How to Write a Belonging Creative Piece

Although I usually focus my tutoring on the analytical aspects of English (the essay part), I do find that students do struggle with the creative writing aspect too. And they do so for the following reasons:

  1. They feel like they are totally uncreative – they don’t know how to “make up” a story.
  2. They have an idea of what they want to write, but don’t know how to go about it (how should it start?).
  3. They don’t know what makes a good creative writing piece.

Drafting up a creative writing piece on Belonging that you can prepare and take into the exam is as important as the essay!

Writing a creative piece on the spot…will NOT turn out well. Unless you’re a creative writing genius. But even then, think of all the reknowned authors in the world – I’m sure they had to write several drafts!

So here is a guide to helping you to plan and ultimately write your Belonging creative piece.

1. What ideas about Belonging are you going to convey in your creative?

First of all, let’s start with thinking about Belonging ideas, rather than the creative piece itself. You should choose 2-3 ideas that you think you want to write about or that you find the most interesting.

If you’re unsure about what ideas about Belonging there are – just think about the ones in your essay! It could be things like:

  • Belonging and identity: belonging gives us a sense of identity.
  • Belonging and conformity: belonging depends on us conforming to the group/society.
  • Belonging to people, place and culture
  • Belonging and choice: we have control over whether we belong or not

You can then think about how these ideas relate to your character:

  • Will your character gain a sense of identity through belonging in the story?
  • Will your character struggle to belong because they refuse to conform?
  • Will your character feel a sense of belonging to a particular place?
  • Will they struggle to belong to a new culture?
  • Will your character choose not to belong?
  • Will your character find themselves forced to belong anyway?

As you can see, there is a lot of potential here for what could happen and how they demonstrate ideas about Belonging!

2. What is going to be the premise of your creative?

By “premise”, I mean….what is the basic background or situation that the story will occur in?

The premise is very important to your creative, because that is what will set your creative apart from others!

Think simply about WHO and WHERE. There is usually no need to discuss WHEN, as it is too difficult/confusing to write about another time (past/future) in a short creative piece.

Anyway, here are 2 basic examples:

  • A migrant family arriving in Australia. (You can vary this up by having refugees or illegal migrants instead. Or using another country besides Australia.)
  • A school student struggling to belong in school. (Make this more creative by thinking about reasons why they may be struggling. Perhaps they are deaf?
  • A young family moving to a new town. (Why are they moving? A new job?)

Here are more creative examples (though the fact that they “don’t belong” is quite obvious):

  • A homeless person living on the streets.
  • A mentally ill patient in an asylum.
  • A drifter traveling from town to town.
  • A circus performer moving from town to town with the circus.

Here are examples of less obvious instances of “not belonging”:

  • A middle-aged business worker, who has worked at the same company for over 10 years.
  • An old, retired man, living in a nursing home.

Essentially, try to come up with a creative and original premise as this will really set apart your story from others.

3. Fleshing out your premise and structuring it

Once you have selected your premise, really flesh it out.

  1. Who is the main character/s?
  2. What is going to happen to them during your creative? (the Belonging “complication”)
  3. What are they going to realise at the end? (the Belonging “resolution” or “realisation”).

The above points are important, because your creative MUST have a complication of some sort and there MUST be a resolution/realisation.

Without these aspects, the creative piece is pointless. There would be no point in reading something that JUST has a complication without some sort of finality, because then it would simply be the character complaining on and on and on!

The worst thing is to read a story where at the end nothing has changed.

Something must change (whether it be simply psychological or actual):

  • The character has learnt or realised something important.
  • The character’s attitude or perception has been changed.
  • The character has decided to begin something new.
  • The character has decided to end something.

So that’s the end. What about the beginning? How are you going to start your creative?

Because your creative is short and must be written in the 40 minutes, I strongly recommend you to:

  • Begin your creative in the middle of the conflict. Jump straight into it! This helps to grab the reader’s attention. You can then introduce some backstory afterwards to explain how your character came to that point of conflict. For example:
    • He had never felt so alone before.
    • He had now left the only place that he had ever felt at home.
    • They laughed at him and walked away, leaving him bleeding on the dust covered floor.
  • Confine the time line of the story to a series of days or weeks. It can tend to sound a bit too contrived or childish if your story spans several years. By anchoring your story in a shorter time span, you’ll also be able to get more into the detailed descriptions of what is happening.
  • Use flashbacks or jumps in time (indicated by three asterisks in the middle of a line) if you want the story to cover a longer time.
  • Limit yourself to 2-3 important characters.

4. Writing it and how to get good marks

Just start writing! Even if you are a bit unsure, just start – often your story will flesh itself out once you start writing.

Here are some extra recommendations on how to write it:

  • Use 1st person. Never use 2nd person. You may use 3rd person, but 1st person is generally easier to write in and to convey the character’s emotions/thoughts.
  • Show rather than tell. For example, show that the character has found belonging by what he does (e.g. putting his feet up on the table) rather than saying it (e.g. He finally felt as though he belonged).
  • Write in short paragraphs.
  • Vary between short and long sentences. Use short sentences for dramatic moments.
  • Begin with a particular image or moment or emotion that you think will really grab the reader’s attention.

Here are some things you can do to try and improve your marks in a story:

  • Use descriptive language – imagery, metaphors, similes. Details can make your story more real.
  • Have a motif or extended metaphor that recurs throughout the story. For example, a doll’s house that symbolises belonging. Perhaps the character loses the doll house when her family moves to another country. Then, in the end of the story, she finds the doll’s house again
  • Use onomatopoeia if suitable.
  • Tell your story in a non-linear manner. For example, begin your story in the end – then “flashback” to the past and tell the story of how the character reached that point.

Anyway – that’s all I have for now! Good luck with your creative pieces. πŸ™‚

147 comments for “How to Write a Belonging Creative Piece

  1. Kym
    November 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you for telling me about the need to indicate a flashback using three asterisks and recommending us write first person narratives.

    Your help is like that of 10 of my Advanced lessons combined!

  2. December 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    i absolutely agree with the comment above!
    omg you’re a herooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  3. corey
    January 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    cau u please be more specific of using the three asterisks. can u give examples. for instance, is the example below a correct way to use it?? :

    the girl ran excessively until she reached her home. ***her dog was barking at her feet.***


    the girl ran excessively until she reached her home.
    ***her dog was barking at her feet***.

    are any of them the correct way of using it?
    thanks, u have been a great help.

    • tutortales
      January 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

      Do you mean using it to indicate a break in time/place? If so, then it should look like this:

      The girl ran excessively until she reached her home.

      *** (this should be in the middle of the page)

      Her dog was barking at her feet.


    • grace
      October 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Blaise glared at the snow globe that was innocently cradled in his large hands. Memories swirled around him as his eyes narrowed at the object.

