (if that's what you want to write), even if you're lost on what to read about. It might start as simple emulation but you would be surprised how your relationship with the medium will shape your project, so keep (or start) reading, and keep (or start) writing for the next few weeks, as much as you can. If you're still stuck by the time it gets to the viva, you can always pretend you're more committed to one or two of your ideas than you really might be at heart and try to flesh them out during the viva with your teacher(s). It might give you a bit of a push in the right direction.
    And good luck! Ext 2 is a blast if you put the hours in.
    one of the girls in my class changed her FORM after we had handed in our draft major work for marking! so the school never even read the way she wrote in the form type that she submitted to hsc! it was a change from film to script, so there were similarities in it, she just turned her film idea into a script, but the point is it was THIS LATE in the course and ended up alright!
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    Re: I'm panicking

    Ok I know you guys said it's okay not to know what direction I'm going but I still don't have a clue and my teacher is gonna kill me on thursday

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Also thoughts of dropping are creeping in

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by mollytee View Post
    Also thoughts of dropping are creeping in
    Don't drop! If you need a good atar, do. not. drop. The median band in EE2 is E3, that would equate to high band 5/6 in most subjects! It's not as hard as people say it is either. just go for the good old short story form for now, write a few pages - if it's shit, try another form, and whatever you like/are good at, do it

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by mollytee View Post
    Ok I know you guys said it's okay not to know what direction I'm going but I still don't have a clue and my teacher is gonna kill me on thursday
    dw about your teacher. things got so bad between my teacher and myself that she would pull me out of legal studies and give me "State of the Nation" addresses on how, and I quote "Listen here, if I don't see a draft in two weeks, you are fucked and you may as well drop this subject buddyboy". I didnt finish my draft until a month before submission! She threatened me almost every week for for a year. I'm not making this shit up either, she was an english genius but crazy as fuck. I stuck it out, and I was happy with what I did.

    EDIT: I made her into a character in my story, legit she got a subject dropping form and waived it in my face laughing. i will miss her.
    Last edited by chiefpasco; 2 Nov 2016 at 3:45 PM.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefpasco View Post
    dw about your teacher. things got so bad between my teacher and myself that she would pull me out of legal studies and give me "State of the Nation" addresses on how, and I quote "Listen here, if I don't see a draft in two weeks, you are fucked and you may as well drop this subject buddyboy". I didnt finish my draft until a month before submission! She threatened me almost every week for for a year. I'm not making this shit up either, she was an english genius but crazy as fuck. I stuck it out, and I was happy with what I did.

    EDIT: I made her into character in my story, legit she got a subject dropping form and waived it in my face laughing. i will miss her.
    That is so savage ahaha
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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefpasco View Post
    dw about your teacher. things got so bad between my teacher and myself that she would pull me out of legal studies and give me "State of the Nation" addresses on how, and I quote "Listen here, if I don't see a draft in two weeks, you are fucked and you may as well drop this subject buddyboy". I didnt finish my draft until a month before submission! She threatened me almost every week for for a year. I'm not making this shit up either, she was an english genius but crazy as fuck. I stuck it out, and I was happy with what I did.

    EDIT: I made her into a character in my story, legit she got a subject dropping form and waived it in my face laughing. i will miss her.
    Omg Im dying thats so funny lmfaoooo

    Ill let her yell at me tomorrow and just suck it up. I gotta stop being sensitive. Thanks heaps my dude.
    Last edited by mollytee; 2 Nov 2016 at 6:20 PM.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefpasco View Post
    Don't drop! If you need a good atar, do. not. drop. The median band in EE2 is E3, that would equate to high band 5/6 in most subjects! It's not as hard as people say it is either. just go for the good old short story form for now, write a few pages - if it's shit, try another form, and whatever you like/are good at, do it
    I just cant decide what direction to go, like genre wise or creating my concept or whatever. I definitely know I wanna do a short story but the endless options have me stuck. If you dont mind me asking, what mark did you get?

    I'm also considering dropping because history extension is pretty intense so far and extension 1 requires a lot of my effort. Idk I think I'll stick it out for a bit more and see what happens.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by mollytee View Post
    I just cant decide what direction to go, like genre wise or creating my concept or whatever. I definitely know I wanna do a short story but the endless options have me stuck. If you dont mind me asking, what mark did you get?

    I'm also considering dropping because history extension is pretty intense so far and extension 1 requires a lot of my effort. Idk I think I'll stick it out for a bit more and see what happens.
    I can't remember what mark I got internally, the finish product was only submitted an hour before it had to be "Officially emailed to bostes" lol. But I had a teacher from another faculty, who has read every major work my school has produced, critique mine, he said it was very "solid" and the reflection statement was killer. Got full marks for that I know.

    I still don't understand why your teacher expects so much of you so early... My crazy teacher stimulated our senses by doing writing exercises and just messing around with our interests for Term 4, and only over the summer holidays were we expected to do anything - consistently students here get E4 based on her teaching methods.

    I still think you have the aptitude to do well in this subject, just having the initiative to consult ex-students online shows that you are taking this course seriously and geez you would have a mint reflection statement to go with whatever you submit because the tribulations you face in this subject are exciting to markers.

