When it comes to HSC creative writing, there’s a new kid on the block – who goes by the name of Module C: The Craft of Writing.
Unlike previous years where creative writing was part of a broader Area of Study, it essentially now has its own module; the explicit focus of Module C is to hone your skills in creative, persuasive, discursive, reflective and informative writing.
Creative writing can be one of the most rewarding parts of HSC English.
However, it can also be one of the most difficult.
I had tried coming up with a unique HSC creative writing story idea, but they all sucked…
It felt as though I was trying to develop an awesome idea out of thin air and whatever I tried, it just came across as clichéd, common and boring.
Are you Making the #1 Mistake in HSC Creative Writing?
In our work with thousands of Year 12 students over the last decade, the #1 mistake we see students make over and over again when it comes to creative writing is this:
Starting the writing process by first jumping into brainstorming to try and develop a unique idea for their story.
As you’re reading this right now, you might be thinking – but isn’t that what you’re meant to do?
Doesn’t writing a great story start with a great idea for the story?
This couldn’t be further from the truth (although it’s a very common belief!)
Starting with trying to come up with a great idea for a story out of thin air from the very beginning places a lot of pressure on you to have that ‘moment of inspiration’ and the reality is that (as you may have discovered) this can be almost impossible!
A great story starts with a great character.
While Module C does not have a focal concept to latch onto as previous Area of Studies did, it does however give you the opportunity to link your writing to ideas explored in your other modules.
For the sake of convenience, we’ll use the Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences as something of a focal concept in this article. It’s broad enough that you can classify key ideas from your other modules as human experiences (humans are experiencing them, right?) while still having some sort of structure from its rubric.
A great HSC creative writing story starts with a great character experiencing a human experience
Human experiences are relatable. They allow us to tap into our souls and reflect upon what it means – or does not mean – to be human. This all makes a very engaging text for the reader.
And if we turn to the marking criteria for Module C, the very first criterion for a Band 6 asks for an engaging piece of writing that responds to the question skillfully.
So, it makes sense to do all you can to make sure that your story is engaging and human empathy is one of the most reliable ways to achieve that.
So, how can you develop a unique HSC creative writing idea?
Don’t stress – we’ve got you covered with a framework to develop kickass ideas below!
Grab a pen and paper (or a word doc) and start jotting down some answers to start developing your Module C creative writing idea!
Step 1: What will your character experience?
Will it be something that your character is experiencing for the first time? What’s something that you experienced for the first time and found it to be unusual, surprising, painful or memorable?
Or, is it something they experience often?
Do they experience it on their own or collectively with others?
Step 2: How will your character experience it?
Will it be sudden and unexpected? Have you experienced something in your life that was sudden and surprised you?
Or, is it a journey of slowly and deliberately experiencing something? An investigation? Perhaps a slow realisation through a series of interactions with the world around them?
Step 3: How will your character react to the experience?
Is the experience confronting and provocative? Have you experienced something that confronted you in your life? What was it? Can you use this for inspiration?
Or, does the experience cause your character to celebrate? Is it a positive experience that brings relief and joy?
Step 4: What will the experience mean for your character?
Will the experience lead your character to new worlds?
Will the experience lead your character to change their beliefs or accept a different idea? When have you changed your mind about something? Why did you change your mind?
Does the experience lead to the manifestation of new human qualities and emotions?
Step 5: Where and when does the experience take place?
Is your character living in 2019? Or is it in the future sometime?
Is your character in Bathurst, Australia in 2004?
Or is your character in England in the 1890s?
Step 6: Does the experience impact anyone else?
Does the experience impact on anyone other than your main character? Does it impact on their family or friends? How?
Have you experienced something that impacted upon your family or a close friend? What was it? How did it impact them?
By answering these simple questions above, aligned to the syllabus you’ll be able to generate lots of great HSC creative writing ideas you can begin to use as inspiration for your creative writing piece!
Don’t forget to download your free HSC Creative Writing Brainstorming Worksheet below!
Still need help developing your Module C HSC creative writing ideas?
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Elizabeth Goh isn’t a fan of writing about herself in third-person, even if she loves writing. Elizabeth decided she didn’t get enough English, History or Legal Studies at Abbotsleigh School for her own HSC in 2010 so she came back to help others survive it with Art of Smart Education. She’s since done a mish-mash of things with her life which includes studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University, working for NSW Parliament, and writing about writing.