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How to Structure Creative Writing for GCSE (Creative Writing Examples!)

Posted on August, 2022

girl writing bed structure creative writing

Structure Creative Writing for Success

Having plenty of ideas for creative writing is one thing, but nailing down the right structure can be a bit more challenging.

Jenga structure creative writing blog

There are several steps for children to think about before they begin writing, and that includes creating a structure or plan for how their story will flow.

Creative writing is all about grabbing the reader’s attention immediately, so children in their GCSE years need to understand the importance of structure when writing, in order to organise their ideas and make sure their work reads cohesively.

In this post, we will go through everything your child needs to know from paragraphing, to creating a satisfying ending, providing examples along the way to demonstrate the best way to structure their creative writing.

How Should I Structure Creative Writing?

There are several types of creative writing questions that could come up on the GCSE reading and writing exam. There will be the option to either write creatively based on an image, or a made-up scenario.

Having a solid structure for longer creative writing questions and exercises helps to ensure your child is prepared.

By using a structure that helps to organise your child’s ideas, it helps their writing to flow. It also allows your child to become more confident in their creative writing process.

Planning is more important than you might think, as mark schemes from most exam boards include ‘well-controlled paragraphs’ or something very similar within the top band of criteria for creative writing.

Therefore, children should practise planning out creative writing structures well before their writing exam. Planning gives them time to get into the habit of always providing themselves with a simple, but focused idea of what they are going to write.

Structure Creative Writing with Seven Story Archetypes

Introduction.

Understanding the fundamental structure of a story is crucial for crafting engaging narratives. Beyond basic sequences, story archetypes provide a deeper framework. Christopher Booker , a renowned scholar, identified seven main story archetypes.

Each archetype outlines a distinctive journey and the challenges faced by characters.

1. Overcoming the Monster

This archetype portrays an underdog’s quest to conquer a formidable evil. Examples include the epic tales of Harry Potter battling Lord Voldemort, the classic struggle in Jurassic Park, and the timeless narrative of Jack and the Beanstalk.

2. Rags to Riches

Embarking from a starting point of poverty or despair, characters rise to newfound wealth and success. Witness this transformation in stories like Slumdog Millionaire, The Pursuit of Happyness, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

3. The Quest

A hero’s journey to discover something, overcoming trials and tribulations along the way. Iconic examples include the Fellowship of the Ring’s quest in The Lord of the Rings, Marlin’s journey to find Nemo, and the epic adventures of Odysseus in The Odyssey.

4. Voyage and Return

Protagonists venture into unknown territories, facing adversity before returning home transformed. Dive into this archetype with examples like the curious escapades in Spirited Away, Bilbo Baggins’ journey in The Hobbit, and the enchanting Chronicles of Narnia.

Contrary to our typical perception of humour, this archetype involves destined lovers kept apart by conflicting forces. Delight in the comedic twists of relationships in classics such as 10 Things I Hate About You, When Harry Met Sally, and Notting Hill.

Protagonists with major flaws or errors leading to their inevitable downfall. Witness the unraveling of characters in tragedies like The Great Gatsby, Requiem for a Dream, and the Shakespearean masterpiece Othello.

Characters succumb to darkness but redeem themselves throughout the narrative. Experience the transformative journeys in stories like Atonement, American History X, and the animated Beauty and the Beast.

Application Across Mediums

Beyond literature, these archetypes seamlessly apply to filmmaking and photography. A well-crafted photograph or film can mirror the same narrative arcs, captivating viewers on a visual adventure akin to storytelling. Explore these archetypes to infuse depth and resonance into your creative endeavors.

Paragraphing for a Solid Creative Writing Structure

First of all, paragraphing is central to creative writing as this is what keeps the structure solid.

In order to stick to a creative writing structure, children must know exactly when to end and start a new paragraph, and how much information each paragraph should contain.

For example, introducing the main character, diving into the action of the story, and providing 10 descriptive sentences of the weather and location, could be separated and spread throughout for impact.

Structuring a creative writing piece also involves creating an appropriate timeline of events. Then, you must map out exactly where the story will go from start to finish. This is assuming the writing piece is in sequential order.

Occasionally, there may be a question that requires a non-sequential order.

Master creative writing with our Ultimate Creative Writing Workout!

The Ultimate Creative Writing Workout!

What does a Solid Creative Writing Structure look like?

This list below details every section in a creative writing piece and should look something like this:

  • An engaging opening
  • A complication
  • The development
  • The turning point
  • A resolution or convincing close

With this structure, it is important to bear in mind that for the AQA GCSE English Language paper 1 reading and creative writing exam.

You can also use Freitag’s pyramid or a story mountain to help you understand the basic structure of a story:

structure story story mountain

Children will be expected to spend about 50 minutes on the creative writing section. It’s therefore vital to get them into the habit of planning their writing first. As with anything, practice makes perfect.

If you want to find out more about GCSE English Language papers 1 and 2, check out our blog .

We will dive deeper into the creative writing structure further on in this post, but first, let us go through the importance of paragraphing, and how TipTop paragraphs can help to improve children’s writing.

boy in red jumper writing

Paragraphing and TipTop Paragraphs

Before children begin to plan out the structure of their stories, it’s essential that they know the importance of paragraphing correctly first.

At this stage of learning, your child should be comfortable in knowing what a paragraph is, and understand that they help with the layout of their stories throughout the whole writing process.

Paragraphs essentially help to organise ideas into dedicated sections of writing based on your child’s ideas. For example, having a paragraph for an introduction, then another paragraph introducing the main character.

This means your child’s writing will be in a logical order and will direct the reader further on into the writing.

Be as creative as Kevin’s booby traps from “ Home Alone “.

To avoid your child straying from their creative writing structure and overloading paragraphs with too much information, there is a simple way to remind them of when they need to start a new paragraph.

TiPToP for a Clearer Creative Writing Structure

Using the TiPToP acronym is such an easy way for you to encourage your child to think about when they need to change paragraphs, as it stands for:

When moving to a different time or location, bringing in a new idea or character, or even introducing a piece of action or dialogue, your child’s writing should be moving on to new paragraphs.

During creative writing practice, your child can ask themselves a series of questions to work out whether they need to move onto a new paragraph to keep their story flowing and reach that top band of criteria.

For example:

  • Is the story going into a new day or time period?
  • Is the location staying the same or am I moving on?
  • Am I bringing in a new idea that I haven’t described yet?
  • Am I going to bring in a new character?

Providing opportunities to practise creative writing will help your child to get into the habit of asking themselves these questions as they write, meaning they will stick to the plan they have created beforehand.

Now it’s time to get into the all-important creative writing structure.

Teenager writing desk

Structure Creative Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Producing a creative writing structure should be a simple process for your child, as it just involves organising the different sections of their writing into a logical order.

First, we need to start at the beginning, by creating an engaging opening for any piece of writing that will grab the reader’s attention. You might also be interested to check out this blog on story structure that I found in my research.

This leads us nicely onto step 1…

1. Creating an Engaging Opening

There are several ways to engage the reader in the opening of a story, but there needs to be a specific hook within the first paragraph to ensure the reader continues.

This hook could be the introduction of a word that the reader isn’t familiar with, or an imaginary setting that they don’t recognise at all, leaving them questioning ‘What does this all mean?’

It may be that your child opens their story by introducing a character with a description of their appearance, using a piece of dialogue to create a sense of mystery, or simply describing the surroundings to set the tone. This ‘hook’ is crucial as it sets the pace for the rest of the writing and if done properly, will make the reader feel invested in the story.

Read more about hooks in essays .

If your child needs to work more on description, I definitely recommend utilising the Descriptosaurus :

Additionally, it’s important to include a piece of information or specific object within the opening of the creative writing, as this provides something to link back to at the end, tying the whole storyline together neatly.

