How To Be Creative – In One Easy Lesson
Imagine the scene.
You have been writing your way through Section A in the exam and are happy with your progress so far. You like reading an article and writing about it. You feel comfortable doing that because you have been taught how to do it well by your teacher in the classroom. He has done his job well, but when it comes to being creative, your heart freezes, the panic rises, the bile tastes in your mouth and you want to rush for the door.
If that is you, O Not Very Creative One, then panic not!
There is help here for you, if this is you and you find being creative hard to do.
It is not as hard as it sounds, if you think logically, which you have just been doing for an hour or so, on Section A of the exam. So how do you go from being analytical to being ultra creative? Well, the answer is in the fact that in Section A, you are asked to analyse someone’s creative writing, whether it be an article, an advertisement, or anything else.
Someone sat down at a computer and created it, after all.
Section B then, is your chance to show that you can not only write about something creative, but that you can do the same creative thing yourself.
Imagine once more for me, this task, taken from the AQA 2017 paper 1. It asked in Section B for you to look at a picture and write a description. That was the first choice. Most who took the exam opted to not do this task. I think they were wrong to not choose it, but that is just my thinking. Instead, they went for the more creative one, which asked them to write a story about two very different people, [which is what the picture for task 1 showed] or something like that.
Imagine that in front of you.
How do you plan for that in the few seconds you have before you get writing?
If it was me, I would split the page in two, on the first page of Section A, like this.
I would then add in some detail into each section of the chart, to build up the two opposing characters. Being the father of a son aged 26, who is about to take part in his first ever boxing bout, I might add some of that in as well, making it so that they are facing each other in the story. If I then add in some more ideas, I soon end up with something like this.
Rough, tough, rugged, medium height and build but strong
24 with wiry ginger hair, curly
Working class background
No father figure
Angry, agitated and fast
Like a volcano going off when angry
Not worked much
A bit of a loner
Has taken drugs before now
Can be dangerous when made angry
Calm, collected personality
Agile, tall and strong
26 with dark brown hair
Middle class background trying to be someone he isn’t
Steady on his feet but not very fast
Thoughtful and respectful
Not very easily angered
Middle class upbringing, Grammar school boy
Life and soul of the party and likes to drink
Everyone likes him
Before too long, after less than 5 minutes, I am left with a chart that details two very different characters and I can begin writing about them, sharing them with my reader, or in this case, marker.
But there is a pattern to follow.
I would always start by describing place or person when writing a story. Do not go straight for speech. Let that come later. Choose your style of writing, whether in the first person, or in the third person and go for it.
This is the pattern to almost every single story ever written. You need to adopt it too.
The idea is you begin by describing the characters first. Steve comes first because he is the rougher of the two, so more easy to have fun using words to describe him, using things like similes to describe him, like saying he is as strong as an ox. Then the same for Michael. Likewise, it is easy to think of words for such as him. Once the characters have been fully described, you will have 250 words already and can then add in a setting, if you have not done so already, as well as speech, so this might be a charity boxing bout in aid of Cancer Research [this is what my son is doing now, so I use this here as an example because it is relevant – you do the same from something relevant to you on the day].
Once the setting has been described, you add in a piece of conflict, like a low punch, below the belt, hurting Steve. Michael might have not meant it but Steve does not know that and his anger burns for revenge. Once the conflict is set, it can be built upon. Maybe Michael does it again, this time on purpose? It goes unnoticed by the referee but not by Steve. As you continue the story, you have to get to a climax, whereby something happens that ends the bout, or puts a stop to it, so either a knockout, or a problem where neither wins. This then leads to the resolution of the story [could be a draw and they become firm friends] and a further description of the themes contained within is able to be expanded upon in your final paragraph, a little like stories used to end with and the moral of the story is…..
If you follow that style and that format, as well as planning it well, you end up with a story to dazzle the marker. So long as your spelling and punctuation is good, the grammar should fix itself because words like boxer, bout, gloves, round, referee, blow and knockout are normally used when referring to this event. That is called the good use of the correct Register.
Now the task asks you to write about two very different people, so you have to make one as different to the next as you can. One is like a derailed train wreck of a man. The other is a skyscraper, tall and elegant. Your description of them both should make the differences so obvious.
Above all though, when you write it, do one thing and one thing only; SHOW OFF YOUR SKILLS.