      “Daddy! Stop hitting mummy! Stop, please!” cried a 6yrold boy, as he latched onto his father’s pants. The man growled furiously and tried kicking the little bugger off but he wouldn’t budge. So he blindly grabbed onto a round object on the fireplace and….

  4. corey
    January 21, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    ok thanks, but i meant it as in she was running and then while she ran she suddenly had a flashback in her mind.
    is that still the correct way to use it or is there another way?

    • tutortales
      January 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      Oh ok, I wouldn’t use the asterisks then. There’s no “correct way” to do it, but I would suggest something like:
      I was running as fast I could.
      [an indent or two] The dog snapped at my heels – it was my first day walking to school again.
      I stumbled over a root, jolting my mind back to reality and the burning sensation in my legs.

      Usually I would use italics to indicate a flashback like that, but you can’t have italics in written exams…
      Just a few notes
      – the present action should be much described in a more immediate sense. If you say “she ran…until she reached home”, you’ve basically covered the entire journey and it’s very difficult to go back to “insert” the flashback afterwards.
      – the indent can be used to suggest something different/out of normal narrative.
      – hints like “again” and “jolting my mind back to reality” help to ensure that the reader understands that the dog is in a flashback.

      Hope that helps


  5. Abbey
    July 7, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Wow..this helped a lot!

    I was just wondering for the ending, is ok to have a more reflective type ending where after the character observes her surrounding and wishes to belong, she ultimately realises she can’t belong for some reason. Is it ok to write a story along those lines…I always have trouble deciding a resolution to the story

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • tutortales
      July 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm

      A reflective ending sounds good and its what I was talking about in terms of the character realising something at the end of the story – otherwise there is no character development. Just make sure the reflection does not sound contrived eg. “And I finally realised that I can never belong because…”


  6. josh
    July 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    my teacher keeps on encouraging us to use onomatopoeia within our imaginative pieces. however im still a bit confused about them. i know what they are, however, my question is; is there already a set of words which are to be used for onomatopoeia, or can we ourselves make up onomatopoeia which we think corresponds to the sounds we hear. for example, i wanted to use the following words to describe loud music – Unh-tiss, impsk-ahh, bunss-jehh – they are supposed to describe the sound of music coming from speakers.
    is this the correct way to use it, or is there specific words which i am suppossed to use.

    • tutortales
      July 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      You can probably make some up yourself, but the problem may be that the reader does not know what sound you are trying to convey. For example, the words you’ve written – I wouldn’t know that it was loud music, unless you told me. However, it may be more obvious if it was in the context of your story. But it is always easier to go with established onomatopoeia. However, I don’t think there is established onomatopoeia for loud music, so it would be ok to make up your own, but at least make it obvious what you are trying to convey. And keep it short – otherwise random onomatopoeia (which looks a bit “jibberish”) might get annoying.


  7. viv
    July 28, 2010 at 1:48 am

    hey TT πŸ™‚

    thanks soo much on this post, it was super helpful ! i was just wondering on how to start my creative piece, and now I feel less lost haha !

    I’ve been told by my english teacher often that it’s better if the creative writing is real ? Meaning maybe personal experiences/stories would be better because it sounds more believable ?

    I have an idea which is something along the lines of not belonging in a group at school, then finding belonging in another group – transition. It’s also from personal experience but do you think this would be too cliche though ?

    Thanks in advance ! =D

    • tutortales
      July 28, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Writing from personal experience can help avoid cliches/stereotypes in your writing. For example, if you’re a female student, but you’re writing about a character who is male and gay…that could be VERY difficult and you could end up creating a stereotyped character.

      However, I tend to tell students NOT to write about not belonging in school, not belonging in your culture – because those situations are not particularly creative (you ARE your character), it’s not surprising to the marker at all etc. However, if you can write it in a creative way or with a creative twist, using your own experiences as PART of the material, but also changing it up – that could work.


      • viv
        July 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

        LOL male and gay HAHA xD
        Yep okay I see what you mean now, thank you !!

        Also, I have another idea and hope you could give me some feedback on it. It’s also from personal experience so since it is I hope I can keep it ‘real’ and believable as well =)

        It’s about my relationship with my Mum and my Dad. Since my Dad has to travel overseas for job trips and all that, I only get to see him around two times per year and each time he stays for about 3 weeks. But this has happened since I was about 9. The point is that, I start the story off with me and my mum at the airport seeing my Dad go for the umpteenth time. It’s still sad and we both are shown having cried or something like that. Then I kind of go in and say how I’ve always treasured my time with my Dad but in a way I take me and my mum’s relationship for granted. In a sense would this be related to belonging or can i twist it somehow to make it related to belonging?

        So the resolution at the end would be that I realise my mum’s an older woman now, stressed and all that and I realise that I need to treat her better and not take her for granted although she’s always around, unlike my dad.

        Hope I didn’t confuse you there with my little story plot but hope you can help give some feedback on if it IS related to belonging, if not how could I perhaps change it so it can and what do you think about the general plot.

        Thanks again in advance ! πŸ˜€

        • tutortales
          July 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm

          I think the idea of a family, where one of the parents is constantly overseas or travelling is a good idea! However, you need to think of what ideas about belonging you are going to explore. Obviously it is about familial belonging – but just having that is too simplistic. So you need to think of other ideas to integrate into the story – how does this situation affect the character’s sense of belonging (and their identity) etc?


  8. tehsmug
    July 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    thank you so much for this site and your help!!!! we have our english paper 1 trial in exactly two weeks, and so i’m frantically trying to get a few GOOD creative ideas in mind to satisfy the question.

    just another question re: the asterisks and flashbacks:

    when the character ‘goes back in time’, do we speak in present tense, or still in past tense? my story revolves around this guy who has trouble trusting people due to a scarring incident in his youth, but at the end i’m going to make him open up to a close friend. in ‘going back to the past’, should i make my character speak in present tense?

    • tutortales
      July 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      No problem! You shouldn’t change tense, even if you’re flashback-ing. So if you’re story is narrated in the present tense, then you still do present tense for the flashbacks. Or if it’s past tense narration, then just keep writing in past tense.


      • tehsmug
        July 29, 2010 at 11:40 pm

        ahk, sweet, thank you so much πŸ™‚ i’ll keep it consistent. thanks again, haha!

        just one final question:

        if i’m doing the flashback in the same tense, do i treat the whole flashback as the character speaking? like, putting inverted commas around the flashback? because i’m worried then i’ll lose the whole show-not-tell effect, and end up just having a chunk of speech.

        • tutortales
          July 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm

          No you don’t need the character to “say” the flashback. It would just be described normally from 3rd or 1st person (whichever you’re writing the whole story in).


  9. August 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Do you have an idea of what sort of stimuli they give for the creative writing? Because I only have 1 story and I’m worried that I can’t adpat it.

    • tutortales
      August 3, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      It may be a visual or a quote or even just an instruction as to the audience and text type that you must write in.