Engaging Opening Examples:

  • Opening with dialogue – “I wouldn’t tell them, I couldn’t”
  • Opening with a question – “Surely they hadn’t witnessed what I had?”
  • Opening with mystery/ or a lack of important information – “The mist touched the top of the mountains like a gentle kiss, as Penelope Walker stared out from behind the cold, rigid bars that separated her from the world.”

2. Complication

Providing a complication gets the storyline rolling after introducing a bit of mystery and suspense in the opening.

Treat this complication like a snowball that starts small, but gradually grows into something bigger and bigger as the storyline unfolds.

This complication could be that a secret has been told, and now the main character needs to try and stop it from spreading. Alternatively, you could introduce a love interest that catches the attention of your main character.

In this section, there should be a hint towards a future challenge or a problem to overcome (which will be fleshed out in the development and climax sections) to make the reader slightly aware of what’s to come.

Complication Example:

  • Hint to future challenge – “I knew what was coming next, I knew I shouldn’t have told him, now my secret is going to spread like wildfire.”
  • Including information to help understand the opening – “Bainbridge Prison was where Penelope had spent the last 2 years, stuffed into a cell the size of a shoebox, waiting for August the 14th to arrive.”

3. Development

The development seamlessly extends from the previous section, providing additional information on the introduced complication.

During this phase, your child should consider the gradual build-up to the writing piece’s climax. For instance, a secret shared in the compilation stage now spreads beyond one person, heightening the challenge of containment.

Here, your child should concentrate on instilling suspense and escalating tension in their creative writing, engaging the reader as they approach the climax.

Development Example:

  • Build-up to the challenge/ climax – “I saw him whispering in class today, my lip trembled but I had to force back my tears. What if he was telling them my secret? The secret no-one was meant to know.”
  • Focusing on suspense – “4 more days to go. 4 more days until her life changed forever, and she didn’t know yet if it was for better or for worse.”

The climax is the section that the whole story should be built around.

Before creating a structure like this one, your child should have an idea in mind that the story will be based on. Usually this is some sort of shocking, emotion-provoking event.

This may be love, loss, battle, death, a mystery, a crime, or several other events.  The climax needs to be the pivotal point; the most exciting part of the story.

Your child may choose to have something go drastically wrong for their main character. They must regardless, need to come up with a way of working this problem into their turning point and resolution. The should think carefully about this will allow the story to be resolved and come to a close.

Climax Example:

  • Shocking event: “He stood up and spoke the words I never want to hear aloud. ‘I saw her standing there over the computer and pressing send, she must have done it.’”
  • Emotion-provoking event: “The prisoners cheered as Penelope strutted past each cell waving goodbye, but suddenly she felt herself being pulled back into her cell. All she could see were the prison bars once again.”

5. Turning Point or Exposition

After the climax, the story’s turning point emerges, crucial for maintaining reader interest.

During this post-climax phase, address and resolve issues, acknowledging that not every resolution leads to a happy ending.

Turning points need not be confined to the story’s conclusion; they can occur at various junctures, signifying significant narrative shifts.

Even in shorter pieces, introducing turning points early on can captivate the reader.

Creative writing allows for individual storytelling, and effective turning points may differ between your child and you.

Maintain suspense in this section, avoiding premature revelation of the ending despite the climax’s conclusion.

Turning Point Example:

  • Turning point: “Little did they know, I was stopping that file from being sent around the whole school. I wasn’t the one to send it, and I had to make sure they knew that.”
  • Turning point: “She forced herself through the window, leaving the prison behind her for good this time, or so she thought.”

6. A Resolution or Convincing Close

The resolution should highlight the change in the story, so the tone must be slightly different.

At this stage, the problem resolves (happily or unhappily) and the character/s learns lessons. The close of the story must highlight this.

The writer should also not rush the resolution or end of the story.

It needs to be believable for the reader right until the very end. The writer should allow us to feel what the protagonist is feeling.

This creates emotion and allows your reader to feel fully involved.

Remember the piece of information or specific object that was included in the story’s opening?

Well this is the time to bring that back, and tie all of those loose ends together. You want to leave the reader with something to think about. You can even ask questions as this shows they have invested in the story.

Resolution Example:

  • Happy resolution: “He came up to me and curled his hand around mine, and whispered an apology. He knew it wasn’t me, and all I felt was relief. Looks like I should have told them right from the start”
  • Unhappy resolution: “All she felt was separation, as she felt those cold, rigid prison bars on her face once more.”

 person thumbs up creative writing structure

How to Structure Your Creative Writing for GCSE (with Creative Writing Examples!)

To enhance your children’s GCSE creative writing skills, allocate time for practice.

Plan a structure for creative writing to guide children in organising their thoughts and managing time during the GCSE exam.

Apply this structure to various exam questions, such as short stories or describing events.

Focus each creative piece on a climactic event, building anticipation in the beginning and resolving it at the end.

Consider a tutor for GCSE preparation to help children focus on specific areas.

Redbridge Tuition offers experienced tutors for learning from KS2 to GCSE, providing necessary resources for your child’s success.

Get in touch to find out how our tutors could help.

Want a free consultation?

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Insider GCSE creative writing tips + 106 prompts from past papers

by Hayley | Mar 9, 2023 | Exams , Writing | 0 comments

Are you feeling a little bit twitchy about your child’s English GCSE writing task?

Sciences and humanities – although sometimes daunting in their content – seem a fair bet as ‘revisable’ topics. But the creative writing element of the English Language GCSE is less knowable and ultimately more of a frightening prospect for a student keen to do well.

What is the GCSE writing element of the GCSE Language Paper?

There are 5 key GCSE exam boards: AQA , OCR , Pearson Edexcel , WJEC Eduqas and CCEA . Each board sets their own papers which may appear much the same at first glance (bizarrely they all have a similar front cover layout and fonts). Certainly there is plenty of overlap between their mark schemes and the comments and tips they share in their Examiner Reports.

However, as with all your child’s other subjects, it is essential to know which exam board they are preparing for. You may be surprised to discover that schools pick and choose boards by subject, perhaps choosing AQA for chemistry and OCR for mathematics. Individual school departments have their own preferences. My brother teaches at a school where their English Literature and English Language exams have been split between two different boards. This is unusual though, not the norm!

What forms (question formats) can the test take?

It varies by board.

The AQA board has a writing task in their Question Paper 1 called Explorations in creative reading and writing . Students are given two prompts to choose between. The AQA board also has a second persuasive writing task in Paper 2 called Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives.

Jump ahead to AQA creative writing and persuasive writing prompts from past GCSE papers

The Pearson/Edexcel international iGCSE favoured by many UK private schools has two prompts to choose between for each section. The student is asked to complete a piece of transactional writing (perhaps a persuasive speech or an advertisement leaflet) and additionally a piece of imaginative writing.

Jump ahead to Pearson/Edexcel transactional writing and imaginative writing prompts from past GCSE papers

Interestingly, the WJEC Eduqas board favours non-fiction writing. Unit 2 Reading and Writing: Description, Narration and Exposition gives two prompts to choose between, for an account and an essay perhaps, and Unit 3: Reading and Writing: Argumentation, Persuasion and Instructional sets up a letter, or similar.

Jump ahead to WJEC Eduqas non-fiction writing prompts from past GCSE papers

The OCR board offers two prompts to choose between. One might be a talk for other students and the other might be a letter on a difficult subject .

Jump ahead to OCR creative writing prompts from past GCSE papers

The CCEA board has a writing task in called “ Writing for Purpose and Audience and Reading to Access Non-fiction and Media Texts” and a second writing task which offers a choice between personal writing and creative writing.

