• Best of luck to the class of 2019 for their HSC exams. You got this!
    Let us know your thoughts on the HSC exams here

Guide to creative writing with examples for that A mark! (1 Viewer)

moodforfood

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
7
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
2013
Due to the sheer amount of creatives I have been getting that edge towards the B to C range, I thought a guide to creative writing would help so here goes!

So many of you tell rather than show and I think it is because you are unable to distinguish between the two. By now we should know the definitions of both but for clarity's sake, showing means you are merely presenting a situation in which readers can infer characters feelings, whilst telling means that you are, well, telling us readers what characters feel.

For example, instead of telling the reader your persona is sad like this:

Despair filled my cold body as I clasped mother's dying hands. It was winter, the night was cold and the wind was crisp against our faces. Sick, mother coughed, and I pulled her blanket higher for her to be warm. We looked at each other, her wizened face a testament to her profound wisdom. Looking at her now, I wished that I had respected that wisdom when I had the chance to do so.

I can rather show the sadness and the mother's sickness by DESCRIBING the bodily functions that occur when people are generally sad/sick like this:

The world spun and my vision hazed as my trembling hands clasped onto mothers'. It was winter, the night was cold and the wind was crisp against our faces. She coughed, and I pulled her blanket higher. In silence we looked at each other, her face rough from the wrinkles she had accumulated from the many colors of life, a testament to her wisdom which many others respected. A tingling sensation trickled down my throat and turned into fire.

''You're holding on too tight'' mother whispered.

I looked down at her hands which had become white under visor like grips and let go.

Mother laughed. '' Well this is a change. Robert boy I never thought you would cry like this ever!''

Our eyes warmed, misted with tears.


Notice how the sickness is accounted for through mother's coughs and her whispering, the persona's regrets for not connecting with her earlier through her dialogue ''Well this is a change...I never thought you would cry like this!'' and his visor like grips.

What is the difference? The showing is what I would call reporter style writing and I feel that if you guys are able to adopt this skill your creative writing would see a bit of improvement.

Reporter style writing is basically where you place yourself in the scene and merely describe what you see. You imagine the persona is sad, but as a different person in the scene you don't really know what they are feeling exactly inside. So you come to conclusions about how they feel by looking at them - are their faces cringed? Hands shaking if scared? By typing all this you could show emotions well.

For example, for my ext 2 major work the beginning was permeated with fear, shock and chaos after a bombing attack. Notice how I build it up through this method of writing in these snippets.

Miles away the sound of an explosion shook Hamra street. Mr Syed was in the middle of drinking his coffee when the windows of his office rattled. He paced outside the building to see grey smoke blanket the sky. Traffic came to a halt as people stepped out of their cars to observe the plume of smoke. Screams in the distance were heard, shortly followed by the sound of a building’s collapse. For a brief moment there was silence which Mr Syed had never heard in the city of Beirut, until a man got into his car and punched the horn roaring ‘Get out of my way! Move! My daughter is over there!’’ Within seconds others were rushing back into their cars and began to beep their way towards the smoke, but it was to no avail – stationary cars had already blocked the streets as their owners moved to get a better view of the scene. It was five minutes after the building’s collapse at 12:56PM that Mr Syed began to head towards the smoke’s source on his motorcycle. He snaked through the lifeless traffic which ambulances attempted to do without result. He saw a paramedic taking out her equipment and hurrying towards the scene on foot, her partner following closely behind.

Mr Syed trudged to the makeshift hospital which the boy was rushed to but was denied entry – only the injured were admitted. It was then that he headed towards the woman’s body which the old man retrieved. One of her sky blue eyes were open and her mouth was twisted as if she had been calling out. With a shaking hand Mr Syed stroked her face downwards, closing its open eye and straightening the mouth. Then he closed her jaw, and on top of his wife’s stomach Mr Syed wept.

