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.

creative writing 11

11 Plus creative writing tips and examples

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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Creative Writing Exam Tips Infographic

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

I’m glad!

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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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!

creative writing 11

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creative writing 11

11+ English Sample Papers

Here's a list of 11+ English papers, FREE for you to download.

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How Matteo reaped the benefits of 11+ success

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

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U2 Tuition

11+ Exam Creative Writing Guide: Help Your Child Write Their Way to Victory

creative writing for 11

Welcome to U2 Tuition’s 11+ Exam Creative Writing Guide, a valuable resource designed to support your child's journey towards success in the highly competitive 11+ exams. This comprehensive guide has been carefully crafted to provide you with the tools, insights, and guidance necessary to assist your child in developing their creative writing skills and achieving their full potential in the critical assessment. The 11 Plus exams serve as a significant milestone, determining entry into some of the most prestigious schools and setting the stage for their educational journey ahead. Among the various components of the 11+ exams, creative writing holds immense value, as it allows your child to showcase their imagination, language proficiency, and ability to craft compelling narratives.

In the guide, we will explore effective strategies, practical tips, and engaging exercises that will enhance your child's storytelling abilities, expand their vocabulary, and refine their writing skills. One of U2’s founders, Camille, is also the author of a rhyming children’s book, ‘Mister Finch and the Queen ’ - creative writing is hugely important to us and we love to help students hone their creative imagination, in preparation for the exams, but also far beyond.

Contents of the 11+ Creative Writing Guide

Through a series of carefully structured sections, we will delve into the fundamentals of creative writing, equipping you with the knowledge and resources needed to nurture your child's creativity and help them excel in their 11+ creative writing tasks. From sparking their imagination and assisting in the planning process to refining their grammar and sentence structure, we will cover every aspect of the writing journey.

This guide provides you with sample prompts and valuable insights into assessment criteria, allowing you to support your child in preparing for the exams with confidence. By familiarising yourself with the expectations of the 11+ creative writing tasks, you can guide your child in crafting narratives that resonate with the examiners and stand out from the competition.

creative writing 11 plus

Section 1: The Fundamentals of Great Creative Writing in Exams

Imagination: unleashing the power of creativity.

One of the key elements that make a piece of creative writing exceptional is imagination. Encouraging your child to tap into their creativity allows them to create unique stories and characters that captivate readers. Here are some ways you can help nurture their imagination:

a. Read widely: Expose your child to a diverse range of books, genres, and authors. Reading not only enhances their vocabulary but also sparks their imagination by introducing them to different worlds, perspectives, and storytelling styles. Here are some of our suggestions:

Sevenoaks Year 7 Reading List: On Sevenoaks School’s 11+ admissions page, they publish a Reading List designed to challenge students to advance their reading level

U2 Tuition’s Book Recommendation Blogs: In our Free Resource Library, we include a range of book recommendations by age. E.g. The 5 Best Books to Read For Younger Readers , or to challenge your child: 7 Books To Read Before You Turn 14

b. Encourage daydreaming : Provide opportunities for your child to daydream and let their imagination wander. This unstructured time allows them to explore their thoughts, visualise scenes, and develop ideas for their writing. Inspiration can be found in such a variety of places e.g. exploring the great outdoors, visiting the theatre or ballet.

c. Engage in imaginative play: Encourage your child to engage in creative play, where they can invent stories, characters, and settings. This playful exploration strengthens their storytelling abilities and nurtures their imaginative thinking.

Structure: Planning and Organisation

An important aspect of successful creative writing is having a well-structured piece. Planning and organisation help your child create a coherent and engaging narrative. Consider the following tips to support them in this process:

a. Brainstorming: Encourage your child to brainstorm ideas before they start writing. They can jot down key plot points, interesting characters, or striking settings (Tip: Stories don’t have to be set in the modern era! A story set in an interesting historical period can be very effective) . The brainstorming process helps them generate multiple options and select the most compelling ones.

b. Story mapping: Guide your child in creating a story map or outline. This visual representation of their narrative allows them to see the overall structure, ensuring that the story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. When practising, students can spend more time planning than they would do in the exam, but as they approach 11+ examinations, they should try to limit themselves to about 5 minutes planning time to ensure they have enough time to write the story.

Exercise - Provide your child with story outline worksheets or templates that guide them through the different elements of storytelling. These worksheets typically include sections for the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. They help your child organise their ideas and ensure a cohesive story structure.

Here are some planning resources we have compiled to help your child become a planning whizz!

Plot diagrams: Introduce your child to plot diagrams such as the story mountain . These visual tools illustrate the key components of a story, including the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Plot diagrams help your child understand the overall structure of a story and ensure that their narrative has a clear progression.

Exercise - Planning Practice:

Engage your child in story planning exercises that involve outlining their story's beginning, middle, and end. Encourage them to identify the main conflict, the major turning points, and the resolution of their story. This exercise helps them develop a clear direction and roadmap for their narrative.

c. Developing characters: Encourage your child to flesh out their characters by creating detailed descriptions, including their personality traits, motivations, and backstories. Well-developed characters add depth and authenticity to the story.

creative writing 11

Engaging Openings: Capturing the Reader's Attention

In the context of exams, it is crucial for your child's writing to capture the examiner's attention from the very beginning. The opening lines should intrigue, engage, and entice the reader to continue. Help your child craft engaging openings by:

a. Starting with action or dialogue: They could begin the story with an exciting event, a dramatic moment, or a thought-provoking line of dialogue. This immediately draws the reader into the narrative and creates a sense of curiosity.

Exercise - Opening Hooks:

Explore different types of opening hooks with your child, such as:

A captivating first sentence that grabs the reader's attention.

An intriguing question that piques curiosity.

A vivid description that immerses the reader in the setting.

A compelling dialogue that sets the tone or reveals a conflict.

Encourage your child to experiment with these techniques to create engaging story openings.

Exercise - Analysing Story Openings From Favourite Books:

Encourage your child to read and analyse opening paragraphs from well-crafted books or short stories. Discuss with your child what makes those openings captivating, such as strong imagery, unique perspectives, or a sense of mystery. This should help inspire your child to incorporate similar techniques into their own writing.

Exercise - Writing Prompts:

Provide your child with specific writing prompts that focus on crafting effective story openings. For example:

Start a story with the line: "The door creaked open, revealing..."

Begin a story with a character waking up in a strange place.

Write a story that starts with a sudden unexpected event.

