Griffin Teaching

11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

by Hayley | Nov 17, 2022 | Exams , Writing | 0 comments

The 11+ exam is a school entrance exam taken in the academic year that a child in the UK turns eleven.

These exams are highly competitive, with multiple students battling for each school place awarded.

The 11 plus exam isn’t ‘one thing’, it varies in its structure and composition across the country. A creative writing task is included in nearly all of the 11 plus exams, and parents are often confused about what’s being tested.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the plot of your child’s writing task is important. It is not.

The real aim of the 11+ creative writing task is to showcase your child’s writing skills and techniques.

And that’s why preparation is so important.

This guide begins by answering all the FAQs that parents have about the 11+ creative writing task.

At the end of the article I give my best tips & strategies for preparing your child for the 11+ creative writing task , along with 50 fiction and non-fiction creative writing prompts from past papers you can use to help your child prepare. You’ll also want to check out my 11+ reading list , because great readers turn into great writers.

Do all 11+ exams include a writing task?

Not every 11+ exam includes a short story component, but many do. Usually 3 to 5 different prompts are given for the child to choose between and they are not always ‘creative’ (fiction) pieces. One or more non-fiction options might be given for children who prefer writing non-fiction to fiction.

Timings and marking vary from test to test. For example, the Kent 11+ Test gives students 10 minutes for planning followed by 30 minutes for writing. The Medway 11+ Test gives 60 minutes for writing with ‘space allowed’ on the answer booklet for planning.

Tasks vary too. In the Kent Test a handful of stimuli are given, whereas 11+ students in Essex are asked to produce two individually set paragraphs. The Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CCSE) includes 2 creative writing paragraphs inside a 60-minute English exam.

Throughout the UK each 11+ exam has a different set of timings and papers based around the same themes. Before launching into any exam preparation it is essential to know the content and timing of your child’s particular writing task.

However varied and different these writing tasks might seem, there is one key element that binds them.

The mark scheme.

Although we can lean on previous examples to assess how likely a short story or a non-fiction tasks will be set, it would be naïve to rely completely on the content of past papers. Contemporary 11+ exams are designed to be ‘tutor-proof’ – meaning that the exam boards like to be unpredictable.

In my online writing club for kids , we teach a different task each week (following a spiral learning structure based on 10 set tasks). One task per week is perfected as the student moves through the programme of content, and one-to-one expert feedback ensures progression. This equips our writing club members to ‘write effectively for a range of purposes’ as stated in the English schools’ teacher assessment framework.

This approach ensures that students approaching a highly competitive entrance exam will be confident of the mark scheme (and able to meet its demands) for any task set.

Will my child have a choice of prompts to write from or do they have to respond to a single prompt, without a choice?

This varies. In the Kent Test there are usually 5 options given. The purpose is to gather a writing sample from each child in case of a headteacher appeal. A range of options should allow every child to showcase what they can do.

In Essex, two prescriptive paragraphs are set as part of an hour-long English paper that includes comprehension and vocabulary work. In Essex, there is no option to choose the subject matter.

The Medway Test just offers a single prompt for a whole hour of writing. Sometimes it is a creative piece. Recently it was a marketing leaflet.

The framework for teaching writing in English schools demands that in order to ‘exceed expectations’ or better, achieve ‘greater depth’, students need to be confident writing for a multitude of different purposes.

In what circumstances is a child’s creative writing task assessed?

In Essex (east of the UK) the two prescriptive writing tasks are found inside the English exam paper. They are integral to the exam and are assessed as part of this.

In Medway (east Kent in the South East) the writing task is marked and given a raw score. This is then adjusted for age and double counted. Thus, the paper is crucial to a pass.

In the west of the county of Kent there is a different system. The Kent Test has a writing task that is only marked in appeal cases. If a child dips below the passmark their school is allowed to put together a ‘headteacher’s appeal’. At this point – before the score is communicated to the parent (and probably under cover of darkness) the writing sample is pulled out of a drawer and assessed.

I’ve been running 11+ tutor clubs for years. Usually about 1% of my students passed at headteacher’s appeal.

Since starting the writing club, however, the number of students passing at appeal has gone up considerably. In recent years it’s been more like 5% of students passing on the strength of their writing sample.

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

In England, the government has set out a framework for marking creative writing. There are specific ‘pupil can’ statements to assess whether a student is ‘working towards the expected standard,’ ‘working at the expected standard’ or ‘working at greater depth’.

Members of the headteacher panel assessing the writing task are given a considerable number of samples to assess at one time. These expert teachers have a clear understanding of the framework for marking, but will not be considering or discussing every detail of the writing sample as you might expect.

Schools are provided with a report after the samples have been assessed. This is very brief indeed. Often it will simply say ‘lack of precise vocabulary’ or ‘confused paragraphing.’

So there is no mark scheme as such. They won’t be totting up your child’s score to see if they have reached a given target. They are on the panel because of their experience, and they have a short time to make an instant judgement.

Does handwriting matter?

Handwriting is assessed in primary schools. Thus it is an element of the assessment framework the panel uses as a basis for their decision.

If the exam is very soon, then don’t worry if your child is not producing immaculate, cursive handwriting. The focus should simply be on making it well-formed and legible. Every element of the assessment framework does not need to be met and legible writing will allow the panel to read the content with ease.

Improve presentation quickly by offering a smooth rollerball pen instead of a pencil. Focus on fixing individual letters and praising your child for any hint of effort. The two samples below are from the same boy a few months apart. Small changes have transformed the look and feel:

11+ handwriting sample from a student before handwriting tutoring

Sample 1: First piece of work when joining the writing club

Cursive handwriting sample of a boy preparing for the 11+ exam after handwriting tutoring.

Sample 2: This is the same boy’s improved presentation and content

How long should the short story be.

First, it is not a short story as such—it is a writing sample. Your child needs to showcase their skills but there are no extra marks for finishing (or marks deducted for a half-finished piece).

For a half hour task, you should prepare your child to produce up to 4 paragraphs of beautifully crafted work. Correct spelling and proper English grammar is just the beginning. Each paragraph should have a different purpose to showcase the breadth and depth of their ability. A longer – 60 minute – task might have 5 paragraphs but rushing is to be discouraged. Considered and interesting paragraphs are so valuable, a shorter piece would be scored more highly than a rushed and dull longer piece.

I speak from experience. A while ago now I was a marker for Key Stage 2 English SATs Papers (taken in Year 6 at 11 years old). Hundreds of scripts were deposited on my doorstep each morning by DHL. There was so much work for me to get through that I came to dread long, rambling creative pieces. Some children can write pages and pages of repetitive nothingness. Ever since then, I have looked for crafted quality and am wary of children judging their own success by the number of lines competed.

Take a look at the piece of writing below. It’s an excellent example of a well-crafted piece.

Each paragraph is short, but the writer is skilful.

He used rich and precisely chosen vocabulary, he’s broken the text into natural paragraphs, and in the second paragraph he is beginning to vary his sentence openings. There is a sense of control to the sentences – the sentence structure varies with shorter and longer examples to manage tension. It is exciting to read, with a clear awareness of his audience. Punctuation is accurate and appropriate.

Example of a high-scoring writing sample for the UK 11+ exam—notice the varied sentence structures, excellent use of figurative language, and clear paragraphing technique.

11+ creative writing example story

How important is it to revise for a creative writing task.

It is important.

Every student should go into their 11+ writing task with a clear paragraph plan secured. As each paragraph has a separate purpose – to showcase a specific skill – the plan should reflect this. Built into the plan is a means of flexing it, to alter the order of the paragraphs if the task demands it. There’s no point having a Beginning – Middle – End approach, as there’s nothing useful there to guide the student to the mark scheme.

Beyond this, my own students have created 3 – 5 stories that fit the same tight plan. However, the setting, mood and action are all completely different. This way a bank of rich vocabulary has already been explored and a technique or two of their own that fits the piece beautifully. These can be drawn upon on the day to boost confidence and give a greater sense of depth and consideration to their timed sample.

Preparation, rather than revision in its classic form, is the best approach. Over time, even weeks or months before the exam itself, contrasting stories are written, improved upon, typed up and then tweaked further as better ideas come to mind. Each of these meets the demands of the mark scheme (paragraphing, varied sentence openings, rich vocabulary choices, considered imagery, punctuation to enhance meaning, development of mood etc).

To ensure your child can write confidently at and above the level expected of them, drop them into my weekly weekly online writing club for the 11+ age group . The club marking will transform their writing, and quickly.

What is the relationship between the English paper and the creative writing task?

Writing is usually marked separately from any comprehension or grammar exercises in your child’s particular 11+ exam. Each exam board (by area/school) adapts the arrangement to suit their needs. Some have a separate writing test, others build it in as an element of their English paper (usually alongside a comprehension, punctuation and spelling exercise).

Although there is no creative writing task in the ISEB Common Pre-test, those who are not offered an immediate place at their chosen English public school are often invited back to complete a writing task at a later date. Our ISEB Common Pre-test students join the writing club in the months before the exam, first to tidy up the detail and second to extend the content.

What if my child has a specific learning difficulty (dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, ASD)?

Most exam boards pride themselves on their inclusivity. They will expect you to have a formal report from a qualified professional at the point of registration for the test. This needs to be in place and the recommendations will be considered by a panel. If your child needs extra arrangements on the day they may be offered (it isn’t always the case). More importantly, if they drop below a pass on one or more papers you will have a strong case for appeal.

Children with a specific learning difficulty often struggle with low confidence in their work and low self-esteem. The preparations set out above, and a kids writing club membership will allow them to go into the exam feeling positive and empowered. If they don’t achieve a pass at first, the writing sample will add weight to their appeal.

Tips and strategies for writing a high-scoring creative writing paper

  • Read widely for pleasure. Read aloud to your child if they are reluctant.
  • Create a strong paragraph plan where each paragraph has a distinct purpose.
  • Using the list of example questions below, discuss how each could be written in the form of your paragraph plan.
  • Write 3-5 stories with contrasting settings and action – each one must follow your paragraph plan. Try to include examples of literary devices and figurative language (metaphor, simile) but avoid clichés.
  • Tidy up your presentation. Write with a good rollerball pen on A4 lined paper with a printed margin. Cross out with a single horizontal line and banish doodling or scribbles.
  • Join the writing club for a 20-minute Zoom task per week with no finishing off or homework. An expert English teacher will mark the work personally on video every Friday and your child’s writing will be quickly transformed.

Pressed for time? Here’s a paragraph plan to follow.

At Griffin Teaching we have an online writing club for students preparing for the 11 plus creative writing task . We’ve seen first-hand what a difference just one or two months of weekly practice can make.

That said, we know that a lot of people reading this page are up against a hard deadline with an 11+ exam date fast approaching.

If that’s you (or your child), what you need is a paragraph plan.

Here’s one tried-and-true paragraph plan that we teach in our clubs. Use this as you work your way through some of the example prompts below.

11+ creative writing paragraph plan

Paragraph 1—description.

Imagine standing in the location and describe what is above the main character, what is below their feet, what is to their left and right, and what is in the distance. Try to integrate frontend adverbials into this paragraph (frontend adverbials are words or phrases used at the beginning of a sentence to describe what follows—e.g. When the fog lifted, he saw… )

Paragraph 2—Conversation

Create two characters who have different roles (e.g. site manager and student, dog walker and lost man) and write a short dialogue between them. Use what we call the “sandwich layout,” where the first person says something and you describe what they are doing while they are saying it. Add in further descriptions (perhaps of the person’s clothing or expression) before starting a new line where the second character gives a simple answer and you provide details about what the second character is doing as they speak.

Paragraph 3—Change the mood

Write three to four sentences that change the mood of the writing sample from light to gloomy or foreboding. You could write about a change in the weather or a change in the lighting of the scene. Another approach is to mention how a character reacts to the change in mood, for example by pulling their coat collar up to their ears.

Paragraph 4—Shock your reader

A classic approach is to have your character die unexpectedly in the final sentence. Or maybe the ceiling falls?

11+ creative writing questions from real papers—fictional prompts

  • The day the storm came
  • The day the weather changed
  • The snowstorm
  • The rainy day
  • A sunny day out
  • A foggy (or misty) day
  • A day trip to remember
  • The first day
  • The day everything changed
  • The mountain
  • The hillside
  • The old house
  • The balloon
  • The old man
  • The accident
  • The unfamiliar sound
  • A weekend away
  • Moving house
  • A family celebration
  • An event you remember from when you were young
  • An animal attack
  • The school playground at night
  • The lift pinged and the door opened. I could not believe what was inside…
  • “Run!” he shouted as he thundered across the sand…
  • It was getting late as I dug in my pocket for the key to the door. “Hurry up!” she shouted from inside.
  • I know our back garden very well, but I was surprised how different it looked at midnight…
  • The red button on the wall has a sign on it saying, ‘DO NOT TOUCH.’ My little sister leant forward and hit it hard with her hand. What happened next?
  • Digging down into the soft earth, the spade hit something metal…
  • Write a story which features the stopping of time.
  • Write a story which features an unusual method of transport.
  • The cry in the woods
  • Write a story which features an escape

11+ creative writing questions from real papers—non-fiction prompts

  • Write a thank you letter for a present you didn’t want.
  • You are about to interview someone for a job. Write a list of questions you would like to ask the applicant.
  • Write a letter to complain about the uniform at your school.
  • Write a leaflet to advertise your home town.
  • Write a thank you letter for a holiday you didn’t enjoy.
  • Write a letter of complaint to the vet after an unfortunate incident in the waiting room.
  • Write a set of instructions explaining how to make toast.
  • Describe the room you are in.
  • Describe a person who is important to you.
  • Describe your pet or an animal you know well.

examples of creative writing 11

examples of creative writing 11

Mastering Creative Writing 11 Plus: Essential Strategies & Examples

Struggling with preparing your child for the 11 Plus creative writing exam? Fear not. This definitive guide offers proven strategies, vital skills insight, and inspiring examples to ensure young writers are primed for success. No fluff, just actionable advice for mastering the creative writing 11 plus exam .

Key Takeaways

  • The 11 Plus creative writing exam assesses a wide range of skills including story structure, vocabulary, grammar, and the ability to engage and evoke emotions in the reader, forming a significant part of the 11 Plus English exam.
  • Skills crucial for success in the exam include a strong vocabulary and grammar, well-planned and structured writing, the use of sensory details and literary devices , as well as crafting memorable characters and incorporating various types of writing tasks.
  • Preparation for the 11 Plus creative writing exam should involve understanding test requirements, regular practice, receiving feedback, employing time management strategies during the exam, and utilizing resources like books, worksheets, and personalized tuition.

Mastering Creative Writing 11 Plus

Understanding the 11 Plus Creative Writing Exam

The 11 Plus creative writing exam is designed to evaluate a student’s ability to produce engaging and well-structured written work.

It focuses on their narrative and language skills, assessing their:

  • Punctuation
  • Complex sentence structure

Examiners look for evidence of planning, creativity, and an extensive vocabulary as the backbone of a well-crafted story.

So, what does this mean for your child? It means that the creative writing exam is more than just a test of writing ability. It’s an assessment of how well they can craft a story, how vividly they can describe a scene or character, and how effectively they can engage a reader with their writing.

But don’t worry, in the coming sections, we’ll break down the skills your child needs to excel in the 11 Plus creative writing exam.

Importance of Creative Writing in 11 Plus

The creative writing task is indeed a substantial component of the 11 Plus English exam, accounting for 50% of the total marks. Its significance lies in its ability to assess students’ overall language skills, including their knack for evoking emotions through their writing.

The 11 Plus creative writing exam evaluates key writing skills such as:

  • Character creation
  • Use of descriptive language

Examiners look for effective planning, creativity, fluency, sound grammar, and a strong vocabulary – all attributes of great writers.

Mastering Creative Writing 11 Plus

Common Types of 11 Plus Creative Writing Tasks

The 11 Plus creative writing exam, also known as the creative writing test, can be quite diverse in its requirements, and preparing for creative writing exams encompasses various types of writing tasks, notably descriptive, persuasive, narrative, and expository.

Narrative tasks require storytelling with a clear beginning, middle, and end, while descriptive tasks focus on painting a vivid picture of a scene or character.

Persuasive writing challenges the student to convince the reader of a particular point of view, and expository writing aims to explain or inform about a topic.

Students may also be asked to continue a provided storyline or craft a piece based on a visual prompt. Each of these types of tasks calls for different writing techniques and skills, which we’ll explore later in this post.

Developing Key Skills for 11 Plus Creative Writing

Now that we understand what the 11 Plus creative writing exam entails, let’s delve into the key child’s writing skills your child needs to develop to excel in this exam. Having an extensive and engaging vocabulary along with a well-planned structure in writing is critical for success.

Moreover, students should practice creative writing regularly by exploring a wide range of topics. This helps to improve their adaptability and proficiency in different writing scenarios. But, what does this regular practice look like? And what specific skills should your child focus on?

Let’s delve deeper.

Enhancing Vocabulary and Grammar

A key area to focus on is vocabulary and grammar. Utilizing a wide array of adjectives, nouns, and adverbs can help students avoid monotonous descriptions and create more engaging narratives. Incorporating even a few complex words can significantly showcase a student’s command of advanced vocabulary.

Developing strong grammar skills, particularly in comma usage and character dialogue formatting, is crucial for enhancing the quality of creative writing.

Regular practice with grammar and punctuation is essential for students to write fluently and competently during the 11 Plus creative writing tasks.

Building Strong Story Structures

Another key skill to master in story writing is building strong story structures. A creative writing piece should be structured with a classic story arc comprising a beginning, middle, and end.

The beginning of a story should introduce the main character, and their environment, and potentially set forth a goal to generate interest. An effective middle of the story should present goals for the characters and introduce problems or conflicts they need to navigate or solve.

Essentially, when planning a story, ensure there is a clear and engaging plot with a defined beginning, a well-developed middle, and a satisfying end.

Mastering Punctuation and Spelling

Punctuation and spelling may seem like basic components of writing, but mastering them is essential for clarity and accuracy in creative writing. Precise use of punctuation, including the correct use of quotation marks, commas, and full stops, is necessary for clarity in writing.

Students should familiarize themselves with the following:

  • The correct use of capital letters
  • Punctuation to end sentences
  • Using commas correctly in long sentences
  • Formatting character dialogue properly
  • Ensuring complicated words are spelled correctly

These skills are critical to maintaining accuracy in creative writing.

Effective Creative Writing Techniques

Effective Creative Writing Techniques

In addition to mastering the basics of writing, students need to employ effective creative writing techniques.