    Summer holidays are long and by the second week boring as fuck - you'll have plenty of time to think of something, and if shit hits the fan and you still haven't progressed beyond this stage in February of 2017 then you may as well pull the string.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefpasco View Post
    I can't remember what mark I got internally, the finish product was only submitted an hour before it had to be "Officially emailed to bostes" lol. But I had a teacher from another faculty, who has read every major work my school has produced, critique mine, he said it was very "solid" and the reflection statement was killer. Got full marks for that I know.

    I still don't understand why your teacher expects so much of you so early... My crazy teacher stimulated our senses by doing writing exercises and just messing around with our interests for Term 4, and only over the summer holidays were we expected to do anything - consistently students here get E4 based on her teaching methods.

    I still think you have the aptitude to do well in this subject, just having the initiative to consult ex-students online shows that you are taking this course seriously and geez you would have a mint reflection statement to go with whatever you submit because the tribulations you face in this subject are exciting to markers.

    Summer holidays are long and by the second week boring as fuck - you'll have plenty of time to think of something, and if shit hits the fan and you still haven't progressed beyond this stage in February of 2017 then you may as well pull the string.
    Omg I wish we were doing writing exercises right now lmao. I'm not sure how common this is but our first draft needs to be done in the summer holidays.

    Anyway your answers helped me out heaps and gave me perspective. Thanks so much. I'll see what happens.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    I'm really going to focus on my isolating an idea and working towards it after the EE2 seminar this Friday, which seems a little daunting but I feel it's for the best. Anyone think I'm leaving it too long?

    Also, should I start working on my journal now even though I don't know what I'm doing?
    Macquarie Law/Arts 2018.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    I'm breaking this up into reassurance and advice here:

    Part uno


    IMO your teacher needs to chill.

    I'm gonna start out by saying I'm not some prodigy who manages to spit out 6000 words of pure gold overnight, so none of the following events were based on skill but rather most teacher's over-exaggeration of how difficult Ext 2 is gonna be. I did Ext 2 this year, spent 2.5 terms working on a movie script about the cycle of war before switching to a short story with a completely different concept 3 weeks before the draft and came first, then my 6 year old laptop decided to die a week before the BOSTES due date so I ended up rewriting the whole thing (with ANOTHER completely dif concept) in that week because my dumb ass did not back up my work in the cloud or on a USB– It was 100% different to what I had talked about in my Viva Voce and Report and contained no part of what I submitted for the Draft Assessment and I still ranked first in all assessments and in the whole course internally, with the major I submitted to BOSTES (my first draft, btw) estimated to get an E3-4 mark.

    My point is; unless your final topic requires some extensive research that you definitely need in order to write your story (like a lot of scientific/medical terminology if your character is a scientist, or historical and cultural information if your story is set in another time period or country), your research in term one doesn't mean shit and don't worry about what your teacher says.

    Part dos

    I recommend you temporarily come up with some bullshit deep concept that you don't really care about but will make your teachers happy, research it a lot for the Viva Voce, making sure you address everything on the Viva Voce checklist extensively, use a couple of philosophers or theorists to back you up and have a couple of famous (or just good) examples of the style you want to write in and you'll be sweet (I got full marks for mine and have a list of everything you need to include if you want it). All the while, think about what you're actually passionate about, and use your 6 week summer holidays to focus on that. It'll only take you a week or so to actually write the draft and often the first copy doesn't need as much redrafting as the teachers pretend it does.

    If you can't think of anything you like well enough to write about, think of something you absolutely hate and come up with something that is anti- that (so for example if you can't stand something like YA books about cancer, write something that completely throws shade at the YA-existentialist-cancer-story concept. My friend hated inaccurate representations of East Asians in mainstream literature so much that she wrote how they should be correctly represented; whereas I was so done with the trope of the "chosen one" always being a hero that I wrote a story that was resistant against that.

    Or if you're really stuck, I suggest expanding on a concept you learnt about in Extension 1 Prelim or are learning about in either Advanced or Extension 1 HSC because relating your major to your other English courses is part of the marking criteria. You could probably also use something from Prelim Advanced but you would have to make it a lot deeper as it's at a slightly lower level than Prelim EE1 or Year 12 Advanced.

    In regards to your major work journal I recommend you put some notes + articles in before the VV as I think it contributes to the mark, not sure though. Even if you don't have a concept yet you can still fill it out with research on creative writing, your form, writing style, structure etc and do all your brainstorming for your concept in the book. If it's starting to look like you're just printing things out and sticking them in, write dot points on articles rather than using them verbatim and print out some short stories, highlight techniques in rainbow colours and annotate a fuckload of bullshit because research into creative writing is really the only research you end up using throughout the whole year. Don't neglect the MWJ, you'll find that if you actually focus on putting entries in there, your major work will end up writing itself.