Such prompts challenge your child to think creatively about how to hook readers from the very first sentence.

Exercise - Sensory Details Exercise:

Encourage your child to practise writing sensory details specifically for story openings. Have them choose a setting, and then ask them to describe what it looks like, sounds like, smells like, and feels like. This exercise helps create a vivid opening that draws readers into the story world.

Exercise - Story Opening Writing Exercises:

Engage your child in writing exercises specifically focused on crafting strong story openings. For example, ask them to write multiple versions of the opening paragraph for the same story idea, experimenting with different hooks, perspectives, or tones. This practice helps them explore different possibilities and select the most compelling opening.

b. Creating vivid descriptions: Encourage your child to use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture of the scene or setting. Engaging the reader's senses through rich imagery helps establish an immersive experience right from the start. Including sensory description is so important - encourage your child to try to use as many of their 5 senses as possible in their writing e.g. sound (via alliteration, onomatopoeia, sibilance etc.), touch (textures - is an object hard, feathery…how does the rain feel on the character’s skin?), sight (using colour, strong descriptive language e.g. double adjectives) etc.

c. Posing a question or mystery: Raise a compelling question or present a mystery in the opening lines. This creates intrigue and prompts the reader to keep reading to find the answers.

Engaging Storytelling:

At the heart of great creative writing lies the art of storytelling. Students should aim to craft a narrative that captivates their reader from the very beginning. As mentioned above, they should start with a strong opening that grabs attention and sets the tone for the story. They must then develop their characters by giving them depth, personalities, and motives. Creating a plot that is well-paced, with rising action, a compelling climax, and a satisfying resolution, is essential for students to stand out amongst other strong candidates. The following section is dedicated to this!

Section 2: The Art of Effective Storytelling

In this section of the guide, we will delve into the art of effective storytelling, exploring various literary techniques that will elevate your child's creative writing to new heights. We will discuss the power of vivid imagery, engaging dialogue, and well-paced plot development. Additionally, we will emphasise the importance of grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure in crafting polished and sophisticated narratives. To help your child practise these skills, we have included practical exercises and stimulating prompts throughout this section.

11 plus creative writing examples

Vivid Imagery: Painting Pictures with Words

Vivid imagery is a powerful tool that brings stories to life, allowing readers to visualise the scenes and immerse themselves in the narrative. Encourage your child to incorporate the following techniques:

a. Sensory details: Prompt your child to include sensory details such as sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By describing the sensory experiences within the story, they create a rich and immersive reading experience.

Exercise - Sensory Writing Prompts:

Provide your child with prompts that encourage them to incorporate sensory details into their writing:

Ask your child to write a paragraph describing a bustling marketplace, focusing on sensory details to bring it to life.

"Describe a walk through a bustling city street, focusing on the sights, sounds, and smells."

"Imagine you're on a beach at sunset. Write a paragraph that captures the feeling of warm sand between your toes, the scent of the ocean, and the sound of crashing waves."

Exercise - Sensory Observation Exercises:

Encourage your child to engage in sensory observation activities in their everyday life. This could include going on nature walks, visiting different environments, or exploring new places. Prompt them to pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures around them. Afterwards, ask them to write a short paragraph or poem that vividly describes their sensory experiences.

Exercise - Sensory Word Banks:

Create a sensory word bank with your child. Brainstorm adjectives and descriptive phrases that relate to each of the five senses. Encourage them to use this word bank as a reference when writing, helping them choose precise and evocative language to convey sensory experiences.

Exercise - Sensory Object Descriptions:

Select an object, such as a piece of fruit or a common household item, and ask your child to write a detailed description that engages multiple senses. Encourage them to explore the object's appearance, texture, smell, taste, and even the sounds associated with it. This exercise helps develop their ability to incorporate sensory details into their writing in a focused and deliberate manner.

Engaging Dialogue: Breathing Life into Characters

Dialogue plays a crucial role in storytelling, giving voice to the characters and revealing their personalities, motivations, and relationships. Help your child create engaging dialogue by:

a. Showing character through speech: Encourage your child to use dialogue to reveal character traits, emotions, and conflicts. Each character should have a distinct voice and manner of speaking.

Exercise - Provide your child with prompts that require them to develop dialogue-rich scenes. This will give them practice in using dialogue effectively to reveal character traits, emotions, and relationships. For example:

Provide your child with a prompt and ask them to write a dialogue between two characters who have opposing viewpoints.

"Write a conversation between two characters who have just discovered a hidden treasure."

"Imagine two friends who are having a disagreement. Write a dialogue that shows their conflicting viewpoints."

Exercise - Character Interview :

Ask your child to imagine they are interviewing one of the characters from their story. Have them prepare a list of questions and encourage them to respond in the character's voice. This exercise helps them dive deeper into the character's personality and unique way of speaking.

Exercise - Dialogue Tags and Actions:

Discuss the importance of using dialogue tags and actions to enhance the portrayal of characters. Encourage your child to include descriptive tags and actions that complement the dialogue and provide additional insights into the characters' emotions or mannerisms. For instance:

She exclaimed with a wide grin, 'I can't believe it!'

He muttered under his breath, 'This is going to be a disaster.'

Well-Paced Plot Development: Building Tension and Momentum

A well-paced plot keeps readers engaged and eager to know what happens next. Teach your child how to develop a well-structured story with the following techniques:

a. Introduce conflict: Encourage your child to introduce conflict early in the story to create tension and drive the plot forward. This can be an internal conflict within the main character or an external conflict with other characters or the setting.

b. Build suspense: Guide your child in building suspense through strategic use of foreshadowing, cliff-hangers, or unexpected plot twists. This keeps readers on the edge of their seats, eager to find out what happens next.

Exercise - Suspenseful Story Prompts: Provide your child with a prompt and ask them to write a short story with a suspenseful plot twist towards the end. For example:

"Write a story about a group of friends who stumble upon a mysterious abandoned house."

"Imagine you're trapped in a haunted forest at night. Describe your attempts to find a way out."

Exercise - Analysing Suspenseful Scenes:

Read suspenseful scenes from well-known books or films with your child. Discuss how the author or filmmaker built tension and kept the reader or viewer engaged. Examples could include:

The introduction of the antagonist in a mystery novel.

A thrilling chase sequence in an action film.

Exercise - Foreshadowing Exercises:

Encourage your child to practice foreshadowing, a literary technique that hints at future events and builds anticipation. Ask them to include subtle clues or hints in their writing that suggest something significant is about to happen. For instance:

"Write a story where a character finds a mysterious object at the beginning, and later reveal its importance or danger."