These techniques should utilize sensory details to create vivid descriptions, allowing readers to:

  • See the story environment
  • Hear the sounds in the story
  • Smell the scents in the story
  • Feel the textures and sensations in the story
  • Taste the flavors in the story

Successful creative writing captures a reader’s attention by showcasing the writer’s creativity, imagination, and fluent writing style. Mastering these creative writing techniques is a common factor among great writers, which is also essential for excelling in 11 Plus creative writing tasks. Let’s delve into these techniques.

Engaging the Reader with Sensory Details

Engaging the reader with sensory details is a powerful tool in creative writing. Effective sensory details should consist of specific, descriptive words that appeal to the senses beyond sight, allowing readers to visualize the story.

It’s important to include these details in a way that is relevant to the plot and characters and to balance them with other elements to avoid over-describing.

Sensory details not only bring scenes to life but also provide insight into characters’ personalities and internal conflicts, contributing to a more immersive and believable world.

To write imaginatively about sensory experiences, writers should draw on their real-life observations and memories, imagining themselves in their characters’ situations.

Crafting Memorable Characters

Crafting memorable characters is another effective technique. Fictional characters with a mix of motivations and goals, such as those seen in Harry Potter, are more engaging and drive the narrative effectively.

A detailed backstory for significant characters informs their decisions, enhances credibility, and adds depth, even if not fully disclosed to the reader. Secondary characters, like sidekicks or foils, are crucial as they highlight the main character’s traits and contribute to story dynamics.

The choice of narrative perspective, whether it is the first person or third person, shapes how a character is perceived and what information about them is revealed. Introducing conflict tests characters’ resolves reveals their weaknesses, and propels the narrative while adding character depth.

Incorporating Literary Devices

Incorporating literary devices like metaphors, similes, and alliteration can enhance a student’s writing style. However, they should be prioritized for story enhancement rather than just inclusion.

The purpose of using similes and metaphors in creative writing is to enhance clarity, ensuring that they contribute to the reader’s understanding rather than confusing. Transforming a descriptive simile into a concrete and relatable comparison can distinguish a student’s work.

Mastering Creative Writing 11 Plus

Preparing for the 11 Plus Creative Writing Exam

Preparing for the 11 Plus creative writing exam involves:

  • Understanding the test format
  • Honing writing skills
  • Regular practice on various creative writing topics
  • Guidance from parents, teachers, or tuition, especially when formal school support is not sufficient.

Refresher courses before the exam can recap key concepts and exam techniques, and provide mock exams as homework to boost confidence on the exam day.

Preparation should include:

  • Focusing on the resolution of storylines and the emotions of characters to ensure a compelling ending
  • Attention to detail in grammar, punctuation, and use of tenses forms the backbone of a well-written creative piece
  • Proofreading is paramount in creative writing to prevent errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and tense usage

Regular Practice and Feedback

Regular practice and feedback are crucial for improving creative writing skills. Utilizing the technique of writing about daily activities or travels consistently can substantially improve the creative writing skills required for the 11 Plus exams.

Enrolling in creative writing courses or taking creative writing lessons can also be beneficial in honing these skills. In addition, following creative writing tips can further enhance one’s writing abilities.

Establishing a routine practice schedule that involves writing exercises and checking off criteria sought by examiners aids in pinpointing areas that need enhancement.

Parents can support their child’s 11 Plus exam preparation by helping their child prepare through:

  • Encouraging reading
  • Expanding vocabulary
  • Using practice papers
  • Providing targeted feedback to address weaknesses.

Mock tests serve as an indispensable tool for students to familiarize themselves with the 11 Plus exam structure and to take advantage of learning opportunities from their mistakes before facing the actual examination.

Utilizing Resources and Support

In addition to regular practice and feedback, utilizing resources like books, worksheets, and personalized tuition can enhance exam preparation for 11 Plus creative writing.

Books such as ‘11+ Essentials Creative Writing Examples’ and ‘Bond 11+: English Focus on Writing’ are specifically recommended for students preparing for the 11 Plus creative writing exam.

Apart from books, creative writing worksheets and personalized tuition can be beneficial in enhancing exam preparation . Personalized tuition offers individualized attention and can provide targeted feedback to help students improve their writing skills.

Time Management and Proofreading

Effective time management and proofreading are vital for presenting a polished and error-free final piece in the creative writing exam. Pupils typically have under an hour to draft, write, and review their work during the 11 Plus creative writing task, with the exam often lasting between 30-45 minutes.

Effective time management is critical and requires strategic planning to ensure that all parts of the writing process are completed within the limited time frame. Proofreading is a vital step in the creative writing process, allowing students to present a polished and error-free final piece.

During proofreading, students should focus on correcting grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes, and ensuring proper use of capital letters and quotation marks.

Real-life Examples and Success Stories

Seeing success can be an excellent motivator. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples and success stories. One student’s journey began with average marks in creative writing but grew to consistently attain top marks in the 11 Plus creative writing section due to regular practice and feedback.

Another student’s passion for reading a variety of genres played a crucial role in their creative writing development, enabling them to write compelling and diverse content.

A strong correlation was noted between frequent writing practice and a student’s subsequent improvement in creative writing scores for the 11 Plus, showcasing how creative writing tested their abilities.

Targeted and personalized feedback given to a student contributed significantly to the enhancement of their creative writing skills. Successful creative writing submissions often featured dynamic openings that captivated readers’ attention and imaginative endings that left a lasting impression.

In conclusion, the 11 Plus creative writing exam is a comprehensive test of a student’s narrative and language skills. It assesses their ability to craft engaging and well-structured stories and to use a range of writing techniques effectively.

From enhancing vocabulary and grammar to building strong story structures and incorporating literary devices, there are many skills that students need to master to excel in the exam.

With regular practice, feedback, the right resources, and effective time management, students can develop these skills and excel in the 11 Plus creative writing exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the 11 Plus creative writing exam, students’ narrative and language skills are assessed, including crafting engaging and well-structured stories, and the use of grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and writing techniques.

The exam includes various types of writing tasks, such as descriptive, persuasive, narrative, and expository writing, as well as continuing a provided storyline or crafting a piece based on a visual prompt. Prepare for a diverse range of writing challenges.

To enhance their vocabulary and grammar for the exam, students should engage in regular practice, read diverse texts, and incorporate a variety of adjectives, nouns, and adverbs in their writing. This will help them improve their language skills and perform better in the exam.

Students can use books, creative writing worksheets, personalized tuition, and seek regular practice and feedback from teachers or tutors to prepare for the exam. These resources can be highly beneficial in achieving success.

Effective time management is crucial for completing all writing tasks within the exam time frame while proofreading ensures a polished and error-free final piece by correcting grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

11 Plus creative writing tips and examples

examples of creative writing 11

Preparing for your  11 Plus creative writing  exam doesn’t have to be a worry. We help you here with 11 Plus creative writing tips and examples to prepare you for the exam. We're here to help you practice and improve your writing techniques and creative writing skills so you’re ready for your 11 Plus exams . 

Creative writing can be really fun – you can explore something you really want to and write about something that means a lot to you. Although, we know it can be a little bit worrying for some students that don’t enjoy writing as much or don’t feel confident in their writing skills. 

So, ahead of your  11 Plus exams  we want to help you prepare with these 11 Plus creative writing tips and strategies.

What Is 11 Plus Creative Writing?

The 11 Plus creative writing exam assesses a child’s ability to compose structured and engaging pieces of written work. It’s designed to evaluate a student’s fluency, imaginative capabilities, grammar, punctuation and overall ability to write creatively.

What does the 11 Plus creative writing exam include?

The 11 Plus creative writing exam is usually 25-30 minutes and could involve the continuation of a storyline that you’ll be provided with. Alternatively you might be asked to write a short piece of your own in response to a visual stimulus – this could be describing a character or writing something from their perspective, like a diary entry. 

Here are some the potential writing tasks you could be given for your 11 Plus creative writing exam: 

Descriptive task – continuing on a short story that you’ll be provided with, or describing a place or situation that your character finds themselves in. 

Persuasive task – you could be asked to write a letter or an article with the goal to persuade the reader to feel or act in a certain way after reading it by using emotive language. 

Narrative task – this would usually involve writing your own short story. 

Expository task – this could involve writing an article or set of instructions designed to inform the reader how to go about doing something properly. 

What are the 11 Plus creative writing topics?

Prior to starting your creative writing piece, you’ll need to have a topic. It’s important that the topic remains at the centre of everything you’re writing, as it will shape the direction of the story and the characters

You can think of a topic as a theme for your story. This can be really simple, as a simple theme will really help write a story in your own way. 

For your 11 plus creative writing exam, you’ll likely be presented with a topic that you then have to write about. Often these topics will have you writing about: 

Being lost or scared, capturing the feeling of being alone and writing a story about overcoming it.

Doing something exciting or achieving something impressive, the best day of your life so far. 

A holiday or an adventure

Travelling to the city or countryside and what you might experience there.

Writing a short story on each of the topics above can be a great way to familiarise yourself with creative writing.

What do examiners look for in creative writing?

Successfully passing your creative writing 11 Plus creative writing exam is a lot less daunting if you know what the examiners are looking for in your creative writing. 

Unlike other exams, it can be difficult to prepare the exact answers. It’s not like a sum in maths, where there’s only one correct answer after your working out. That doesn’t mean there aren’t specific things that examiners are looking for. Let’s take a look at those:

A well planned piece of writing

Strong creativity and good imagination

A fluent writing style

Good and correct use of punctuation 

Good use of English grammar

Complex sentences that are broken in an easy-to-read way with commas

Good spelling

Good and exciting vocabulary

Neat, easy-to-read handwriting

You can use those things as a checklist for your creative writing. When you write practice pieces, read them back and see if you can check off everything on the list of things that examiners are looking for. This will not only highlight areas needing improvement but will also act as a confidence-building tool.

11 Plus creative writing marking scheme

Your creative writing task will be worth 50% of your  English 11 plus exam  paper. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re well prepared!

Part of preparing for the creative writing task is ensuring you know how the exam will be marked. Here’s what your examiner will look at when they mark your work: 

The plot – you need to write a piece that’s got an engaging plot, but more importantly it needs to follow a strong beginning, middle and end structure. We’ll be getting more detail about that further on. Make sure you plan your story to ensure you have a well-structured and easy-to-follow plot. 

Vocabulary – Make sure you’re using a wide range of adjectives, nouns and adverbs. Rather than describing everything the same way, come up with some other engaging ways to write something. Use a good amount of complex words that you normally wouldn’t use (and make sure you understand what they mean so you use them correctly). 

Writing devices – no, your examiner isn’t looking at what pen you used to write the exam. Writing devices refer to things like metaphors, similes, tension building short sentences, alliteration and irony. Try sentences like “he was as fast as a runaway train,” for a simile example. See if you can write a few sentences that each use a different writing device to practice.

Grammar – now is a good time to start practising your grammar skills. Make sure you’re using commas correctly when you write long sentences, and that you format your character dialogue properly. There are a few common grammar mistakes that may catch you out, so keep practising. 

Spelling – While avoiding spelling mistakes is good, to get great marks on your exams you’ll want to use complicated words and spell them correctly. It might be tempting to avoid complicated words if you’re not sure how to spell them but it’s actually not a bad idea to use one or two complicated words and spell them so they’re recognisable than to use no complicated words at all.

11 Plus creative writing tips and techniques

Every great writer has one thing in common – writing techniques! Everyone can develop their creative writing skills by practising these creative writing tasks.

Getting creative 

If you want to write a story this should be your starting point! Have a good think about the topic for your story and the character you’ll be writing about. Take a minute to sit back, close your eyes and think about the world of your story. Can you see it? 

If you can visualise the world of your story, then you’ve got a good idea to work with! Get creative about the story and think about directions that it can go, and the characters you can work with. 

Planning and structure

Once you’ve got your theme in place you need to have a think about the direction of your story. Think about how your story starts, how you want it to end and then think about how you want your main character to get there. 

Remember the classic story structure of beginning, middle and end:

Use the beginning of your story to introduce your character, where they are and maybe one of two of their friends. Maybe even try to set them a goal at this point, what’s something they really, really want? 

Introduce the middle of your story with a problem or an obstacle for your main character to overcome. This is going to be the longest section of your story, so make sure you don’t spend too long with the opening! Think about how your character would overcome the problem you’ve introduced for them. 

In the end your main character overcomes the problem that you introduced for them. Think about what they would feel, the relief they’d experience and how you can sum that up in a paragraph or two. 

There are lots of different ways to write a story, but following the beginning, middle and end structure like this will really help you plan. Try to just write a few short sentences from the beginning, middle and end, then expand it out from there. 

If you need more inspiration to improve your writing skills, why not see David Walliam’s top ten writing tips ?

Creative writing examples: using the senses

Remember – writing descriptively helps your ideas to really come across in what you’re writing. The person reading your creative writing piece can’t read your mind!

A great way to really set a scene in your creative writing is to use the senses:

Sight – what can your character see? Describe how the scene around them looks, and be sure to use some good adjectives.

Sound – can your character hear anything? Even if your character can’t hear anything, that can sometimes be a great way to set a scene. Or maybe your character can hear lots of noise? Either way, make sure the reader knows that.

Smell – what does the place your character’s in smell like? You can make a disgusting, murky bog seem even filthier by describing how smelly it is to the reader. We all react strongly to smells, good or bad, so make sure you’re describing them to your reader.

Touch – what can your character feel? Are they sitting on a really soft sofa? Is the cat they’re stroking extra fluffy? Describe everything your character feels!

Taste – is your character tasting anything? Of course, if your character’s eating you need to describe it. How sweet are the sweets they’re eating? How bitter is the medicine they had to take? You could even get creative and describe a smell so bad that your character can almost taste it!

Get creative when you write about senses. You don’t have to cover every sense in order, you can mix things up in a paragraph or two, and sometimes you only need to cover two or three senses in a particular scene. Make sure you’re always telling your audience what your character is experiencing so the reader can put themselves in your character’s shoes. Utilising this technique ensures the reader engages with your creative writing piece.

Fluent writing

Practice makes perfect when it comes to fluent writing. To practice fluent writing, set yourself a creative writing task as if you were taking your 11 Plus creative writing test.

Try keeping the stories short. Just a few paragraphs so you can do a few attempts. When you’re finished, read them back to yourself out loud. See if the sentences are easy to read out loud. If they’re not, it might be good to rewrite them in a way that makes them easier to say. Try doing this out loud too, rephrase the sentence so it means the same thing but is easier to say. 

Reading out loud is not something you will be doing at the exam, so practicing your fluency at home is the key. Never be scared to do a few practice stories before your 11 Plus creative writing exam.

Proofreading Your Creative Writing

Finally, once you’ve finished writing and you’re happy with how fluent your piece sounds you’ve got to proofread it! That means checking your grammar, your punctuation and spelling. 

Make sure you’ve only used capital letters where they need to be used – the start of sentences and the names of people and places. 

Make sure you’ve used quotation marks correctly – start a new paragraph for when a character starts speaking, open with a quotation mark and then write what they said before closing with a quotation mark. Make sure you carry on writing after they’ve finished speaking with a new paragraph!

Have you checked the tenses? Make sure you’re not mixing up  past, present and future tenses !

Have you used enough punctuation? Make sure all your sentences end with full stops, but also that questions end with a question mark. Space out long sentences with a well-placed comma and make sure if a character says something loudly or is surprised that you’re using exclamation marks. 

Check your spelling! Are there any words you struggle with? Go back and check them to make sure they look right. If you’re really struggling to spell a word, maybe use a different one for your creative writing piece – lots of writers do this! If you do this a lot, then it might be worth doing some spelling practice. 

How do I prepare for creative writing? 

When it comes to 11 Plus creative writing exams it’s difficult to find something specific to revise – unlike exams in maths or English spelling, creative writing exams don’t have a right or wrong answer. So, don’t get overwhelmed by reading countless creative writing books.

The best way to prepare for a creative writing test is to practice all the key points we mentioned above. Set yourself some small creative writing tasks, practice your spelling and get some help fromyour teachers. You could also ask your parents or guardians about tuition to help you prepare for your creative writing .

We also have some creative writing book suggestions and worksheets that could help you prepare. 

11 Plus creative writing examples books

If you’re looking for some books to help you prepare for your 11 Plus creative writing exam or want to find some creative writing examples, here are some of our favourites:

11+ Essentials Creative Writing Examples Book 1 (First Past the Post)

11+ Essentials Creative Writing Examples Book 2 (First Past the Post)

Bond 11+: English Focus on Writing: 9-11 years

RSL Creative Writing, Book 1: KS2, KS3, 11 Plus & 13 Plus – Workbook For Ages 9 Upwards

11+ Creative Writing

Remember to always ask a parent or guardian before buying anything online.

11 Plus creative writing tasks and worksheets

Here are some of our own worksheets that’ll help you prepare and improve your creative writing skills: 

Creating characters

Creating dilemmas

Creating settings

My favourite author

Try an 11 plus creative writing tutor

If you’re worried about your 11 plus creative writing exam, that’s okay. There are numerous ways you can prepare without getting yourself overwhelmed. We’ve already covered how practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, so creative writing courses could be a great way for you to improve your confidence.

11 Plus tuition  will also help with your creative writing. Explore Learning’s expert tutors can help you work on your story planning and structure, grammar, writing fluency and vocabulary. 

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed about your 11 Plus creative writing task, we’re here to help you do your best.  

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11 Plus creative writing FAQs

How to prepare for 11 plus creative writing.

Prepare by understanding the 11 Plus creative writing requirements. Engage in regular practice on various topics like adventures, challenges and feelings. Focus on grammar, punctuation, fluency, spelling and vocabulary. Always proofread and consider getting feedback.

Is there creative writing in the 11 Plus exam?

The 11 Plus exam may include a creative writing component, often lasting 25-30 minutes, where a student demonstrates their narrative and language skills.

What are the different types of creative writing 11+?

The 11 Plus creative writing includes descriptive, persuasive and narrative tasks. Studentsmay be asked to craft or add to stories, describe scenarios, write persuasive letters or informative pieces.

How do I study for a creative writing exam?

Study by practising various creative writing tasks regularly. Focus on language proficiency, structure your narratives and proofread. For tailoredsupport, consider 11 Plus tuition .

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Ten 11+ & 13+ Creative Writing Tips For Excellent Exam Stories

When my students get the hang of these techniques, it makes an enormous difference to their creative writing – but it takes practice.

M y advice for 11 plus stories in this article applies just as well to 8 plus, 13 plus or GCSE … in fact, although I have written with 11 plus creative writing in mind, my suggestions should be relevant at any level.

I’ve been teaching these things to young people for many years, and I hope you also find them useful. Please write a comment if you do!

The creative writing materials offered by 11 Plus Lifeline teach students to use all the techniques explained on this page.

