How to write a creative response

12 January 2021
12 January 2021 The Alchemy Team

So many exams are about learning facts and sticking to the same formula, so it should come as no surprise that students can find it difficult to break the mould when it comes to writing a creative response.

Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that can make it much easier to write a great creative response piece that’s reflective, insightful, and worthy of a great grade. Once you to know the format, you might even find that you enjoy this less restricted form of academic writing!

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What is a creative response?

Creative responses are English assignments that require students to tap into their creative side – picking up on the themes, commentaries, and ideas that are presented in a piece of literature that they’re studying.

The assessment is all about demonstrating your understanding of the literary techniques used in the text. Unlike other exams, though, you’re not being asked to critically analyse a text or demonstrate your understanding of the narrative.

Instead, the challenge here is to apply your knowledge and understanding of the text to create your own piece of writing that embodies the spirit and deploys the methods used in the literature you’ve been learning about.

How to format a creative response

Creative responses can take a couple of forms, so even though your writing will be relatively unrestricted, you still need to stay on topic and structure your writing in a relevant way.

Why not also read: How to Study for the HSC English Exam

It could be that you’re asked to write a brief narrative, a diary entry for an established character, or a short script. Either way, it’s likely to be a format that allows you to stretch your creative muscles and convey some of the ideas, feelings, and thoughts that the texts you’ve studied tap into.

Top tips for writing a creative response

Creative writing allows you to let loose with your own ideas, but that doesn’t mean your teachers and examiners aren’t looking for certain things. If you want to score the very best marks, consider the following whenever you’re writing a creative response:

Do express your views

Most people form views about the themes expressed in their English texts, but typical exam questions don’t really give you the space to explore those thoughts. Creative responses are your chance to think outside of the box and to make some arguments about the real world. Think about how the ideas and themes expressed in your text apply to the modern world, and use that to develop a narrative of your own.

Don’t focus too much on flowery language

The very best creative pieces use plenty of adjectives and descriptive phrases – but that shouldn’t be at the expense of a proper narrative. The point of these assessments is to convey your ideas, and getting too caught up on metaphors and expressive language could tip your writing over into the realm of poetry.

Do show, don’t tell

Even though you don’t need to go overboard with the flowery language, you still need to communicate your ideas in a way that showcases your understanding of the vocabulary, imagery and symbolism from the relevant text. Rather than saying that a character is “tired”, you should instead be saying that “their sunken eyes betrayed many late nights”. Unleash your inner author, and let those marks role in!

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