"Include a brief mention of a storm brewing in the distance, and later incorporate it as a key element of the climax."

Exercise - Studying Suspenseful Authors:

Read works by authors known for their ability to build suspense. Discuss specific techniques they employ and how your child can incorporate similar elements into their writing. Examples of authors known for suspenseful storytelling include:

Edgar Allan Poe

Agatha Christie

Remember, building suspense is about creating anticipation and keeping readers on the edge of their seats. Encourage your child to experiment with these techniques, combine them with their own unique storytelling style, and practice regularly to refine their ability to craft suspenseful narratives.

11 plus english

Grammar, Vocabulary, and Sentence Structure: Polishing the Writing

Strong language skills are essential for effective creative writing. Help your child refine their grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure by:

a. Expanding vocabulary: Encourage your child to explore new words and phrases, providing opportunities for them to learn and incorporate them into their writing. A rich vocabulary enhances their ability to express ideas precisely.

b. Sentence variety: Teach your child to vary sentence structure by using different sentence lengths, types, and structures. This adds rhythm and flow to their writing, making it more engaging to read.

Exercise - Provide your child with a list of vocabulary words and ask them to write a short story incorporating as many of the words as possible while maintaining a natural flow.

Here are some example resources and exercises that can help 11+ applicants refine their grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure in their stories:

Grammar Practice Exercises: Utilise online grammar resources or workbooks specifically designed for 11+ exam preparation. These resources provide targeted grammar exercises and explanations to help your child strengthen their understanding of grammatical rules and conventions.

Vocabulary Expansion Activities: Encourage your child to actively expand their vocabulary by engaging in activities such as:

Reading widely: Encourage them to read books, magazines, and newspapers that expose them to a variety of words and contexts.

Word-of-the-day: Introduce a new word to your child each day and challenge them to use it in their writing or conversation.

Thesaurus exploration: Encourage your child to use a thesaurus to find synonyms and antonyms for common words, allowing them to enrich their writing with more precise and varied vocabulary.

Sentence Structure Exercises: Provide your child with exercises that focus on sentence structure and variety. For example:

Rewrite a paragraph by transforming simple sentences into complex or compound sentences.

Ask your child to create a set of sentences using different sentence types, such as declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory .

Grammar and Vocabulary Games: Make learning grammar and vocabulary fun by engaging in interactive games and activities. There are various online resources and mobile apps that offer educational games to reinforce grammar rules, word meanings, and sentence construction.

Section 3: 11+ Creative Writing Admissions Criteria

Admissions criteria for 11+ creative writing can vary depending on the specific school or exam consortium. However, here are some common factors that are often considered in evaluating creative writing submissions:

1. Creativity and Originality: Admissions teams look for imaginative and original ideas in the writing. They assess whether the story, characters, and plot display unique and creative thinking.

2. Writing Style and Technique: The quality of the writing style and technique is essential. Examiners assess the use of literary devices, descriptive language, sentence structure, and overall fluency. They look for evidence of a strong command of language and the ability to engage the reader effectively.

3. Narrative Structure and Development: The structure of the narrative and its development are crucial. Admissions officers evaluate how well the story is organised, if it has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and whether there is a logical progression of events. They also consider how well the story builds tension, maintains reader interest, and resolves conflicts.

4. Characterisation: Examiners examine the depth and complexity of the characters in the story. They assess whether the characters are well-developed, believable, and have distinct voices. Strong character development helps to engage the reader and bring the story to life.

5. Adherence to the Prompt or Theme: Applicants are typically given a prompt or theme for their creative writing submission. Admissions officers evaluate how well the applicant addresses the prompt or incorporates the theme into their story. They assess the level of understanding and engagement with the given topic.

6. Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation: While creativity and storytelling are important, examiners also consider the technical aspects of writing. They look for a high level of accuracy in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as these are indicators of a writer's attention to detail and ability to communicate effectively.

It's important to note that each school or exam consortium may have its own specific criteria and weightings for assessing creative writing submissions. Some schools may also consider the applicant's potential for improvement and growth. It's advisable to review the specific guidelines provided by the school or exam board to understand the precise criteria they use for evaluating creative writing submissions at the 11+ level.

Section 4: 11+ Creative Writing Prompts and Tips

Creative writing prompts can serve as excellent starting points to inspire your child's imagination and help them practise their storytelling skills. Encourage your child to embrace these prompts and unleash their creativity. Here are some example prompts along with tips on how to approach them:

1. Prompt: "Write a story about a magical adventure."

Tip: Encourage your child to let their imagination run wild. They can create a world filled with enchanted creatures, mysterious places, and unexpected twists. Remind them to think about the protagonist, their goals, and the challenges they must overcome.

2. Prompt: "Describe a memorable encounter with an animal."

Tip: Urge your child to tap into their senses and vividly describe the experience. Encourage them to think about the emotions evoked by the encounter, the physical appearance of the animal, and any unique characteristics or behaviors that make it stand out.

3. Prompt: "Imagine you can time travel. Write about a journey to a different era."

Tip: Encourage your child to research the chosen era to add authenticity to their story. They can focus on the sights, sounds, and customs of that time period, and imagine how their protagonist would navigate and interact with the world they've traveled to.

4. Prompt: "Write a story about a secret superpower."

Tip: Encourage your child to think beyond traditional superpowers and explore unique abilities. They can consider how their protagonist discovers their power, how they choose to use it, and the impact it has on their life and the world around them.

5. Prompt: "Describe a peculiar object found in an attic."

Tip: Encourage your child to bring the object to life by providing sensory details and incorporating a sense of mystery. They can explore the history and significance of the object, the emotions it evokes, and the impact it has on the characters or the plot.

Tips for Tackling Creative Writing Prompts:

1. Plan and Outline: Encourage your child to spend a few minutes brainstorming and outlining their ideas before starting to write. This helps them organize their thoughts and create a clear structure for their story.

2. Use Vivid Language: Remind your child to incorporate sensory details and descriptive language to bring their story to life. Encourage them to engage the reader's senses through vivid imagery, similes, and metaphors.

3. Develop Characters: Encourage your child to create interesting and relatable characters. Prompt them to think about their characters' backgrounds, motivations, and conflicts to make their stories more engaging.

