Part 8: How to Write a Creative in Years 7 & 8

Got a creative assessment coming up? Don't worry, in this article we're going to show you how to hit it for six.

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How to write a creative in Years 7 & 8?

Are you unsure of how to write a creative piece? Don’t worry! In this post, we will go through all the necessary details to write a creative. In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to write, edit, and refine your creative.

 

What is in this article?

In this article, we are going to look at:

 

What is creative writing?

Creative writing is a non-fictional piece of writing that you will come across in high school. It is an important skill that you need to master.

In Part 4 of the Beginner’s Guide to Year 7 & 8 English, we went through textual analysis and how to analyse techniques in texts.

Now, we have to put this knowledge into practice, and write a creative piece that uses techniques to create meaning!

What should you write about?

Anything!

A piece of fictional writing is something that is made up. This means that you can create a crazy sci-fi world or make it as realistic as possible.

There are endless possibilities!

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Don’t be afraid to let your imagination carry you away!

However, some ideas will work better than others.

It is always a good idea to write about something you know well. This includes situations that are similar to your experiences or something you feel strongly about.

This will make your work seem more authentic.

 

How do you come up with ideas?

Sometimes, it’s hard to come up with an idea to write about.

This is why you need to brainstorm!

Get a notebook where you can jot down interesting events or conversations you see and hear everyday or even random thoughts that pop into your head.

These notes will give you inspiration for a storyline when you need to write creatively. By doing this, you can keep track of all possible storylines that you can use for your creative writing.

You should also brainstorm possible stories before you start writing. This includes coming up with new ideas or fleshing out old ones.

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Skills that you needs for creative writing

Matrix students are taught the skills to write creatively. It is very different from persuasive writing.

This means that there is a specific set of skills that your child needs to develop to write a brilliant creative piece.

 

1. Using techniques

In high school, you are taught to analyse texts by unpacking it, identifying techniques and finding the meaning created.

Now, you need to apply that skill into creative writing. However, instead of analysing techniques, you need to use the techniques to create meaning in your story.

There are a few ways that you can do this:

 

1. Holistic techniques

A holistic technique is a technique that runs through the course of the text, like motifs and extended metaphors.

They not only make your writing seem tied together, but it creates a meaning that is woven throughout your response.

This makes your writing stronger.

Let’s say that your story is about a girl who is moving in to her grandma’s house. You can use butterflies as a motif because they symbolise change. A butterfly can be seen flying past her, she might be doodling a butterfly into her notebook or her grandma might have paintings of butterflies.

When readers begin to notice the consistent appearance of butterflies, they are reminded of the theme of change and subsequently, the message you want to convey.

This is just an example of using a holistic technique in your responses.

 

2. Literary devices 

Literary devices are any technique that creates meaning in a text.

This includes symbolism, metaphors, similes, repetition and onomatopoeia…

You need to regularly use these in your creative writing because they help convey meaning in a more implicit way. But be careful not to overdo it!

When we compare these two sentences, we can see why literary devices are so important in creative writing.

He ate his food because he was hungry.”

He ate his food like a bear who hasn’t eaten in months.”

The second sentence conveys a stronger vivid imagery that highlights the extent of the boys hunger.

This is why you need to use literary devices in your creative writing. It does a better job at conveying meaning.

 

3. Sentence types

Often, people don’t realise the significance of sentence types in creating meaning in creative writings.

A variety of simple, compound and complex sentences are necessary to ensure that your writing doesn’t drag on and sound boring.

People like change. So you need to give it to them.

 

See how boring this sounds.

“The sky was a baby blue and the grass was a bright green. Sally was walking in the park and saw a dog. She started patting the dog but the dog licked her. Her hand drew back because she was surprised. Sally laughed and started patting the dog again.” 

 

Now, let’s use a variety of sentence types to write this again.

The sky was a baby blue. The grass was a bright green. Sally was walking in the park and saw a dog. She started patting the dog but the dog licked her. Her hand drew back. She was surprised. But, Sally laughed and started patting the dog again.”

 

Also, different sentence types serve different purposes.

In very tense or suspenseful moments, simple sentences are used to create a sense of urgency. Compound or complex sentences are better for descriptions. You can use different sentence types to create different atmospheres.

 

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“Show” your world, don’t “tell” it.

2. Show, don’t tell

Showing is painting an image to convey what is happening, whereas, telling is simply stating the events.

It’s important that you show what is happening because readers are able to experience the story.

So, how do you do this?