Every writing paper has full example answers, as well as detailed step-by-step discussions, marking guidelines and story-planning advice. Papers are structured to help students develop high-level skills – and just as importantly, to enjoy themselves!

Click on the infographic to view a zoomable version in a new tab:

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1 – before you write, daydream.

If you can see your story’s world in your head, you will be able to describe it powerfully.

If you can’t, your descriptions risk being superficial and your writing uninteresting.

After a little daydream, your next step is to turn it into a simple plan:


1) the main event.

The first thing to write in your plan is the main event in your story (see point 2 , below). Keep this simple for now.

2) Your Main Character

Next, jot down a few notes about your main character (see point 3 ). What is interesting about them? Try to imagine them sitting in the place next to you. See them clearly in your mind. Who are they, really?

3) Getting There

Now note down some ideas for how you will get to the main event. Make this simple too: don’t write more than a couple of lines.

4) … And Getting Out Of There!

Finally, write a few thoughts about what will happen after the event: why does it matter, and – above all else – how does it affect your characters?

The reason I suggest this order of planning is that when you only have a short time to write, there are two important things which will hold your story together: the main event (what it is about ) and your central character (who gives us a reason to care ).

Everything else should be very simple, allowing you to focus on describing beautifully.

In fact, you can probably guess what the next of my 11 plus tips is …

2 – Keep things simple! In an 11 plus exam story, choose  one main plot event & bring it to life.

If there are too many things happening, your descriptive skills may get lost.

What’s more, once there are lots of dramatic events in a story, many students struggle to write about all of them properly.

Look at this example:

As they walked through the forest a tree fell and nearly crushed them. That was close , thought Claudia. Then they sat down to scrutinise the map.

It’s good to describe the small details of life – and especially with an interesting verb like “scrutinise”.

But if you forget to fully describe big events, such as a tree almost killing your characters, the effect is very peculiar. It implies that a near-death experience is no more interesting than reading a map!

Either give dramatic events their due importance, by describing them powerfully and giving a clear sense of your characters’ reactions, or steer clear of them altogether.

This is often a problem in exam stories with too much action, or with too many plot events in general.

It’s best to structure your story around one main event, which isn’t too extreme. Spend the rest of your time building up to it and showing its after-effects.

3 – Focus on one character

Just as it’s best to focus your writing around one main event, it makes sense to have one core character.

You probably won’t have time to make more than one person interesting and believable in a thirty minute writing exam. If you try, you’re at risk of coming unstuck.

(If you feel really confident, you might manage to develop two characters: a brother and sister, for example. But in the exam itself, ask yourself: Is it worth the risk? )

Make your main character really interesting, and only refer to others in passing.

4 – Put a little dialogue in … but don’t write a play script!

“Because writing dialogue is easier than thinking,” he said.

“That makes sense,” I said, “because otherwise I can’t explain why we’ve been chatting pointlessly for two full pages.”

Dialogue is excellent in an exam piece, and you should aim to include some in every story. However, there are risks, demonstrated by the example above!

Don’t let your story turn into a play script.

Use a little dialogue in 11+ creative writing, but focus on your descriptions of the setting, characters and events.

When you do write conversations, don’t stop describing. Avoid repeating “I said”, “she said”, “Mum answered”, and so on.

Instead, add little details which help the reader to imagine the scene as the characters talk.

Describe how people move around between saying things, the expressions on their faces, and so on:

“Because writing dialogue is easier than thinking,” he replied, a hint of a smile twitching like a worm at the edge of his mouth.

A quick note about paragraphing:

Examiners are likely to expect that a new speaker begins on a new line, if somebody else has already spoken in the paragraph.

This doesn’t happen in every book you’ll read, but it’s a convention – a normal way of doing things – which you are supposed to know about.

Look at this way of writing the example at the top, and think about where a sentence should begin a new line :

“Why are we still talking?” I said. “Because writing dialogue is easier than thinking,” he said. “That makes sense,” I said, “because otherwise I can’t explain why we’ve already been talking for two full pages.”

Now check the original again, to see whether you were right!

And now for the advertising break. Time to run away and make a cup of tea …

RSL Creative Writing is the children’s writing course from RSL Educational, written by Robert Lomax.

It’s perfect for Key Stages 2 and 3 and for 11+ exam preparation, at home or in the classroom. It’s also ideal for anybody aged 9 or above who enjoys writing and wants to do it better.

Click on the covers to learn more and view sample pages from the books:

RSL Creative Writing: Book 1

Rsl creative writing: book 2, rsl creative writing: book 3, the rsl creative writing collection (£40.47), 5 – short stories don’t need an introduction.

Robert was 33. He lived in a small flat with his cat and his wife. One day, he decided to go for a walk to the shops. The shops weren’t very far away: it took about ten minutes to get there. It was a cloudy day. It was the middle of February and it was a bit cold but not cold enough for a scarf. The road was in need of some repairs. He was wearing a blue jumper and black shoes and some fairly old jeans.

You don’t need to introduce your story as though it is a 300 page novel!

The reader doesn’t have to know everything about the main character, and especially not at the start. This way you waste a paragraph, when you might only have time for four or five in your whole story.

Anything that really matters about your characters can be mentioned along the way. In creative writing for 11 plus exams, everything else can be left out.

Get into the main business of your story from the very first line.

6 – Show, don’t tell … Whether you’re writing an 11 plus story, or whether you’re a famous novelist!

In real life, we can’t see what is in other people’s minds.

We have to work it out from what they do – and sometimes from what they say, although this can be very misleading!

For this reason, other people’s creative writing is often most interesting when we have to work out what characters are thinking and feeling.

This makes the characters seem like real people whose thoughts we can’t immediately know.

It also helps to get us – the readers – involved in the story by making us do some thinking for ourselves!

You might initially want to write this:

Simon looked up. He was angry.

But this is much more interesting to read:

As Simon looked up I could see his jaw muscles flexing.

Have a go at re-writing the following paragraph to make it more interesting . You can change things around as much as you like.

I admit: this is the sort of thing which you will sometimes read in a book. It isn’t necessarily  always bad writing, in itself.

However, it is a missed opportunity to bring a character to life. In a time-limited 11-plus exam story, you need to take advantage of such moments.

The rule is:

Where possible,  show me  what a character is feeling … don’t  tell me .

Have a look at my way of re-writing the paragraph above:

All Anna’s thoughts have gone.

Instead, there are some strong clues which steer you towards a particular idea about what she thinks and how she feels: but you still have to decide for yourself.

This forces you to imagine Anna clearly in your own mind.

How does my answer compare to your approach?

7 – Use a range of senses throughout your story

This is good writing. The trees may be “green” (which is a bit dull), but they are “swaying”, which is an effective detail and more than makes up for it.

The simile in the second sentence (“like wisps of cigar smoke”) is vivid and well planned.

The sandwich bag is “crumpled”, and “bag of bacon” is a nice moment of alliteration to emphasise this robust, commonplace item of food.

But imagine a story which continues in the same way, all the way through.

Everything is visual: a sight image.

For the reader, it is like being in a world without the ability to hear, smell, touch or taste.

Furthermore, the narrator seems to be looking around constantly, noticing everything. Is this normal behaviour?

It’s an unrealistic way of seeing the world, and after a while it becomes exhausting to read.

For a student, there are two simple but very useful lessons:

1) Always think about the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell).

2) Sometimes avoid the most obvious sense when describing a thing (see point 8 below).

These tips are easy to apply in your creative writing for 11+, but they make a huge difference.

What’s more, unlike a clumsy simile (see point 9 ), a sensory description rarely ends up  harming  your writing. It can be effective or ineffective, but that’s another matter!

Take the example above:

“The trees were green and swaying”  could become:  “The trunks were groaning, and overhead I heard the dull rustle of a thousand fresh leaves slapping against one another.”

There’s nothing startlingly original here, but because it is a slightly less obvious way of describing trees, it creates a much more powerful atmosphere.

If you want a metaphor as well, try turning  “dull rustle”  into  “distant applause” , which makes the leaves seem like a mass of enthusiastic people.

Similarly,  “I looked at the bag of bacon sandwiches crumpled on the seat next to me”  takes on more life like this:

I smelt something like old sick; then I remembered the bag of bacon sandwiches crumpled on the seat next to me.

Notice how easily similes (“like old sick”) and metaphors happen, almost by themselves, when you focus on describing with a range of senses .

This is one of my most important 11 plus writing tips.

8 – Sometimes describe things using a less obvious sense

Using a range of senses, as I discussed in point 7 , is really, really important.

But how can you come up with surprising, powerful descriptions – descriptions to make the marker stop ticking your work for a second, raise their eyebrows and smile?

Imagine that you are just about to write the following sentence:

It was a cold morning.

But you stop yourself, think for a second, and write this:

I could hear the crackle of thawing ice on car windscreens.

This is much more interesting. Rather than using the sense of touch (a “cold” feeling), you are using a sound: “the crackle of thawing ice”.

There’s a good chance that the reader will think:  “Yes! I never considered it before, but you really do hear a sound when ice thaws quickly.”

This version also tells you much more about the weather:

The reader can work out that the night has been exceptionally cold, but also that the temperature is now rising quickly.

The thought process to produce descriptions like this is much simpler than it seems:

1) Think of the sense which is most obvious to describe the thing you are writing about.

3) Think of the second most obvious sense.

4) Ban that too!

5) From the three remaining senses, pick the one which is most useful.

6) Ask yourself how the thing would sound, feel, smell or taste – whichever three of these you have left (you’ve almost certainly banned sight!).

7) Write about it.

9 – Use similes and metaphors carefully in your creative writing

Similes and metaphors are useful (and can be impressive), but they have to make things clearer for the reader, not create confusion.

“She won the sprint like a racing car” asks more questions than it answers.

Was she noisy? Was she travelling at 150 miles per hour?

On the other hand, “She ducked her head and slipped across the line as cleanly as a racing car” helps me to picture the event exactly as intended.

Here’s another simile for speed, which I’ve seen a great many times (you’d hardly believe how many) in 11-plus stories:

Donald wrote like a cheetah.

Does this mean that Donald wrote savagely and meaninglessly, like a wild animal with a pencil jammed between its claws ?

Or perhaps that he wrote largely about the themes of hunting and sleeping ?

My guess is that Donald wrote quickly , but I’m not sure … because if that’s all you meant, WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST SAY IT?

This sort of thing is not really the fault of a young writer, who after all is (hopefully!) doing their best.

It is the fault of those dastardly teachers who advise children to include, for example, “at least one metaphor and two similes” in each story.

The result of this, for most children, is a succession of poorly chosen descriptive tricks, which add nothing.

Indeed, we’ve seen how these things can end up making a story comical for all the wrong reasons!

The right approach to creative writing doesn’t start with the need to include a simile: it starts with the need to describe effectively .

To me, this means allowing the reader to imagine the situation fully, and helping them care what happens.

Let’s play around with the image of Donald writing “like a cheetah”.

What happens if we just get rid of the simile?

Donald wrote quickly.

OK, but it doesn’t tell us much: did he write quickly because he wanted to finish his story before  Newsnight , or because he was really excited by his work?

Let’s say that it was the first reason: he wanted to get his work out of the way. Perhaps he was feeling annoyed, given that it might interrupt his favourite TV show.

When somebody is writing rapidly while annoyed, what might this look like?

I imagine Donald’s arm wiggling as the pen moves — especially the elbow. The movement is fast and constant because he is worried about getting the work finished, and because in his irritation he doesn’t much care about its quality.

So I ask myself: What moves to and fro constantly, performing a task in an unimaginative way?

And the first thing I think of is a machine in a factory:

Donald hunched over the page, his arm jerking to and fro with the quick, regular movements of a factory robot.

This sentence by itself would go some way to making your story the best in the exam room.

I hope I’ve persuaded you that with a well-organised thought process, a good simile isn’t too difficult to write!

Because children have been taught to work in this way, a story will often contain the required two similes, a metaphor, a personification, even an interesting alliteration …

… but everything in between is lifeless.

What students need is a different sort of checklist, to help them make the rest of their writing interesting .

I hope this article will give you some ideas!

10 – Stephanie was writing a beautiful story in the 11-plus exam hall. Or was she …?

Suspense is good if it’s appropriate to the story, but don’t jack-knife it in clumsily!

“It was a calm, sunny day. Or was it?” doesn’t really make me curious.

It makes me think that you’re trying to pester me into being excited, rather than persuading me to feel that way through your excellent writing.

If you write in a way that builds suspense by making me interested in the characters and events in the story – while keeping some important information hidden from me, just out of sight – this will speak for itself.

However, not every piece of creative writing needs it!

If you found these story writing tips useful or if you have a question, please leave a comment below! I’d love to have your feedback. (Tick the “Receive email updates” box to receive an email when I reply.)

For the most comprehensive range of resources to help with preparation for the 11+ exam,  you might like to try 11 Plus Lifeline (with a money-back guarantee in the first month). Every practice paper has full example solutions, with a detailed discussion and explanation for every question – like being taught by an excellent private tutor. There’s lots of material to help develop creative, high-scoring exam stories!

According to Tutorful, it’s “ the gold standard for independent and grammar school 11-plus preparation ”.

Watch Your First Video Now

Watch your first free 11-plus video straight away. Videos 2 & 3 will reach you by email within a few days.

At the same time, you’ll receive 121 Pages of award-winning RSL practice material, with step-by-step solutions – for free!

I'll also send you some useful information about RSL Educational resources and more advice for exam preparation. You’ll be able to unsubscribe from my emails any time you like.



If you have any questions, feel free to ask me here. I’ll do my best to help you out!

Hi, I’m preparing my son for 11+. His story ideas are good but he needs to add more details/depth. How can I encourage that? Thanks

That’s a very difficult question to answer, because there is so much that I could say! Many of my suggestions are in the article above. The sample at may offer more ideas. If this is useful, then 11 Plus Lifeline offers many further resources.

What’s the syllabus of creative writing for 11plus. I understand there is no definitive one, it varies with target school as well, but still I’d like to know the min types of writing children should be knowing end of year 6 e.g. story writing, descriptive writing, poetry writing, persuasive writing, diary, reconnect, fiction, non fiction writing, script writing, book/film review, blog writing etc. Really confused with the list of categories and subcategories under each. I just need a good structure with every details. Please help with a detailed table of contents.

Hi Jay. I’m afraid I don’t have such a list – because there isn’t one. Schools can set anything that they like! However, I think getting children used to responding to a range of formats is more important than covering everything. The most common formats are probably: 1) A story based on a title or topic 2) A continuation of a passage (usually the passage already used as a comprehension text) 3) A story based on a picture

You provide excellent tips that we can use to guide our children. Done in a very simple but effective way. Even more – as times are hard and money is tight your generosity shows you truly do wish to help children and not just make money out of them. Thank you

Thank you Alison. I’m glad you found the article useful. Robert

Thank you ever so much for your very useful tips. Would you have some advice (or a sample essay) on writing a descriptive essay based on a given image?

Hi Aparna, There is some relevant content in 11 Plus Lifeline. For more along these lines, keep an eye on the website in the autumn …

Hi Robert, I found the article above very helpful. My daughter is in year 5 and we have just started our 11 plus journey. She seems to be struggling air with creative writing. She has such great ideas and an amazing imaginative mind, however she struggles to express this on paper as compared to her peers also studying for the 11 plus. How can I help her become a better writer?

Speaking as she writes might help: perhaps she will write more fluently if she just thinks of it as a way to record her verbal ideas.

My RSL Creative Writing books might help her to develop her ideas.

What is a good range for the word count for a “continue the story” creative writing task at 10+? I see suggestions of 4-5 paragraphs, but paragraphs vary hugely in length. My son is only writing around 150 words, and I fear this is taking “quality not quantity” to the extreme!

It really depends! Sometimes you’ll be given an 8-10 line answer space, in which case that would be appropriate. On the other hand, if you have 30-40 minutes, you should be pitching for 1 to 1.5 pages. Robert

Thank you so much! Very informative

I’m glad to help!

how much your fees for creative writing, and how many lesson? please let me know [email protected]

Hello Hemang. I’m afraid I don’t work as a tutor these days. However, you might be interested in my creative writing books at . These will take your child through their skills step by step, much as I would if I was teaching them. Good luck! Robert

Hi Sir! Sir, you suggestions are greatly useful. Sir, can you assist me on how to incorporate Strong Verbs in my writings as I do not know many and I struggle on account of it ?

There’s no easy answer, but the best starting point is to look for specific ways of describing things. For instance, instead of “he talked”, you might say “he muttered”, for example. You’ll learn more verbs if you look out for them as you read things, and perhaps note interesting ones down in a book. Good luck!

Dear Robert Hope you are doing well , my son is in year 5 and he is going to set for 11 plus exam for very highly competitive grammar schools , he need help for is creative writing . I advice that you are the best , I’m seeking help from you ,please . Yours sincerely Saha Mcewan

Hello. Have a look at 11 Plus Lifeline , perhaps, and my RSL Creative Writing books. I do intend to release some new things for creative writing in the future: watch this space!

Hi Robert. These are great tips. My question is how to come with effective descriptions that vary. When I do descriptive writing, I describe with only the five senses and often run out of ideas. Also, how can we write in a way that will make a clear image in the readers mind. Thanks for the time

Hi Yatharth! My video at is all about this, so why not have a look at that? If that’s useful, look at

I completely agree with your article, and as a teacher who prepares children for GCSE and the 11 tests, I employ a lot of the ‘strategies’ you mention. What children need ultimately is time to read, digest and above all enjoy stories and poems and then to talk about what they’ve read and in some ( or maybe a lot of cases) relate the themes and ideas etc in what they have read to their own lives. This I feel, can give a greater sense of ‘reality’ to what they can eventually write; and then we as teachers (and parents) can model how to write ‘good’ creative stories (and include all the SPAG) which can go a long way to ensuring children actually begin to feel that they themselves can be imaginative and write great stories.

Thank you for taking the time to comment, Molly. I very much agree with you.

What children need ultimately is time to read, digest and above all enjoy stories and poems and then to talk about what they’ve read and in some ( or maybe a lot of cases) relate the themes and ideas etc in what they have read to their own lives.

The only thing I’d add to this is that it works both ways: reading informs writing, but the very best way to develop critical reading skills is to become more sophisticated as a writer!

Hi Robert,l am a Creative Writing teacher for 8+ Do you think 6+ can be taught Creative Writing that will yield excellent result? I asked this question from my experience of teaching Creative Writing,I observe that more 6+ struggle with understanding and implementing Creative Writing stages than 8+ Also,I teach Creative Writing easily because I believe I have the skills to teach it but how can I come up with a special syllabus to teach my colleagues how to teach Creative Writing in the class that will be result oriented.

Hello Soremi.

