Creative Writing

How a 360 Degree View can help with Creative Writing


The English Language exam often involves a piece of creative writing.
As part of this, the AQA exam board specifically provides a picture for students to write about.

Thinking of ideas to write on, knowing where to start and finding ways to incorporate different techniques can be challenging.

Here are a few methods that can help…

Step 1: Think Of Words

Assuming you have an image to base your writing on, try dividing it into say, quarters. If you don’t have an image, you can still follow this method.
Now list words that spring to mind. They could be anything; based on what you can see, what you can’t see, the senses, what you feel, and so on. If you have an image that you have divided into sections, annotate each section with words to ensure you do not miss any important details.

Step 2: Make Sure You Have Covered All Bases

There are a few elements that make a good piece of creative writing. Now that you have a list of various words (and perhaps phrases too), highlight, in different colours the ones that relate to the following:

• Setting – have you got some words that indicate the time and place?
• Register – what words describe the look and feel of the overall setting?
• Starting point – highlight words that give you a start for your creative piece.
• Where to next? After you have started your writing, what will you write about next?
• Linguistic devices – do you have words that enable you to demonstrate techniques like personification, metaphors, similes, alliteration and so on?
• Sensory descriptions – have you used all five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch)?

This will help you decide quickly whether any sections need more words.

Step 3: Get Writing!

Now that you have a plan (that should take you no more than 10 minutes), you can start writing. You should know where to start, and what should follow. By this point you will have gained enough momentum to keep your writing flowing.

The 360 Degree View

What makes a good story? Here are some ideas:
• Believable and interesting characters
• Vivid descriptions
• Tension
• Different types of sentence (for a varied pace)
• Interesting language

What Do All Of These Have In Common?

They are all designed to interest the reader. Writing with a 360 degree view means that your reader should not simply have a sense of what is in front of them, be it a picture or an imaginary scene. They should know what is happening all around. They should have more information than just what they can see – they should feel something.

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Sumantha is an education and training specialist with over ten years' experience in developing and delivering adult and secondary level education. Her professional journey includes a six-year stint as a secondary school teacher. She is currently a freelance content writer and learning and development consultant. Sumantha also has a portfolio of private students who she teaches up to GCSE level.

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