Mr Syed squatted down and flipped the weatherworn concrete which crumbled slightly under his grip, exposing an unconscious boy. The body was completely covered in soot, but patches of porcelain white skin on his face were spared. Mr Syed’s gaze lingered on the boy, a spark of recognition emerging from his eyes. For minutes on end his hands and head shook violently.
Sensing his horror, both the little girl and old man questioned Mr Syed, wondering if he was okay when they were met with no response. Mr Syed repeated to himself the same lines over and over again.
‘’It’s not him! He’s at home. He’s at home!’’


Notice how with this writing I am an omniscient being that follows their persona, not once uttering how they feel but rather displaying it by describing their bodily functions with each feel. I also describe what the persona can see to set the mood around them - the chaos could be seen from the lifeless jammed traffic which has forced paramedics to run on the ground. On top of that you can tell Mr Syed is in despair for his wife through his shaking hand which conveys shock, and the act of weeping.

Now that written expression is accounted for, let us look at setting.

Generally the best creative responses have realistic settings that are well thought out and researched.

Ask yourself the following questions, and if you are able to have commentaries on these little details the authencity and thus charm of your creative will truly stand out:

What music do the people of your story listen to?
Is the setting well developed?
How do the people talk? Are they sophisticated?
How are they dressed?
If it is set in a war - which so many are, what makes the particular war you are in distinguishable from others? For example, in world war 2 as a Jewish person will my spine crawl whenever I hear the howl of a German Shepherd? Will I curl up with my neck feeling naked as the thought of the hellish hound's jaws closing down into it flashes through my head?

Too often do I read stories where the setting makes it just seem so unrealistic and it makes the story extremely bland. A teenager from the ghetto does not simply talk fluently and formally to a business man and land a top pay job allowing him to belong with his desired rich friends whilst in high school - you get the idea.

On top of that, in the snippet with the mum story above wouldn't it really take the gravity of the situation away if we were to replace her dialogue with: ''Robert mate I never thought you would ever cry for me. This is fully sick.''

Consider the characters' age, their upbringings - what would they wear? How would they conduct themselves in each situation? How would they talk, with specific focus on their VERNACULAR?

So if I had a character of Arabian descent who falls victim to a bombing attack in Beirut and has a conspiracy theory against Americans wouldn't this distasteful language be rather fitting? :


When history begins to bleed into mythology
There is an era of hypocrisy in the media’s landscape which preys upon the prosperity and opportunity of the world. A hypocrisy which has clouded the world’s eyes and minds with gluttony as the innocent are plunged into poverty. Georgina time after time fails to appreciate the fact that the Hariri assassination is the most incorrectly reported incident by far in the 21st century.
Since 2005, there has only been one firm reporting on it extensively, and that firm is notorious for reporting in Israel’s interests. From Syria, to Hezbollah to terrorists from Iran, all have been blamed for Hariri’s assassination. What is the common thread that ties them together? All of them are enemies of Israel. It does not take much to realise that all of Der Spiegel’s articles concerning it just lack the stamp ‘’MADE IN ISRAEL’’. It also doesn’t take realise how they are dancing with the Americans to plunder the Middle East’s riches.
As I have said many times before, Der Spiegel seems to make new conclusions from the same ‘resources close to the tribunal verified by examining internal documents’. This is meaningless until they’re actually quoted or published explicitly. What’s more the 2009 article was conveniently published a month before the Lebanese elections. Nothing but a lowly attempt by Israel to sow sedition amongst the Lebanese just as Hezbollah gained popularity.
It seems that people are too stupid to ask questions and possibly see that the whole assassination has Israel written all over it. How do I know this? I was there, and this is an event that I’ve been looking into for a long time.
Let me tell you a story about Indians and Pakistanis. If you saw them on a street there would literally be no difference. That’s because they are the same. Before 1947, there was no such thing as a Pakistan; these people were one. In 1600 British East India was established – a figurative line was drawn by Britain which also created a Western India. 300 years of British presence in the country separated the people, and the Indians were cursed with differentiation. Since then an Indian was either Indian or Pakisatani. Now what happens when people are separated and don’t know why? That, I know all too well; they fight. In fact there have been four wars between these two ‘countries’, all because Britain decided to draw a line and separate a body of people. The worst thing a sovereign can do is draw a border.
History repeats itself. Social conflicts are cyclical in nature. Repetition and difference. We’ve all heard these phrases before. Indeed this is the case for what used to be the Middle East – now 17 countries and territories. Now before that, the country was one of prosperity and might. It had factor endowments in oil – one of the quickest routes to wealth in a globalised world, and was outstripping the US’s economic growth after its emergence from World War 2. Now Truman didn’t like that. He didn’t like that at all. So what did he do? He did what the British did to India but 17 times worse. In 1946 under the UN partition plan, 17 figurative lines which separated the Middle East were drawn for the interests of ‘peace’. The US plagued the Middle East’s prosperity, degrading its authority into chessboard-like politics and employing sponsored kings whose empires remapped the land as if it were terra nullius. But the Arabs are a strong people and since the first day they were on the road to unity. They were bound by a common hatred towards America, and began to shun its influences. But they were too slow – at the end of their journey stood Israel which tripped and crippled them with arrows. The Arab Spring’s sticks and stones were useless, and they were veered into a seemingly never ending roundabout. I have said many times before that Israel is America’s watchdog, doing its wet work in the Middle East. In return for state of the art weaponry and funds the country has waged war with all the Arab Spring, often striking pre-emptive blows in a bid to plunge the Middle East into a never ending spiral of chaos. Thus we Arabs became nothing more than derivatives of each other. Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Saudi Arabians…. They’re all Arab. And yet at the same time they’re not. All this has sown the seed of war which brought about chaos and economic tumbling upon the Middle East. On the other hand the US sits back in gluttony, relaxing as global prices decrease; the returns of their crop.
Let me tell you rednecks now that you’re sacrificing your long term gain for the short term. You’re like children who can’t keep your grubby little hands to themselves
.