I would not think too much about results, if by that you mean percentage scores, when children are 6 or so and developing their writing. I would focus on their enjoyment and on encouraging them to explore their imagination, creating interestingly described characters and environments. It’s a different situation in 11+ exams, where children must demonstrate certain skills and perform well in comparison with their peers.

However, it is very important to encourage the development of accurate and clear English from an early stage. Creative writing is a good opportunity to uncover and address problems.

I found this very useful and straightforward, and also very funny… The tips will take me flying in my writing!

Thanks Lily-Grace. The work you sent for me to look at this week was very impressive: you’re already flying!

Thanks Robert this description is very helpful

I’m very glad it’s useful. Thanks for commenting!

Hola me gustaria hacer unas infografias mas dinamicas

Thank you for the topic

It’s a pleasure. I hope the advice helps.

I thought that this was a brilliant summary. Thank you very much. Engaging and thoughtful. Very much appreciated.

I’m delighted to hear it. Thank you!

I found your creative writing tips very insightful, a real shame for us it was right at the end of our 11+/13+ preparation.

Thank you Sara. I hope they made some difference, even at a late stage.

Very useful tips! I like the way you have broken down the advice into bite-sized chunks! Thanks Robert

I’m glad you found them helpful! Thanks for commenting.

Great tips, thanks Robert. Do you have tips on non fictional writing as well? E.g. how a child can do a stellar job when asked to write a suggestion letter to the council. My child struggles with writing on everyday things that she deems uninteresting like describing everday things but is flying when writing on imaginary topics. Thanks in advance.

Hi Tolu. I have some resources for less creative subject matter in 11 Plus Lifeline .

I think the best way to add interest to potentially unexciting things, like letters, is with examples. “I think you should do more to reduce bullying, because it discourages children from studying” is not interesting. “Last week, a boy trudged towards me across the playground, clenching and unclenching his fists, with the dead-eyed look of meaningless aggression that I’ve come to know so well. This is happening too often in our school!” is much more impressive.

Thanks for these tips . Would you suggest any topics for DS to practice .

There are a great many writing topics with fully explained example answers in 11 Plus Lifeline . I might add a blog post with some suggested topics in the coming months. Robert

These SPECTACULAR tips helped me a lot when I was planning and writing a story. I think that these AMAZING tips will help me a lot when I am doing the exam. THANKS Robert!!!!

Thanks Raon! I hope you’ll share the link. Good luck in your exam. Robert

Thanks for the tips to improve the writing skill for the content writers and the students.

Thank you Nihal – I’m glad my advice is useful.

What can I Say?

My son is about to take the 11 + and part of the material is creative writing,

Can you recommend any good material please?

The key is reading and I don’t think he reads as much as he should do

Please advise

Hi Fazal. I would of course recommend my own creative writing material in 11 Plus Lifeline . There’s a free sample here .

Reading is certainly important, but it won’t do any magic without good writing practice alongside it.

If your son isn’t keen on reading, trying to push him to read more may not work. However, you can help to improve the quality of the reading he does do, by discussing it whenever possible in a way that encourages him to think about it in more depth. You can also introduce new vocabulary into your conversations, and so on.

Also, the reading list here may help him to find books that he does want to read!

Hi, my son 11, is really struggling with creative writing, the main problem being he can’t think of anything to write about. he’s a clever boy but more into science and computers. He thinks he can’t do it and I’m worried he’s going to freeze in the exam. how can i get him to access his imagination and not panic. Thanks

Practice is certainly the main thing. If he can start to “access his imagination” (a nice phrase) without exam pressure, he is more likely to be able to do so in the test.

When you say that he can’t think of anything to write about, you’re describing a problem that I can relate to. However, it should not be a big concern at 11+, for the simple reason that the best stories tend to be about very little! If he can construct a simple plot, focused on one event – even something very ordinary and apparently dull – then he has what he needs. From that point, all his effort should be focused on describing well, so that the story creates atmosphere and has a believable main character.

The real problem at 11+ is when children have too many creative ideas. They construct complex, overwhelming plots, about which it is impossible to write well – or even plausibly – in the time available.

Hi Robert Have you got any tips for the CSSE style quick 10 mins Continuous Writing tasks please. These have included instructions, descriptions and this year the exam paper included a picture to write about- what’s happening- story /description?

Many thanks for your help.

This is very difficult to answer in a brief comment. I do have some specially designed resources for these CSSE writing tasks in 11 Plus Lifeline , if that is of interest.

If writing creatively, keep the plot to an absolute minimum. Imagine that you are describing a ten second scene from a movie – not writing the plot for a whole film. Focus on effective use of the senses, in particular – very much as I outline in this article. Don’t waste any space introducing your writing.

If describing a picture, the same applies. Focus on details from it, and try to find a logical structure. For example, a character might move around the image, finding things; or you might imagine the scene changing over a period of time.

For instructions, try to visualise the activity as precisely as you can, then use words to convey your thoughts exactly. This will lead to good vocabulary. Rather than saying “Screw the lightbulb into the socket”, say something like this: “Steadying the socket with your spare hand, twist the bulb gently in a clockwise direction until you encounter resistance.” This doesn’t come from trying to be fancy: it comes from very clearly imagining the action before I write.

There is a great deal more to be said, but I hope these pointers are useful.

Great tips and advice here. I have 4 boys, all at different levels of education. This has helped me to help them. Thanks!

That makes me very happy. Good luck to your sons!

Anybody who found this useful might like to read more of my creative advice at .

This article is very helpful. Thank you.

Thanks for taking the time to say so!

I found this very helpful, thank you

Hello Good Afternoon and thank you very much for my help. I am a young child preparing the eleven plus. I don’t necessarily have any questions i just don’t have any questions. Good luck on your educative journey.

Good luck to you, Lukas! Well done for taking the initiative and researching your exams.

I am a 8 years old child and I am doing your 11+ RSL comprehension, do you have any tips that might help me improve my writing? Thank you for your help!

Hi Kate! I’d like to help, but I’m not sure how to. You’ve written this under an article about improving your writing, and you’re working on a book that also helps with this. I don’t know what tips to add here. If you could be more specific, perhaps I’ll be able to say something. Good luck with your work! Robert

Hi Robert! I really like your tips and they did improve my daughter’s writing! Thank you so much!

I’m so glad! Well done to her.

Hi Richard, Does cursive or printed handwriting affect the writing score a 11+ level? Thanks in advance.

No, it shouldn’t make any difference. All that matters is that the writing should be easy to read, and that the student can write reasonably quickly.

Hi there, I am doing 13+, My tutor says that I should not use metaphors or similes, but I think I should. Do you have any advice for me on descriptive writing? And can you explain what a metaphor is?

I think you are probably misinterpreting your tutor. A good simile or metaphor, in the right place, is a good thing, but I would guess that your tutor is concerned that you are over-using these things and that this is distracting you from simply writing well. An alternative is that you haven’t quite understood how to use them effectively. A misjudged simile can look odd: using no simile (or metaphor) is better than using a bad one!

For a good explanation of what a metaphor is, see .

Hi, I’m currently helping a student prepare for entrance exams, and I just wondered if you could help me with a question. He was struggling with the timed element of creative writing and wanted to know if he DID run out of time, what would a marker prefer? To just leave the piece unfinished, or to quickly make an ending for the story, even if it meant it was quite an abrupt ending that didn’t necessarily do the story justice?

I think it depends on the marker. I’d prefer an unfinished piece to one with something actively bad in it, like a bad ending. However, can they leave an unfinished ending that nonetheless has something final about it: for instance, zoom out and describe the trees swaying in the distance, or the waves, so that there’s a sense of the world rolling on, despite the events in the story? If this is done well, it might even appear that they intended to finish this way.

great work, keep it up.

Amazing website! The content is wonderful. Highly informative indeed.

That’s brilliant to hear. Thank you!

Do you have to pay to get your work marked?

Yes, that’s right. Most people do it via an 11 Plus Lifeline Platinum subscription .

My daughter is not good at creative writing and I am apprehensive as she writes her pre-tests on 11th November . How do I help her with the following formats?

1) A story based on a title or topic 2) A continuation of a passage (usually the passage already used as a comprehension text) 3) A story based on a picture

Hello! I cover all these things in my RSL Creative Writing books – see You will also find creative writing videos covering these things at Good luck! Robert

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11 Plus Creative Writing: Exam Preparation Guide

What is the creative writing element of the 11 Plus and what does it include?

Both 11 plus exam boards (GL and CEM) don’t have a creative writing element, however some schools may decide to add this element in to assist with the selection process. For instance, it may be used in cases where two students have very similar scores and so the creative writing piece will be the deciding factor.

Each school will have a different format for the writing element; some schools may ask for a creative piece of writing from scratch and others may ask students to complete a story from a passage they‘re provided with. Independent schools, on the other hand, usually require an essay or creative writing piece as part of the exam. 

In private schools, this section is crucial and is always marked, however in grammar schools this section may not always be marked. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be overlooked as it could be a deciding factor of whether or not your child gets an offer at their target grammar school.

examples of creative writing 11

This element of the eleven plus will require students to manage their time well and be able to complete their story in just under an hour. Generally, students are given a scenario or prompt that they are free to interpret in their own way. Students will then be required to put their ideas together in a creative style.

Some examples of past prompts that have come up in grammar and private school 11 Plus exams include:

  • Describe a situation which you have experienced which might also be called A Magical Moment, showing what your thoughts and feelings are
  • The Prince of Darkness is a Gentleman
  • The Broken Window

As you can see from these titles, there’s no specific category that they fall into and they are very unpredictable. The trick here is to ensure your child has lots of practice with these past paper questions, so they can better understand how they’re going to draft their ideas together coherently.

The structure of the writing piece should include:

  • A beginning that sets the scene
  • Characters who have a motivation behind their actions and drive the plot forward
  • An ending that wraps up the original idea that was set out at the beginning 

How to prepare for the creative writing part of the exam?

Practice is of course a crucial element of the revision process. It may also be useful to jot down ideas and descriptions of: emotions, actions, characters and the environment. Having these sets of descriptions ready will save lots of time in the actual exam. Even though the emotions and characters your child has practised writing don’t match the question in the exam, they will have a better idea of how to formulate the structure and plot in a timely manner by developing the descriptions they practised. 

Themes to practice writing about:

  • Nature : this could be rivers, rain, mountains, lightning
  • Emotions : this is an essential part of the story as it helps to set the tone. Some emotions can be: joy, anger, sadness. It may be beneficial to visualise the ‘inside out’ movie and write out the emotions according to how each character behaves
  • Activities you enjoy : this will help with writing the plot in the eleven plus exam since you can adapt and build on these descriptions based on the title question
  • Animals : this may be your favourite animal or your pet
  • Your surroundings : this could be houses, parks, churches, villages, roads. Understanding how to write about basic structures in a captivating way is a very important of this writing element

Techniques to practise using in your writing:

  • Personification : This technique involves associating something that isn’t human with human qualities. For example: the trees danced in the wind . This technique allows the objects throughout the story to have meaning and gives energy to something that is usually expressionless. 
  • Metaphors : This is a figure of speech, where a word or phrase is defined as another object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A famous example is from one of Shakespeare’s plays, As You Like It, is: ‘all the world’s a stage. ’ This metaphor compares the world to a theatrical stage. While this is not literally true, the metaphor demonstrates that the world is like a show and the people are like actors. Metaphors allow the reader to think more deeply about a subject, and they can also add emotion and dramatic effect.
  • Similes : This is like a metaphor, except similes use the connective words ‘like’ or ‘as’ to draw comparisons. For example: her eyes were like diamonds . The purpose of similes is to make comparisons to better illustrate your ideas, which makes the story more vivid and entertaining for the reader. 
  • Hyperbole : This is an exaggeration to emphasise a point to the reader. For instance: I have waited forever for this to happen . This makes the sentence more dramatic and grabs the reader’s attention, which makes the emotions more memorable.
  • Alliteration : This is having two or more words with the same letters consecutively in a sentence. An example of this could be: the big bug bit the little bee . This will have a different effect depending on whether the letters sound soft or harsh, but generally alliteration adds a rhythmic sound to the sentence and accentuates your descriptions.

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Some revision techniques

Although the topics for the creative writing section are unpredictable, they are usually very broad so your child can use their imagination to think of a plot or build on the descriptions they have already practised. They can start off by writing short stories on the themes mentioned above in this article, and attempt to implement the literary techniques throughout their writing.

It’s crucial to keep your reader hooked throughout your story, so having an interesting plot and characters will help, but it’s also important to focus on developing the techniques listed. Use past paper questions and practice writing short stories under timed conditions, then read over it and see how many techniques your child managed to implement. 

If your child is struggling to come up with ideas, it may be useful to encourage them to pick up one of their favourite books and allow them to get inspiration from there. This will encourage their creative thinking skills to grow; the first few pages of a book are especially important as they sometimes outline the main characters and setting of the entire story. 

Reading and analysing the first few pages can allow them to imagine how they’re going to start their own. Even better, try to encourage them to annotate the pages they read with how the characters are displayed, the emotions, actions and the techniques used. After this, they can try to use their structure and techniques in their own writing. Adding these techniques can improve their score tremendously in the eleven plus creative writing section.

General tips and informative articles on 11 Plus:

  • 11 Plus for Parents
  • 11 Plus Creative Writing
  • 11 Plus English
  • 11 Plus Non Verbal Reasoning
  • 11 Plus Maths
  • 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning
  • 11 Plus Comprehension Tips
  • 11 Plus Reading List
  • What Is 11 Plus Exam
  • 11 Plus Maths Questions

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11 Plus Creative Writing Success Comprehensive Guide

English Creative Writings with Model-Solved Answers Hints Plan and Checklist

  • Advice for the Creative Writing element of 11 plus exams

The 11 plus exams, upon which students’ entry into UK Grammar Schools and Private Schools depends, test children’s understanding of core subjects: English , Maths , Verbal Reasoning , and Non-Verbal Reasoning . This article will focus on the creative writing test, which forms section B of the age 11 English paper. Read on to find out about the following topics:

  • the basics of what the 11+ creative writing test is;
  • what may come up in the creative writing for 11 plus exams;
  • how to revise for the 11 plus creative writing, including how PiAcademy can help;
  • tips and tricks to help your child ace the exam in the moment;
  • and guidance as to how you may tutor your child in creative writing yourself.

First things first… what exactly is the 11 plus creative writing test?

11+ creative writing topics – what could come up, how to revise for the wealth of possible 11+ creative writing topics…, introducing… in january 2020, our new 11 plus creative writing guide.

*** Please note: creative writing is not required in all iterations of the 11+ exams. Double-check whether your child will be tested on this subject! ***

Check this Out: Top 5 Creative Writing Tips to Score Full Marks

The best way to get to know and understand the format of an exam is always to look at examples of past papers – if you haven’t done this yet, do so! Check which exam is relevant to you and familiarise yourself and your child with how it looks and what it asks for. There are some differences between the 11 plus creative writing test for Private Schools and those for Grammar Schools. Review below a brief summary of each:

11+ English Creative Writings With Answers can be found here >>

Private Schools’ 11 plus Creative Writing Summary:

Most private schools do test the creative writing of their prospective students; part B of the English paper is dedicated to creative writing. Children will have 25-30 minutes to complete the section, choosing one of two questions choices to answer in this time. The questions are often based around the continuation of a provided storyline. Some schools, however, (e.g., Haberdasher Askes – a.k.a. ‘HABS’) also give the option of responding to a visual stimulus included in the question. Other schools could provide a random topic and have children write on this, such as describing a character or crafting a fictional diary entry around a given event.

Grammar Schools’ 11 plus Creative Writing Summary:

Unlike private schools, where most do test creative writing , many grammar schools will opt not to test children on this subject (again, be sure to check exactly which tests your child will face). Some schools do not test creative writing at all (e.g., Queen Elizabeth School – ‘QE Boys’ in Barnet), whereas others will only test this if the student passes the initial round of exams. The style of creative writing testing at grammar schools is very similar to that detailed about private schools (above). *** For a full list of schools, their information, and details of their testing habits check ‘Schools in the UK’ under the advice tab on our website! *** For both grammar school and independent school tests, we suggest a planning time of 3-5 minutes before starting to write an answer. Planning ensures that the student remembers to include everything that they should, and will lead to a better and surer structure to their writing.

In terms of 11+ essentials, creative writing examples are, of course, paramount. What should you expect from age 11 essay titles? What should you expect as topics for creative writing for 11 plus ? The easiest way to get your head around what your child needs to be prepared for is to consider the infinite unseen possibilities of questions within the following four categories:

  • Descriptive tasks - A descriptive task may ask the student to describe a place or situation or continue a given storyline
  • Persuasive tasks - A persuasive piece is more likely to take the form of a letter of complaint, or a student may be asked to script a convincing speech
  • Narrative tasks - A narrative task would entail the composition of a short story
  • Expository tasks - An expository task is more likely to require the writing of an explanatory article or set of instructions

As anything could come up in the test, it is helpful to think of ways to revise for each different type of question which may occur in the creative writing task.

With an unlimited number of possible topics to prepare for, flicking through a couple of creative writing books for 11 plus , or reading never-ending lists of 11 plus creative writing tips online, is sure to result in bewilderment… But the good news is – there is no reason to overwhelm yourself! We are here to help. As always, we must advocate one very important element of exam preparation… Practice , practice , practice! Key things to think about when practicing include writing skills such as grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Throughout practice papers and in every piece of writing, these should be accurate and varied. Sit down with your child and a list of creative writing topics for 11 plus and work through writing some practice answers - this is inarguably a strong start to their revision. However, no matter how many creative writing 11 plus topics you cover, these can only help a limited amount without the aid of an 11+ creative writing mark scheme ; getting to know the mark scheme is the best way to understand what boxes your child’s writing must tick in order to succeed. This all sounds like a lot of information for you to gather, doesn’t it? Well, this is where we come in! Currently, on the PiAcademy website, you can find 11 plus creative writing examples. That is, 11 plus essay titles for creative writing , along with an example plan and answer (remember the importance of planning!). As well as this, among the 11 plus tutoring courses , you can find an 11 plus creative writing course incorporated into the English courses . And just when you thought we couldn’t be any more helpful – to add to the above, we have exciting news…

PiAcademy’s new 11 plus creative writing resources will include 50 tasks to practice creative writing. Each of the four types of question mentioned earlier will be covered (15 descriptive writing tasks, 15 persuasive, 10 narrative, and 10 expository), and a mark scheme for parents’ use will be also included. The mark scheme will explain what constitutes a ‘poor response,’ as well as an example of ‘good response,’ and commentaries explaining why each is categorised so. An 11 plus creative writing PDF document will be downloadable, consisting of an invaluable checklist – this way you can ensure that your child includes everything they must! (Getting to know the checklist, and visualising it in the exam, is the perfect way for your child to successfully carry out their creative writing under time pressure.) This will essentially be an online 11 plus creative writing workbook, with tips and tricks to maximise its usefulness! Perfect for parents who are opting out of hiring an 11 plus creative writing tutor .