    Honestly the teachers make it out as if you're going to need to spend an hour a day researching, planning, and redrafting for the entire duration of your HSC and as a result need to get the first draft finished ASAP when in reality everyone I know who did the subject had the same experience of a 12 week period in the middle after your first couple of drafts where you're literally doing nothing at all, maybe changing like one or two sentences out of your whole 6000 words per week because there's only so much the teachers tell you to do after the initial story (then suddenly they come up with a million more things once it's submitted as a draft, which is kinda annoying – because it means no matter HOW prepared you are before then there's literally nothing you can do to prevent the hectic redrafting period after you get your draft marks back)

    Good luck with your major and I hope you eventually find something you enjoy writing about
    Last edited by lizerdqueen; 4 Nov 2016 at 7:37 PM.

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by lizerdqueen View Post
    I'm breaking this up into reassurance and advice here:

    Part uno


    IMO your teacher needs to chill.

    I'm gonna start out by saying I'm not some prodigy who manages to spit out 6000 words of pure gold overnight, so none of the following events were based on skill but rather most teacher's over-exaggeration of how difficult Ext 2 is gonna be. I did Ext 2 this year, spent 2.5 terms working on a movie script about the cycle of war before switching to a short story with a completely different concept 3 weeks before the draft and came first, then my 6 year old laptop decided to die a week before the BOSTES due date so I ended up rewriting the whole thing (with ANOTHER completely dif concept) in that week because my dumb ass did not back up my work in the cloud or on a USB– It was 100% different to what I had talked about in my Viva Voce and Report and contained no part of what I submitted for the Draft Assessment and I still ranked first in all assessments and in the whole course internally, with the major I submitted to BOSTES (my first draft, btw) estimated to get an E3-4 mark.

    My point is; unless your final topic requires some extensive research that you definitely need in order to write your story (like a lot of scientific/medical terminology if your character is a scientist, or historical and cultural information if your story is set in another time period or country), your research in term one doesn't mean shit and don't worry about what your teacher says.

    Part dos

    I recommend you temporarily come up with some bullshit deep concept that you don't really care about but will make your teachers happy, research it a lot for the Viva Voce, making sure you address everything on the Viva Voce checklist extensively, use a couple of philosophers or theorists to back you up and have a couple of famous (or just good) examples of the style you want to write in and you'll be sweet (I got full marks for mine and have a list of everything you need to include if you want it). All the while, think about what you're actually passionate about, and use your 6 week summer holidays to focus on that. It'll only take you a week or so to actually write the draft and often the first copy doesn't need as much redrafting as the teachers pretend it does.

    If you can't think of anything you like well enough to write about, think of something you absolutely hate and come up with something that is anti- that (so for example if you can't stand something like YA books about cancer, write something that completely throws shade at the YA-existentialist-cancer-story concept. My friend hated inaccurate representations of East Asians in mainstream literature so much that she wrote how they should be correctly represented; whereas I was so done with the trope of the "chosen one" always being a hero that I wrote a story that was resistant against that.

    Or if you're really stuck, I suggest expanding on a concept you learnt about in Extension 1 Prelim or are learning about in either Advanced or Extension 1 HSC because relating your major to your other English courses is part of the marking criteria. You could probably also use something from Prelim Advanced but you would have to make it a lot deeper as it's at a slightly lower level than Prelim EE1 or Year 12 Advanced.

    In regards to your major work journal I recommend you put some notes + articles in before the VV as I think it contributes to the mark, not sure though. Even if you don't have a concept yet you can still fill it out with research on creative writing, your form, writing style, structure etc and do all your brainstorming for your concept in the book. If it's starting to look like you're just printing things out and sticking them in, write dot points on articles rather than using them verbatim and print out some short stories, highlight techniques in rainbow colours and annotate a fuckload of bullshit because research into creative writing is really the only research you end up using throughout the whole year. Don't neglect the MWJ, you'll find that if you actually focus on putting entries in there, your major work will end up writing itself.

    Honestly the teachers make it out as if you're going to need to spend an hour a day researching, planning, and redrafting for the entire duration of your HSC and as a result need to get the first draft finished ASAP when in reality everyone I know who did the subject had the same experience of a 12 week period in the middle after your first couple of drafts where you're literally doing nothing at all, maybe changing like one or two sentences out of your whole 6000 words per week because there's only so much the teachers tell you to do after the initial story (then suddenly they come up with a million more things once it's submitted as a draft, which is kinda annoying – because it means no matter HOW prepared you are before then there's literally nothing you can do to prevent the hectic redrafting period after you get your draft marks back)

    Good luck with your major and I hope you eventually find something you enjoy writing about
    Wow. Thank you so so much!

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    Re: I'm panicking

    Quote Originally Posted by Orwell View Post
    I'm really going to focus on my isolating an idea and working towards it after the EE2 seminar this Friday, which seems a little daunting but I feel it's for the best. Anyone think I'm leaving it too long?

    Also, should I start working on my journal now even though I don't know what I'm doing?
    yeah, even though the journal is not marked its good to let your brain spill onto the paper - in case bostes chases you up. leaving it "too long" in terms of having an "idea" would be by the end of first term in 2017 - that's pushing it for some people's standards though. I was fortunate and knew exactly what I was going to do because I knew I was going to pick up EE2 and I had all prelim to think about it.

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