Jump ahead to CCEA persuasive writing, personal writing, and creative prompts from past GCSE papers

How long do students have to craft their piece of writing?

Creative writing tests are timed at either 45 minutes or 1 hour. The last thing your child will need is to prepare to write for an hour, only to find they have just three-quarters of an hour on the day. If in doubt, insist that they check with their teacher.

AQA students are given 45 minutes to produce their writing response. The introduction advises: ‘ You are reminded of the need to plan your answer. You should leave enough time to check your work at the end.’ What this means is that 30–35 minutes max is what’s really allowed there for the writing itself.

Pearson/Edexcel allows 45 minutes for each of the two writing tasks.

OCR students are given an hour to complete this section of their exam. The introduction states: ‘You are advised to plan and check your work carefully,’ so they will expect the writing itself to take 45–50 minutes.

How long should the completed GCSE writing task be?

Interestingly, although the mark schemes all refer to paragraphingthey don’t state how many paragraphs they expect to see.

‘A skilfully controlled overall structure, with paragraphs and grammatical features used to support cohesion and achieve a range of effects’ (OCR)
‘Fluently linked paragraphs with seamlessly integrated discourse markers’ (AQA)

Why? Because management of paragraph and sentence length is a structural technique available to the student as part of their writers’ toolkit. If the number of optimal paragraphs were to be spelled out by the board, it would have a negative impact on the freedom of the writer to use their paragraphs for impact or to manage the pace of the reader.

For a general guide I would expect to see 3 to 5 paragraphs in a creative piece and 5 paragraphs in a persuasive piece. Leaflets have a different structure entirely and need to be set out in a particular form to achieve the top notes of the mark scheme.

What are the examiners looking for when they are marking a student’s creative writing paper?

There are two assessment objectives for the writing itself:

  • It has to be adapted to the form, tone and register of writing for specific purposes and audiences.
  • It has to use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures, with appropriate paragraphing, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

As a GCSE English nerd, I really enjoy delving deeper into the Examiner Reports that each board brings out once the previous cohort’s papers have been marked. They are a fascinating read and never disappoint…

Within their pages, examiners spell out the differences they have spotted between the stronger and the weaker responses.

For example, a creative task set by the AQA board was to describe a photograph of a town at sunset. The examiners explained that some of the strongest responses imagined changes in the scene as darkness descended. They enjoyed reading responses that included personification of the city, and those that imagined the setting in the past, or the weariness of the city. Weaker candidates simply listed what was in the picture or referred directly to the fact it was an image. This chronological-list approach weakened the structure of their work.

No surprises that some weaker students relied heavily on conversation. (As an exam marker myself, I dreaded reading acres of uninspiring direct speech.)

Pearson/Edexcel explain that weaker persuasive pieces (in this case on the value of television) simply listed pros and cons rather than developed ideas fully to clarify their own opinions. The higher-level responses here were quirky and engaging, entertaining the reader with a range of appropriate techniques and making the argument their own.

What accommodations are possible for students who have specific learning difficulties?

The UK Government’s Guide for Schools and Colleges 2022: GCSE, AS and A Levels includes information about changes to assessments to support ‘disabled students.’ Their definition of disabled includes specific learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ADD, ASD etc).

Exam boards can make a wide range of adjustments to their assessments. Some of the most common adjustments are:

  • modified papers (for example, large print or braille exam papers)
  • access to assistive software (for example, voice recognition systems or computer readers)
  • help with specific tasks (for example, another person might read questions to the student or write their dictated answers)
  • changes to how the assessment is done (for example, an oral rather than a written assessment, word-processing rather than hand-writing answers)
  • extra time to complete assessments
  • exemptions from an assessment

The exam board will expect paperwork to be in place where your child’s specific needs are formally reported by an appropriate professional (Educational Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Consultant). The report needs to be recent, but how recent is difficult to confirm.

If your child is likely to need adjustments to their access arrangements you will need to discuss this with their school in plenty of time before the exam itself.

A close friend of mine realised in the final few weeks before her son’s GCSE exams that his tinnitus would have a negative impact on his performance. She approached the school to ask if he might take his exams in a separate room to minimise noise disturbance. Unfortunately, it was far too late by then to apply, and her son was denied the request.

Your child’s school will explain the process for applying for special arrangements and will be able to advise you on what your expectations should be. Never presume your child will be given what they need – but plenty of requests are successful, so stay positive and make sure your paperwork is in order beforehand.

Tips and strategies for writing a high scoring GCSE creative writing paper:

1.         learn the formats.

Know the different formats and conventions of the different GCSE writing tasks. There is a standard layout for a leaflet, for example, where including contact details and a series of bullet points is part of the mark scheme. Not knowing these conventions will knock back a student’s score.

2.         Plan ahead

Prepare a planning structure for each of the written forms you might encounter during the exam. It may need to be flexed on the day, but it will banish fear of the blank page and allow you to get started.

3.         Prepare sentence-openings

Familiarise yourself with appropriate sentence-openings for each type of GCSE writing task. Fronted adverbials of time and place will improve the quality of a creative piece, whereas access to varied and specific conjunctions might push up the mark of a transactional piece.

4.         Check your speaking

Ask your family to check your speech at home. Every now and then try to flip a sentence into formal language, using more interesting synonyms for your usual spoken vocabulary. This will help you to write formally on paper, avoiding colloquialisms.

5.         Forget finishing

Finishing is less important than you might imagine. Sloppy, hurried work is your enemy. GCSE examiners will follow your clear planning and mark you accordingly, even if you’ve not managed to complete that final paragraph.

6.         Note the details

The question often gives additional information the examiner would like to see included. Note it in your plan to make sure it doesn’t get forgotten.

7.         Start strong

Use your best sentence-opener at the start of each paragraph. It will set you up as someone to be taken seriously.

8.         Cut back dialogue

Keep dialogue contained in a single paragraph. Focus on description of the speaker and their actions before noting the second character’s reply.

9.         Revise

Do this by prepping work as above. Nothing beats it.

Would you like me to transform your child’s writing in my higher writing club?

Each week in my higher writing club , we spend 20 minutes on Zoom together. After the task has been introduced, the students write for 15 minutes. Next, they upload their work for 1:1 video marking.

There is no point prepping essays/creative pieces for the GCSE English Language exam if your child’s writing is poor. First, their scruffy presentation, attention to detail, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary need to be addressed.

After 2 months in the higher writing club your child’s written technique and fluency will be transformed by our 1–2-1 video marking system (consistent messaging is achieved by matching your child with their own teacher).

Each weekly activity is drawn directly from the GCSE English Language Subject Content and Assessment Objectives , published by the English Department of Education.

Here’s an example of a student’s writing, BEFORE they joined our club:

Handwriting and creative writing sample from a GCSE level student - before online writing lessons

It is chaotic, poorly-presented and nonsensical. Letter-sizing is confused and the student is clearly anxious and repeatedly scribbling through small errors.

Below is the same student 2 months later:

Handwriting and creative writing sample from a GCSE level student -after 2 months of weekly online writing lessons with Griffin Teaching

Observe the rich vocabulary, authorial techniques (the jagged rocks are ‘like shards of broken glass’) and general fluency and sophistication.

Real and recent GCSE example questions/prompts from each of the 5 key exam boards

Aqa english language gcse questions, paper 2 writers’ viewpoints and perspectives:.