Good luck with your revision, and eventually, exams… Remember:

  • Always follow our checklists!
  • PLAN your answer first!
  • Practice each of the four question types!

Practice makes perfect, and our resources allow for lots and lots of practice! Don’t forget to check in in the new year to make the most of our new and improved 11 plus Creative Writing Guide .

Wait! Don’t go yet! Whilst you’re here… Scroll to the bottom of the website to subscribe to our weekly newsletter – we will deliver weekly worksheets, videos, news, tips, and much more, straight to your inbox! (Sounds helpful, right?)

Practicing 11+ Creative Writing would improve pupil’s writing skills and would help in boosting exam performance

11+ Creative Writing subscription has 23 exercises from different categories like Descriptive, Persuasive, Narrative, and Expository. Each exercise is provided with hints, plan, model answer, checklist, and highlights to help students become better at writing.

In our 11 plus Creative Writing Subscription we cover all the basic tips and techniques to help your child get better at creative writing. We also offer 11 plus Creative Writing Mastery course for students who are further interested in learning more.

We recommend that your child should practice 2-3 creative writing exercises from different categories weekly.

Practicing topics like Vocabulary, Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar are beneficial in gaining mastery over creative writings.

11 plus English past papers are a good resource for practicing creative writing. Also, our 11 plus creative writing subscription has a variety of questions to practice from different categories with hints, plan, model answers, and checklist.

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  • "Amazing creative writings, there are 23 creative writings which include all types of creative writings. Value for money. Thank you for recommending this to me." Tina Singh , 11+ Parent "Very Helpful resource, especially the hints and plan for each creative writings helped my son a lot. He loves it, thank you." Wazid , 11+ Parent
  • "Great resource for kids who are appearing for grammar exams. It helped my daughter and I would recommend these resources to my friends/family." Oliver , 11+ Parent "I have visited many websites for sample creative writings but the resource we found here is exceptional. I didn't find similar resources for the affordable price anywhere else. I sincerely recommend the pi academy website for the best resources at affordable prices." Anne , 11+ Parent
  • "Checklist for all the creative writings provided is the unique format. You are a genius. Thank you Pi academy."  Mike , 11+ Parent "Amazing creative writings, there are 23 creative writings which include all types of creative writings. Value for money. Thank you for recommending this to me." Tina Singh , 11+ Parent
  • "Amazing creative writings, there are 23 creative writings which include all types of creative writings. Value for money. Thank you for recommending this to me." Tina Singh , 11+ Parent
  • "Very Helpful resource, especially the hints and plan for each creative writings helped my son a lot. He loves it, thank you." Wazid , 11+ Parent
  • "Great resource for kids who are appearing for grammar exams. It helped my daughter and I would recommend these resources to my friends/family."  Oliver , 11+ Parent
  • "I have visited many websites for sample creative writings but the resource we found here is exceptional. I didn't find similar resources for the affordable price anywhere else. I sincerely recommend the pi academy website for the best resources at affordable prices." Anne , 11+ Parent
  • "Checklist for all the creative writings provided is the unique format. You are a genius. Thank you Pi academy." Mike , 11+ Parent 

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11 plus creative writing topics

By Bright Light Education | Jun 29, 2023, 9:07 AM

Wondering what topics your child could be asked to write about in their 11 plus creative writing exam? Here's a list of tasks that have been used in real-life entrance exam papers. This is a guest post from Bright Light Education .

Bright Light Education is an education company based in London but operating worldwide. They specialise in creative writing and preparing children for 11+ exams. Their book, Creative Writing Skills , has sold over 4,000 copies and has been a Number One Best Seller on Amazon. It is suitable for children aged 7–14.

The questions your child might be asked in an 11 plus creative writing assessment are endless, but here is a list which you could use to guide and inspire your child's practice. These tasks have all been used on real 11 plus papers, from schools including Latymer Upper , St Paul's Girls' , The Perse School , Emanuel School , Alleyn’s School , Merchant Taylors and the CSSE (Essex) exam .

Write a story

'Taught a lesson!’ Write a story about a bully who is taught a lesson.

Write a story entitled, ‘Alone’.

‘The Fire’ Write a story with this as your title. Concentrate on describing a fire and its effects, and the thoughts and feelings of the people involved, so that it is convincing for your reader.

Continue a story

Continue the story that begins with, 'Outside my front door, someone had left a large cardboard box.'

Continue the story that begins with, 'Pushing the door, his hand shook uncontrollably as he watched the ground open up to reveal a spiral staircase winding down to the unknown.'

Write a recount

Imagine you are a Martian landing on planet Earth. Write a diary entry (in English!) about your first day.

A Walk in the Dark. You have had to go out after dark to carry out an errand. Write a letter to a friend telling them: what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt about being out by yourself in the dark.

Write a description

Imagine it is very early in the morning and you are all alone in your school just before anyone else has arrived. Describe your observations and what you feel.

Describe a visit to a very cold place.

Imagine that your train stops in a tunnel in the dark for half an hour. Describe what you see and how you feel.

Describe someone you will never forget and explain why.

Write about an experience

Write about a time when you had to do something that scared you. Explain what happened and describe how you felt. You should make your writing as interesting and detailed as possible.

Write about a time that you or someone else became frustrated by something. Explain what happened and how you felt.

Write about an image

Write a story based on the following picture.

Describe the image.

Creative writing example image

Write a piece of non-fiction

Write a persuasive letter to your local MP about the litter in your area and what you want them to do about it.

Do you think children should have access to smartphones? Write a discursive magazine article in which you outline reasons for and against.

Explain what is your favourite time of the whole year. You should aim to write at least six sentences.

Write down, in six or seven sentences, instructions for a younger brother, sister or friend on how to clean their teeth.

Write six or seven sentences describing an animal. For example, a cat, a dog, a guinea pig, or a horse. Make your writing as vivid as possible.

In six or seven sentences, write down clear instructions on how to make a piece of toast with jam. Make your writing as precise as possible.

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examples of creative writing 11

A Guide to 11 Plus Creative Writing Preparation

Updated: December 1, 2023 Author: Creative Hare


As children gear up for their challenging 11 Plus English exams, creative writing often stands as a significant hurdle. Mastering this section requires not just a solid grasp of ambitious vocabulary and literary techniques but also the ability to think outside the box and express ideas in a compelling manner. This takes confidence and experimentation. In this blog, we’ll delve into effective strategies to prepare for the 11+ creative writing exam and unlock the doors to imaginative excellence, happiness and success! 

Understand the Exam Format:

  • Before diving into preparation, it’s crucial to familiarise yourself with the exam format. There is no singular 11-plus exam format so it is best to check with the admissions team at your target schools what specific format they use. 
  • Understand the time constraints, the types of prompts, and the criteria by which your writing will be assessed. You generally don’t find mark schemes readily available on school websites. Although 11+ creative writing criteria is devised by the individual schools, aside from spelling and grammar, the skills and techniques commonly assessed include:

Where your child can win marks:

  • Use of ambitious vocabulary
  • Literary devices (personification, simile, metaphor, repetition, emotive language)
  • Imaginative and descriptive writing
  • Overall narrative flow and coherency
  • Ensure your child practises reading creative writing questions carefully so their written piece  addresses the exact question, rather than an interpretation. Click here for a creative writing mark scheme example which can be found on the Latymer School website. 

Read Widely and Often:

  • A well-read mind is a fertile ground for creativity. Encourage your child to explore a variety of genres, from fiction to non-fiction, poetry to prose.
  • Exposure to diverse writing styles enhances vocabulary and fosters creative thinking.
  • Use the Christmas holiday to visit your favourite book shop and encourage your child to browse freely - notice the types of books they are drawn to….light, frothy and funny books or perhaps fantasy books?

Build a Strong Vocabulary:

  • 11 Plus creative writing flourishes on a rich tapestry of words.
  • Make vocabulary building a daily habit.
  • Introduce new words, explore their meanings, and encourage their use in everyday conversation.
  • Children who take charge of their learning by recording words that they come across are empowered learners.

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you."

Practice, Practice, Practice:

  • Creative writing is a skill honed through practice. Set aside dedicated time for writing exercises regularly. Provide prompts that challenge your child’s imagination, encouraging them to create stories with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Check out 6 Creative Writing Tips for Children for the best websites for free, fun writing prompts.

Develop a Writing Routine:

  • Establishing a writing routine creates a sense of discipline and familiarity. Consistent practice helps build confidence and improves the ability to think creatively under pressure.

Explore Different Genres and Styles:

  • The 11 Plus English exam might present prompts from various genres. Prepare your child by exposing them to different styles of writing—mystery, adventure, fantasy, and more. This versatility will prove invaluable during the exam. My new Bright to Brilliant 12-week Creative Writing programme equips children with the full-range of 11-Plus creative writing question types. 

Encourage Thoughtful Planning:

  • Before jumping into writing, teach your child the importance of thinking ahead. Whether that’s sitting quietly with their ideas or jotting down their ideas in a quick planning format, this will help ensure their writing stays on track! 

Seek Constructive Feedback:

  • Share your child’s writing with teachers, peers, or family members. Constructive feedback is an invaluable tool for improvement. Encourage your child to identify their strengths and areas to further improve to refine their creative writing skills. This is isn’t easy, it takes practice. However, empowering your child to self-evaluate their writing in a positive light is a key characteristic of awesome, confident writers. 

Learn from Examples:

  • Analyse various pieces of creative writing. Identify what makes them compelling—the use of descriptive language, character development, plot twists. But encourage your child to ask how they could improve the writing. Children love to offer improvements on what they could do better, so it’s a great way to engage them. Learning from other’s writing can inspire and guide your child’s own writing.

Time Management Skills:

  • The 11 Plus exam is as much about managing time as it is about writing skills.
  • Practice timed writing sessions to ensure your child can express their ideas effectively within the given constraints.
  • Ensuring your child is confident in expressing their ideas in writing before introducing exam style timing will make the experience more comfortable and worthwhile for them.

"I can see my competitors sweating, and I am cool as a cucumber."

Adam Rippon

Preparation for the 11 Plus Creative Writing component is not just about mastering accurate spelling; it’s about cultivating a creative mindset. Through a combination of regular practice, diverse reading, and constructive feedback, students can sharpen their creative writing skills and approach the exam with confidence.

Remember, creativity is a skill that can be nurtured and developed with dedication and the right strategies. Best of luck to all the young writers embarking on this exciting journey!

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Matteo was in Year 4 and attending a small independent school in North London when we first started working together. 

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Last updated on Feb 14, 2023

10 Types of Creative Writing (with Examples You’ll Love)

A lot falls under the term ‘creative writing’: poetry, short fiction, plays, novels, personal essays, and songs, to name just a few. By virtue of the creativity that characterizes it, creative writing is an extremely versatile art. So instead of defining what creative writing is , it may be easier to understand what it does by looking at examples that demonstrate the sheer range of styles and genres under its vast umbrella.

To that end, we’ve collected a non-exhaustive list of works across multiple formats that have inspired the writers here at Reedsy. With 20 different works to explore, we hope they will inspire you, too. 

People have been writing creatively for almost as long as we have been able to hold pens. Just think of long-form epic poems like The Odyssey or, later, the Cantar de Mio Cid — some of the earliest recorded writings of their kind. 

Poetry is also a great place to start if you want to dip your own pen into the inkwell of creative writing. It can be as short or long as you want (you don’t have to write an epic of Homeric proportions), encourages you to build your observation skills, and often speaks from a single point of view . 

Here are a few examples:

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The ruins of pillars and walls with the broken statue of a man in the center set against a bright blue sky.

This classic poem by Romantic poet Percy Shelley (also known as Mary Shelley’s husband) is all about legacy. What do we leave behind? How will we be remembered? The great king Ozymandias built himself a massive statue, proclaiming his might, but the irony is that his statue doesn’t survive the ravages of time. By framing this poem as told to him by a “traveller from an antique land,” Shelley effectively turns this into a story. Along with the careful use of juxtaposition to create irony, this poem accomplishes a lot in just a few lines. 

“Trying to Raise the Dead” by Dorianne Laux

 A direction. An object. My love, it needs a place to rest. Say anything. I’m listening. I’m ready to believe. Even lies, I don’t care.

Poetry is cherished for its ability to evoke strong emotions from the reader using very few words which is exactly what Dorianne Laux does in “ Trying to Raise the Dead .” With vivid imagery that underscores the painful yearning of the narrator, she transports us to a private nighttime scene as the narrator sneaks away from a party to pray to someone they’ve lost. We ache for their loss and how badly they want their lost loved one to acknowledge them in some way. It’s truly a masterclass on how writing can be used to portray emotions. 

If you find yourself inspired to try out some poetry — and maybe even get it published — check out these poetry layouts that can elevate your verse!

Song Lyrics

Poetry’s closely related cousin, song lyrics are another great way to flex your creative writing muscles. You not only have to find the perfect rhyme scheme but also match it to the rhythm of the music. This can be a great challenge for an experienced poet or the musically inclined. 

To see how music can add something extra to your poetry, check out these two examples:

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

 You say I took the name in vain I don't even know the name But if I did, well, really, what's it to ya? There's a blaze of light in every word It doesn't matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah 

Metaphors are commonplace in almost every kind of creative writing, but will often take center stage in shorter works like poetry and songs. At the slightest mention, they invite the listener to bring their emotional or cultural experience to the piece, allowing the writer to express more with fewer words while also giving it a deeper meaning. If a whole song is couched in metaphor, you might even be able to find multiple meanings to it, like in Leonard Cohen’s “ Hallelujah .” While Cohen’s Biblical references create a song that, on the surface, seems like it’s about a struggle with religion, the ambiguity of the lyrics has allowed it to be seen as a song about a complicated romantic relationship. 

“I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

 ​​If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks Then I'll follow you into the dark

A red neon

You can think of song lyrics as poetry set to music. They manage to do many of the same things their literary counterparts do — including tugging on your heartstrings. Death Cab for Cutie’s incredibly popular indie rock ballad is about the singer’s deep devotion to his lover. While some might find the song a bit too dark and macabre, its melancholy tune and poignant lyrics remind us that love can endure beyond death.

Plays and Screenplays

From the short form of poetry, we move into the world of drama — also known as the play. This form is as old as the poem, stretching back to the works of ancient Greek playwrights like Sophocles, who adapted the myths of their day into dramatic form. The stage play (and the more modern screenplay) gives the words on the page a literal human voice, bringing life to a story and its characters entirely through dialogue. 

Interested to see what that looks like? Take a look at these examples:

All My Sons by Arthur Miller

“I know you're no worse than most men but I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father.” 

Creative Writing Examples | Photo of the Old Vic production of All My Sons by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller acts as a bridge between the classic and the new, creating 20th century tragedies that take place in living rooms and backyard instead of royal courts, so we had to include his breakout hit on this list. Set in the backyard of an all-American family in the summer of 1946, this tragedy manages to communicate family tensions in an unimaginable scale, building up to an intense climax reminiscent of classical drama. 

💡 Read more about Arthur Miller and classical influences in our breakdown of Freytag’s pyramid . 

“Everything is Fine” by Michael Schur ( The Good Place )

“Well, then this system sucks. in a million gets to live in paradise and everyone else is tortured for eternity? Come on! I mean, I wasn't freaking Gandhi, but I was okay. I was a medium person. I should get to spend eternity in a medium place! Like Cincinnati. Everyone who wasn't perfect but wasn't terrible should get to spend eternity in Cincinnati.” 

A screenplay, especially a TV pilot, is like a mini-play, but with the extra job of convincing an audience that they want to watch a hundred more episodes of the show. Blending moral philosophy with comedy, The Good Place is a fun hang-out show set in the afterlife that asks some big questions about what it means to be good. 

It follows Eleanor Shellstrop, an incredibly imperfect woman from Arizona who wakes up in ‘The Good Place’ and realizes that there’s been a cosmic mixup. Determined not to lose her place in paradise, she recruits her “soulmate,” a former ethics professor, to teach her philosophy with the hope that she can learn to be a good person and keep up her charade of being an upstanding citizen. The pilot does a superb job of setting up the stakes, the story, and the characters, while smuggling in deep philosophical ideas.

Personal essays

Our first foray into nonfiction on this list is the personal essay. As its name suggests, these stories are in some way autobiographical — concerned with the author’s life and experiences. But don’t be fooled by the realistic component. These essays can take any shape or form, from comics to diary entries to recipes and anything else you can imagine. Typically zeroing in on a single issue, they allow you to explore your life and prove that the personal can be universal.

Here are a couple of fantastic examples:

“On Selling Your First Novel After 11 Years” by Min Jin Lee (Literary Hub)

There was so much to learn and practice, but I began to see the prose in verse and the verse in prose. Patterns surfaced in poems, stories, and plays. There was music in sentences and paragraphs. I could hear the silences in a sentence. All this schooling was like getting x-ray vision and animal-like hearing. 

Stacks of multicolored hardcover books.

This deeply honest personal essay by Pachinko author Min Jin Lee is an account of her eleven-year struggle to publish her first novel . Like all good writing, it is intensely focused on personal emotional details. While grounded in the specifics of the author's personal journey, it embodies an experience that is absolutely universal: that of difficulty and adversity met by eventual success. 

“A Cyclist on the English Landscape” by Roff Smith (New York Times)

These images, though, aren’t meant to be about me. They’re meant to represent a cyclist on the landscape, anybody — you, perhaps. 

Roff Smith’s gorgeous photo essay for the NYT is a testament to the power of creatively combining visuals with text. Here, photographs of Smith atop a bike are far from simply ornamental. They’re integral to the ruminative mood of the essay, as essential as the writing. Though Smith places his work at the crosscurrents of various aesthetic influences (such as the painter Edward Hopper), what stands out the most in this taciturn, thoughtful piece of writing is his use of the second person to address the reader directly. Suddenly, the writer steps out of the body of the essay and makes eye contact with the reader. The reader is now part of the story as a second character, finally entering the picture.

Short Fiction

The short story is the happy medium of fiction writing. These bite-sized narratives can be devoured in a single sitting and still leave you reeling. Sometimes viewed as a stepping stone to novel writing, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Short story writing is an art all its own. The limited length means every word counts and there’s no better way to see that than with these two examples:

“An MFA Story” by Paul Dalla Rosa (Electric Literature)

At Starbucks, I remembered a reading Zhen had given, a reading organized by the program’s faculty. I had not wanted to go but did. In the bar, he read, "I wrote this in a Starbucks in Shanghai. On the bank of the Huangpu." It wasn’t an aside or introduction. It was two lines of the poem. I was in a Starbucks and I wasn’t writing any poems. I wasn’t writing anything. 