Also so many students think that a creative is all about the events in it and that these events have to be interesting. Forget about that.

I'm going to state how a creative and an essay should differ.

Whilst in an essay you are proving a thesis explicitly with textual examples, in a creative you are PROVING a thesis through SHOWING the events that happen.

I.e in one of my stories I wanted to PROVE that conformity in order to belong would bring a myriad of negatives, and that through an enlightening event, barriers to belong could be broken down. On top of that as our identity is out meaning to others, as we change our friendships so too do our identities.

So these were the events of my stories:

Character 1 and character 2 were bullied by a bodybuilding group at school for being hard gainers.

Character 2 falls subject to steroids in order to 'belong' and makes heaps of gains.

Character 2 makes friends with bodybuilding group.

Character 2 then breaks his friendship of with character 1, as he sees the bodybuilding group as higher standing than character 1.

Character 1 goes into depression.

One day character 2 dies - revealed to be steroids.

Bodybuilding group realizes it was due to their bullying that forced 2 to take steroids.

Welcomes character 1 to join them - all natural.

Although the amount of events here may seem daunting with reporter style writing it really is easy to do this - simply because you aren't wasting words telling people about character feelings but are focused on events and what the eye can see.

Also I highly suggest that you write about the events that you know. As a person who is into MMA, bodybuilding and whatnot I was able to pull this story of with authenticity - using words in characters' dialogue the average Joe wouldn't understand such as Protein Powder brands, the name of the actual steroid drug (Don't worry guys I am all natural, swear!), and basic terminology such as reps and sets.

One more thing that really irks me is when people in their creatives bring up really profound things and skim through them - it leaves me feeling cheated of a good story. Personally I don't really do it and will need to seek permission for one of the people who sent me creatives to use as an example - and there were plenty. Though I am going to provide an example of what dwelling looks like:

She nodded with droopy eyes which shut loosely and soon began to flicker as she descended into the world of dreams. Satisfied, I leaned back into the plastic chair by her bed and watched her. All was silent except for the beeps of her ventilator. The doctors had told me that lately mother wasn’t sleeping well even with the best bedding. It was preposterous that all the comforts of a private hospital in Kogarah paled in my presence.