  • ‘Our addiction to cheap clothes and fast fashion means young people in poorer countries have to work in terrible conditions to make them. We must change our attitude to buying clothes now.’ Write an article for a magazine or website in which you argue your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
  • ‘People have become obsessed with travelling ever further and faster. However, travel is expensive, dangerous, damaging and a foolish waste of time!’ Write an article for a news website in which you argue your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
  • ‘Cars are noisy, dirty, smelly and downright dangerous. They should be banned from all town and city centres, allowing people to walk and cycle in peace.’ Write a letter to the Minister for Transport arguing your point of view on this statement. ( Source )
  • ‘All sport should be fun, fair and open to everyone. These days, sport seems to be more about money, corruption and winning at any cost.’ Write an article for a newspaper in which you explain your point of view on this statement. ( Source )

Paper 1 Explorations in creative reading and writing:

  • A magazine has asked for contributions for their creative writing section. Either write a description of an old person as suggested by the picture below or write a story about a time when things turned out unexpectedly. ( Source )

Image of a man with a beard, example image to use as a GCSE creative writing prompt

  • Your school or college is asking students to contribute some creative writing for its website. Either, describe a market place as suggested by the picture below or write a story with the title, ‘Abandoned’. ( Source )

image of a market scene to use as a creative writing prompt

  • Your local library is running a creative writing competition. The best entries will be published in a booklet of creative writing. Either, write a description of a mysterious place, as suggested by the picture below or write a story about an event that cannot be explained. ( Source )

image of a round entrance to a spooky scene to use as a gcse creative writing prompt

  • A magazine has asked for contributions for their creative writing section. Either, describe a place at sunset as suggested by the picture below or write a story about a new beginning. ( Source )

OCR English Language GCSE questions

Paper: communicating information and ideas.

  • Either, Write a post for an online forum for young people about ‘A moment that changed my life’.
  • Or, You are giving a talk at a parents’ information evening about why all children should study science at school. Explain your views. ( Source )
  • Either, Write a letter to a friend to describe a challenging and unpleasant task you once had to do.
  • Or, Write a short guide for new workers about how to deal successfully with difficult customers. ( Source )
  • Either, “Was it worth it?” Write an article for a magazine to describe a time when you had to do something difficult.
  • Or, Write a speech for an event to congratulate young people who have achieved something remarkable. ( Source )
  • Either, Write the words of a talk to advise pet owners how to make life more enjoyable for their pet and themselves.
  • Or, Write an article for a travel magazine to describe your dramatic encounter with an animal. ( Source )
  • Either, ‘How I prefer to spend my time.’ Write the words of a talk to young people about your favourite activity
  • Or, Write a magazine article to persuade parents to allow their teenage children more freedom. You are not required to include any visual or presentational features. ( Source )
  • Either, Write a talk for other students about a person you either admire strongly or dislike intensely
  • Or, Write a letter to a friend to explain a difficult decision you had to make. ( Source )

Paper: Exploring effects and impact

  • Either, Hunger satisfied. Use this as the title for a story.
  • Or, Write about a time when you were waiting for something. ( Source )
  • Either, The Taste of Fear Use this as the title for a story.
  • Or, Write about a time when you were exploring a particular place. ( Source )
  • Either, Alone. Use this as the title for a story.
  • Or, Describe a time when you found yourself in a crowd or surrounded by people. ( Source )
  • Either, Land at Last. Use this as the title for a story.
  • Or, Imagine you have visited somewhere for the first time and are now reporting back on your experience. ( Source )
  • Either, The Playground Use this as the title for a story
  • Or, Write about a memory you have of playing a childhood game. ( Source )
  • Either, It seemed to me like I had been magically transported. Use this as the title for a story.
  • Or, Describe a place where you have felt comfortable. ( Source )

Pearson Edexcel English Language iGCSE questions

Paper 1: transactional writing.

  • Either, ‘In our busy twenty-first century lives, hobbies and interests are more important than ever.’ Write an article for a newspaper expressing your views on this statement.
  • Or, ‘We are harming the planet we live on and need to do more to improve the situation.’ You have been asked to deliver a speech to your peers in which you explain your views on this statement. ( Source )
  • ‘ Zoos protect endangered species from around the world.’ ‘No wild animal should lose its freedom and be kept in captivity. Write an article for a magazine in which you express your views on zoos.
  • Write a review of an exciting or interesting event that you have seen. ( Source )
  • Your local newspaper has published an article with the headline ‘Young people today lack any desire for adventure’. Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper expressing your views on this topic.
  • ‘The key to success in anything is being prepared.’ Write a section for a guide giving advice on the importance of preparation. ( Source )
  • You and your family have just returned from a holiday that did not turn out as you expected. Write a letter to the travel agent with whom you booked your holiday, explaining what happened.
  • A magazine is publishing articles with the title ‘Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life’. Write your article on this topic. ( Source )
  • ‘Important lessons I have learned in my life.’ You have been asked to deliver a speech to your peers on this topic.
  • Your local/school library wants to encourage young people to read more. Write the text of a leaflet explaining the benefits of reading. ( Source )
  • ‘Most memorable journeys.’ A website is running a competition to reward the best articles on this subject. Write an article for the competition about a memorable journey.
  • ‘Cycling is one form of exercise that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.’ Write a guide for young people on the benefits of exercise. ( Source )
  • ‘Television educates, entertains and helps global understanding.’ ‘Television is to blame for society’s violence and greed and delivers one-sided news.’ You have been asked to deliver a speech in which you express your views and opinions on television.
  • ‘Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions we ever make.’ Write the text of a leaflet that gives advice to young people on how to choose a career. ( Source )
  • Write the text for a leaflet aimed at school students which offers advice on how to deal with bullying.
  • A museum is planning to open a new exhibition called ‘Life in the Twenty-First Century’. ( Source )

Paper 2: Imaginative writing

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, enjoyed success
  • Write a story with the title ‘A Surprise Visitor’.
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘I did not have time for this’ ( Source )

two images to choose to use as a story starter for a gcse creative writing prompt that begins with "I did not have time for this"

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, challenged an unfair situation.
  • Write a story with the title ‘Bitter, Twisted Lies’.
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘It was a new day …’ You may wish to base your response on one of these images. ( Source )

two images to use for GCSE creative writing practice. Image 1 is of a woman on top of a mountain at sunset, the second image is of a harbour at sunset with a bridge in the field of view

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, visited a new place.
  • Write a story with the title ‘The Storm’
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that ends ‘I decided to get on with it.’ ( Source )

Two images to use as GCSE writing prompts. Students are asked to choose one and start their story with the words "I decided to get on with it"

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, saw something surprising.
  • Write a story with the title ‘The Meeting’.
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that starts ‘Suddenly, without warning, there was a power cut.’ ( Source )

Two images to use as GCSE writing prompts. The first shows two children sitting at a table lit by candles, the second is of a city scene with half of the buildings lit up and the other half shrouded in darkness

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, went on a long journey.
  • Write a story with the title ‘A New Start’
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘I tried to see what he was reading. ( Source )

two example images students can use while revising for the GCSE wri5ting task. Both are on the theme of reading.

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, felt proud.
  • Write a story with the title ‘The Hidden Book’.
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘It was like a dream’ ( Source )

Two images from past GCSE papers to use as a prompt for creative writing.

  • Write about a time when you, or someone you know, had to be brave
  • Write a story with the title ‘Everything Had Changed’
  • Look at the two images below. Choose one and write a story that begins ‘It was an unusual gift’. ( Source )

Two images of presents that students can use to start a story with "it was an unusual gift."

WJEC Eduqas English Language GCSE questions

Unit 2 reading and writing: description, narration and exposition.