Creative Writing Examples | Photograph of New York City street.

This short story is a delightfully metafictional tale about the struggles of being a writer in New York. From paying the bills to facing criticism in a writing workshop and envying more productive writers, Paul Dalla Rosa’s story is a clever satire of the tribulations involved in the writing profession, and all the contradictions embodied by systemic creativity (as famously laid out in Mark McGurl’s The Program Era ). What’s more, this story is an excellent example of something that often happens in creative writing: a writer casting light on the private thoughts or moments of doubt we don’t admit to or openly talk about. 

“Flowering Walrus” by Scott Skinner (Reedsy)

I tell him they’d been there a month at least, and he looks concerned. He has my tongue on a tissue paper and is gripping its sides with his pointer and thumb. My tongue has never spent much time outside of my mouth, and I imagine it as a walrus basking in the rays of the dental light. My walrus is not well. 

A winner of Reedsy’s weekly Prompts writing contest, ‘ Flowering Walrus ’ is a story that balances the trivial and the serious well. In the pauses between its excellent, natural dialogue , the story manages to scatter the fear and sadness of bad medical news, as the protagonist hides his worries from his wife and daughter. Rich in subtext, these silences grow and resonate with the readers.

Want to give short story writing a go? Give our free course a go!



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From pacing to character development, master the elements of short fiction.

Perhaps the thing that first comes to mind when talking about creative writing, novels are a form of fiction that many people know and love but writers sometimes find intimidating. The good news is that novels are nothing but one word put after another, like any other piece of writing, but expanded and put into a flowing narrative. Piece of cake, right?

To get an idea of the format’s breadth of scope, take a look at these two (very different) satirical novels: 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

I wished I was back in the convenience store where I was valued as a working member of staff and things weren’t as complicated as this. Once we donned our uniforms, we were all equals regardless of gender, age, or nationality — all simply store workers. 

Creative Writing Examples | Book cover of Convenience Store Woman

Keiko, a thirty-six-year-old convenience store employee, finds comfort and happiness in the strict, uneventful routine of the shop’s daily operations. A funny, satirical, but simultaneously unnerving examination of the social structures we take for granted, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is deeply original and lingers with the reader long after they’ve put it down.

Erasure by Percival Everett

The hard, gritty truth of the matter is that I hardly ever think about race. Those times when I did think about it a lot I did so because of my guilt for not thinking about it.  

Erasure is a truly accomplished satire of the publishing industry’s tendency to essentialize African American authors and their writing. Everett’s protagonist is a writer whose work doesn’t fit with what publishers expect from him — work that describes the “African American experience” — so he writes a parody novel about life in the ghetto. The publishers go crazy for it and, to the protagonist’s horror, it becomes the next big thing. This sophisticated novel is both ironic and tender, leaving its readers with much food for thought.

Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is pretty broad: it applies to anything that does not claim to be fictional (although the rise of autofiction has definitely blurred the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction). It encompasses everything from personal essays and memoirs to humor writing, and they range in length from blog posts to full-length books. The defining characteristic of this massive genre is that it takes the world or the author’s experience and turns it into a narrative that a reader can follow along with.

Here, we want to focus on novel-length works that dig deep into their respective topics. While very different, these two examples truly show the breadth and depth of possibility of creative nonfiction:

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Men’s bodies litter my family history. The pain of the women they left behind pulls them from the beyond, makes them appear as ghosts. In death, they transcend the circumstances of this place that I love and hate all at once and become supernatural. 

Writer Jesmyn Ward recounts the deaths of five men from her rural Mississippi community in as many years. In her award-winning memoir , she delves into the lives of the friends and family she lost and tries to find some sense among the tragedy. Working backwards across five years, she questions why this had to happen over and over again, and slowly unveils the long history of racism and poverty that rules rural Black communities. Moving and emotionally raw, Men We Reaped is an indictment of a cruel system and the story of a woman's grief and rage as she tries to navigate it.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

He believed that wine could reshape someone’s life. That’s why he preferred buying bottles to splurging on sweaters. Sweaters were things. Bottles of wine, said Morgan, “are ways that my humanity will be changed.” 

In this work of immersive journalism , Bianca Bosker leaves behind her life as a tech journalist to explore the world of wine. Becoming a “cork dork” takes her everywhere from New York’s most refined restaurants to science labs while she learns what it takes to be a sommelier and a true wine obsessive. This funny and entertaining trip through the past and present of wine-making and tasting is sure to leave you better informed and wishing you, too, could leave your life behind for one devoted to wine. 

Illustrated Narratives (Comics, graphic novels)

Once relegated to the “funny pages”, the past forty years of comics history have proven it to be a serious medium. Comics have transformed from the early days of Jack Kirby’s superheroes into a medium where almost every genre is represented. Humorous one-shots in the Sunday papers stand alongside illustrated memoirs, horror, fantasy, and just about anything else you can imagine. This type of visual storytelling lets the writer and artist get creative with perspective, tone, and so much more. For two very different, though equally entertaining, examples, check these out:

Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

"Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure." 

A Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. A little blond boy Calvin makes multiple silly faces in school photos. In the last panel, his father says, "That's our son. *Sigh*" His mother then says, "The pictures will remind of more than we want to remember."

This beloved comic strip follows Calvin, a rambunctious six-year-old boy, and his stuffed tiger/imaginary friend, Hobbes. They get into all kinds of hijinks at school and at home, and muse on the world in the way only a six-year-old and an anthropomorphic tiger can. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is, Calvin & Hobbes ’ popularity persists as much for its whimsy as its use of humor to comment on life, childhood, adulthood, and everything in between. 

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell 

"I shall tell you where we are. We're in the most extreme and utter region of the human mind. A dim, subconscious underworld. A radiant abyss where men meet themselves. Hell, Netley. We're in Hell." 

Comics aren't just the realm of superheroes and one-joke strips, as Alan Moore proves in this serialized graphic novel released between 1989 and 1998. A meticulously researched alternative history of Victorian London’s Ripper killings, this macabre story pulls no punches. Fact and fiction blend into a world where the Royal Family is involved in a dark conspiracy and Freemasons lurk on the sidelines. It’s a surreal mad-cap adventure that’s unsettling in the best way possible. 

Video Games and RPGs

Probably the least expected entry on this list, we thought that video games and RPGs also deserved a mention — and some well-earned recognition for the intricate storytelling that goes into creating them. 

Essentially gamified adventure stories, without attention to plot, characters, and a narrative arc, these games would lose a lot of their charm, so let’s look at two examples where the creative writing really shines through: 

80 Days by inkle studios

"It was a triumph of invention over nature, and will almost certainly disappear into the dust once more in the next fifty years." 

A video game screenshot of 80 days. In the center is a city with mechanical legs. It's titled "The Moving City." In the lower right hand corner is a profile of man with a speech balloon that says, "A starched collar, very good indeed."

Named Time Magazine ’s game of the year in 2014, this narrative adventure is based on Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. The player is cast as the novel’s narrator, Passpartout, and tasked with circumnavigating the globe in service of their employer, Phileas Fogg. Set in an alternate steampunk Victorian era, the game uses its globe-trotting to comment on the colonialist fantasies inherent in the original novel and its time period. On a storytelling level, the choose-your-own-adventure style means no two players’ journeys will be the same. This innovative approach to a classic novel shows the potential of video games as a storytelling medium, truly making the player part of the story. 

What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow

"If we lived forever, maybe we'd have time to understand things. But as it is, I think the best we can do is try to open our eyes, and appreciate how strange and brief all of this is." 

This video game casts the player as 17-year-old Edith Finch. Returning to her family’s home on an island in the Pacific northwest, Edith explores the vast house and tries to figure out why she’s the only one of her family left alive. The story of each family member is revealed as you make your way through the house, slowly unpacking the tragic fate of the Finches. Eerie and immersive, this first-person exploration game uses the medium to tell a series of truly unique tales. 

Fun and breezy on the surface, humor is often recognized as one of the trickiest forms of creative writing. After all, while you can see the artistic value in a piece of prose that you don’t necessarily enjoy, if a joke isn’t funny, you could say that it’s objectively failed.

With that said, it’s far from an impossible task, and many have succeeded in bringing smiles to their readers’ faces through their writing. Here are two examples:

‘How You Hope Your Extended Family Will React When You Explain Your Job to Them’ by Mike Lacher (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

“Is it true you don’t have desks?” your grandmother will ask. You will nod again and crack open a can of Country Time Lemonade. “My stars,” she will say, “it must be so wonderful to not have a traditional office and instead share a bistro-esque coworking space.” 

An open plan office seen from a bird's eye view. There are multiple strands of Edison lights hanging from the ceiling. At long light wooden tables multiple people sit working at computers, many of them wearing headphones.

Satire and parody make up a whole subgenre of creative writing, and websites like McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Onion consistently hit the mark with their parodies of magazine publishing and news media. This particular example finds humor in the divide between traditional family expectations and contemporary, ‘trendy’ work cultures. Playing on the inherent silliness of today’s tech-forward middle-class jobs, this witty piece imagines a scenario where the writer’s family fully understands what they do — and are enthralled to hear more. “‘Now is it true,’ your uncle will whisper, ‘that you’ve got a potential investment from one of the founders of I Can Haz Cheezburger?’”

‘Not a Foodie’ by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (Electric Literature)

I’m not a foodie, I never have been, and I know, in my heart, I never will be. 

Highlighting what she sees as an unbearable social obsession with food , in this comic Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell takes a hilarious stand against the importance of food. From the writer’s courageous thesis (“I think there are more exciting things to talk about, and focus on in life, than what’s for dinner”) to the amusing appearance of family members and the narrator’s partner, ‘Not a Foodie’ demonstrates that even a seemingly mundane pet peeve can be approached creatively — and even reveal something profound about life.

We hope this list inspires you with your own writing. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be that there is no limit to what you can write about or how you can write about it. 

In the next part of this guide, we'll drill down into the fascinating world of creative nonfiction.

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  • 11 Plus Vocabulary Books and Reviews
  • 11 Plus Vocabulary Development
  • 11 Plus Vocabulary List
  • Commonly Misspelt Words – 11 Plus
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  • KS2 Statutory Spelling Words
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  • 11 Plus Creative Writing – Example Topics and Tasks

11 Plus Creative Writing – Essay writing guidance

Helping children with creative writing.

Most tuition centres are not set up to help children effectively because they don’t have the time to mark a whole classroom of scripts and sometimes don’t employ staff who can mark work. Equally its very difficult for parents to know where to start as to a large degree the books that are available don’t deliver a step by step process.

For more information about the creative writing aspect of 11 Plus exams please continue reading. For more general information on 11 Plus exams, including the types of exam and their structures,  please follow this link . If you want more information about the English aspect of the 11 Plus please follow this link .

There are some core guidelines that will help children to improve

Practice and revision of work is very important. Whenever children write a piece they must then, a couple of days later, revisit it critically and think about how they could improve it. This process of self-criticism and correction allows children to naturally develop their skills. Their stories naturally become better first time out.

Creative writing books and resources for 11 Plus preparation

It is really difficult to find the right resources to help children at home. Our guidance below will help you to understand what you could focus but even then it is a difficult task. There are also very few books out there which attempt to do the job and even fewer that we would recommend.

Descriptosaurus- supporting creative writing ages 8-14

What areas of creative writing should children focus on?

The common areas where most children could improve are as follows:

1/ Spelling and punctuation – Getting the basics right is very important. Children should read through their work critically and correct errors. The better an impression they can make (few mistakes) the greater their scores will be. It is also the case that demonstrating their knowledge of punctuation also helps (e.g. Correct use of direct speech).

2/ Simplicity of plot –   Children often have a limited amount of time to write. Examiners do not expect them to come up with a complicated plot with numerous characters and lots of action- children who attempt this always fail. Simplicity is essential, children need to get used to the idea that a very simple plot with a limited amount of action and very few characters is the right way forward. They will then find they have something they can deliver properly in the time that they have.

3/ Descriptions, descriptions, descriptions – Having grasped the idea that simple plots with limited action work best children will then find that most marks can be gained by describing characters and action well. Children who think through a number of descriptions as a sort of descriptions bank often do very well in these test. They automatically have some good vocabulary or turns of phrase to describe people or situations or emotions or the environment and they can use these naturally as they tell their story.

4/ Using accurate language – Naturally as part of developing their descriptions children will think about interesting vocabulary and turns of phrase and also about using literary devices ( such as similes). Additionally though they should steer clear of obvious such as like or said or good- they will find more accurate vocabulary exists should they give it some thought.

5/ A sensible ending – Children sometimes fall foul of this by using endings such as ‘and then I woke up’ . Examiners will be marking lots of scripts and so this sort of ending will naturally attract poor marks. Children will find that if they develop a simple story and describe it well then they will have the time to naturally bring a story to its conclusion without needing to revert to odd endings.

A  final word – handwriting – With increasing screen time sometimes children lack well developed handwriting skills. Children either write illegibly or cannot write quickly enough to get a story out in the time available. There’s no easy way to resolve this other than practice. If children are writing practice stories and revising them then they will find this allows them to naturally develop their handwriting.

11 Plus Creative writing example topics and tasks

Tasks vary by area. In Essex for instance currently they ask for circa ten sentences on two topics. One tends to be more factual, the other more descriptive. Other areas like Kent or schools like St Olaves or Henrietta Barnet ask for more extensive writing- while tasks can change year to year this could be a creative writing task lasting 40 minutes.

Whatever the task or length children will benefit from focussing on the six areas (above) that we have identified above.

We have developed a list of sample creative writing topics and tasks which you could you to start writing at home.

11 Plus areas asking for creative writing, essays or extended writing

Kent – set a  40 minute creative writing task for all pupils but it is only marked where they need to decide on the last few students to take.

Kent Medway  – As Kent, 40 minute creative writing task but only marked in a few cases.

Essex (all schools apart from Chelmsford county high school for girls)  – 2 Extended writing tasks. One factual – how to make toast as an example and one more creative  such as describe your pet or your favourite animal. They ask for a few sentences on each.

Devon –  The following schools ask for creative writing as part of their 11 Plus test- Colyton, Torquay Boys, Torquay Girls, Churston Ferrers, Devonport Girls

Surrey –  Tiffin Boys and Girls schools, Wilsons and Sutton Grammar school, Nonsuch and Wallington schools

St Olaves School

Henrietta Barnet School

Trafford  – Altrincham Grammar School for boys

Wirral – St Anselm’s College

Yorkshire – Crossley Heath and North Halifax School

To review the books that we suggest you use during your preparation, then try some of these links:

  • CEM 11+ Verbal Reasoning Resources and Preparation
  • CEM 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Resources and Preparation
  • CEM 11+ Numerical Reasoning Resources and Preparation
  • 11+ English Resources and Preparation
  • 11+ Maths Resources and Preparation
  • 11+ Verbal Reasoning Resources and Preparation
  • 11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Resources and Preparation


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11 Creative Writing Techniques

Learn how to add pizzazz to any type of writing.

The articles below show you how to use creative writing tools in fiction or non-fiction. Each article features a series of examples so it becomes easier to apply the technique.

List of creative writing techniques

Click the links below to go to a specific section:


Show don’t tell

Repetition in writing

Contrast in writing

The rule of three in writing


1. Metaphors

creative writing techniques - metaphors

Learn how to use metaphors and get inspired by these examples …

Learn how to use metaphors >>

Metaphor examples >>

creative writing techniques - simile

Get inspired by over 10 simile examples by various authors …

Simile examples >>

3. Analogies

creative writing technique #3

Get inspired by these analogy examples …

Analogy examples >>

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Improve your writing style

Learn how to write better and find your voice. Get free writing tips in your inbox.

Get free writing tips >>

creative writing technique #4

Get inspired by these imagery examples …

Imagery examples >>

5. Personification

creative writing technique #5

Learn how to use personification to make your writing sparkle …

Personification examples >>

6. Show don’t tell

creative writing technique #6

Get inspired by these examples of “show, don’t tell” …

Show don’t tell examples >>

7. Repetition in writing

creative writing technique #7

Get inspired by these examples of word repetition …

Examples of repetition in writing >>

8. Contrast in writing

creative writing technique #8

Discover how to use contrast in your writing …

Examples of contrast in writing >>

9. The rule of 3 in writing

creative writing technique #9

Get inspired by these examples of the rule of 3 …

The rule of 3 in writing >>

10. Parallelism in writing

examples of creative writing 11

Get inspired by these examples of the parallelism …

Parallelism examples >>

11. Switch the point of view (POV)

creative writing technique #10

Discover how to switch the point of view …

Point of view examples >>

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11 Plus Creative Writing Tasks List

by Danielle | Jan 11, 2023 | Blog , Creative Writing

11 plus creative writing tasks list

The questions your child might be asked in an 11+ creative writing assessment is endless but here is a list which you could use to guide you. These tasks are all taken from real 11+ papers, from schools including Latymer Upper, St Pauls Girls, The Perse School, Emanuel School, Alleyn’s School, Merchant Taylors and the Essex CSSE Exam.

Write a Story

  • ‘Taught a Lesson!’ Write a story about a bully who is taught a lesson.
  • Write a story entitled, ‘Alone’.
  • “The Fire” Write a story with this as your title. Concentrate on describing a fire and its effects, and the thoughts and feelings of the people involved, so that it is convincing for your reader.

Continue a Story

  • Continue the story that begins with,  Outside my front door, someone had left a large cardboard box .
  •   Continue the Story  that begins with,  Pushing the door, his hand shook uncontrollably as he watched the ground open up to reveal a spiral staircase winding down to the unknown.  

Write a recount

  • Imagine you are a Martian landing on Planet Earth. Write a diary entry (in English!) about your first day.
  • A Walk in the Dark. You have had to go out after dark to carry out an errand. Write a letter to a friend telling them: • What you saw. • What you heard. • How you felt about being out by yourself in the dark.

Write a Description

  • Imagine it is very early in the morning and you are all alone in your school just before anyone else has arrived. Describe your observations and what you feel.
  • Describe a visit to a very cold place.
  • Imagine that your train stops in a tunnel in the dark for half an hour. Describe what you see and how you feel.
  • Describe someone you will never forget and explain why.

Write about an Experience

  • Write about a time when you had to do something that scared you. Explain what happened and describe how you felt. You should make your writing as interesting and detailed as possible.
  • Write about a time that you or someone else became frustrated by something. Explain what happened and how you felt.