4. Build Tension: Encourage your child to create suspense and excitement in their stories by introducing obstacles, conflicts, and unexpected plot twists. Remind them to pace their story effectively to maintain the reader's interest.

5. Edit and Revise: After completing the first draft, remind your child of the importance of revising and editing their work. Encourage them to check for grammar and spelling errors, and to refine their sentences and word choices for clarity and impact.

By providing your child with creative writing prompts and tips for tackling them, you can help them develop their storytelling skills, enhance their creativity, and prepare for the 11+ creative writing exams. Remember to foster a supportive and encouraging environment, allowing your child to explore their imagination and enjoy the process of writing.

Our Top 11+ Creative Writing Book Recommendations

11 Plus Creative Writing

Descriptosaurus by Alison Wilcox is an invaluable resource for young writers looking to enhance their descriptive writing skills. The comprehensive guide offers a wide range of descriptive vocabulary and writing techniques, empowering students to create vivid and engaging descriptions across various genres. With a focus on developing sensory imagery, the book provides abundant examples, prompts, and exercises to inspire creativity and strengthen descriptive writing abilities.

How to Write a Great Story by Caroline Lawrence is a valuable guidebook for aspiring young writers who want to master the art of storytelling. Drawing on her experience as a bestselling author, Lawrence provides practical advice, helpful tips, and creative exercises to help readers craft compelling narratives. From developing engaging characters to building suspenseful plots and creating authentic dialogue, this book covers the essential elements of storytelling in an accessible and engaging manner.

To Conclude Our 11+ Creative Writing Guide

Congratulations on completing our 11+ Creative Writing Guide! By exploring the various aspects of creative writing, from storytelling techniques to sensory details, dialogue, grammar, vocabulary, and more, we hope you have equipped yourself with valuable tools to help your child excel in their creative writing endeavours.

Remember that creative writing is an opportunity for a child to unleash their imagination, express their thoughts, and captivate readers with their words. Students should continue to read widely, analyse the works of their favourite authors, and draw inspiration from the world around them.

Creative writing is not only a valuable skill for exams but also a lifelong tool for self-expression, communication, and personal growth. It nurtures students’ creativity, critical thinking, and empathy, allowing them to explore different perspectives and engage with the world in a unique way.

Are You Seeking an Experienced 11 Plus Creative Writing Tutor to Help Your Child Excel in Their 11 + English Exams?

We have a great team of 11+ English tutors, many of whom are experienced in supporting students in application to the majority of top UK Schools. With our expert guidance, your child will receive targeted instruction to develop their storytelling abilities, refine their grammar and vocabulary, and master the art of creative writing. Our tutors are experienced in preparing students for the specific demands of the 11+ exams, ensuring your child is well-equipped to tackle any creative writing prompt that comes their way.

Investing in a skilled 11+ tutor can make a significant difference in your child's performance and overall success. Our tutors provide a nurturing and supportive environment, fostering a love for writing and encouraging your child to reach their full potential.

The Details

We offer online and face-to-face tuition (our service area for in-person sessions is Central London)

Frequency of sessions is flexible and tailored to the particular student’s needs

Our 11+ English tutors are experienced in preparing students for the particulars of their target schools’ entrance tests - our 11+ English tutors will have studied the subject to degree level (or a related course)

We typically begin with a diagnostic session to informally assess the student’s current ability and identify points for development. All going well, your 11+ Creative Writing Tutor will tailor a plan for preparation

Session rates from £70/h + VAT

Book a free consultation to discuss your child's needs and goals here .

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How to prepare for Creative Writing

This article provides advice for students about the creative writing task in the 11 plus / selective school entrance examinations.

  • 1 How is creative writing tested?
  • 2 What is the examiner looking for?
  • 4.1 1. Planning
  • 4.2 2. Using you creativity/imagination
  • 4.3 3. Fluent writing style
  • 4.4 4. Punctuation
  • 4.5 5. Grammar
  • 4.6 6. Spellings
  • 4.7 7. Vocabulary
  • 4.8 8. Structure
  • 5 Checking your work
  • 6 Can your handwriting be read?
  • 7 Practise your ideas

How is creative writing tested?

Creative writing for the 11+ may require you to write either an original story or complete a continuous prose exercise in the same style of writing (when you are given the start of a story/piece of writing and you continue it). Both types of task will examine your ability to plan, create and then write in a structured manner.

You may be given just one title/opening paragraph to write from or you could be given a set of options from which you choose your preferred one. A few schools may present the creative writing task at the end of a comprehension exercise where you are asked to continue writing the comprehension text or creative a piece of work about the comprehension text/information.

Some entrance examinations, for selective schools, will assess the creative writing task only as part of a borderline check in the review process if you have fallen marginally short or only just passed the given pass mark for that entrance exam.

Unlike creative writing lessons in school, there will no time allowed to do all the usual planning, drafting and revising required to produce a final piece of writing; the 11+ creative writing task is completed in a very short time, in one sitting, with no time allowed for any drafts.

What is the examiner looking for?

Creative writing skills include the following components:

  • Effective planning
  • Creativity/imagination
  • A ‘fluent’ and interesting writing style
  • Correct use of punctuation including the use of some ‘advanced’ types
  • Correct use of English grammar
  • Correct spellings
  • An extensive and interesting vocabulary
  • A well-structured piece of writing

There will be a specified time given for the writing task. The length of this will vary between schools. Ensure that you know what this is and keep an eye on your progress in order to be able to finish in time and include a check of your work.

Skills to practise

1. planning.

Never just start writing. Planning will help you to organise your thoughts and this will give your writing structure. It really does not need to take long but is always 5 minutes well spent. This planning time may form part of the whole time given to write or it may be an extra 5 minutes provided at the start before the writing is timed. Use a planning technique that works well for you e.g. flow-chart, mind map, spider diagram, chart. If you do run out of writing time you can ask the examiner to refer to your plan to see how you would have continued/ended your work.

2. Using you creativity/imagination

Some people are naturally creative with words, story-lines etc. and find this skill easy. However, your imagination can be greatly improved by reading a variety of books.

See this suggested reading book list .

3. Fluent writing style

Your writing style is unique to you. It should demonstrate ‘joined-up thinking’ and an ability to write in an entertaining manner that creates such an interest for the reader that they want to continue reading.

4. Punctuation

You will be expected to use all the correct punctuation marks in a piece of creative writing. The correct use of punctuation is required to make your writing clear and avoid confusion. Apart from the standard simple forms of punctuation you will already be familiar with, it is best to also demonstrate your knowledge and correct use of some of the less commonly used punctuation marks e.g. ellipses(…), brackets( ), colons(:), semi-colons(;), hyphens(–) and apostrophes(‘).