  • Write an account of a time when you enjoyed or hated taking part in an outdoor activity.
  • “It’s essential that more people are more active, more often.” (Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales) Write an essay to explain how far you agree with this view, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
  • Describe an occasion when you did something you found rewarding.
  • Famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry have spoken of the need for better food and better education about food in schools. Write an essay to explain your views on this subject, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
  • Write an account of a visit to a dentist or a doctor’s surgery.
  • NHS staff, such as doctors and nurses, provide excellent service in difficult circumstances. Write an essay to explain your views on this subject, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
  • Write an article for a travel magazine describing somewhere interesting that you have visited.
  • You see the following in your local newspaper: ‘Young people are selfish. They should all be made to volunteer to help others.’ Write an essay to explain your views on this subject, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
  • Describe an occasion when technology made a difference to your life.
  • Write an account of a time you were unwilling to do something. ( Source )
  • Describe a time when you faced a challenge
  • Write an essay explaining why charity is important, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
  • Write an account of a time when you did something for the first time.
  • “It’s time for us to start making some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other.” Tupac Shakur Write an essay on the subject of change, giving clear reasons and examples. ( Source )
  • “School uniform is vitally important in all schools.” Write an essay explaining your views on this, giving clear reasons and examples.
  • Describe a time when you had to create a good impression. ( Source )

Unit 3: Reading and writing: Argumentation, persuasion and instructional

  • Your school/college is considering using more Fairtrade items in its canteen. Although this will help to support Fairtrade farmers, it will mean an increase in the price of meals. You feel strongly about this proposal and decide to write a letter to your Headteacher/Principal giving your views. ( Source )
  • Increasing litter levels suggest we have lost all pride in our beautiful country. Prepare a talk for your classmates in which you give your opinions on this view. ( Source )
  • Write a guide for other students persuading them to stay safe when using social media and the internet. ( Source )
  • According to your PE teacher, ‘Swimming is the very best form of exercise.’ You have been asked to prepare a talk for your classmates in which you give your views about swimming. ( Source )
  • You read the following in a newspaper: ‘Plastic is one of the biggest problems faced by our planet. Why would we use something for a few minutes that has been made from a material that’s going to last forever?’ Write a letter to the newspaper giving your views on the use of plastic. ( Source )
  • “People today never show enough kindness to one another. We must make more effort to be kind.” Write a talk to give on BBC Wales’ new programme Youth Views persuading young people to be kind to others. ( Source )
  • ‘We have enough problems in the world without worrying about animals.’ Write an article for the school or college magazine giving your views on this statement.
  • You would like to raise some money for an animal charity. Write a talk for your classmates persuading them to donate to your chosen charity. ( Source )

CCEA English Language GCSE questions

Unit 1: writing for purpose and audience and reading to access non-fiction and media texts.

  • Write a speech for your classmates persuading them to agree with your views on the following issue: “Young people today are too worried about their body image.” ( Source )
  • Write an article for your school magazine persuading the readers to agree with your views on the following question: “Should school uniform have a place in 21st century schools?” ( Source )
  • Write a speech for your classmates persuading them to agree with your views on the following question: “Are celebrities the best role models for teenagers?” ( Source )
  • Write an article for your school magazine persuading the readers to agree with your views on the following statement: “Advertising is just another source of pressure that teenagers don’t need!” ( Source )

Unit 4: Personal or creative writing and reading literacy and non-fiction texts

  • Either, Personal writing: Write a personal essay for the examiner about what you consider to be one of the proudest moments in your life.
  • Or, Creative writing: Write your entry for a creative essay writing competition. The audience is teenagers. You may provide your own title. ( Source )
  • Write a personal essay for the examiner about an experience that resulted in a positive change in your life.
  • Write a creative essay for the examiner. The picture below is to be the basis for your writing. You may provide your own title. ( Source )

Picture of a family waiting at an airport.

  • Personal writing: Write a speech for your classmates about the most interesting person you have ever met.
  • Creative writing: Write a creative essay for your school magazine. The picture below is to be the basis for your writing. You may provide your own title. ( Source )

picture of two elderly men playing soccer

  • Personal writing: Write a personal essay for the examiner describing your dream destination.
  • Creative writing: Write a creative essay for publication in your school magazine. The picture below is to be the basis for your creative writing. You may provide your own title. (Source)

picture of a two people mountain climbing

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how to structure creative writing gcse

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Creative Writing: How to Sculpt My Narrative Vision?

Creative writing traditionally stands in opposition to technical writing, so named because it is used to differentiate imaginative and particularly original types of writing from more rigid types. However, creative writing is just as technical, and difficult, as these other types. The assumption is often made that creative writing is a talent – “can I really learn how to write creatively?” – but the true keys to creative writing, whether writing for your own enjoyment, preparing for a school or GCSE exam, are imagination, content, and organisation .

Creative Writing GCSE

What do these three things mean?

Imagination – the GCSE prompts are usually very open-ended and broad, remind yourself that broad questions are not restrictive, and allow your mind to explore all caveats of the question, and take the reader on a truly original journey

Content – to showcase your ideas you need to be able to show your skill with tone, style, and vocabulary; we will touch on just how to do this later!

Organisation – planning the structure of your answer is key, even though creative writing can be seen as ‘looser’, remember that a good structure is a good way to ensure you are staying in control of the piece. We will touch on how to plan effectively later too!

Focussing on the ‘how’ and developing it:

It can be very daunting when you are presented with a vague prompt to think about how you might achieve all of these things, now we know what they mean let’s look at how we might break them down with an example.

Take the prompt: ‘ Think about a time you were afraid ’.

1) Imagination – where are you going with this? The prompt allows a lot of scope for you as a writer to take this piece wherever you want. You want to plan a piece you are excited by, that you are confident writing, and that is a little bit ‘outside the box’.

We can anticipate many students’ answers describing a spooky forest or a secluded house at night-time; if you are pushing for the higher boundaries, you want to write something that will make the examiner notice you.

Think about the last time you were afraid – how likely is it that you found yourself in a horror-film-esque eerie setting? Perhaps you want to describe the time you auditioned for the school talent show, or your first trip into the dentist alone. You don’t have to be totally avant-garde but remember a skilled writer can create a sense of unease using literary technique alone – don’t rely on a traditional ‘spooky setting’.

2) Content – how are you going to take us there? You want to ensure your communication is convincing and compelling. This means your need to maintain style and tone throughout.

Make a decision about the characteristics of who is narrating your story early on and stick with it (it will often be directed at you, but the examiner doesn’t know you as a person – be creative! If it suits your story to make yourself smarter, more anxious, quieter etc, then do it). Let’s look back to our prompt above. Perhaps you make the decision that you’re writing the piece as you, and you’re incredibly forgetful. This might mean you ask short questions throughout the piece, raising the tension. Maybe you feign confidence and so while the speech of the piece seems assured and at ease, the internal monologue is vastly different, throwing a sense of unease to the narrative early on.

Be ambitious with your vocabulary! Vocabulary is a great way to help set the tone of a piece. Likewise, explore a wide use of linguistic devices (metaphor, simile, imagery, personification, repetition, symbolism – we will come back to these later!)

3) Organisation – how can you plan effectively? When writing a creative piece, first and foremost, you want to ensure you have a varied use of structural features within your paragraphs.

As a rule of thumb, each new paragraph should aim to develop the story and either bring a new idea into the story or develop a previous one. Within each paragraph, aim to show the examiner that you are capable of developing your idea (i.e. continuing the narrative and plot), but also that you are able to detail this from a different perspective.

An effective way to do this is with a structural feature: pick an interesting way to start a new paragraph, focus on contrast, play around with repetition (if you can, play around with the pace of the writing too – see below!), withhold information, use dialogue, experiment with different sentence structures and paragraph lengths, etc.

Some specifics on: ‘linguistic devices’ and ‘structural features’

Linguistic devices and structural features, when used well, can help to make your writing incredibly compelling. Let’s look at some specifics on how we can play around with these and incorporate them into our writing.