Write a piece of Non-Fiction

  • Write a persuasive letter to your local MP about the litter in your area and what you want them to do about it.
  • Do you think children should have access to smart phones? Write a discursive magazine article in which you outline reasons for and against.
  • Explain what is your favourite time in the whole year. You should aim to write  at least  six sentences.
  • Write down, in six or seven sentences, instructions for a younger brother, sister or friend on how to clean their teeth.
  • Write six or seven sentences describing an animal. For example, a cat, a dog, a guinea pig, a horse. Make your writing as vivid as possible.
  • In six or seven sentences, write down clear instructions how to make a piece of toast with jam. Make your writing as precise as possible.

Write about an Image

  • Write a story based on the picture below.
  • Describe the image.

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Get your child’s Eleven Plus Creative Writing essay marked by the UK’s leading Kent Test and Medway Test experts.

What is extended writing?

The third test that you will need to sit as part of the Kent & Medway 11+ exam, is an extended writing exercise. The extended writing exercise will require the candidate to produce a piece of factual or fiction-based writing, which demonstrates skills such as:

• Sentence fluency. • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation. • Creativity. • The ability to follow a structure when writing.

The final point on the above list is arguably the most important of all. While different examination boards will place varying importance on different things, all of them will expect a piece of writing which has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Likewise, the format will vary between years. In some years you’ll be given 20 minutes to write, in other years you will be given 50 minutes to write. That being said – don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. A shorter piece, with a beginning, middle, and end, will score higher than a longer piece that follows no structure at all.

11 Plus Extended Writing

11 PLus extended writing topics

The format of the writing element can differ between years. Sometimes, you might be asked to write a fictional story. At another time, you might be asked to write a story about an experience you’ve had. Below are two different titles, to illustrate what we mean:

Write a story about sailing the seas as a pirate.

If you received the above title, then you know that you’ll need to think creatively and use your imagination. Alternatively, you might get a title that looks like this:

Write a story about the last time you went abroad.

Naturally, writing this extract might require you to use your memory, rather than your imagination. However, the examiners will still want to see you be creative. Being creative doesn’t mean that you have to make things up – it’s about using language to describe things and make them sound poetic.


In the vast majority of examination years, you will be given at least 5 minutes planning time before you start writing. Planning your story will make a huge difference – it will mean that you can use your notes as a reminders of plot points, characters, and for ideas.

Using a separate piece of paper, think about the following:

Characters. Of course, this is a major part in any story or extract. You need to get your characters in place, because they are the ones who will drive the story forward.

The Plot. Plotting is a complex and difficult process, and for actual writers it can sometimes take years to get a plot fully realised! However, you don’t need to be scared, because you aren’t publishing a full-length novel! In this case, you just need to plan out a basic story, with a beginning, middle, and end.

Narrative Point of View. When writing a creative extract, you should ideally aim to write in either first person, or third person. There are different quirks and advantages to the different narrative points of view, and neither third person nor first person are considered ‘better’ than the other. In some cases, it might come down to the title of the essay.

11 Plus CREATIVE Writing Tips

Preparing for the 11+ creative writing exercise doesn’t have to be stressful. Ultimately, writing should be an enjoyable experience, and it’s a great way to express yourself. The key to getting good marks, of course, is in expressing yourself ‘the right way’. Here are some tips on things to keep in mind, and things to avoid.

Use adjectives sensibly. Often, one of the first things that you are taught as a young writer is to be creative and use as many adjectives as possible. This is great for getting your brain thinking imaginatively and assigning qualities to objects, but doesn’t necessarily translate so well to a good, final piece of writing.

Real people, real behaviour. One of the things which often causes writers to lose marks on exercises such as this, is that the characters’ behaviour doesn’t exactly match either what they would do in real life, or the rest of their characterisation. Random acts that aren’t consistent with characterisation can break the immersion of a piece, and make it hard to read. The intrigue of writing, even writing fantasy, is placing realistic people with human characteristics and traits, in circumstances or situations where they need to react – and seeing how they react.

Structure. As we’ve mentioned, having a beginning, middle, and an end is really important. It makes it easier for the reader to understand where they are in the story, and makes it easier for the reader to follow the work.


Practice your extended writing skills, prior to your exam.

  • Your child’s writing assessed and critiqued by a Masters Degree qualified writer!
  • In-depth tips on narrative, description, and more!
  • Ideas and advice on how to improve your child’s written dialogue!
  • Essential ideas on characterisation, plot consistency, and more!
  • Grammar, punctuation and spelling tips, as well as advice, to ensure that your child maxes their scores – learning in the process!
  • A guaranteed 48-hour turnaround, ensuring fast, accurate, feedback!


Your child’s exercise will be personally reviewed by How2Become’s Masters qualified Creative Writing Expert. For every submission, we guarantee personalised feedback, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the content. Our aim isn’t just to point out where things are good or bad – we’ll help your child learn and develop into a stronger, better writer.

Your evaluation will be sent to you in an editable Microsoft Word document within 48 hours (Monday-Friday during office hours).

As soon as your payment is made you will immediately receive an email from How2Become, requesting the Extended Writing topic and your child’s answer. We will then get to work on providing feedback on the piece of creative writing and send an evaluation within 48 hours (Monday-Friday during office hours).


Thank you very much for your interest in our Extended Writing feedback service. We want to provide you with reassurance that the feedback we’ll share with you will be top class! Our Creative Writing expert has marked and reviewed many hundreds of creative writing pieces over the course of his career, and has also led and participated in various writing workshops. Here at How2Become, we know exactly what the assessors are looking for, and promise that your child’s extended writing skills will receive a great boost from our guidance.

If you have any questions about the service please feel free to contact us directly at [email protected] . 

Practice your extended writing skills, prior to your exam.

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11 plus (11+) creative writing examples, last updated: october 6, 2023, introduction to 11 plus (11+) creative writing examples.

This article will cover three poor examples of creative writing with explanations for why and how they need to be improved and three excellent examples adapted from the same classic texts with explanations for what works well. We hope you will find these examples useful for guiding your child to understand some of the generalised do’s and don’ts of creative writing.

Example 1: Treasure Island

Example 1: Adapted from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

“I remember this guy as if it were yesterday. I heard somebody nock on my door and there was a man standing their whistling to himself and he had a scar and was wearing a coat and he was whistling and then he started singing this song which was pretty good .”

What to improve:

  • Not very descriptive – no adjectives are used to create a more visual picture of ‘the guy’/’a man’.
  • Silly SPAG errors – ‘nock’ should be ‘knock’ & ‘their’ should be ‘there’, there should be a comma as such in the following phrase ‘then after he was whistling, he was singing’ – always read your text over again to make sure you haven’t accidentally made a spelling, punctuation, or grammatical mistake.
  • Too many connectives – avoid using too many connectives (i.e. ‘and then…and then…and then…’) unless you are trying to create a particular effect, e.g. to show a character is very excited and cannot stop speaking, use punctuation instead to break up the sentence otherwise the sentence may be difficult to follow.

Improved version:

“I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, pulling along his chest in a barrow behind him — a tall, strong, heavy, brown man, his pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and a white scar cutting across one cheek. I remember him whistling to himself as he did so and then breaking out into an old sea song that he sang so often afterwards.”

What works well:

  • Good use of adjectives – Adjectives such as ‘tall’, ‘strong’, ‘ragged’, and ‘scarred’ are used here to paint a vivid picture of the character, which the reader can easily visualise.
  • Description of multiple senses – The writer describes what they saw (i.e. the visual depiction of the sailor) and what they heard (i.e. the whistling and singing) to help the reader better relate to the scene with their own senses.

Example 2: A Christmas Carol

Example 2: Adapted from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“ He was a really cold person and he had a weird face. He walked funny and his eyes and lips were weird and cold . He had a voice that was scratchy cause he was cold . His head, eyebrows and chin had like , a cold thing on them. He was cold all the time, even when it was like super hot.”

  • Lack of variation in adjectives – ‘cold ‘ and ‘weird’ are repeated too much in this paragraph; using a variety of adjectives can help show off your vocabulary knowledge.
  • Limited range of sentence starters – Most sentences begin with ‘He’; try to create varied sentences to showcase the versatility of your writing skills.
  • Too informal – Avoid using informal words like ’cause’ instead of ‘because’ and unnecessarily using words such as ‘like’, ‘really’, ‘super’, and ‘thing’ unless you are doing so intentionally, e.g. using it in a speech dialogue to show a character’s way of speaking, as it may suggest to a reader that your writing skills are not polished.

“The cold within him froze his features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and his voice grating. A frosty rime was on his head, eyebrows, and wiry chin. He carried his own chilliness around with him; he iced his office on hot days and did not thaw it at Christmas.”

  • The play on word meanings – The writer makes a connection between the cold personality of the character and the actual physical cold of winter; the play on the two meanings of cold here helps to exaggerate how cruel and unfriendly the character is in a more dramatic way than simply saying he was cruel and unfriendly.
  • Use of advanced vocabulary – Words like ‘shrivelled’, ‘rime’, and ‘thaw’ help showcase your knowledge of advanced vocabulary by putting it into the correct context.

Example 3: The Wind in the Willows

Example 3: Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

“It was Spring. His house was small. Also, it was sad. He put down his brush. Said I have to go. And he left. He forgot his coat. He just went out.”

  • Limited range of sentence lengths – Creating varied sentences is not only about using a range of sentence starters but also a range of sentence lengths. Short sentences can suggest urgency, and longer sentences can suggest a journey. However, too many short sentences can limit your use of description and sentence structures using different punctuation, making your story seem dull or broken up into too many pieces. In contrast, too many long sentences can be unnecessarily wordy and complicated for a reader to follow. Generally, it is good to include both sentence types in your story to give your writing a sense of pace and flow. 

“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house. It was a small wonder that he suddenly flung his brush down on the floor, said ‘Bother!’ and ‘O blow!’ and also ‘Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat.”

  • The use of a literary device – In the phrase beginning ‘Spring was moving…’, personification gives life to spring to create a hopeful atmosphere, as spring symbolises new life, which connotes hope. This amplifies spring’s positive power in the story to brighten sad, dark spaces.
  • The sense of movement – In this paragraph, both Spring and the main character are in motion. Verbs like ‘moving’ and ‘penetrating’ create a sense of movement that can propel an adventure story forward. The listing of ‘and’ with interjections of short speech dialogue and the lengthy sentence are used intentionally here to show the main character’s urgency to move. Consider how you want to create an atmosphere of stillness or action in your story.

Examberry Children's Classics Collection

If you found this exercise helpful, you may be interested in our Examberry Children’s Classics Collection of reading workbooks, which you can find through our sister site, Examberry Papers, here . The collection includes Treasure Island, A Christmas Carol, and The Wind in the Willows.

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Authority Self-Publishing

27 Creative Writing Examples To Spark Your Imagination

With all the types of creative writing to choose from, it’s hard enough to focus on just one or two of your favorites. 

When it comes to writing your own examples, don’t be hard on yourself if you hit a wall.

We’ve all done it.

Sometimes, all you need is a generous supply of well-crafted and inspirational creative writing examples. 

Good thing you’re here!

For starters, let’s get clear on what creative writing is. 

What Is Creative Writing? 

How to start creative writing , 1. novels and novellas, 2. short stories and flash fiction, 3. twitter stories (140 char), 4. poetry or songs/lyrics, 5. scripts for plays, tv shows, and movies, 6. memoirs / autobiographical narratives, 7. speeches, 9. journalism / newspaper articles, 11. last wills and obituaries, 12. dating profiles and wanted ads, 13. greeting cards.

Knowing how to be a creative writer is impossible if you don’t know the purpose of creative writing and all the types of writing included. 

As you’ll see from the categories listed further on, the words “creative writing” contain multitudes: 

  • Novels, novellas, short stories, flash fiction, microfiction, and even nanofiction;
  • Poetry (traditional and free verse); 
  • Screenplays (for theatrical stage performances, TV shows, and movies)
  • Blog posts and feature articles in newspapers and magazines
  • Memoirs and Testimonials
  • Speeches and Essays
  • And more—including dating profiles, obituaries, and letters to the editor. 

Read on to find some helpful examples of many of these types. Make a note of the ones that interest you most. 

Once you have some idea of what you want to write, how do you get started? 

Allow us to suggest some ideas that have worked for many of our readers and us: 

  • Keep a daily journal to record and play with your ideas as they come; 
  • Set aside a specific chunk of time every day (even 5 minutes) just for writing; 
  • Use a timer to help you stick to your daily writing habit ; 
  • You can also set word count goals, if you find that more motivating than time limits; 
  • Read as much as you can of the kind of content you want to write; 
  • Publish your work (on a blog), and get feedback from others. 

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to begin let’s move on to our list of examples.  

Creative Writing Examples 

Read through the following examples to get ideas for your own writing. Make a note of anything that stands out for you. 

Inspiring novel-writing examples can come from the first paragraph of a well-loved novel (or novella), from the description on the back cover, or from anywhere in the story. 

From Circe by Madeline Miller

““Little by little I began to listen better: to the sap moving in the plants, to the blood in my veins. I learned to understand my own intention, to prune and to add, to feel where the power gathered and speak the right words to draw it to its height. That was the moment I lived for, when it all came clear at last and the spell could sing with its pure note, for me and me alone.”

From The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: 

“‘I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination…. ” 

The shorter your story, the more vital it is for each word to earn its place.  Each sentence or phrase should be be necessary to your story’s message and impact. 

From “A Consumer’s Guide to Shopping with PTSD” by Katherine Robb

“‘“Do you know what she said to me at the condo meeting?” I say to the salesman. She said, “Listen, the political climate is so terrible right now I think we all have PTSD. You’re just the only one making such a big deal about it.”

“The salesman nods his jowly face and says, “That Brenda sounds like a real b***h.”’

From Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (collection of short stories)

“Something happened when the house was dark. They were able to talk to each other again.” (From ‘A Temporary Matter’)

Use the hashtag #VSS to find a generous sampling of short Twitter stories in 140 or fewer characters. Here are a few examples to get you started: 

From Chris Stocks on January 3rd, 2022 : 

“With the invention of efficient 3D-printable #solar panels & cheap storage batteries, the world was finally able to enjoy the benefits of limitless cheap green energy. Except in the UK. We’re still awaiting the invention of a device to harness the power of light drizzle.” #vss365 (Keyword: solar)

From TinyTalesbyRedsaid1 on January 2nd, 2022 : 

“A solar lamp would safely light our shack. But Mom says it’ll lure thieves. I squint at my homework by candlelight, longing for electricity.” #vss #vss365 #solar

If you’re looking for poetry or song-writing inspiration, you’ll find plenty of free examples online—including the two listed here: 

From “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

“How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!

From “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons

“I wake up to the sounds

Of the silence that allows

For my mind to run around

With my ear up to the ground

I’m searching to behold

The stories that are told

When my back is to the world

That was smiling when I turned

Tell you you’re the greatest

But once you turn they hate us….” 

If you enjoy writing dialogue and setting a scene, check out the following excerpts from two very different screenplays. Then jot down some notes for a screenplay (or scene) of your own.

From Mean Girls by Tina Fey (Based on the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman

“Karen: ‘So, if you’re from Africa, why are you white?’

“Gretchen: ‘Oh my god, Karen! You can’t just ask people why they’re white!’

“Regina: ‘Cady, could you give us some privacy for, like, one second?’

“Cady: ‘Sure.’

Cady makes eye contact with Janis and Damien as the Plastics confer.

“Regina (breaking huddle): ‘Okay, let me just say that we don’t do this a lot, so you should know that this is, like, a huge deal.’

“Gretchen: ‘We want to invite you to have lunch with us every day for the rest of the week.’ 

“Cady: ‘Oh, okay…’ 

“Gretchen: Great. So, we’ll see you tomorrow.’

“Karen: ‘On Tuesdays, we wear pink.’” 

#10: From The Matrix by Larry and Andy Wachowski

“NEO: ‘That was you on my computer?’

“NEO: ‘How did you do that?’

“TRINITY: ‘Right now, all I can tell you, is that you are in danger. I brought you here to warn you.’

“NEO: ‘Of what?’

“TRINITY: ‘They’re watching you, Neo.’

“NEO: ‘Who is?’

“TRINITY: ‘Please. Just listen. I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone and why, night after night, you sit at your computer. You’re looking for him.’

“Her body is against his; her lips very close to his ear.

“TRINITY: ‘I know because I was once looking for the same thing, but when he found me he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer.’

“There is a hypnotic quality to her voice and Neo feels the words, like a drug, seeping into him.

“TRINITY: ‘It’s the question that drives us, the question that brought you here. You know the question just as I did.’

“NEO: ‘What is the Matrix?’

Sharing stories from your life can be both cathartic for you and inspiring or instructive (or at least entertaining) for your readers. 

From The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

“It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster, we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred: the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. ‘He was on his way home from work—happy, successful, healthy—and then, gone,’ I read in the account of the psychiatric nurse whose husband was killed in a highway accident… ” 

From Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: 

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

From Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s by Jennifer Worth: 

“Nonnatus House was situated in the heart of the London Docklands… The area was densely-populated and most families had lived there for generations, often not moving more than a street or two away from their birthplace. Family life was lived at close-quarters and children were brought up by a widely-extended family of aunts, grandparents, cousins, and older siblings. 

The purpose of most speeches is to inform, inspire, or persuade. Think of the last time you gave a speech of your own. How did you hook your listeners? 

From “Is Technology Making Us Smarter or Dumber?” by Rob Clowes (Persuasive)

“It is possible to imagine that human nature, the human intellect, emotions and feelings are completely independent of our technologies; that we are essentially ahistorical beings with one constant human nature that has remained the same throughout history or even pre-history? Sometimes evolutionary psychologists—those who believe human nature was fixed on the Pleistocene Savannah—talk this way. I think this is demonstrably wrong…. “

From “Make Good Art” by Neil Gaiman (Keynote Address for the University of Fine Arts, 2012):

“…First of all: When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing.”

“This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.”

“If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do. And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.” 

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From “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (TEDGlobal)

“…I come from a conventional, middle-class Nigerian family. My father was a professor. My mother was an administrator. And so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help, who would often come from nearby rural villages. So, the year I turned eight, we got a new house boy. His name was Fide. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. My mother sent yams and rice, and our old clothes, to his family. And when I didn’t finish my dinner, my mother would say, “Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing.” So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family.

“Then one Saturday, we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket made of dyed raffia that his brother had made. I was startled. It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.” 

Essays are about arguing a particular point of view and presenting credible support for it. Think about an issue that excites or angers you. What could you write to make your case for a specific argument? 

From “On Rules of Writing,” by Ursula K. Le Guin:

“Thanks to ‘show don’t tell,’ I find writers in my workshops who think exposition is wicked. They’re afraid to describe the world they’ve invented. (I make them read the first chapter of The Return of the Native , a description of a landscape, in which absolutely nothing happens until in the last paragraph a man is seen, from far away, walking along a road. If that won’t cure them nothing will.)” 