  • Describe the character’s actions or thoughts
  • Describe characteristics of the setting, characters or situation.
  • Use dialogue
  • Write using any of the five senses to describe

Here is an example.

“She was cold.”

She was shivering as she let out an icy breath.”

So, which one conveys a stronger image?

 

3. Correct tense usage

Writing with mixed tenses is a major issue in student’s creatives.

Their story might start with past tense, but every few paragraphs, they might have a sentence or two that’s written in present or future tense. This will confuse your readers.

This occurs more commonly than you think.

It’s important to realise this problem and fix it when you proofread your work.

 

Four pillars of narrative

There are four main elements of narrative you need to consider for your piece of short fiction:

  • Characterisation
  • Plot
  • Setting
  • Dialogue

Without these, your readers will struggle to find your narrative compelling. Let’s see what you need to consider when developing these elements.

Characters

Their nameYou need to develop a character before you start writing. This includes knowing:

  • Their personality
  • Where they live
  • What time period are they living in
  • What is their relationship to the other characters
  • Who their friends and family are

You need to make sure that your character is 3-dimensional. To do this, you can flesh out some other facts about them. Remember, these do not need to be mentioned in the story unless it aids the plot or necessary for characterisation.

  • Favourite food, TV show, colour…
  • What they look like
  • Religion
  • Pets
  • Fears
  • Favourite place to go when they’re sad or angry
  • Clothing style

Compelling and well-developed characters are what bring the magic to a creative

Your Plot

This might seem obvious, but sometimes you end up writing stories without any major complications. It is important that you have an interesting and original plot for your creative writing.

To do this, you must make sure of two things:

1. Have a complication

This itself is a problem.

Your story will sound boring and your readers will lose interest.

Make sure that your characters are faced with obstacles and experience some changes. This will make your plot more entertaining and meaningful.

 

2. Avoid cliches

Cliches are phrases and ideas that are over-used and unoriginal.

This is why it’s important that you don’t use them in your stories.

Cliches make your story lack creativeness and even lazy.

Imagine reading “Her hair stood on ends” in every story. It will become boring!

This is why it’s important that you avoid cliche phrases and cliche plots like parents dying in a car crash.

 

Setting

Setting might seem unimportant, but it actually plays a large role in developing your story.

This is why you need to ensure that you picked the right setting for your story instead of randomly writing about one.

  • Certain settings create mood and atmosphere –  When you create a mood or atmosphere, you are giving insight into what will happen in your story. For example, if you wrote about an abandoned house and the cold at night, readers will begin to feel scared and anticipate a bad event. Whereas, if you wrote about a sunflower field, with the bright sun and animal-shaped clouds, the reader will feel happy and enlightened. Make sure you use setting to your advantage.
  • You need to stick to the fact – When you write about a particular setting, you need to make sure that it is historically accurate. You cannot say that your character was driving a BMW during the Medieval period, because cars didn’t exist during that time! Make sure that you research enough about the context to make sure that your writing is credible. Even if it is set in 2019, Sydney, Australia.
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Dialogue

Dialogue is the narrative element that students struggle with the most. Some students often overlook the importance of using dialogue in creative writing. Others are scared by dialogue.

And, to be honest, getting dialogue right is hard. It takes practice.

However, it’s important that you use at least one piece of dialogue in your stories because it shows the marker your ability to write a wide range of sentence types.

Why is dialogue important?

Dialogue lets you:

  • Develops characterisation and advance the plot
  • Show how characters get along
  • Portray what characters are concerned about
  • Share information from one character to another
  • Comment on characters’ perspectives on their situations

So, what is the common issue that students come across when they are writing it.

Student’s often write dialogue that serve no purpose.

It needs to be meaningful. Dialogue either has to advance the plot or develop characterisation. We don’t want filler sentences like, “Hi, how are you?” or words like “um” and “ah“, unless they are serving a purpose.

Like, “Watch out!” Simon yelled as the ball flew towards Amelie.

Now you know what to include in your narrative, we need to look at how to write it.

 

How do you write a creative piece?

Planning

In Part 5 of this Guide, we went through the planning process for planning creatives. Let’s quickly recap:

  • Brainstorm
  • Sort
  • Scaffold

This means that you should:

  • Create a rough outline of the events in your story
  • Create character profiles for your important characters
  • Research about the context you are writing about

If you need a refresher, here are a couple of scaffold’s you could use for writing a creative:

different scaffolds to use for narratives

Drafting

No one’s first draft is perfect.

This is just an opportunity for you to get all of your ideas into sentences.

Don’t overthink. Just write!