1) Linguistic devices

Metaphor and simile – metaphors and similes are both ways to introduce comparisons into your work, which is a good way to bring some variety when describing something instead of just listing off more adjectives. Similes are used specifically with the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ (“life is like a box of chocolates”); metaphors are a direct statement of comparison (“life is a rollercoaster”).

o   How can you use these originally? When using these, we want to showcase not just our ability to use them, but also our imagination and vocabulary. With both of these, think of appropriate comparisons which develop the tone of your piece. For example, if you are writing a piece about happiness – ‘his smile was like that of a child at Christmas time’ (simile), or, if you are writing a piece about loneliness – ‘loneliness was a poison’ (metaphor). See how both comparisons match the tone – when writing a happy piece, we use specific things about happiness (e.g. Christmas), when writing a sadder piece, we use sadder objects for comparison (e.g. poison). This will help develop tone and showcase originality.

Imagery – this is used to develop key motifs within the mind of the reader; again, this is a tool for comparison whereby we are comparing something real with something imagined or ultimately non-literal.

o   A good way to think of imagery is to appeal to the reader’s senses: how can you create a sensory world for them? Take the brief above once more. We could say “I was afraid when I left the house”, or, we could appeal to sensory imagery: “I pulled my auburn hair into my mouth to chew it as I closed the door to the house. Thud. The air was cold on my cheeks, and my pink nose stood out against the grey sky and grey pavement.” Here, we paint a far richer picture, even though we don’t necessarily develop the story.

Personification - when a personal nature is given to a non-human object. This can be useful when you are faced with long descriptive paragraphs as it serves as another way to break up boring adjective listing.

o   Be imaginative and try and include this once in every piece if you can. Remember to tie it in with developing the tone of the piece! I.e. if you are writing a happy piece: “the sun smiled down on me, and I beamed back with gratitude” – this sentence creates an immediately positive atmosphere. However, the sentence: “the wind whispered quietly through the long grass” creates a sense of uncertainty. NB: notice how the weather is an easy and subtle way to help develop a ‘feeling’ throughout your writing.

Repetition – a word or phrase is repeated in order to achieve a certain desired effect. We can use different types of repetition to remain original and keep our writing sophisticated:

o   Try repeating only the last few words of a line – “If you don’t doubt yourself, and you can keep a clear head, then you can do it. You can do it.”

o   Try repeating the same phrase at the end of following sentences – “On the fields there was blood, in the sea there was blood, on the sand banks there was blood, on the ships there was blood…”

o   Try repeating the same words in a new sense to reveal information in a new light – “I don’t dance because I am happy, I am happy because I dance”

how to structure creative writing gcse

2) Structural features

Openings – you want to make sure the start of your text entices the reader, so you may want to start with a very developed complex sentence, with heaps of sensory imagery that immediately immerses the reader in the world of the piece; alternatively, or you may wish to grab their attention in a more direct way – “Bang! Oh god, how was I going to get out of this?”

Contrast – highlighting the difference between two things is a compelling way to describe and develop ideas; we have talked in depth about ways to do this above (simile, metaphor, imagery, sometimes repetition for effect)

Pace – experimenting with the pace of the piece is a very sophisticated way to create a mood. For example, if it is a summer’s day and time does not seem to pass, find a way to highlight this using some of the techniques outlined above – “the sun sat high in the sky, unwavering, for what seemed like forever”, “the sounds of the crickets chirping and the birds merriment overpowered the sound of my watch – we felt truly timeless”. Equally, if you want to build tension, find a way to increase the pace; generally, this can be done by piecing together short, simple sentences: “I knew I had to move fast. Round the door. Up the stairs. Wait. Breathe. Move. Up the next flight. Clear. Move.” Etc, this helps immerse the reader in the mental world of the narrator and as a result they engage far more with the piece.

Dialogue – inserting dialogue into a piece can be a convincing way to introduce new information to a text, think of ways to be inventive with this: does our narrator talk to themselves? What information are we told about additional characters that are introduced? What new approaches have we learned to aid with describing these new characters – and remember – always choose these in line with developing a tone for the piece.

Withholding information – this can be a useful way to build a sense of uncertainty and unease into a piece. Perhaps the narrator is withholding information from other characters, perhaps the narrator is withholding information from the readers themselves! “I knew it had to be done. I didn’t have time to consider the what-if’s and the maybes of it. It had to be done. And it had to be done now.” How much more unsettling is that sentence when we don’t discover what the ‘it’ is – if we want to create humour for a light-hearted piece, perhaps it is getting a tooth removed; if the piece is darker, perhaps the ‘it’ is something far more sinister…

Sentence length – Play around with a variation of simple and complex sentences. Complex sentences can be difficult to construct at first. Remember a few key rules: they are either used effectively to develop one key motif: ‘the snow was white and fell down like tiny elegant dancers in the wind, until at just a moment’s notice, it would land and join a far larger flurry of white across a thousand snow-drenched fields’. Additionally, complex sentences can be used to introduce a lot of new information in one succinct way: ‘It was autumn when he last came, not that I had been counting, but when he last came my hair came only to my shoulders, and I was not yet tall enough to reach the apples on the tree – gosh, what would he think of me now’. The difference between the two is clear, one develops a singular motif and one introduces new ideas quickly – both are effective, and you should aim to be able to write both types well.

While creative writing can seem daunting at first, using the three keys to success (imagination, content and organisation) alongside these advanced linguistic devices and structural features is a great way to develop and succeed in the creative writing exam. Start to enjoy taking the reader on a journey, learn to navigate the realms of description, experiment with tone and you will be well on your way to success! 

“Write it like it matters, and it will.” – Libba Bray

By U2 mentor, Hazel (Philosophy & Theology, University of Oxford and a published poet!)

Looking for a Creative Writing tutor to develop written skills?

If you are interested in support for your GCSE English Language or Literature papers, or general Creative Writing endeavours, why not check out our offerings on the GCSE page and book a free consultation to discuss how we can boost your chance of success. We have a large team of predominantly Oxbridge-educated English mentors who are well-placed to develop students’ written skills, teaching how to structure writing, and the literary and rhetorical techniques that this requires.

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GCSE English language: 10+ tips for creative writing

how to structure creative writing gcse

On paper creative writing should be one of the easiest parts of the English language GCSE but you're not alone if you're finding it tricky.

Creative Writing in GCSE exams can take various forms: You may have to tell an entire short story or you could be asked to write a description of a picture.

Here's some top tips when it comes to dealing with your creative writing headaches...

Understanding the Exam Format

First and foremost, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the GCSE English Language exam format. Creative writing usually forms a significant part of the assessment, often as part of a coursework component or in a specific section of the exam. Knowing what is expected in terms of length, format, and content can significantly boost your confidence and performance.

Reading Widely

One of the best ways to enhance your creative writing skills is to read a diverse range of literature. This exposure helps you understand different writing styles, narrative techniques, and genres. By reading extensively, you can develop a sense of what makes a story engaging and learn how to incorporate these elements into your own writing.

Practising Writing Regularly

Consistent practice is key in improving your writing skills. Try to write something every day, whether it's a short story, a descriptive piece, or even just a diary entry. This not only helps improve your writing style and vocabulary but also keeps your creative juices flowing.

Answer The Question

Read it VERY carefully because your answer will only be marked in the context of what was actually asked in the first place, regardless of how well written your piece may have been. Pay special attention to the type of creative writing you're asked to come up with and it's audience (see more below).

Developing Strong Characters and Settings

In creative writing, characters and settings are the heart of your story. Spend time developing characters who are believable and relatable. Similarly, create settings that are vivid and contribute to the mood of the story. Using descriptive language and sensory details can bring your characters and settings to life.

READ MORE: > 10+ GCSE creative writing ideas, prompts and plot lines

Mastering Narrative Structure

A good story has a clear structure - a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should hook the reader, the middle should build the story, and the end should provide a satisfying conclusion. Think about the plot and how you can weave tension, conflict, and resolution into your narrative.