From “Fairy Tale is Form, Form is Fairy Tale ” by Kate Bernheimer (from The Writer’s Notebook) : 

“‘The pleasure of fairy tales,’ writes Swiss scholar Max Lüthi, ‘resides in their form.’ I find myself more and more devoted to the pleasure derived from form generally, and from the form of fairy tales specifically, and so I am eager to share what fairy-tale techniques have done for my writing and what they can do for yours. Fairy tales offer a path to rapture—the rapture of form—where the reader or writer finds a blissful and terrible home….  “

Picture yourself as a seasoned journalist brimming with ideas for your next piece. Or think of an article you’ve read that left you thinking, “Wow, they really went all out!” The following examples can inspire you to create front-page-worthy content of your own.

From “The Deadliest Jobs in America” by Christopher Cannon, Alex McIntyre and Adam Pearce (Bloomberg: May 13, 2015):

“The U.S. Department of Labor tracks how many people die at work, and why. The latest numbers were released in April and cover the last seven years through 2013. Some of the results may surprise you…. “

From “The Hunted” by Jeffrey Goldberg ( The Atlantic: March 29, 2010)

“… poachers continued to infiltrate the park, and to the Owenses they seemed more dangerous than ever. Word reached them that one band of commercial poachers had targeted them for assassination, blaming them for ruining their business. These threats—and the shooting of an elephant near their camp—provoked Mark to intensify his antipoaching activities. For some time, he had made regular night flights over the park, in search of meat-drying racks and the campfires of poachers; he would fly low, intentionally backfiring the plane and frightening away the hunters. Now he decided to escalate his efforts….. “

It doesn’t have to cost a thing to start a blog if you enjoy sharing your stories, ideas, and unique perspective with an online audience. What inspiration can you draw from the following examples?

#21: “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World” by Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger (

“After all, that’s the dream, right?

“Forget the mansions and limousines and other trappings of Hollywood-style wealth. Sure, it would be nice, but for the most part, we bloggers are simpler souls with much kinder dreams.

“We want to quit our jobs, spend more time with our families, and finally have time to write. We want the freedom to work when we want, where we want. We want our writing to help people, to inspire them, to change them from the inside out.

“It’s a modest dream, a dream that deserves to come true, and yet a part of you might be wondering…

“Will it?…. “

From “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (blog post) by Mark Manson :

Headline: “Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many f*cks in situations where f*cks do not deserve to be given.”

“In my life, I have given a f*ck about many people and many things. I have also not given a f*ck about many people and many things. And those f*cks I have not given have made all the difference…. “

Whether you’re writing a tribute for a deceased celebrity or loved one, or you’re writing your own last will and testament, the following examples can help get you started. 

From an obituary for the actress Betty White (1922-2021) on 

“Betty White was a beloved American actress who starred in “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

“Died: Friday, December 31, 2021

“Details of death: Died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 99.

“A television fixture once known as the First Lady of Game Shows, White was blessed with a career that just wouldn’t quit — indeed, her fame only seemed to grow as she entered her 80s and 90s. By the time of her death, she was considered a national treasure, one of the best-loved and most trusted celebrities in Hollywood…. “ 

From a last will and testament using a template provided by : 

“I, Petra Schade, a resident of Minnesota in Sherburne County — being of sound mind and memory — do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be my last will and testament…

“At the time of executing this will, I am married to Kristopher Schade. The names of my (and Kristopher’s) four children are listed below…

“I hereby express my intent not to be buried in a cemetery. I ask that my remains be cremated and then scattered at the base of a tree.

“None will have any obligation to visit my remains or leave any kind of marker. I ask that my husband honor this request more than any supposed obligation to honor my corpse with a funeral or with any kind of religious ceremony.

“I ask, too, that my children honor me by taking advantage of opportunities to grow and nurture trees in their area and (if they like) beyond, without spending more than their household budgets can support…. “

Dating profiles and wanted ads are another fun way to flex your creative writing muscles. Imagine you or a friend is getting set up on a dating app. Or pretend you’re looking for a job, a roommate, or something else that could (potentially) make your life better. 

Example of dating profile: 

Headline: “Female 49-year-old writer/coder looking for good company”

“Just moved to the Twin Cities metro area, and with my job keeping me busy most of the time, I haven’t gotten out much and would like to meet a friend (and possibly more) who knows their way around and is great to talk to. I don’t have pets (though I like animals) — or allergies. And with my work schedule, I need to be home by 10 pm at the latest. That said, I’d like to get better acquainted with the area — with someone who can make the time spent exploring it even more rewarding.”  

Example of a wanted ad for a housekeeper: 

“Divorced mother of four (living with three of them half the time) is looking for a housekeeper who can tidy up my apartment (including the two bathrooms) once a week. Pay is $20 an hour, not including tips, for three hours a week on Friday mornings from 9 am to 12 pm. Please call or text me at ###-###-#### and let me know when we could meet to discuss the job.”

These come in so many different varieties, we won’t attempt to list them here, but we will provide one upbeat example. Use it as inspiration for a birthday message for someone you know—or to write yourself the kind of message you’d love to receive. 

Happy 50th Birthday card:  

“Happy Birthday, and congratulations on turning 50! I remember you telling me your 40s were better than your 30s, which were better than your 20s. Here’s to the best decade yet! I have no doubt you’ll make it memorable and cross some things off your bucket list before your 51st.

“You inspire and challenge me to keep learning, to work on my relationships, and to try new things. There’s no one I’d rather call my best friend on earth.” 

Now that you’ve looked through all 27 creative writing examples, which ones most closely resemble the kind of writing you enjoy? 

By that, we mean, do you enjoy both reading and creating it? Or do you save some types of creative writing just for reading—and different types for your own writing? You’re allowed to mix and match. Some types of creative writing provide inspiration for others. 

What kind of writing will you make time for today? 

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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > 5 writing exercises you should try to improve your creativity

5 writing exercises you should try to improve your creativity

As we continue to develop our writing skills, occasionally we need to reacquaint ourselves with a creative boost. That’s where these five creative writing exercises can come in: they are designed to loosen up the blocks that might get in the way of our creative process. See what you can do to overcome the fear of the blank page with these fun ideas for getting the creative juices flowing.

Crumpled up piece of paper

What are creative writing exercises?

Sometimes, we can be stymied by our writing process: it is easy to fall into the all-or-nothing mentality that demands that we write a masterpiece right from the start. That’s why a creative writing exercise is a useful tool. They’re meant for writers to brainstorm and ideate potential new ideas for projects. Whether the ideas and words that we generate lead to something publishable is not the end goal: instead, they’re meant to provoke the improvisational skills that can lead to fun new ideas.

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Creative exercises to improve writing skills

Here are some ways to begin putting pen to paper:


Freewriting is the easiest creative writing exercise that can help with creative blocks. Simply write down anything that comes to your mind, without any attention paid to structure, form, or even grammar and spelling mistakes.

For example, if you’re working from a coffee shop, write based on what you notice around you: the potent smell of the barista’s latest batch of coffee… the furrowed eyebrows of the local students hard at work on their assignments.

Or, if you’re in your home office , perhaps you can observe the light that pours from your window in the morning hours as you start your 9 to 5. Or reminisce about the dusty, ill-used pens and paper clips sitting in the back of your desk drawer.

Do this for 10-15 minutes per session, uninterrupted: the Pomodoro technique can help with this.

Story starter prompts

Use an otherwise mundane phrase or sentence to kickstart a writing session and create a short story or character description. Try these sentences as story starters:

  • The old man had a look of frustration.
  • It felt like my husband had woken up angry.
  • “Open a window,” Lucinda said, “it’s mighty hot in here.”

Letter to your younger self

This exercise asks the question: what would you say to your teenage self? Or a version of you 5, 10, or 20 years younger? In this exercise, you can recast your life in a different light and offer advice, reassurance, or reexperience a special moment again. Maybe you can write from a perspective of optimism: now that you are successful, for example, you can be excited to share your accomplishments. This highly personal exercise can help you tap into all manners of emotions that can then go into character development.

Take two characters from your work, or a book that you love and rewrite their experiences and plot points while switching their points of view. Perhaps one character knows something more than the other, or another character’s perspective and thoughts have been unwritten. Switching these POVs can help you see how a storyline shifts, taking on different tones and emotional beats.

Flash fiction

Flash fiction is a type of short fiction that is 500 words or less. The objective of this exercise is to craft a narrative or a character portrait all within a highly limited constraint. Flash fiction differs from freewriting in that you write with focus, aiming towards a fully-formed story that can include plot, conflict, and a character portrait. Writing flash fiction seems deceptively easy, but it can be a challenge—which is why literary magazines and writing contests often have opportunities to publish and award great flash fiction.

If you’re looking for more ways to tap into your creativity, check out more writing tips here .

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The Supreme Court ruled that Trump has immunity for official acts. Here's what happens next.

By Robert Legare , Melissa Quinn , Graham Kates

Updated on: July 2, 2024 / 3:41 PM EDT / CBS News

Washington — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that former presidents are entitled to immunity from federal prosecution for official acts, a landmark decision that has major ramifications for former President Donald Trump.

The ruling dealt primarily with special counsel Jack Smith's case against Trump in Washington, D.C. While the court's 6-3 decision made some specific determinations about what conduct alleged in Smith's indictment cannot be brought to trial, the majority left much of the decision-making up to U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing that case. Chutkan will have to decide whether much of the alleged conduct in the indictment was "official" or "unofficial" in nature. 

Trump faces a second federal case in Florida related to classified documents, and state charges in Georgia dealing with the 2020 election. He was also convicted on state charges in New York in May. The court did not address those cases in its decision, but the judge overseeing the New York case soon delayed Trump's sentencing to resolve a dispute stemming from the justices' ruling. The potential impact on the Georgia matter is less clear. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Here's what the ruling could mean for each of Trump's criminal cases:

Trump's 2020 election case

The Supreme Court declined to dismiss the entirety of Smith's case against Trump in Washington, where he is charged with four counts stemming from his conduct after the 2020 election. Instead, the six conservative justices decided to send the case down to Chutkan's court and instructed her to review the indictment under the legal standard they established. This will all but certainly result in more hearings and legal briefs on each of the issues, followed by likely appeals that will further delay the start of the trial. The case has been on hold for months as the immunity issue weaved its way through the courts.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts divided presidential conduct into three categories: official acts that are part of presidents' "core constitutional powers"; other official acts that are outside their "exclusive authority"; and unofficial acts. Presidents have "absolute" immunity for the first category, "presumptive" immunity for the second and no immunity for the third.

Roberts wrote that the allegations in the indictment that accused Trump of working with Justice Department officials to push for investigations into certain state election results are off the table because they fall squarely under the umbrella of "official acts."

"The indictment's allegations that the requested investigations were 'sham[s]' or proposed for an improper purpose do not divest the President of exclusive authority over the investigative and prosecutorial functions of the Justice Department and its officials," Roberts wrote, essentially blocking Smith from introducing the allegations at trial.

As for prosecutors' contentions that Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay the certification of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, as Pence presided over the joint session of Congress, Roberts and the majority ruled Trump is "presumed" to have immunity and raised the bar for using evidence tied to that conduct at trial. The special counsel will now likely have to "rebut the presumption of immunity" to show that Trump is not entitled to legal protection.

The court wrote that Pence was acting at least in part as president of the Senate on Jan. 6, not solely as a member of the Trump administration. As a result, Smith "may argue that consideration of the President's communications with the Vice President concerning the certification proceeding does not pose 'dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the Executive Branch," the decision said.

The high court placed the burden on Smith to prove that prosecuting Trump for allegedly pressuring Pence would not "pose any dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the Executive Branch." Chutkan will then have to make a determination on the matter.

The majority also pointed to "a broad range of conduct" that the lower court will have to examine, including Smith's claims that Trump worked with state officials, private attorneys and his supporters outside the Capitol to subvert the transfer of presidential power.

For example, Smith charged Trump with pressuring Georgia election officials to "find votes" and said the former president and his allies tried to organize false slates of presidential electors. That conduct occupies a gray area that "cannot be neatly categorized as falling within a particular Presidential function," Roberts wrote Monday. 

According to the opinion, each allegedly criminal act as described in the indictment is "fact-specific" and requires further briefing with the lower court. Chutkan will have to decide "whether Trump's conduct in this area qualifies as official or unofficial." The justices offered her a roadmap to weigh the conduct against the risk of "enfeebling" presidential power when deciding the issues.

Under the application of the new standard set by the high court, each argument at the trial court level will require numerous written briefs and even some oral arguments. In some circumstances, even after Chutkan rules, her decisions are likely to be appealed to higher courts for review. 

The same process is likely to play out with regard to Trump's public comments and social media posts leading up to and during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Roberts wrote that while "most" public comments "are likely to fall comfortably within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities," a contextual analysis could prove otherwise in certain circumstances.

Trump called the ruling a victory. The special counsel declined to comment on the decision. 

The Trump documents case

A photo taken by the FBI included in a motion filed by special counsel Jack Smith on June 24, 2024, showing a blue box located in the

The other federal case brought against Trump by Smith involves his alleged mishandling of sensitive government records after leaving the White House in January 2021. Like in the D.C. case, Trump has argued that the charges should be tossed out on the grounds that he is entitled to sweeping immunity from prosecution. He pleaded not guilty to charges he willfully retained national defense information and obstructed the Justice Department's investigation into his handling of documents bearing classification markings.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida has not yet ruled on Trump's claims of presidential immunity. While it's not immediately clear how that case will be impacted, the former president's lawyers and Smith's team will likely submit additional filings to Cannon arguing their position is bolstered by the decision.

The special counsel has argued that the conduct alleged in the indictment — namely that Trump illegally retained national defense information — occurred after he left office, and therefore he is not entitled to legal protection.

But the former president has argued that he declassified the records at issue before leaving office. There are 32 separate documents that underlie the charges, and Trump could claim the broad power to declassify records is within a president's official duties. Trump has also claimed that he deemed the documents marked classified as personal and therefore could bring them with him after leaving office.

Notably, in a separate concurring decision on Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas waded into another legal argument currently pending before Cannon's court: whether Smith's appointment as special prosecutor was legal.

Trump has argued in various court hearings and filings that Smith's appointment was unlawful since he was neither appointed by the president nor approved by the Senate. The Justice Department has defended Attorney General Merrick Garland's decision to name Smith as special counsel, arguing legal and historical precedent supported the move. 

Cannon has yet to rule on the matter. 

In his opinion on Monday, Thomas said he wrote to "highlight another way in which this prosecution may violate our constitutional structure." 

The justice questioned whether Smith's office was "established by Law" and wrote that further examination of the appointment should proceed before trial in the D.C. case.

"If this unprecedented prosecution is to proceed, it must be conducted by someone duly authorized to do so by the American people," Thomas wrote. "The lower courts should thus answer these essential questions concerning the Special Counsel's appointment before proceeding."

Although his opinion was not binding, and no other justices signed onto his concurring opinion, Thomas' arguments have the potential to affect Cannon's ruling on the legality of Smith's appointment in the classified documents case. 

The Georgia case

In Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors alleged that Trump and several of his allies engaged in a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Much of the conduct alleged in the indictment returned by a Fulton County grand jury is similar to what Smith has accused Trump of doing.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against him in Georgia. As in the federal prosecutions, he has argued the indictment should be dismissed on the grounds he is entitled to presidential immunity. The Fulton County judge overseeing Trump's case, Judge Scott McAfee, has not yet ruled on his bid to toss out the charges.

The case before the Supreme Court involved a federal prosecution, while the Fulton County case is a state prosecution. Still, it's likely McAfee will revisit the conduct alleged in the indictment and determine what actions are considered official or unofficial.

Some of the allegations in the federal indictment, cited by the Supreme Court, include Trump's interactions with people outside the Executive Branch, such as state officials, private parties and the public. The high court said it is now up to the federal district court overseeing Trump's case to determine whether that conduct qualifies as official or unofficial.

In Georgia, prosecutors have pointed to his conversation with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other high-ranking state officials to support their claim that he unlawfully plotted to overturn the election results, as well as his attempt to organize false slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification of state electoral votes. Expect to see McAfee probe those actions and make a similar determination as to whether they qualify as official or unofficial conduct.

The New York case

The one criminal case against Trump to go to trial ended with a conviction. A unanimous Manhattan jury concluded on May 30 that Trump was guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in an effort to cover up reimbursements for a "hush money" payment to an adult film star. Trump signed off on falsifying the records while he was in the White House in 2017.

Sentencing in his New York case was scheduled for July 11. Shortly after the Supreme Court's decision was released on Monday, Trump's lawyers sent a letter to the judge saying they will seek to overturn the jury's verdict. Prosecutors responded that they wouldn't oppose delaying the sentencing while Justice Juan Merchan considered Trump's effort. 

Merchan decided on Tuesday to postpone sentencing until Sept. 18 and indicated he'll rule on the motion to overturn the verdict on Sept. 6.

Trump's letter to Merchan indicated his lawyers will cite a March 7 pretrial motion in which they demanded that certain testimony and evidence be barred, particularly pertaining to Trump's social media posts and public statements while in office that they said were made as official acts. 

"Official-acts evidence should never have been put before the jury," they wrote. 

"The verdicts in this case violate the presidential immunity doctrine and create grave risks of 'an Executive Branch that cannibalizes itself,'" they wrote, quoting the Supreme Court's ruling. The majority ruled that evidence about official acts cannot be introduced "even on charges that purport to be based only on his unofficial conduct."

The issue of whether the allegations in that case relate to official acts was litigated as part of an effort by Trump to move the case from state to federal jurisdiction.

In 2023, Trump and his legal team argued that the allegations involved official acts within the color of his presidential duties, and said a federal court was therefore the proper venue for a trial.

That argument was rejected by a federal judge who wrote that Trump failed to show that his conduct was "for or relating to any act performed by or for the President under color of the official acts of a president."

"The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the matter was purely a personal item of the president — a cover-up of an embarrassing event," U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein wrote. "Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a president's official acts. It does not reflect in any way the color of the president's official duties."

Trump initially appealed that decision, but later dropped it. 

Robert Legare is a CBS News multiplatform reporter and producer covering the Justice Department, federal courts and investigations. He was previously an associate producer for the "CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell."

More from CBS News

Trump sentencing delayed as judge weighs Supreme Court immunity ruling

Supreme Court kicks gun cases back to lower courts after major ruling

Supreme Court won't review Illinois assault weapons ban, leaving it in place

Attorneys face deadline to wrap Jan. 6 prosecutions. It could slide if Trump wins


  1. 11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

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  1. 11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

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