      Have a read of the past HSC questions (not just for belonging, but the past AOS) as well as practise/trial Belonging papers. By considering the different stimuli in those papers, you’ll brainstorm on ways to expand/manipulate your story. For example, if one of the past papers has a difficult quote/image which doesn’t fit with your story – actually sit and think (for a while) on HOW you could fit it into your story, even if you have to significantly change your story. Just by thinking about this – you’ll be expanding your options, and you can then draw on these alternative ideas/adaptations in the exam.


      • August 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm

        Heh, thanks for the advice. That’s exactly what I did during trials (thinking about how to adapt my story to a picture of the beach) but I knew I should’ve practiced it earlier.

        • tutortales
          August 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm

          All the best for your results then! πŸ™‚ TT

  10. Frances
    August 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Hey TT,

    thank you for all you help!!
    I was just wondering if you could post some helpful tips for the other types of creative questions that could be given; like write a speech, an interview etc.
    I seem to have been preparing for a short story my whole high school life and don’t feel confident about answering a different kind of creative piece.

    Thank You πŸ™‚

  11. Naomi
    October 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Hi TT,

    This post has been a wonderful help for me! Thank you!

    I had a couple of ideas for the narrative section in Paper 1, but I’m not sure if they’re too cliche or not. I know we are very much advised to refrain from writing a love story (especially teenage angst), but I was wondering… if I was able to include elements of romance in a story, and make it sound ‘authentic’, would I be simply marked down for the fact that I have chosen to write in the love story genre? I’m sure that if the piece has an unbelievable ‘soppy’ feel, it would not even be worth the effort; however, if it is a story that is truly able to show forth concepts such as assurance, forgiveness and joy would it not be somewhat promising? What would you suggest?

    Thank you very much!

    • tutortales
      October 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

      Hi Naomi – including elements of romance should be fine, but you should make it subtle. It really depends on your ability as a writer to convey those emotions in a sophisticated way.


  12. SALL
    October 4, 2010 at 11:25 am

    HI TT,
    This site has been so helpful and helps out alot! thanks so much.
    i had an idea for my story not sure how well it is though… its set back in the 1900s when women’s rights were starting to evolve women starting to work etc. im writing about a women choosing not to belong and move on with this lifestyle and thinking she cant lead a life without a man as the story progresses circumstances force her get a job and assimilate to this new society and she relaises that she is able to belong to the outside world without a man.. is it a good storyline? any suggestions?
    thanks heaps πŸ™‚

    • tutortales
      October 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      That’s definitely an original story! You just need to ensure that you can probably convey that the story is set in the 1900s and that the story would be adaptable to various stimuli and text formats.


  13. Shae
    October 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

    This is a fantastic post; a lifesaver less than 2 weeks out from the HSC!

    Creative writing is not my strong point and I almost went into the Trials without anything prepared. Thankfully, I managed to develop a story the morning of the exam and I think it can be adapted to most questions and text types. I got 13/15 for it, but I don’t know how the standard of marking at my school compares with that in the HSC.

    My story was about a criminal trying to find his place in a society which had neglected him. My original story focused on relationships and belonging – how this one girl who shared similar experiences with him helped him to feel accepted in a society which demanded nothing less than conformity. The Trial question was about how place affects belonging, so I adapted it to “show” how he, ironically, felt more comfortable and accepted in his jail cell instead of in the freedom of the world. I looked at how our society is so impersonal, how we just neglect those around us, especially the ones that need our help the most.

    My question is, does this seem like a good idea? Also, I used A LOT of truncated sentences, which I think was a big mistake. I wanted to give the story, which was written in the first person, a ‘train of thought’ feel, so that the audience could empathise with the character. Is it ok to use a lot of truncated sentences?

    • tutortales
      October 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Shae – that’s definitely a really interesting idea! I’m not sure about the use of truncated sentences – did your Trial marker comment on it? I would think a marker may be annoyed by the interrupted style of writing (is it like stream of consciousness writing), but it depends if you can carry it off. Also, this would probably be dropped if you had to write a feature article or interview right? Otherwise I think the ideas within your narrative are strong and interesting to play with.


      • Shae
        October 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

        I didn’t get any feedback from the Trial marker, so I’m not entirely sure what they thought about it, but I’m guessing that’s where I may have lost my marks. And it would definitely have to be dropped for a feature article or interview, but I think the idea itself is flexible enough to be moulded to fit into those text types.Thanks for the reply πŸ™‚

  14. Bob
    October 9, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Hey my creative piece has a lot of flashbacks. I think I did it right but my teacher confused me…

    Do you think you can check mine? Like I can send it to an email address that you don’t use much or which you made up for not your personal dealings? I would really appreciate it if you could check it! The HSC is in 5 days!!!

    • tutortales
      October 9, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      Sorry I don’t have the time to check more work on top of my tutoring students. TT

  15. Bob
    October 10, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    It’s okay πŸ™‚
    Hey you know how sometimes they can ask for a letter/ speech/ feature article..

    Do we have just know characteristics of each text type?But the sort of information is the same most of the time right’? In my trial, we had to provide a speech to a group. I understood that but what about a diary entry or something?

    P.S. Same issue with Paper 2!

    • tutortales
      October 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Yes, you’re right about reviewing the characteristics of each text type. But essentially the contents will be the same – analysing techniques/ideas. It is very unlikely that it would be a diary entry – the closest thing to that was I think in the Catholic or Independent Trials last year for Mod B (Advanced) they asked for 3-4 reflections? But the main ones to consider are obviously speech, interview, feature article.


  16. your mum
    October 10, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    yeh i find it complexx with the other txt types

  17. Mia
    October 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    For trials I wrote a story about a dispossessed Aboriginal teenage domestic servant, who while sweeping, reminisced about her traditional way of life and family and traditions etc (it has a conclusion as well etc)
    my english teacher gave it 15/15 when i drafted it and it fit the stimulus in the trials so I re-used and another teacher gave me 11/15 because my story lacked credibility because she sounded “too intelligent” and “self aware” and “too white…”

    Should I use this story again in the hsc?

    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      The story sounds really interesting, but it seems like it runs the risk of the marker either loving it or disliking it – different markers will have different opinions on whether the story sounds “real” or not, because obviously unless you’re actually Aboriginal, it would be difficult to write from that perspective. However, I think that if the range is between 11-15, stick with your story – its a somewhat “risky” creative, but at least you’re story isn’t so ordinary that it would just achieve a consistent 10/15. TT

    • lola
      April 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      could you email me a copy of that story?

  18. Alex
    October 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    i have a belonging piece that i got 11/15 for in my trial.
    I realised that i had not developed a character enough,
    or a complication. I was just wondering if my creative would
    achieve better marks and if its a good idea to do.

    Idea is belonging to relationships.