Showing, Not Telling

'Show, don’t tell' is a golden rule in creative writing. Instead of simply telling the reader what is happening, show them through actions, thoughts, senses, and feelings. For example, rather than simply telling the reader a character is tall, show them that in your writing: "He towered above me like a skyscraper." This approach makes your writing more engaging and immersive.

Take Inspiration From Real Life

Write more convincingly by taking inspiration from your real life experiences and feelings, embellishing where necessary.

Go Out of This World

If you're given a prompt to write the opening of a story involving a storm, it doesn't need to be a storm on earth. Going out of this world allows you to be really descriptive in your language and paint a picture of a completely unique world or species.

Varying Sentence Structure and Vocabulary

Using a range of sentence structures and a rich vocabulary can make your writing more interesting and dynamic. Avoid repetition of words and phrases, and try to use descriptive language that paints a picture for the reader. Consider the senses such as what you might hear, smell, feel or taste.

Don't Leave The Ending To The, Well, End

Some pieces will lend themselves to a nice, easy ending - and in some questions, the ending may even be provided for you - but other times it's not so simple to stop. When it comes to fictional stories, it may well be easier to plan your ending first and work backwards, you don't want to end on a whimper, in a rush or with leftover loose ends from the plot.

Editing and Proofreading

A vital part of writing is reviewing and refining your work. Always leave time to edit and proofread your writing. Look out for common errors like spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and punctuation issues. Also, consider whether your writing flows logically and whether there's anything you can improve in terms of language and style.

Seeking Feedback

Don’t be afraid to ask teachers, friends, or family members for feedback on your writing. Constructive criticism can provide new perspectives and ideas that can help you improve your writing significantly.

Staying Calm and Confident

Lastly, it's important to stay calm and confident during your exam. Stress and anxiety can hinder your creativity and writing ability. Practice relaxation techniques and believe in your preparation to help you stay focused and composed during the exam.

Remember, creative writing is an opportunity to express yourself and let your imagination run wild. With these tips and consistent practice, you can excel in your GCSE English Language creative writing exam look forward to results day and enjoy the process of crafting your own unique stories.

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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how to structure creative writing gcse

How to Pass The Creative Writing Section of Your English GCSE

The creative writing component of the English Language GCSE can leave most students petrified. Having not practiced writing creatively since a much younger age, the dive into creative writing, especially when students are hounded to write academically, can be a challenge.

Often the English Language creative writing component will be phrased as so:

'Write a story about a time you felt overwhelmed' or 'Write a story inspired by the picture below'.

All of the above instructions are relatively vague. For students who are used to being told what to do, and for the English Literature component, asked to explore only a very specific area of the text – the idea of writing free reign is enough of an overwhelming story.

However, students shouldn’t be scared. English is nothing but the study of stories – and while you may feel left in the proverbial dark, actually stories are weaved into your every day life. From posts on social media, to newspaper articles and the texts you study for English Literature. So, there’s nothing daunting. You can weave a narrative just as succinctly and easily.

how to structure creative writing gcse

Here are some tips to consider:

Read anything and everything.

Well, start with novels. When you turn 16, there’s no novel too detailed for you to explore and while I’m not saying you should start off reading War and Peace, you should be reading literature that excites and interests you. Whether it’s The Hunger Games, 1984 or Pride and Prejudice - all of these texts are filled with exciting stories for you to think about. Ask yourself: how does the author create suspense? What about the character is intriguing to you? For example, in The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen sacrifices herself for her sister – while she acts bravely, the author still indicates that she is frightened and overwhelmed. There is an internal conflict here that makes the character fascinating.

Be varied in your vocabulary

Words like “nice” and “said” are a bun with no burger, relish or cheese… bland! So, take a look at the example below so you can see for yourself why:

“Good to see you,” she said.

“Likewise,” John said.

Now take a look at the same examples with the “said” removed and some more detail added.

Lucy finished walking her bike up the hill. Drenched and exhausted, she extended a sweaty arm. “Good to see you,” she panted.

“Likewise,” replied John, who shook her outstretched hand lightly and then proceeded to wipe the remains on his tweed trousers.

See the difference?

how to structure creative writing gcse

The five senses rule

When writing creatively, especially when you are being asked to write in the first person, you can describe the immediate area drawing on your five senses; taste, touch, sight, sound and smell.

If in the English GCSE exam, you were presented with a picture of a crowded market place and asked to write a story revolving it, you could open with the following (bonus points if you can spot any literary techniques):

The food market was a buzzing hive; its occupants busying themselves with the buying and selling of sweet smelling delicacies sourced from Toulouse to Timbaktu. I caught a whiff of Jasmine on the wind and was delighted to find a pastel painting of Turkish Delight, coated with a light dusting.

“You like?” cried the seller, ignoring the three other customers in the queue and trying to entice me in. I waved an apologetic hand and squeezed my way deeper into the market.

I was trying to remember to the words for ‘excuse me’, but had forgotten the teachings of the busboy at the hotel. The noise built into crescendos at every stand, with gossip, commands and bartering taking place in a rich dialect I couldn’t comprehend. Each and every direction I turned, I was jagged with an elbow or forced to fake-interest in a stall in which I had none. I was becoming overwhelmed, so I stole into a small crevice on the side of the market to seek respite.

Obviously, you will need to write more than this. But try to make your language as rich and engaging as possible.

Make sure to reread your work

Your creative writing component will be judged on spelling, grammar and punctuation, so make sure that you read your work once you’re done to iron out any potential mistakes.

If you want a little bit more help, Tutor House offers world-class English GCSE tutors. To find out more, or to book your tutor today, call 0203 9500 320

how to structure creative writing gcse

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GCSE - Improve Your Descriptive Writing

GCSE - Improve Your Descriptive Writing

Subject: English

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Unit of work

English, Dyslexia and SEN Support

Last updated

15 February 2024

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how to structure creative writing gcse

Based on the AQA (GCSE) Q5, Paper 1, the unit focuses on the ability to use a range of sentence openers and vocabulary to describe clothes.

Writing in depth description of the clothes people wear is complicated. This unit uses model paragraphs, a vocabulary list, pictures, independent writing tasks and a marking rubric to guide GCSE, English Language students to improve their description of people.

Although aimed at AQA, English Language students, the unit is useful for GCSE students who wish to improve their creative writing and descriptions.

The unit has proved successful in raising the attainment of students who struggle with this skill.

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Achieve Level 4+ in GCSE, English Language (Writing)!

The bundle includes a range of GCSE, English Language Writing materials. It includes model answers, spelling activities, key vocabulary, engaging images, plans, independent writing activities and marking rubrics. Although aimed at the AQA writing papers, the bundle will support all the GCSE exam boards. It includes materials to support: - descriptive writing - persuasive/argumentative writing - creative writing Each unit is structured in an easy to follow format based on model texts. They are useful for students with additional needs who need explicit language support to achieve a higher grade in their GCSE, English Language writing. They have been proven to raise attainment because of the strategies used, namely grammar in context and modeling. The value for money bundle offers weeks of writing support and is beneficial for teachers, English coordinators, teaching assistants and SENDCOs!