English Grammar follows rules and you will be expected to use them correctly in your writing. Speaking and writing use different accepted forms of grammar. It is therefore important that you do not write as you may speak or as you communicate in a text message. Your writing should use the word groups i.e. nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, connectives, prepositions and articles correctly and in the right order within your sentences. All sentences should be complete and make entire sense on their own, using the correct word endings as appropriate for the number of items and the correct form of the verb for the tense used. Use a variety of sentence structures, in addition to simple sentences, including compound and complex sentences to showcase your abilities.

6. Spellings

The use of correct spelling is essential in any form of writing. Some people are naturally good at spelling and others need to work at learning them. You will probably have been taught some spelling rules in English lessons, revise these and practise them however some awkward or irregular words just have to be learnt. Reading a lot will improve your spelling ability as will playing some word games e.g. Scrabble, Boggle and Hangman. Although a dictionary will not be allowed to be used in a test, make looking up spellings in a dictionary part of your 11+ preparation.

7. Vocabulary

An extensive and interesting vocabulary takes years to develop. Some tutors/parents like to use vocabulary lists LINK to extend a child’s vocabulary but the best method is to read numerous books and look out for new words that you can use in your writing. Keeping a word list of new words is useful and this can be added to when reading books, watching TV or out and about. When you are practising your writing skills use a thesaurus to improve and extend your vocabulary and make an effort to include lots of interesting adjectives and adverbs.

8. Structure

It is important to demonstrate that your writing has structure in the form of clearly demarcated paragraphs that organised by characters, topic and time. Ensure that you have a good opening paragraph, if this is not supplied, to draw the reader in and then a suitable closing paragraph to conclude your writing.

Checking your work

Always leave enough time at the end of your writing to check:

  • Punctuation
  • Consistent use of the same tense
  • Good vocabulary

You have to become your own spelling and grammar checker. Read through carefully with a critical eye and carefully, neatly correct any errors or omissions.

Can your handwriting be read?

There is no point in writing a stunning piece of work if the examiner cannot read it. Although your handwriting is not usually included in the creative writing mark/grade it will certainly influence decisions made about your work. Additionally, punctuation errors may be assumed if it is difficult to differentiate your capital letters from the lower-case letters.

It is never too late to improve, try using a different pen and practise writing at speed.

Practise your ideas

It is a good idea to have a few ‘stock’ essays and/or ideas already practised and prepared that you are able to use, altering as required, for the examination task. Creative writing for 11+/selective school exams tends to follow some fairly predictable themes and styles that can be practised in advance.

Try Chuckra’s  Writing Feedback Service for tailored guidance on how to improve.

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3 comments on “ How to prepare for Creative Writing ”

Thank you for this useful and informative post. Writing is an essential part of a college education. Having become accustomed to short essays and articles, you may be afraid of such responsible work – it is a long work based on facts. The time limit is another problem. You need help for student , consultations with your teacher to resolve issues.

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  • 11 Plus Creative Writing – Example Topics and Tasks

11 Plus Creative Writing – Example Topics and Tasks

Schools can of course ask anything so these example tasks shouldn’t be used as stock answers.

Pupils will however find that developing a full description bank of characters, emotions, action, the natural world and the built environment etc will help them to deliver effective and creative descriptions on the day.

Using those description banks within these sample stories will help them to develop their work further and enable them to embed their thoughts so they can deliver properly on the day.

Remember if you are going to tackle any of these sample writing topics and tasks you should always plan to revisit your work a few days after you have done it. As part of the process children who often re-write their work to improve it find they make better progress.

Good resources to help with creative writing are rare. If you need help then we do recommend this creative writing preparation course . Since we started recommending it we have had very good feedback from our users, whether they have used it to prepare for an 11 Plus exam or an Independent entry test.

11 Plus creative writing example topics list

The following topics and tasks have come up in either in grammar school or independent school 11 plus writing tests:

Core themes for creative writing topics and tasks:

Many stories have core themes or emotions or feelings within them. When developing your descriptions banks these are useful areas to think about:

Animals – Typically describe your pet or your favourite animal or an animal you are frightened of. Be prepared to be use literary devices like personification or exaggeration or even simple similes to bring your description to life.

Emotions and feelings – Stories often include a requirement to describe emotion like fear, or joy or what it feels like to be lost or alone. They could easily ask you to describe enjoyment through a title like My brilliant day. Sometimes the titles may overtly lead you in a very clear direction. Lost ! and Alone! Are two previous examples that have come up.

Activities you enjoy doing – This is chance to describe the activity itself ( whatever you like from mountaineering to gardening and everything in between) plus how it makes you feel. Again your development of description banks should have helped you.

The natural world – Could be hills or mountains, rivers or streams or lightning or the rain or the feeling of sunshine or how a meadow looks or a field of wheat. Children who cover the natural world in their descriptions development work always find it useful.

The built environment – Think houses or offices blocks or cottages or castles.  Roads and bridges, churches and sheds.  Developing some thoughts about how to describe the built environment is always useful.

Story Titles:

Story titles can be long or short.  Here are some examples of story titles which have come up in both Grammar School and Independent School tests.

  • The Day Trip
  • The Broken Window
  • The Abandoned House
  • The Voice in the Darkness
  • Write a story with Alone as the title, where you suddenly realise that you are on your own.  It may be a true or entirely made up, but it should include your thoughts and feelings as well as what happened.
  • Write a story (true or made up) about a visit you make to some relations of your own.
  • Write a letter to a cousin inviting him to stay with you. You should try and interest him in some of the varied and unusual activities he can take part in.
  • Describe a situation which you have experienced which might also be called A Magical Moment, showing what your thoughts and feelings are.
  • Write a clear description of an animal you know well.  Make sure you describe what it does and how it behaves as well as what it looks like.
  • I prefer Winter to Spring.
  • The door and what was behind it.
  • The Prince of Darkness is a Gentleman.
  • Ash on an old man’s sleeve.
  • Write a story that begins with the words – I had been waiting for such a long time for this to happen.
  • Write a description of someone you admire.  (You may choose someone you actually know, or someone you have never met.  Describe them and explain why you admire them).


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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.