    I started it in the middle of conflict, post natural disaster, with descriptions of war torn earth, speaking in first person from a point of view from a boy left with is father speaking of his lost mother and home. Humans as a nation helped them with food and shelter to survive. The main message is that although humans may feel accustomed to something, it is instinct to make things more familiar. So the boy had too find something he was most suited too. (message from his father,) My resoloution concludes that each piece of their new home reminds him of his mother(e.g pool reminded her of her sparkling eyes), which is what he feels familiar too, hence finding a sense of belonging after what he lost so close to him.

    • tutortales
      October 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Hi Alex – did the marker tell you where you lost your marks? It may have been a variety of things, besides character and complication development. I think a natural disaster aftermath is interesting – but you need something to happen or drive the story to the end. What is that? TT

      • Alex
        October 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

        Yeh, it was becasue my creative was to broad, but i now made it more specific.

        The thing that drives my story to the end, is the help of the human race, its trying to say that after a problem, the problem will get fixed in time, and is sort of like a cycle effect.


        • tutortales
          October 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm

          What I mean is what is it that drives the character to the end. What is the character’s motivation during this? TT

  19. cassandra
    October 11, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    thanks for this! it’s very clear and sounds really helpful. I’m trying it tonight!

  20. Jacquie
    October 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    thank you so much for all your helpful suggestions!

    I have prepared a narrative for section II but I am a little worried that it is too specific to the concept of belonging I am trying to convey. How specific can the question be/how closely does the narrative need to connect to the stimulus?

    • tutortales
      October 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

      Can’t really say how specific the stimulus will be, but generally the stimulus will need to be the BASIS for your creative. This may either be the main idea of your idea, a recurring motif or a significant scene/object – depending on what the stimulus is.


  21. alexx
    October 12, 2010 at 5:13 am

    my creative is perfectly done. now i just need to memorise it!!
    seeing as thers isnt enough time to memorise every sentence
    would u recommomend picking a few important scenes and getting them done perfect?

    • tutortales
      October 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      Yes you’re on the right track – memorise key descriptions and moments. It’s hard to make up vivid descriptions on the spot. TT

  22. Jason
    October 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Hi, im just wondering.
    For Felikz Skrzynecki poem, the composer emphasises the fact that he does not belong to his cultural identity / root.
    how do i phrase “lack of belonging / do not belonging ” in other words, because i am using it alot.
    And further, do you suggest students memorise essays? or just make them up on the spot.

    • tutortales
      October 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

      Alienation, disconnection, ostracisation – look up synonyms along those lines. You should memorise essays, but obviously not word for word. You memorise key ideas, techniques, quotes and have a somewhat prepared thesis. You then use all of that and construct an essay particular to the given question.


  23. alex
    October 14, 2010 at 12:21 am

    hi, im just wondering. for section 1 of paper 1 the short questions. if there is a picture and it has a poster or some sort of sign that has words in it. and the question asks you what are visual features. can i use the sign and the words to talk about the visual feature ?

    also i do not know how to write a feature article, its not that i havnt tried, its just i dont understand. I write it although the teacher says, its my creative writing only with a heading. I am unsure of how to alter a short story into a feature article.

    my current story is about a mother and a daughter which eat at a pancake shop, the mother boards a train in the morning, then there is a flashback as she is reminded of the weekend. they go to the pancake shop and both feel togehter there. A complication is that the daughter will leave, and so mother feels she does not belong, although they keep talking and the mother finds that belonging is not at home, its with people
    how can i change this for a speech or a feature article or diary entry

    and i was reading up on the flashback , would you use it like this

    Please don’t leave me here, Please , someone help me !!! he cried frantically after his β€œso called friends” as they had left him in the cold, empty alleyway of the nearby cornershop.Im going to die . . . ***It was the morning as Alex had prepared

    im also wondering what are the sorts of things they can ask us in section 3. will it always be essay

    appreciate your help

    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      Yes, signs and words in the poster should be fine as visual features, so long as it relates to whatever they’re asking (often about belonging).
      Have a look at feature articles in magazines, like the Sunday telegraph. Feature articles are often very engaging (almost like a written speech), with an introduction, conclusion that’s snappy. It should have short paragraphs and can include anecdotes. So perhaps instead of the flashback, you would write it as an anecdote.
      Yes, that’s the way to use the asterisks, but you need to space it out so that the asterisks are on a line of its own etc.
      Section 3 can be any text type.

  24. ali
    October 14, 2010 at 9:05 am

    are the characters allowed to be lesbian???
    without mentioning anything r rated, my story is about how 1 lady betrayed her girlfriend and allowed soldiers to take away their adopted children?
    so yea thanks

    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Ali, I wouldn’t think that there’s anything wrong with having lesbian characters. But it is a risky thing – the marker may be a conservative person who considers homosexuality offensive (consider that most of the markers would be middle aged+). Or the marker may wonder why the characters are lesbians – does it add anything to their characters and the storyline? I assume you explore how they may be alienated from society, because of their sexuality?


  25. Lex
    October 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

    When you say its better to write in 1st person how come you gave examples of non 1st person sentences like “He had never felt so alone before.” would it be better and easier to write “I had never felt so alone before” rather than switching between 1st and 3rd person throughout the essay?

    Also you said at one point “Drafting up a creative writing piece on Belonging that you can prepare and take into the exam is as important as the essay!” I didn’t think you were allowed to take any material like that into the exam? (HSC)

    And last with the ”flashbacks” you didn’t use the three asterisks in any of your examples however you said we should use them whenever we were describing a flashback. for e.g. should i write “the girl ran excessively until she reached her home ***her dog was barking at her feet***” OR “the girl ran excessively until she reached her home, the dog was barking at her feet”


    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Lex, I’ll answer your question in 3 points:
      1) Don’t switch between 1st and 3rd person. Generally, 1st person is easier in terms of expressing emotions. My examples are all 3rd person, because my personal preference is to write in 3rd person. I didn’t even notice that when I was writing the examples, lol. But use whichever you feel the most confident writing in, I think.
      2) You can’t take any material. When I said “take” – I didn’t mean literally. I meant in your mind. Sorry to confuse you.
      3) See Sophia’s comment below.

  26. Sophia
    October 14, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I just had a quick question. I’ve got my story but I’m trying to figure out how to write in flashbacks. You’ve already said that you use asterixes but do you frame the paragraph with them?

    For example.




    Present tense

    Or do you just do



    Present tense

    • tutortales
      October 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      It should be this (where the story begins in the memory, then shifts to present?):
      Present tense


  27. Lucy
    October 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    wow – this website is a life-saver!!
    I realise this is completely last minute – but i just have a quick question (because i am having second thoughts about my creative idea!!)

    so.. my question is: how creative are we allowed to be? my story is about an immigrant who flees his home country because of persecution.. but then faces racism in his new country. however, the countries that it’s set in are completely fictional (ie. made-up country, made up president etc). is that ok?

    • Kate
      October 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      Lucy- from what I’ve been told, its finnnee. Good Luck tomorrow!