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IMAGES

  1. Conjunctions

    how to structure creative writing gcse

  2. Creative Writing GCSE Structure Sheet and Practise Question

    how to structure creative writing gcse

  3. Using Structure in Creative Writing

    how to structure creative writing gcse

  4. gcse creative writing plot ideas

    how to structure creative writing gcse

  5. Structure planning sheet Creative writing

    how to structure creative writing gcse

  6. Creative Writing

    how to structure creative writing gcse

VIDEO

  1. Metaphor Magic

  2. Personification Examples in Writing || GCSE Creative Writing || Ettienne-Murphy

  3. Creative Writing Ideas For GCSE English Language

  4. Decoding Conjunctions in GCSE English #gcse#englishlang #englishgrammar #literacyskills #questions

COMMENTS

  1. How to Structure Creative Writing for GCSE

    To enhance your children's GCSE creative writing skills, allocate time for practice. Plan a structure for creative writing to guide children in organising their thoughts and managing time during the GCSE exam. Apply this structure to various exam questions, such as short stories or describing events.

  2. Writing Skills

    Narration - the voice that tells the story, either first person (I/me) or third person (he/him/she/her). This needs to have the effect of interesting your reader in the story with a warm and ...

  3. Insider GCSE creative writing tips + 106 prompts from past papers

    Unit 2 Reading and Writing: Description, Narration and Exposition gives two prompts to choose between, for an account and an essay perhaps, and Unit 3: Reading and Writing: Argumentation, Persuasion and Instructional sets up a letter, or similar. Jump ahead to WJEC Eduqas non-fiction writing prompts from past GCSE papers.

  4. Writing: Creative Structure Use Revision

    As we have covered the basics of perspective and narrative point of view previously, we will now go over how to use it creatively in your writing answers. A creative use of perspective and point of view is often to subvert the typical way they would be used in a story. The point of view is often the view of the person the events are happening to.

  5. How to Structure Creative Writing for GCSE

    Method to Structure Their Creative Writing by GCSE (with Creative Writing Examples!) To enrich your children's GCSE creative typing skills, allocate die for practice. Plan a structure for artists writing into guide children in organising their thoughts both managing time during the GCSE exam.

  6. How to plan and structure a piece of creative writing (fiction and non

    Time constraints matter a lot when it comes to writing a plan. In an exam you will typically have about 45 minutes to plan and write your piece, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. You should spend 5-10 minutes planning, leaving you 35-40 minutes to write. This means your plan will necessarily be slightly less detailed than it might be if ...

  7. PDF Chapter 8 Writing creatively

    Now draft the first three paragraphs of your story or description. • Make your narrator interesting and engaging. • Match the language and style to the story told, or to the relationships revealed. I can create a range of convincing, original and compelling narrative voices which engage the reader from the very start.

  8. How To Write The PERFECT Creative Writing Story In 5 Steps ...

    Join my £10 GCSE 2024 Exams Masterclass. Enter Your GCSE Exams Feeling CONFIDENT & READY! https://www.firstratetutors.com/gcse-classes Sign up for our 'Ultim...

  9. Creative Writing: How to Sculpt My Narrative Vision?

    The true keys to creative writing for the GCSE exam are imagination, content, and organisation. ... Organisation - planning the structure of your answer is key, even though creative writing can be seen as 'looser', remember that a good structure is a good way to ensure you are staying in control of the piece. We will touch on how to plan ...

  10. GCSE English language: 10+ tips for creative writing

    READ MORE: > 10+ GCSE creative writing ideas, prompts and plot lines. Mastering Narrative Structure. A good story has a clear structure - a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should hook the reader, the middle should build the story, and the end should provide a satisfying conclusion.

  11. Paper 1 Question 5: Creative Writing

    Paper 1 Question 5 is the writing question. It asks you to apply what you know about imaginative and creative fiction writing, such as in the text you read in Section A, and use these same techniques in your own writing. AO5 rewards you for your ideas, as well as the style and the fluency of your writing. As this task is worth 50% of the paper ...

  12. Paper 1 Question 5: Creative Writing Model Answer

    The style of the writing (sentence structure and overall structure) is dynamic and engaging; Below you will find a detailed creative writing model in response to an example of Paper 1 Question 5, under the following sub-headings (click to go straight to that sub-heading): Writing a GCSE English Language story; Structuring your story

  13. GCSE English Language Creative Writing: Structure

    Break down GCSE English Language Creative Writing into an accessible format with our series of dedicated lessons, beginning with Lesson 1 on structure. The key focus of this lesson is to explore how students can structure a narrative for maximum effect. After completing this GCSE English Language Creative Writing lesson, students will be able to: Understand the different stages of a story ...

  14. How to Pass The Creative Writing Section of Your English GCSE

    Your creative writing component will be judged on spelling, grammar and punctuation, so make sure that you read your work once you're done to iron out any potential mistakes. If you want a little bit more help, Tutor House offers world-class English GCSE tutors. To find out more, or to book your tutor today, call 0203 9500 320.

  15. Creative Writing Part 2

    How to answer AQA Language Paper 1 Question 5. In this episode, you'll learn some posh vocabulary, and how to use language devices and sentence structure to ...

  16. GCSE English: 3 tips to improve creative writing

    1. Give students the steps in the story. Sending students into an assessment or exam in which they have no idea what they're going to be faced with is counterproductive. As teachers, we know the structures required for success. In creative writing, the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful short story is a sense of a "complete ...

  17. Writing fiction

    In a fictional narrative close narrative The sequence of events in a plot; a story., the first paragraph should hook the reader and grab their attention.You might do this by describing the setting ...

  18. Improving Creative Writing GCSE Lesson and Worksheets

    Examiners love to see students demonstrating their knowledge of how to use these four grammatical beauties in their creative writing, and will reward students for their efforts. 1) Minor: 'Marley was dead.' (Often used for short, snappy introductions and to emphasise a dramatic event.) 2) Simple: 'The door to the old counting-house was ...

  19. GCSE Structuring Narrative Writing: Top Tips (teacher made)

    Curriculum. How do I support my students in structuring their narrative writing? Useful for in lesson or as for independent revision, this resource is a step-by-step guide to structuring a narrative for the English Language exam using the story mountain structure. Use it as a revision resource or as a support mat in your classroom.

  20. How to Structure Your Creative Writing for GCSE (with Creative Writing

    Having plenty are ideas for creative writing is one thing, but nailing down the right structure can be a bit more challenging. There are several steps for children to think about before they starts write, real that includes compose an structure or plan for how their story will flow. My Seek: Ocr gcse english language creative writing highest ...

  21. How to Structure Creative Writing

    Probably one of the easiest type of poem to start with, the only rule is that each line must start with a letter that, when looking diagonally, spells a word. The amount of lines depends on the length of the word, and there aren't any rules on line length or rhyming. These are great to use during topical writing and great to use with a word mat.

  22. Paper 1 Question 5: Descriptive Writing Model Answer

    The style of the writing (sentence structure and overall structure) is dynamic and engaging; Below you will find a detailed descriptive writing model in response to an example of Paper 1 Question 5, under the following sub-headings (click to go straight to that sub-heading): Writing a GCSE English Language description; Structuring your description

  23. GCSE Creative Writing

    Age range: 14-16. Resource type: Unit of work. File previews. pdf, 786.96 KB. The unit is based on the GCSE, English Language, AQA, Paper 1 - Question 5 response. It includes picture prompts, model answers, plans and spelling activities. Key words are taken from the text and colour coded to help learners with additional needs learn to read and ...

  24. GCSE Creative Writing: Structuring Your Work Lesson Pack

    A whole lesson looking at how to plan for good structure in pupils' own writing. Very relevant to GCSE. GCSE Creative Writing: Structuring Your Work Lesson Pack contains: Planning the Structure of your Written Work Worksheet [PDF] Planning the Structure of your Written Work Teaching Ideas [PDF]

  25. GCSE

    It includes model answers, spelling activities, key vocabulary, engaging images, plans, independent writing activities and marking rubrics. Although aimed at the AQA writing papers, the bundle will support all the GCSE exam boards. It includes materials to support: - descriptive writing - persuasive/argumentative writing - creative writing Each ...