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+ Creative Writing

Creativity is a gift to children, and their brains are so sharp than all of us. Why not make them work for good reasons than leave them lethargic to the stinky games? House arrested Televisions. We offer quality resources for 11 plus and a great opportunity for many children out there to showcase their wits. Rush to for more details on Creative Writing and promote your child’s creativity to the world.

Creative Writing is a form of Writing where creativity is at the forefront of its purpose. Here the writer must use his imagination , creativity , and innovation to tell a story through strong written visuals. Creative Writing is probably one of many students’ most challenging sections of the 11+ exams . The reason is that you could not gather enough thoughts under the tight time constraints during the exam.

creative writing

Creative Writing for the 11 plus test is in two ways – either you are asked to write an original story for the given title or complete a continuous prose exercise in the same writing style. Both types of tasks will examine your ability to plan, create and then write in a structured manner using good vocabulary.

11 Plus Creative Writing:

11 Plus Creative Writing

Creative Writing is the main difference between most Grammar Schools’ tests and Independent Schools’ tests . Grammar School tests usually don’t include this section as their tests are of multiple-choice format. However, Independent secondary Schools do because humans mark the tests.

11 Creative Writing and Story Writing:

What topics could come up?

The possibilities of questions are within the following four categories:

1. Descriptive tasks – to describe a situation or a place

2. Persuasive tasks – to script a convincing speech like writing a letter or a complaint

3. Narrative tasks – to compose a short story

4. Expository tasks – to explain an article or set of instructions

Please note that you can upload the 11+ Creative Writings either by directly typing or by taking a picture and attaching it here:

This is the crucial section that decides the child’s ability because the most important thing is how you present your ideas on paper though you get good thoughts in your mind. Having an idea of how your story holds together and ends before you start writing gives you a sense of direction when you write.

11 Plus Creative Writing Validation Check List: has some guidelines, so check out the resource: 11 Plus English Creative Writing Suggestions

The tutors can only give necessary guidelines for the children on how to carry out creative Writing. They cannot help in making your child start writing scripts and check for reviews. The child himself should start building the features needed for it, like developing a sufficiently wide vocabulary and improving style.

Free 11 Plus Creative Writing Practice:

FREE PRIVATE 11 Plus Creative Writing practice………….

For this, self-practice and revision are a must. It is a good idea to revise each different type of question that may occur in a creative writing task. Key things to remember while practising include grammar , punctuation and sentence structure .

11 Plus Free Creative Writing:

11 Plus Creative Writings:

The examiner looks for :

  • Effective planning of the content
  • Creativity in presenting the topic
  • A ‘ fluent ‘ and exciting writing style
  • Correct usage of punctuation marks
  • Use of sophisticated words
  • Correct spellings
  • Sentences with good English grammar and vocabulary
  • A well-structured piece of Writing
  • The work is precise and simple

Using Creative Writing Blog , the child can upload a creative writing piece. We publish the best Creative Writing pieces on our blog. This’ll encourage children to write a creative writing piece and improve their writing skills.

11+ Creative Writing – what makes it more effective and impressive?

Some Creative Writings from students:

“The Sun” by Zishan
“Spring the beginning” by Nithila Senthil
“The Summer Tree” by Hafsa

Note to all Parents and Children on Creative Writing: Please write as much as possible, and if you’ve more time, then don’t stop with one paragraph. Try to put more paragraphs. This’ll improve speed in the final exam.

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11 Plus Creative Writing Help: How to Ace the Exam

  • May 23, 2021
  • Posted by: Tutor Rise
  • Category: 11 English 11 plus Creative Writing 11 Plus Preparation How to pass 11 Plus exam

The 11 Plus exams are meant to test children’s understanding of subjects, such as; Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. In some 11 Plus English exam papers, children will be asked to complete a creative writing test – an important component that, unfortunately, many students fear.

At Tutor Rise , we are dedicated to helping your child succeed. In this article, we have prepared a comprehensive guide for your child to help them with their 11 Plus Creative Writing component.

11 Plus Creative Writing: Complete Guide

Creative writing for the 11 Plus Exam can last anywhere between 20 and 50 minutes. It may require you to either complete a continuous prose exercise (where you have to continue the start of a story) or write an original story from scratch. With either task, the goal is to examine your ability to plan and write in a structured and engaging way.

Below, you can find some tips that will help you to unleash your creativity and convey your writing abilities.

Free Your Imagination

Before you start to write (or even plan), take a little time to daydream and let your imagination do the work. If you can clearly see your story in your head, you will be able to describe it in a powerful way, with deep descriptions and engaging writing.

Create a Plan

Your next step is to create a simple plan. When you have a short time to write, there are two crucial things that will hold your story together: the main event and your central character. As such, your plan should include:

  • The main event
  • Your main character
  • Where and when the story is set
  • Getting there or how you will get to the main event
  • The ending or what will happen after the event

Choose One Main Event

For an 11 Plus Exam creative writing story, we recommend choosing a single main plot event – if there is too much happening, your descriptive skills may simply get lost. If there is a dramatic event, make sure to describe it powerfully and give a clear sense of the reactions of your characters.

Focus on a Single Main Character

Similarly, it is best to focus on only one core character. You likely won’t have enough time to make more than one person believable and interesting in a short thirty-minute exam. Therefore, make your main character stand out and only refer to others in passing.

Don’t Be Afraid to Skip the Intro

If you are writing a short story, it does not need the same introduction as a 300-page novel would. You do not have to give a full background on your character, and especially not in the beginning of the story.

Writing a full introduction will waste a paragraph, when you might only have enough time to write three or four five paragraphs in your entire story. Instead, you can mention any important information about your characters somewhere along the way.

Include a Little Dialogue

Including a dialogue in your exam story is an excellent way to showcase your punctuation knowledge and make your piece a little different. However, be careful not to turn your story into a script. Include a little dialogue for your 11 Plus creative writing test, but keep the main focus on your description of the characters, settings, and events.

Be Descriptive

Many creative stories have core themes or emotions embedded within them. To give you a better idea of what to expect, below are some common topics and tasks that have come up in 11 Plus writing exams:

  • You may be asked to write a story about your favourite animal, an animal you are afraid of, or your pet.
  • Activities you like. This is an opportunity to describe the activity itself, as well as how it makes you feel.
  • Emotions and feelings. Many times, stories include a requirement to describe a specific emotion like joy or fear that you have experienced in a certain situation.
  • The built environment. You may need to describe a build environment, such as office blocks or houses, castles or cottages, roads, churches, and more.
  • The natural world. Finally, another popular topic includes the description of the natural world. Think mountains and hills, streams and rivers, rain and sunshine.