  28. alex
    October 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    hi, im wondering, for section 3. you have a prepared essay, and its good. although if they say write a feature article. what do you change, is it just the intro you would change ?? how would you adapt your essay, to a feature article. Also how would you cahnge your essay to a speach. would you just put 1 rhetorical question and thats it. change the intro to say hello . is that all for a speech
    and if its an interview same thing, just say your going to intreview
    say the question
    and then write your prepared essay
    then anathor question
    how many questions would you use in a speech
    and how many rhetorical question in a feature article
    and how many rhetorical questions in a interview
    and is it possible to get a memoir
    how would you change your essay, into a memoir


    Feature articles are often very engaging (almost like a written speech), with an introduction, conclusion that’s snappy.

    so whats the differernce between a feature article and a speech

    so if i say

    It was a uniform. She stared. She watched the guard step out of the train as he welcomed her aboard. The light on top of the train blinked and flashed as the grubby glass doors of the train flew open with a disgruntled drone to greet her before the sun rise. Her shoes scuffled softly, quiet against the sound of the cold, drone of the trains engine

    how would you change this intro into a 1) speech
    2) interview
    3)feature article

    sorry for big message

    • hkjbkjb
      March 27, 2011 at 6:52 am

      you copied half of that from the excel creative writing sample.

  29. ZaaRaa
    December 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Hey thanks for the great & concise information but…as I was reading the comments, everyone seems to have very original & amazing story plots compared to my story, mine is ….pretty boring & average BUT my teacher told us to write a story that is about us because it is easier to make realistic & portray…
    so my plot is it begins with a non-linear time-frame…so the characters in the toilet with her textbook & pens….studying frantically
    and she hears her mum calling her & it flashbacks into how she came from school & looked thru her diary & had upcomin exams & needed to study..but however main point is she is an afghan and is from an afghan family who has strong cultural beliefs of girls having the knowledge of cooking …so her parent’s priority are not her education but for her to learn how to cook but she does not belong bcos she thinks very differently…
    so …theres a scene with her receiving a lecture from her parents & then her tryna scrub off the dishes but the grime wont come off (maybe like metaphor for culture sticks…) & mum asks her to come and watch her cook when she pretends to be sick & runs to the bathroom to go study…and the story continues from there..not sure on how to end it yet..maybe a realisation that her parents are going to be like that & she might as well put up with their persistent behaviour but put her priority of education first?

    Kinda average compared to some amazing plots i saw in the comments though, but what do u think? worth writing?

  30. Becca
    December 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Thank you so much for posting this on the internet. You are a real life saver! I was struggling to find ideas for my belonging story but then I found this site.
    Again many thanks mate (:

  31. Jullie
    January 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

    hi ! Like all the other comments, thank you so much for posting those brilliant story ideas !!
    i came up with a story few weeks ago and my friends think my ending is a bit strange.
    My story is about myself at church not feeling that i belong because of language barrier. i sit in the back corner and watch my sister being a part of many groups in the church. The pastor requests duties from her, not recognising me at all. i feel so frustrated that i dash out of the church. i immediately plug a song called, ‘im yours’ into my ears where i am feeling a sense of belonging in the car. i remember the stains on the car that reminded me of eating ice creams with my sister….felt contentment. in the end, my sister is tapping on the window~ i suddenly look at her face and feel a strong connection with her. ‘She is eventually my other half, my twin-sister who would never leave me.’

    Do you think the ending is alright?

    • tutortales
      January 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      The ending may be a bit “strange”, because are the character and the sister actually twin-sisters? Or is that just an expression? Also, it doesn’t seem as if her language barrier problems are really resolved or addressed at the end – at first, it seems to be about isolation from the community and jealousy, but then it ends with something about familial connection to one person. The story needs to be much more “centralised”, rather than moving from community/church to car/music to sister. But I like the idea of finding belonging through music.


  32. January 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    yea i just wanted to include many aspects of belonging.
    yep i will take ur advice about the ‘centralised part.’
    yep my characters are supposed to be twins, but i guess i gtta mention it in the beginning , right?
    And i will leave out the language barrier part~~
    Thanks for the quick reply and tips : )

  33. February 1, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I was wondering if u would like to exchange links…. our site is
    if ur interested please link us and contact me via
    thanks in advance;)

  34. Joe
    February 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Can I change the creative wrting stimulus in anyway? For example, from 1st person to third person ‘I’m not going there….” to “John was not going there” or chaging it from he to she “She felt sick” to “he felt sick”.

    Do I have to include all the words provided in the quote?

    • tutortales
      February 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      It depends on what the instructions are – do you have to begin with the quote, or use the quote as the basis of your story? Generally, though, I can hardly see the BOS penalising you for making such a minor change as (1st/3rd person) or gender. However, if you are worried about that, you could also easily rewrite your story with those minor changes. TT

  35. rm
    March 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    As a marker, I disagree on always writing in first person. It lends itself to introspective ranting and too much emotion. Try to write a short story with all elements – orientation, complication, climax, resolution. Reflective first person type writing just so easily becomes a diary entry type ramble.

  36. rm
    March 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Also, some other pointers:

    – avoid being a teenager wherever you can
    – try not to write about school
    – avoid angst (teen pregnancy, bullying, depression, rape, abortion, miscarriage, parents divorcing etc)
    – never “look back” at the end of your story, eg “that was ten years ago now…”

  37. JRuss
    March 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I was hoping you could tell me if the creative writing piece may be based on an event in history.
    I am fairly sure you can though would you recommend a completely original story in which the ending isn’t predictable because there is already a knowledge of the event?

    • tutortales
      March 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Basing a creative on historical events is fine. In fact, it can often lend realism and depth to your story, if it is properly researched and avoids stereotypes/cliches. TT

  38. andy69
    April 12, 2011 at 1:41 am

    may i ask is it good to go over a word limit in an assignment the word limit is 500 to 650 words should i go around 800 words or no?

    • tutortales
      April 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      You shouldn’t because the word limit would’ve been set for a reason – it defines the level of depth they want you to go into and also tests your ability to write succinctly. Granted, there are some teachers who ask for 500 words, yet don’t care whether you go overboard. TT

  39. andy69
    April 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    like i asked about 2 weeks ago one said you can go over by abit maybe like about 100 and one said if you do ill stop reading.

  40. Kevin
    May 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Hi TT,
    Can the resolution be sad?
    Like the character/s come to some realisation with links to belonging/not belonging -> its a good moment for their development but comes from an unfortunate event or sad ending etc.?
    Thanks in advance πŸ™‚

    • tutortales
      May 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Hey Kevin, yes it’s perfectly find for the characters to come to a sad ending. Essentially they have been changed through their realisation – even if it is a matter of disappointment, or devastation. TT

  41. Kevin
    May 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    ^ please reply asap πŸ˜›

  42. Blue
    May 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I’ve read over marked responses in my schools trials from 2010 and creatives with 500-600 words gained 14/15 and 15/15s. This to me is ridiculously short. Is there any point spending 40 minutes writing this section when such a short length can achieve full marks? The stories in question were not stellar.

