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English 11-12

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.

Here is a sample of a Band 6 HSC Discovery Creative written by a Matrix Graduate in 2016.



When I was a child, my late father and I would spend every moment of the summer season on the sparkling white sand of the beach near our home. We would dance knee-deep in the icy surf, kicking up the surface so that the droplets glimmered like diamonds in the sunlight. We would lie on our backs and stare at the sky, until the swirling clouds began to take on fantastical shapes. We would grip imaginary weapons and spar, swinging tomahawks and thrusting swords like the most violent of fantasy pirates. These idyllic days went on and on; a never-ending cycle of azure skies, frozen forever within my mind. My earliest memories are filled with images of my father in these moments, laughing as he kicked up the warm sand and twirling a golden compass around his pinkie. And, now, as I stand on the same beach, feeling the same heat radiating under my feet, almost fifteen years later, I can’t help but think of him. I can’t help but think of him, and all of the pain he instilled into both himself and everyone around him during the final years of his life.

To most of the world, my father was a historian. To me, however, he was an explorer. My father would often venture out into unknown lands for months on end before returning home, tales of epic battles and glittering treasure troves flying off his tongue. I had listened fervently, taking every word as gospel. Even so, I never did hide my hatred of his frequent trips. “Why do you have to go again?” I once asked, gripping the hem of my mother’s skirt in my tiny fist.
“If I don’t go, then what stories would I tell them?”


“Whoever asks. If anyone were to ask me how I lived my life, the last thing I want is for the story to be boring.” He winked.

Looking back, I knew now that the reality behind my father’s stories were never quite as exciting. In each trip he made, he was always looking for the same thing; the wreckage he believed was buried somewhere beneath the ocean. It was his obsession. His life’s work had all been spent on attempting to find it. His dark study overflowed with dusty, hastily-bound books on the subject. Ginormous maps were sprawled across every wooden surface. Whenever he was home, I would sit outside the door, my knees pulled up to my chest, and listen. His heavy sighs and the sound of crumpling paper seeped through the walls. I was never allowed inside the room when he was home, though my imagination flooded my mind with images of my father bent over cryptic clues and riddles; his brow furrowed as he cracked each one. Every now and again, he would let out a shout and burst through the door, gleefully picking me up and spinning around in excitement. We would dance around the living room, my father swinging his golden compass around his pinkie and singing joyously. Though, those moments grew fewer and further between as time went on. Even so, he always made time for our annual summer adventures.

That is, until he forgot we had the tradition. 

I remember the first time I truly realised what had occurred, when the child inside me faded from existence. Perhaps some small part of me had known for a while, but I had suppressed it, suppressed the knowledge of his sickness. I was too afraid to think of my father as human, something which could cease to exist at any moment. His great voyages out into the ocean halted, and his time at home seemed to last an eternity. He locked himself in his study, consumed by his work. His disease rooted itself deep within his mind and grew, branching out and puncturing every memory with its thorns. He became cruel, obsessed with finishing his work and finding the wreckage before it became too late. He would push the study’s door open, look down at my small frame and thrust a pale, slender arm towards the living room. “Go away!” He would yell. “I can hear you breathing and it’s pissing me off!”
“He’s just stressed.” My mother had assured. “He’ll be back to normal once he finishes his work.”
But I knew he would never again be the father I once idolised. The explorer of my dreams. Now, he was nothing more than a bitter old man, obsessed with reading the thousands of post-it notes he had plastered around his study, each screaming back to him the fragments of information he had long since forgotten. Too many times did he pack his brown leather suitcase only to remember that he no longer had anywhere to travel to. One day in the dead of summer, my mother and I heard a loud crash sounding from within my father’s study. We rushed over, pounding on the door with the sides of our fists. He emerged from within, sweat pooling down the sides of his sallow face and a hammer clutched tightly in his hand. On the wooden desk behind him, the golden compass lay defeated, shattered into various pieces.

I pulled myself out of the past and cemented my conscience back into reality. I hastily brushed away the beads of salt water that had formed in the corners of my eyes. It was pitiful to think that my father had died a broken, defeated man, one who lost track of who he originally aspired to be. I could imagine his younger self laughing at someone like him, swearing he would never be like that. I used to believe my father had taught me to dream and be curious. The voyage, following each point of the map, was most important. And though my father forgot what he once preached, that didn’t mean I ever would. After all, then what would I tell them? I withdrew a small, wooden box from within my satchel and dug my hand inside. I pulled out what remained of my father and cast the tiny, dark particles into the seaside wind. Perhaps they would, one day, reach the fated wreck, and settle into the cracks of its rotting hull. “I know what you can tell them” I whispered, as I watched the ashes spiral up into the distance. “Just tell them you danced on the sparkling sand, ran through the clear blue sea and played pirates.”



Written by June Heo

June launched the popular Matrix Blog in 2011. Before working at Matrix she was a news producer at Sky News and Channel 7.


© Matrix Education and, 2018. 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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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