You can figure out what parts of the plot you like or didn’t like or what in the story works and didn’t.

 

Editing

Give it a few days before you return to your draft. Then it’s editing time!

Take this time to reword sentences and add techniques to your story.

Sometimes, you might need to rewrite whole paragraphs.

But all these changes will just make your story technically stronger.

 

Feedback

Ask someone to read over your work.

It can be a school teacher, Matrix tutor, or even your parents.

This is a great opportunity to have a second opinion on your writing. Sometimes, they will point out grammatical errors and other times, they might even ask you to change your ideas.

The criticism can hurt, but remember it is about your work and not you.

Instead, think of it as a chance to make your work better.

 

More drafting

It’s time to take the feedback and write another draft.

It is up to you to decide which feedback is useful and incorporate it.

You can draft and edit as many times as you want until you are happy with the result.

 

Proofread

After numerous drafts and edits, you will produce a version that you’re happy with.

It is important that you remember to proofread it!

This is where you go back and fix any small grammatical or punctuation errors.

 

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Writing, proofing, and editing require you to wear many hats.

Drafting and editing skills

 

What are drafting and editing?

Drafting is putting your ideas into words and writing it down.

This is not meant to be a perfect piece of writing because you are meant to go back and edit it!

Editing is when you revise over what you have written and fix it to make it better.

This includes fixing grammatical and punctuation errors, rewording sentences, rewriting whole paragraphs, and even rewriting whole portions to make it technically stronger.

Remember! When you write, you are writing for your audience, not just yourself!

 

What does drafting and editing involve?

To draft your creative, you should:

  1. Go over your plan. Refresh yourself on your plots, characters, themes and anything else that is necessary for your story.
  2. Just start writing! Don’t be afraid to start it! This is your chance to get all of your ideas onto paper. You will have the chance to make it sound perfect later.
  3. Don’t stop. It’s important that you keep your writing flow going. Don’t stop to re-read your work and fix it. And don’t worry if your sentence doesn’t sound good.
  4. If you get stuck, start writing another part. Don’t sit and waste half an hour trying to formulate your sentence. Just leave a space to remind yourself to go back, and start writing another part.

 

To edit your response, you should:

  1. Look for grammatical and punctuation errors and fix them.
  2. Reword or rewrite sentences and paragraphs if you don’t like them. This is your chance to make everything sound technically stronger.
  3. Make sure the story flows. If something doesn’t make sense, change it or take it out! This sometimes means that you have to re-structure your whole story.
  4. Add in more techniques. When you are drafting, you don’t really have time to focus on techniques. Use this as a chance to insert some techniques, whether it be a recurring motif throughout the story or some metaphors or symbolic objects.

As you can see, it is quite a lengthy process. But following these steps will ensure that you write the strongest story possible.

 

How to encourage your child to draft and edit their work regularly

Often, students write one draft and just settle with it. This is not good.

You should always try to encourage your child to draft and edit their work so they can produce the best possible creative.

Here are some tips:

  • Ask them questions about their story. This includes questions about their plot, characters and what they want to tell the audience. Doing this will give them a chance to think more deeply about their creative writing before they start writing.
  • Encourage them to write regularly about everything. Every few days, your child should write a few sentences or paragraphs about anything. This will help them get over their perfectionism and improve their drafting skills.
  • Create a checklist of the things they should be searching in their work to edit. This includes repeated words, punctuation errors and whether or not the sentence flows.
  • If they struggle to concentrate on their computers, have them print out their creative with double spacing and edit it with a pen. This way, they can eliminate distractions and see their work holistically.

 

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Practice makes perfect

How can my child improve these skills?

Writing creatively is quite a tricky process to master. This is why it is important that you encourage your child to develop these skills early on in high school.

Here are some tips that can help your child improve their creative writing.

  • Writing in a notebook regularly – Try to encourage your child to write in their notebook every few days. This can range from short stories to paragraphs about their day or how they feel or even a few sentences describing an object. Write about everything. This is a chance to practice writing skills, generate original ideas and develop effective sentences that can be used again in their stories.
  • Encourage them to work with friends – There are benefits when you work with your friends. Firstly, they can edit your work and suggest improvements. This will ensure that your child is consistently improving their creative writing to its best possible state. Secondly, when you edit someone else’s work, you pick out errors and areas for improvement. By perfecting this skill, you are then able to apply it to your own work.
  • Keep practising – It’s important that your child continually writes creatively, drafts and edits their work all throughout high school to continually improve. Practice makes perfect.

© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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