  43. Anji
    June 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    this helped me alot thank you… πŸ™‚

  44. Kato
    July 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Hey there. I am doing a belonging story on where my protagonist conforms into his society, but realises that at the end, he wants more and therefore chooses not to belong. Would that work out, does there always have to have a feeling of belonging at the end of a short story?

    • Alexander
      July 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

      I know I am just a random person who is also doing belonging this year, but I think people get too caught up in making it obvious that people don’t belong and try to make it some cliche alternative that markers find boring and generic.

      My story is about a kid who picks up little fragments owned by his grandpa, and each fragment takes him to one of his grandpa’s memories where he eventually gains insights and understandings of the grandpa that died before he got a chance to really know him. I think if you take a surreal spin on a genuinely common problem (In this case, children not knowing their grandparents because of premature deaths) then that is the kind of thing that sets you apart from others. Like, at the moment, my creative belonging piece usually gets a 15 or 14.

      Alternatively, comedy is a dangerous water that still acts as a pastiche of that generally gloomy belonging piece. For example, why can’t a guy go to meet his girlfriend’s parents but in doing so drops the remote control in the fish tank, electrocuting the fish, making a big ruckus, so the dog runs away taking the dinner tablecloth with it and everything is disaster central? Making the marker laugh will no doubt put you at the top of their list, but it’s definitely hard to pull off a good comedy piece.

      The fact is that the premise is by no doubt what sets you apart. you need to think of something witty. I’m not saying your businessman is incapable of that, but why not make him something out of the ordinary? Perhaps by night, he’s a transvestite! you just need to subvert the text or give it an alternative spin on these generic “I don’t belong” responses.

    • tutortales
      July 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      No there doesn’t – the fact the character comes to a realisation and makes a choice not to belong is significant enough to mark the ending of the story (and the beginning of another one). TT

  45. angela
    July 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    For the creative writing section, how do you suggest preparing to change your story to the simulus?

    • tutortales
      July 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      The best thing is to practice with a whole bunch of different stimuli. You don’t even need to write out the creative again, but just consider how you would manipulate your story to fit the stimulus (this is essentially what you need to do during your reading time). Once you’ve done that with 10+ stimuli, you should have about 10+ slight variations of your story to work with. The easiest thing can often be changing the motif/setting to the image/photo stimulus. TT

  46. VC
    July 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    THANK YOU SOO MUCH! i have my trials in 2 days and now i know what to write for my belonging piece:) you’re a hero!!

  47. rose
    July 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    thnx for the advice, very helpful. i have been trying to come up with a good story but have been stuggling for quite some time now. the idea i have so far is very retarted. it’s about a guy stuck in a box, and he’s looking out from a tiny crack on the box and describing the destruction of the outside world. and then at the end we realise that he’s describing the damage done to his country after a tsunami, and how he is trapped between the wood pieces, and his hands and legs are broken and cant move, he can hear the resuce team around him, but he dosent want to call for help because he dosent want to leave his home, and knows that if he dose get help, they are going to take him to another place far from his home (because it’s destroyed).

    im not sure if it’s good…?

    • tutortales
      July 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      It sounds like a tragic but interesting story. In terms of ideas, what are you exploring about belonging? The character’s strong connection to the PHYSICAL as a place to belong (and sadly, a place that can thus be destroyed)?
      Does the character realise anything at the end? Does he call out? TT

  48. Alan
    August 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    wow, that really helped a lot!
    i wish i discovered this site earlier!
    Thanks for the help, much appreciated!

  49. Liam
    August 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    thank you, very helpful !!

  50. Trent
    September 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    hey great site, umm i have a creative writing piece which kind goes against some of your rules, just wanted to know if there were like exceptions…

    my story focuses around this kid whose parents died in a car crash and has a hideous scar covering half of his face (this is learnt throughout the story), he is in a classroom sitting away from everyone else, wants to belong but doesnt think he will be accepted, the perspective in the story swaps from this kid to another kid constantly throughout the story, this new kid sees him siting on the other side of the room, he has lost his parents too and wants to connect with him and make him feel accepted but the first kid doesnt look up, he is like too afraid he will be picked on or rejected if he tries talking because of the massive scar, so they both end up wishing they could talk to each other but neither of them can, the story ends with that sort of questioning as to whether the two talk or they both stay seated waiting for one of them to make the first move.

    it goes against your rule about there needing to be a resolution, but i reckon its more interesting having that sort of cliffhanger that lingers in your head after youve read the story.

    really appreciate what you are doing though

  51. Sam
    October 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Thank you, so much. These notes and pointers are just awesome. I wish i found this sooner.

  52. Heya
    October 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    hey thanks for the help,i was thinking of doing mine in second person.

    But you said dont do it
    is there a reason why?
    thanks any help would be appreciated

    • tutortales
      October 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Second person is using “you” for the characters, like “You walk through a crowd of strangers. You look for a face that will crinkle and smile at you in recognition.” Second person tends to sound intrusive – as if you’re directing the reader in how they act/feel. It that sense, it can be more telling the story than showing it. It lacks subtly and gets quite annoying for the reader. TT

  53. Carmen
    October 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    This is a Great Website!
    I was just wondering, for the section two..
    Should we prepare an article based response as well as a creative story?
    Because I don’t see how a creative story can be of any help If we get asked to write a feature article about belonging

    • tutortales
      October 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      You can change a creative story into a feature article, so long as the creative piece isn’t too out there or fantastical. For example, one of the creatives I wrote was about a girl in an insane asylum. As a feature article, I wrote from the perspective that the writer was interviewing/ writing about this girl and her life. In a way it was simply changing from 1st to 3rd person and adapting the tone and everything else to a feature article style. TT

  54. Sarah
    October 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

    this was really helpful thanks heaps

  55. Olivia
    October 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

    This is such a great article!
    I have an idea for my creative, which would have the plot line revolving somewhat around the idea of an extremely elderly lady confined to a nursing home (could that be the barrier to belonging or something??), gradually she secretly keeps the sleeping pills or some form of medication she is given by a nurse and then ends up taking all of them to i guess kill herself as an escape from the confinement and stuff.. i dont really know if thats any good and obviously i would expand, but what kind of motiff could i add to that , and what kind of ‘not-belonging’ could i try and explore??????????????

  56. anna
    October 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    for the creative writing piece . can you write in 1st person but use an animals perspective instead of using a human for your story? like for example if i was to write a story as a pitbull who feels rejected due to the ban on pitbulls .. and how he feels he doesnt belong bcus of the sterotypical reaction people have when they see him ..

  57. matt
    October 12, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hey thanks for the help, I was just wondering about doing a story. Its about a blind person regaining there sight yet they losing their identity as person and common experience with their blind friends. They are unable to connect with normal people and the blind thus they cannot belong. What are your thoughts?