It was exactly the same when Dad accidentally reversed over her foot with the family car. The doctors smiled at a mother who would down the same food she complained about only an hour ago simply because it was handed by her son.

Nostalgia sweetened the air and I couldn’t help smiling. Her face was smooth now, and the cool winter air cleared my lungs. I still remember how after the doctor gave her one of those pulse machines, the cables seemed to constrict her like pythons. Yet mum soldiered on to work day after day, all covered up with jumpers and pants even during the summer. All of us except for mum were scared by her palpitations. She was a nurse, a strong woman; nothing in the world could stop her. Reassured, I let the world fade into darkness, laying my head to rest beside her shrunken frame.


Notice how before moving on from the story, I elaborate on why it was preposterous that all the comforts of a private hospital in Kogarah paled in my presence.

Remember that realistically you only have 800-1000 words in your creative to make an impacting message. EVERY WORD COUNTS - if you can't elaborate on one of them, then it shouldn't be there. Always question yourself : Why am I writing about this event? Does it contribute to anything much in the end? Could my story deliver the same message if I omitted it? If it can't, then the word is justified.

I am going to end by leaving you all with a piece of writing that encapsulates all of the principles mentioned above - it isn't something that should be used for belonging but is nevertheless in my opinion worth reading (please do LOL) - this was my first creative ever but I never used it in exams as it has its flaws conceptually as a versatile piece. Also out of respect for my work, I do ask that you try your hardest to refrain from taking chunks of my stories :) They were merely a means to make explaining the concepts easier and clearer.

Pls rate this thread and do tell why it isn't a 5/5 so improvements can be made. Will deal with the aesthetics of this article soon enough!

View attachment Mama.pdf
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MissyL

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2012
Messages
143
Gender
Male
HSC
2015
epic guide for writing creatives! :D please do change the green font though i had many seizures when reading it....
 

QZP

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
841
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
2014
epic guide for writing creatives! :D please do change the green font though i had many seizures when reading it....
+1 Had to copy paste to notepad. Please don't just so many different sized fonts and colours.
 
Last edited:

moodforfood

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
7
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
2013
No worries guys! Will fix in a day or so... Got a few works to mark :) More examples will come up and I do realize I left out some other things that should be pointed out!
 

moodforfood

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
7
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
2013
Bumppp promise will fix the aesthetics and add more things to it
 

iJimmy

not dead
Joined
Oct 2, 2013
Messages
1,601
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
N/A
mods should not be needed for contact, the thorough detail of this thread is enough for the standards of mods
 

Absolutezero

real human bean
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
Messages
15,104
Gender
Male
HSC
N/A
Why isn't it?
Because we don't believe it warrants sticking yet. There could be any number of amendments needed, changes to be made, best fit decisions, criticisms, fixes, discussions to be had with forum members, moderators and the original poster. It's only a week old.

It's not a no or a never, but it's a not yet.
 

moodforfood

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2012
Messages
7
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
2013
Yes guys I wouldn't want this to be stickied yet! It is a reflection of my ability to teach things and would really like to make it a lot better before so. Thank you heaps for vouching for it! I really do promise this will be worked on the moment I finish marking my students' works! I also do want it to be 'flexible' being that the principles of this post should apply to the new Discovery course!
 

flashtrick

Gap year? If only...
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
Messages
98
Gender
Male
HSC
2013
This is some great info!

I really enjoyed creative writing in high school, but truth is, I was never really good at it. My teacher always said I got my marks thanks to my writing. I lacked substance and depth which I hid with flare.
 

FlyingKanga

The optimistic pessimist.
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
411
Gender
Male
HSC
2015
Well since this has been bumped, quick question: How do you use music to convey the emotions of the atmosphere? Is something like, "the discordant violins of the nightly orchestra were parallel with my thoughts" fine or too forced? (My story's in medieval times hence the orchestra)
 

min101

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
1
Gender
Female
HSC
2018
I really love you thread please can you check my creative! It would be awesome if you could
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top