To help you prepare, think about how you would describe any of these themes well before your exam. Show, not tell! Use a range of senses throughout your story and do not forget to include similes and metaphors where appropriate.

How is 11 Plus Creative Writing Evaluated?

Creative writing skills evaluated in the 11 Plus Creative Writing exercise include the following components:

  • Creativity and imagination. Some people are naturally creative, but do not be desperate if you are not. You can improve your imagination over time by reading a variety of books.
  • Effective planning. Never jump to writing right away. Creating a plan will help you organize your thoughts and give a structure to your story.
  • Correct use of English grammar . You will be expected to correctly apply the rules of grammar throughout your writing. All sentences should be complete and make sense, all word groups should be used correctly, and correct forms of verbs should be applied.
  • Correct use of punctuation. It is important to use all the correct punctuation marks in your writing piece. Review the standard simple forms of punctuation, along with less common punctuation marks like ellipses, brackets, hyphens, apostrophes, colons, and semicolons.
  • Correct spellings. Needless to say, correct spelling is essential in any type of writing. Review and practice spelling rules, as well as the spelling of irregular words.
  • An interesting and “fluent” writing style. Each person has an absolutely unique writing style. Aim to demonstrate your ability to write in an entertaining way that will keep your reader engaged.
  • A good structure of your text. Make sure to demonstrate that your text has structure with clear paragraphs that are organized by topic, characters, and time.
  • An interesting and extensive vocabulary. It may take years to develop an extensive vocabulary, but a proven method is to read numerous books and search for new words that you can use in your own writing.

Get Ready for 11 Plus Creative Writing Exam with Tutor Rise

Without a doubt, passing the 11 Plus Creative Writing aspect of the exam is no easy task. From use of advanced punctuation and grammar rules, to correct spelling and interesting vocabulary, there is a lot to keep in mind.

Fortunately, you and your child are not alone in this. At Tutor Rise , our 11 Plus Writing Course was created by 11 Plus exam specialists who have years of teaching experience. We are truly dedicated to using innovative strategies and tools to help your child progress quickly and truly excel in their exams and beyond.

Contact us today to learn more.

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Scoring Top Marks: 11 Plus Creative Writing Checklist

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

  • Introduction

Creative writing can crop up on 11 plus exams often. But sometimes students can get confused about what the 11 plus exam is expecting of them. They have tons of questions. How do you start a creative writing piece? How do I get the marks? How long does this have to be?

Luckily, we have a guide here to something that can solve all this confusion and get students full marks on their 11 plus creative writing exam – checklists.  

Table of Contents

Why checklists?

The piacademy checklist system, students enjoy getting technical, it helps reluctant writers, here are the main issues:.

Checklists are used for many academic tasks, and creative writing is a common one. Are they really effective? Absolutely! 

This article from PiAcademy will explore why checklists are used and how to use writing checklists to improve student writing in the classroom and in the 11 plus creative writing exam .

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

When children have the opportunity to address their own mistakes within the writing process, it makes their learning more meaningful. They can fix mistakes as they go and develop their writing skills that much faster. Think of famous authors like Roald Dahl or Judy Blume. 

Good writers use checklists, revise, and edit over and over again to get it just right.

A creative writing checklist is an effective tool to use because…

  • It guides students to develop the skills needed when writing.
  • It shows reluctant writers a simple way to include the necessary elements.
  • It provides a reference to use throughout the writing process.
  • It helps students stay focused on each step of the process.
  • It gives students tools for review and peer-editing.
  • It ensures students include key elements of that particular type of writing.
  • It encourages students to establish organization throughout their paper.
  • It reminds students to “check over” their paper for effective revising strategies and proper editing rules.
  • It holds students accountable by providing expectations.
  • It keeps students on task.
  • It ultimately helps significantly improve students’ writing.
  • It can help communicate the criteria of an effective paper to parents.

Don’t just take our word for it! Research from prominent universities backs it up:

“Kathleen Dudden Rowlands recommends using checklists to support student learning and performance. Well-designed checklists identify steps students can take to complete complex tasks which scaffold students’ metacognitive development and fosters the confidence and independence needed for internalising these steps for future tasks.”

When it comes to these ‘tasks’, creative writing for the 11 plus exam is no different. It might seem intimidating because of the number of marks. But the people marking the exams are using checklists too! They have their own criteria they have to follow to give out the marks.  All of PiAcademy’s 11 plus creative writing resources are built around this system, and here’s how it helps you get the marks.

So how does the system actually work? How does it help your child get higher marks on the 11 plus exam?

It Helps with Planning 

The starting point for our checklist system is based on a topic students overlook – planning. 

It’s a major reason why children take the 11 plus exam drop marks for no reason. No one wants to read a story that doesn’t make sense. So why would the examiner? They are going to read hundreds of these exams, remember. If they’re reading something that’s nonsense, it won’t go well for the student. 

Planning is an important part of the fiction writing process. Many professional writers use a plan as the basis for a first draft, which they will later edit several times before the work is complete.

Planning and proofreading should bookend your creative writing process. In the planning phase you prepare your ideas and narrative structure. As you proofread you check how well your writing is working. During each phase you might focus on vocabulary and effective forms of expression. The PiAcademy checklist is all about the student knowing exactly what is going to happen in the beginning, middle and end of the story. It even explains what your story should be doing at each stage in clear terms, so your child will never be missing a story structure ever again.

Ever enjoyed reading a grammar textbook cover to cover? Me neither. And with the checklist system, your child will never have to overthink how they build their sentences ever again. 

Something all 11 plus examiners are looking for is the technical ability, and creative writing is no different. But it can get overwhelming. Just showing students examples isn’t enough. They need to know they can use it in their own writing. 

For example, using a variety of sentences can help you to create pace and tension in your writing. Students must experiment with different sentence lengths and types to build atmosphere, mood and suspense. 

However, getting over this hurdle is easy when they prioritise different parts of the PiAcademy checklist. 

The checklist has a clear breakdown of all the different sentence types, with examples, so students aren’t left trying to do too much at once. Plus, the language used is simple enough for students to understand. 

Too many mark schemes use terms that confuse students rather than help them. A creative writing checklist on the other hand is designed for students to constantly reference.

Teaching creative writing for the 11+ creative writing exams can be incredibly difficult. I’ve discussed some of the issues previously, but the most frustrating thing I think is when students suggest they aren’t creative and so justify themselves not doing any writing. 