    • tutortales
      October 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      That sounds interesting – you’re exploring identity, belonging and alienation, and the relationship between those themes. The success of your story will depend on your execution though and whether you can write it in a way that is not too predictable or cliched. TT

  58. gez
    October 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if you have any practice questions or stimuli for creative writing? I have been all over the internet, but I can’t find anything!

    • tutortales
      October 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Sorry I haven’t compiled any list of creative questions, but just have a look at past papers and trial papers. TT

  59. Mickey
    October 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hey mate,
    It’s a great site.. specially since it’s given me a lot more confidence goin into the exam.
    One question, though. I’ve asked the teachers, n they haven’t really given me much of a definitive answer. Do u have to put in a title at the beginning?
    Cause some say yes, n some say no.
    Thanks in advanced. πŸ™‚

    • tutortales
      October 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      No, a title isn’t necessary. But if you think it adds to your story in some way, why not put it in. πŸ™‚ TT

  60. Bregan
    October 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Hi tutortales, I was just wondering in regards to the HSC paper 1 section 2, how much do you have to utilise the stimulus to make sure it becomes a ‘significant’ part of your story, and to score top marks? Does it have to be like one paragraph extrapolating on it, or is ok to just slip in the quote, but the ‘concept’ of it comes out in a few paragraphs without explicitly mentioning the quote? Cos I had a story that my teacher said was high A range, but in the trial I apparently didn’t link to the stimulus much, and only got a 10.. I want to make sure this doesn’t happen next Tuesday for the real one.

    • tutortales
      October 13, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      You should use the stimulus both literally and metaphorically in your story. For example, if the stimulus is an image of a puzzle piece. I would incorporate a puzzle piece into my story literally (probably as a motif) and use it as a metaphor about fitting in etc. TT

  61. Cindy
    October 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Hey there,
    I have a narrative that i’ve written and changed over the last year and it revolves around the idea of a shopaholic and the need to belong through buying well… anything. I’ve tried to make my language sophisticated but my character is kind of dramatic as she suffers from omniomania.
    I used it in my trials and only got a 11/15 because the marker said it was superficial but my language and vocab kept it from being a C. they also said it was a ‘one idea’ story.
    Is writing about a shopaholic cliched or superficial? i tried to think outside the box and describe a sense of belonging that is usually look down by society.

  62. Nephh22
    October 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Hey thanks for this site it’s really helpful, for my creative piece, I was donating if I wrote a story using colliqual language would I get marked down for incorrect sentences? For example :
    “i cant wait to go Canberra” as opposed to ” I can’t wait to go to canberra”. Would The marker understand my use of colloquial language or would she mistake my sentences gor grammatical errors?
    Also I wanted to write a poem for my creative piece is that a good idea?

    • October 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      I really wouldn’t write a poem, as they are completely subjective; generally if if gives you a choice of medium they specifically say “NOT a poem” in the instructions.

      Also, while colloquial language is acceptable and helps create a character’s ‘voice’, your example is not the way I’d do it. Good grammar is always important, spelling also, although I personally am not too good at it. Colloquial language often uses slang or words from a particular profession, but not phrases like “I can’t wait to go Canberra” although for a young child the sentance “I can’t wait to go toilet” would be not only acceptable but also appropriate.

      While your character’s language should match their status/education/age, it is not advisable to use bad grammar or too much slang.

  63. Angela
    October 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Does having constant flashbacks in my creative writing make it a confusing piece? I am writing story about how she conforms in her present, but her sense of belonging is created through an object/constant flashbacks. At the end she resolves to not conform?

  64. Neesh
    October 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I’m writing a creative writing piece for an exam and am not sure how to start it.
    Its about the world ending & while families are running to each other comforting one another there’s this isolated man who has absolutely no one to comfort him He doesn’t belong to anything or anyone, but he has many belongings.

  65. r
    November 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    would it be alright to talk about homosexuality and/or tansexualism for a creative piece? Are markers usually biased or prejudiced against that sort of thing?

  66. Chloe
    November 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Hi TT,
    Just wanted to say that this is an exellent site, very useful indeed.
    I’m only just starting year 12 and have a creative writing piece on Belonging coming up very shortly and this site has given me alot of insightful ideas and methods on how to even begin to write a creative story. Thankyou and keep up the great work!


  67. November 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Hi TT,

    I have started Yr12 not long ago and we have an assessment coming soon. The related material of the assessment has already been given to us. We were given 3 pieces…1. Prose fiction; title- Seeing is Redeeming by Emma Prrunty, 2. An image of a cat facing the mirror. The reflection of the mirror shows a lion instead. Title: What matters most is how you see yourself, 3. Song Lyric- “Find Yourself,” by Brad Paisley. We were then given the info that they will randomly pick a format out of the following 3; feature article, speech and an interview.

    In general, how would I incoporate the techniques and quotes into each of the formats to make not sound like an essay? I am preparing to do all 3 just in case.

    By the way, the concept of Belonging that I’ve noticed that are common to these texts are belonging to self and society.

    And which of the 3 do you possibly suggest that will be in the assessment?

    Thanx heaps!!!!

  68. Phillip
    November 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    How can you show not tell, Could you list examples.


  69. leo
    January 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    does the end of creative writing always have to be positive? or it can be negative also? like the girl loses everything and feels alone at the end?

    • tutortales
      January 15, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Hi Leo, no the ending doesn’t have to be positive. It can definitely be negative as well and often that has more dramatic impact. TT

  70. Rebecca Massih
    January 11, 2012 at 11:02 am


  71. January 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    hey with a circular narrative how would I then put that into a hand written copy?
    In my typed up version i leave a line do 3 *’s then leave another line and continue with the story in the new setting so would i just do the same when hand writting it?

    • tutortales
      January 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Tom, yes that’s exactly what you do in the handwritten copy. TT

  72. Sam
    January 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks a lot!! This article was very helpful πŸ™‚
    I’ve been stuck searching for a plot for my story for weeks. However, I’ve looked online and I’ve read a really interesting idea for a creative writing piece. I want to use this idea and bring my own twist to it, but I don’t know if that’s plagiarism or not. Am I allowed to do this?

    • tutortales
      January 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

      Hi Sam, if you’re using the idea as a basis for a story but putting your twist and style to it, that should be fine. There’s no black/white rule about what would/wouldn’t be plagiarism, because it really depends on how you write the story and how much you incorporate from the creative you found. TT

  73. sanaa
    January 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Hey there TT!

    This site was really helpful, along with the comments!
    I have a lot of creative ideas in my mind, however, I just don’t know how to put them on paper.
    I have this new idea about a homeless person. I want to begin the story in his present life, i.e rich, and successful. Then i want to flashback his life, when he sees kids makinf fun of a homeless person, which flashbakcs him to his memory of how he used to be before a person ( his current day boss) accepted him, which allowed the former homeless man to identify himself, through belonging.

