Is my Creative Piece Scholarship ready?

Oliver Liu

For many students in Primary and Secondary School, Creative Writing is a fear-provoking thought.
How are Creative pieces marked? At Artin Education, we hope to help students overcome that fear of writing, especially being 'creative' that tends to be fostered from a young age. As part of this piece, we will look at the common pitfalls in how students may not recognise what makes a Creative Writing piece weak or poorly-phrased.
As I walked deeper into the forest, the shadows grew darker and more foreboding. I could feel a chill creeping up my spine, as if something was watching me from the darkness. The mist that hung in the air added to the eerie atmosphere, shrouding the trees in a ghostly haze. I couldn't help but feel a sense of dread as I pressed on, my heart pounding in my chest. Suddenly, I heard a sound that made me stop in my tracks. It was a low, guttural growl, coming from somewhere deep within the forest. My mind raced as I tried to identify the source of the noise. Was it a wild animal? A mythical creature from folklore? I couldn't be sure, but I knew I needed to proceed with caution.

Despite the unease and fear that I felt, there was also a sense of excitement and adventure coursing through my veins. The mysterious forest had captured my imagination, and I knew that I would never forget this experience. As I emerged from the forest and back into civilization, I felt a sense of loss, as if a part of me had been left behind in that enchanted place.

How is this Creative Piece?

What would you score this creative segment? While most English tutors and VCE tutoring centers might award the piece with a 17/20 for its sense of foreboding and mystery, inclusion of sensory details, or its descriptive language and imagery, many selective schools, VCE examiners, and Artin Education would only score this segment a 5/10.

Many tutors fail to realize the complexity and layering many creative pieces need for them to become engaging and high scoring. For instance, one way that the narrative could be improved is by providing more detail about the protagonist's thoughts and emotions. While it is clear that they are feeling a sense of dread and excitement, the reader would benefit from a deeper understanding of why they are feeling these emotions.

For example, is the protagonist afraid because they are in an unfamiliar environment, or is there a specific danger that they are aware of? Is their excitement stemming from a sense of adventure or a desire to solve the mystery of the forest? Providing this additional context would help the reader to connect more deeply with the protagonist and understand their motivations.

Another way to improve the narrative would be to provide more sensory details about the forest itself, specifically through a combination of the five senses. While the text does a good job of creating a sense of atmosphere, it could benefit from more specific details about the trees, foliage, and wildlife that the protagonist encounters. By describing the forest in greater detail, examiners of selective schools, teachers, and VCE examiners would be better able to visualise the environment and feel a greater sense of immersion in the narrative.

Finally, the conclusion of a piece should always be conclusive. Whether the piece chooses to finish with a conclusive cliffhanger, a result and summary, or plot twist, the segment above lacks a definitive result as an end to the story. The lack an outcome not only subtracts from the plot and significant details, but also fails to meet the structural requirement.

As such, where many English tutors fail to recognise many outstanding issues in English writing pieces, Artin education succeeds in identifying, simplifying, and eliminating the numerous habits and mistakes writers make in their journey from selective school examinations through to the VCE examinations.