Tips to improve your writing for HSC English

20 January 2020
20 January 2020 The Alchemy Team

Whether it be essays, creative pieces or persuasive texts, we can always find one way or another to improve our writing capabilities. Particularly when our writing is going to be under the scrutiny of very experienced and very thorough HSC, it’s important that we are actively looking at ways we can improve our writing. Make it even better. Here’s some tips to help you out:

  • Drafts – and lots of them! J.K Rowling certainly didn’t perfect Harry Potter the first time around – it takes time, editing and patience. And she certainly didn’t write Harry Potter overnight – so make sure you start you essays or creative pieces early enough that you are able to compose your drafts, receive feedback from teachers and edit it to achieve absolute perfection!
  • Take inspiration! You’ve probably read at least one or two novels that you’ve genuinely enjoyed – so why not take inspiration from those? Figure out why exactly it is that you’ve liked certain novels – is it the writing style? The genre? The authors’ use of literary techniques? And once you’ve figured this out, try to take your own spin on it. Emulate the writing features that you’ve enjoyed within your own narratives. For example, if you’ve enjoyed reading a story written in third-person – why not try it yourself in your narratives? Or if you really aren’t a book person, take inspiration from a movie you’ve enjoyed!
  • Keep a thesaurus on you at all times! If you’ve been sitting at a desk endlessly trying to write up an essay or a narrative, it’s easy for your mind to become muddled and end up circling back to using the same words and phrases over and over again. To avoid this, make sure you’re actively being aware of the words you’re using repeatedly. This is especially important when writing English essays to avoid using the phrase “This shows” repeatedly. There’s so many other options, like –  “This displays”, “This demonstrates”, “This indicates” and so many more. Grab a thesaurus and find some alternatives!
  • Get others to edit your work! Of course, you’re going to ask your teachers for feedback – but go beyond that! Ask your friends for help, and edit each others’ work. Especially during the HSC, when everybody is trying to lift each other up and achieve high marks – this can be extremely beneficial. This way, you’re receiving feedback and criticisms that you might not have even considered – ultimately improving the quality of your work.

You might experience a lot of fear and uncertainty in your HSC year – questioning if your writing within the HSC English course is of a high standard. It can be discouraging receiving a bad mark – but the best thing to do most of all is practise. Write lots and lots of drafts. Edit your work. Ask for help. This way, you’ll see improvement.

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