    Is this a good idea? Is it cliche’ in any way?
    Do you have any suggestions that could get me top marks?

    Also, because i’m starting the story in his present life, and flashbacking to his past, how do i end the story? I mean, what could be my resolution in the end? is it the fact that someone has taken me in?


    x. sanaa

  74. Lani
    February 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Hi, thank you so much for your article!
    I am writing a short vignette (belonging) for year 12, and we are meant to have a point in our story where a small thing makes a character feel a sense of belonging. My idea was to have a character in a Homewares aisle or toy aisle of a department store or whatever, and the lady to be looking at different items, and they trigger memories, like childhood memories and or early adulthood, and reminds her of what she doesnt have anymore, e.g familial connections, and it is what she obviously misses, although I want to now be able to have something happen where she suddenly feels a sense of belonging, but am stuck, so I was wondering if you could help, with any suggestions of what could trigger a sense of belonging in this situation??
    Thanks for your help in advance!

    • tutortales
      February 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Hi Lani. It depends on what idea/message you want to convey. For example, you could have her glance down the aisle and see someone else staring at the items as well. In that moment, she wonders/realises that she is not alone in her nostalgia; this is a common experience/emotion felt by many people and she feels a sense of belonging/connection with that person. In that example, the idea could be that, even in our loneliness, we can nevertheless find some sense of belonging/affinity with those who are also lonely. TT

  75. kayy
    February 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Loving the ideas sanaa! its epicc!!!!!!!!! Sounds very similar to mine. It reminds me of the pursuit of happiness.
    Your on the right track!
    Hopefully you get more insight from TT!



  76. Michelle.L
    February 14, 2012 at 2:15 am


    I was think of writing a short story about a girl in a asylum. Not only is she classified as ‘not normal’ to society but she also feel like she doesn’t belong within herself in terms of mentally, emotionally and physically. Hence, she feels trapped and people defined her as ‘crazy’.
    I also wanted to incorporate the notion that what does society classify as normal. What defines normality within a human being and who gets to say what is normal and what is not. What ever happened to individuality. Why must we ‘belong’ or tick all the boxes that society regards as —–> doesn’t fit in OR fits in.

    Do you think this short story conveys the idea of belonging? What could I write in my short story that challenges the reader and gets the markers attention?

    Hope you can help me out!

    • tutortales
      February 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Michelle. I think your story does convey ideas about belonging – how it is defined by those around us, and also our own self-perception (which is affected by others), and how conformity/normality is often integral to belonging. What caused the girl to be in the asylum? What did she do? You need it to be something which is ambiguous, such that the reader both sympathises with and rejects the character. This way, the reader will challenge society’s notions of “normality”, yet understand why society has rejected/isolated this girl. TT

  77. Michael
    March 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I need to do a creative piece about belonging to society for school and the stimulus is a picture of a girl in a wheel chair. I am terrible at narratives and am thinking of doing a speech by a person on a wheel chair to inspire people to make the most out of their lives and what they are given. Do you think it’s ok to do a speech or are only short stories acceptable. If yes what tips would you give me for writing a creative speech?

    Thanks so much,

    • tutortales
      March 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Michael. It depends on what the exam question states – it may ask specifically for a short story, or simply a “creative” at which point you can do a speech. It’s fine to do a speech, as a speech can be quite similar to a character’s 1st person narration or monologue really. The only difference is that in your speech you will be “telling” a lot more, rather than showing, and you will also need to ensure that you still use varied/interesting language to tell your character’s story. TT

  78. Jake Armes
    March 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Hey, thank you so much for this post , I am sure it will boost my results in creative writing, it has already given me many ideas. One question though. I have a tendency in my creative writing pieces to overdo my introduction or sort of extend my orientation to put it another way. I often start in the middle of the complication, or with an ominous opening paragraph (i.e. It was 9 o’clock, i was sitting on my lounge and all appeared to be normal… descriptions …but little did i know, everything was about to change). At this point i would backtrack and introduce my main character and what his/her life is like about. I take far too long on this orientation that i run out of time and have to finish my story with a rushed and untimely resolution :(. However i feel as if I have to include this detail in the intro/orientation because the audience won’t understand my character or their background enough if i don’t.

    Thank you in advance, Jake

    • tutortales
      March 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Jake – how are you telling the intro/orientation? You should try and integrate that part into the story, in order to minimise “telling and not showing” and to save words. For example, you can have bits of the background hinted/stated in dialogue, or a quick narration by the main character. TT

      • Jake Armes
        March 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm

        Thanks for the help πŸ™‚

  79. June 30, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Hey, your article is great. I found it to be very informative, Thanks a lot for the tips, and the examples made it even better!

  80. Michelle
    July 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    its taken me just before trials to come up with a creative writing piece! your tips really helped as it took me less than an hour to come up with a piece! thank you thank you thank you!!

  81. maliisa
    September 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    wow itz give me more understanding about how to wirte creative story and also the flashback it is a great way to put this situation in our story because i have alos been told by my english teacher . as i was reading more and more comments from the people and i start getting more ideas from each one of them. i especially thankz the tutortales in giveing a lot of suppport and ideas of ways in how to make a good creative story πŸ™‚

  82. maliisa
    September 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    cn someone plz help me with flashback creative piece.

  83. retractable banner stands wholesale
    March 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Awsome post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance πŸ™‚

  84. cuimod
    April 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    How would I write about a place that has significance to myself about another person?

  85. Liuque
    September 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Hey , your post is so helpful! Thank you for sharing it:)
    Could you give some feedback on my idea?
    It’s about a teen who has kidney disease, feeling loss and lack of purpose as he cannot connects with anyone in the hospital. His dad (divorced with mum) came back overseas, which made he feels secured coz he feels like relating to them. He thought his fatherHowever, his father keeps putting him off by answering his question insincerely, which reduces the protagonist’s desire to belong. After this, he accidentally discovers that his father came back only to shirk his responsibility (of paying the fees) to his mum. Hence, the teen decided to isolate himself from his father.

    I’m thinking to add a notion of identity.. maybe his choice to isolate himself from his dad helps him to get insights of his individuality?
    How should I make the story more sophisticated… I sux at describing things…

    Is the story too complex?? I think I need to convey the belonging concepts more clearly but I have no idea how to do it..

    Thank you thank you!!!

  86. Liuque
    September 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    ^ Can you please reply ASAP?~ πŸ˜€

  87. Mia.gyaneshwar
    March 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Hi this is very helpful but could you please give me some advice about my idea. Would it be ok to write about someone who is at school from a different culture and the other kids don’t understand them,are scared of them or don’t accept them because they are different

  88. tz
    March 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Hi, I was just wondering about stimulus quotes. If they give you a stimulus quote and ask you to the quote as a central idea in the story, should you include the quote in your story (as in actually writing the quote in)?

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