The inevitable disruptive behaviours then can become a nightmare to manage. Checklists introduce a pragmatic approach, with success, in getting students to produce quality responses in specific time frames.

  • Students who withdraw from the writing process undoubtedly lack the confidence to write, which is because they lack the tools to do so. 
  • There are numerous commentators who implore parents to provide consistent opportunities for students to write, thereby building their confidence in the process and concurrently developing a love of writing. 
  • Chris Curtis‘ notable 200-word challenge is a prime example, where students are encouraged to write from a prompt but crucially without the fear of it being marked within an inch of its life, avoiding any self-consciousness and allowing a freedom of thinking. 

With a checklist like the one from PiAcademy , you don’t need to worry about reluctant writing, it's designed to get students into the task as soon as possible.

For example, if you have a child who is more geared towards mathematics or science than English, checklists can be a real help. They link to the mechanical part of the brain that likes to do things by steps or in a process.  

When each aspect of the mark scheme is broken down into plain language, many 11+ tutors have found that this helps with confidence over time. When a reluctant writer can focus on one section at a time, it cuts down on confusion and leads to higher marks. 

It helps great students, too. 

When we see students needing more than one experience of the modelling process, it reminds us that it’s not easy to write a successful story, and it takes lots of practice, even for the very best students. 

An inexperienced tutor would be guilty of rushing the process and have students writing independently too quickly, especially when 11 plus exams loom.

It’s easy for many parents to say, ‘just try your best, and get full marks’. But even the very best students need that help and support to get them over the line. Maybe there’s just one element of the mark scheme, like higher-level vocabulary , they need to meet. 

Having the checklist in front of them provides a scaffold to embed the final few parts of the mark scheme they need to get the very highest marks. 

Having examples of things like figurative language there to spur them on, can lead to increased creativity.

In some ways, this can be one of the trickiest parts of the exam to prepare for. There are not a great deal of high-quality resources available for parents, and the time pressures can really get to some students. 

Pupils will however find that developing a full description bank of characters, emotions, action, the natural world and the built environment etc will help them to deliver effective and creative descriptions on the day.

That’s why PiAcademy’s creative writing courses are so valuable – they have hints, plans, checklists, and structures in place to help students build up their confidence: 

  • Specifically designed to prepare for independent and grammar school exams
  • Great practice to improve your child’s imagination, writing skills, and performance in the exam 
  • 23 Creative Writings - Designed by oxford graduate tutors

No matter which of these topics you want to make a start on, take a look at what PiAcademy has to offer.

The checklist ensures you cover essential elements for scoring full marks in 11+ Creative Writing.

It provides a structured approach to crafting compelling narratives.

Yes, it's designed to enhance Creative Writing for various 11+ exams.

Yes, you can conveniently access it online.

While it's a valuable tool, performance depends on overall writing skills.

Utilize the checklist as a guide to ensure you include critical elements in your Creative Writing, increasing your chances of success.

11+ Reading Club

  • Using PiAcademy for 8 months, Simply Amazing website. I have a lot of experience with other 11 + resources and found it hard to find any more difficult Math papers appropriate for the more independent academic schools. These exam papers are amazing, and very easy to follow with the thorough solutions. highly recommended for every parent. Sharon King , 11+ Parent Great, My daughter is taking her 11+ next month so we are using these papers to revise over the summer holidays. These topicwise questions are well set out and is a great practice for my daughter. These papers are a perfect way to help your kid to be as prepared as they possibly can for the 11+ exam. Amber , 11+ Parent
  • Excellent, This website is perfect, initially i wasted three months just thinking whether to subscribe or not, After subscribing i found out that it was worth it. I recommended to almost all my friends and their kids are also busy now in practicing for 11+ El Loro , 11+ Parent Practice makes perfect!, PiAcademy have come out with a super range of new 11+ practice papers, designed to stretch, challenge and test your child for forthcoming entry examinations. The topicwise questions include numbers problems, algebra, geometry, probability, permutation and combinations, measurement...etc lana green , 11+ Parent
  • Great exam papers. These test papers are amazing, they are a lot more up-to date than some of the 11+ stuff I have bought earlier for my daughter. gerry , 11+ Parent Using PiAcademy for 8 months, Simply Amazing website. I have a lot of experience with other 11 + resources and found it hard to find any more difficult Math papers appropriate for the more independent academic schools. These exam papers are amazing, and very easy to follow with the thorough solutions. highly recommended for every parent. Sharon King , 11+ Parent
  • Using PiAcademy for 8 months, Simply Amazing website. I have a lot of experience with other 11 + resources and found it hard to find any more difficult Math papers appropriate for the more independent academic schools. These exam papers are amazing, and very easy to follow with the thorough solutions. highly recommended for every parent. Sharon King , 11+ Parent
  • Great, My daughter is taking her 11+ next month so we are using these papers to revise over the summer holidays. These topicwise questions are well set out and is a great practice for my daughter. These papers are a perfect way to help your kid to be as prepared as they possibly can for the 11+ exam. Amber , 11+ Parent
  • Excellent, This website is perfect, initially i wasted three months just thinking whether to subscribe or not, After subscribing i found out that it was worth it. I recommended to almost all my friends and their kids are also busy now in practicing for 11+ El Loro , 11+ Parent
  • Practice makes perfect!, PiAcademy have come out with a super range of new 11+ practice papers, designed to stretch, challenge and test your child for forthcoming entry examinations. The topicwise questions include numbers problems, algebra, geometry, probability, permutation and combinations, measurement...etc lana green , 11+ Parent
  • Great exam papers. These test papers are amazing, they are a lot more up-to date than some of the 11+ stuff I have bought earlier for my daughter. gerry , 11+ Parent

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This covers 11 plus descriptive, story and letter writing for all schools / levels

Creative writing, list of 11 plus creative writing topics, story titles, story template, story plan example - things to include, example of a good story, example of a bad story, example of a good letter, example of a good description, bad description, 11+ creative writing questions from real exams—non-fiction prompts, checklists for creative writing.


This article contains useful information that will help you to write good stories, description and letter in your 11 plus exam.

When it comes to developing creative writing topics and tasks, it's helpful to focus on core themes and emotions that often appear in stories. Here are some areas to consider when building your descriptions:

  • Animals - You can use literary devices like personification, exaggeration, and similes to bring your descriptions of pets or favorite animals to life, or even animals that frighten you.
  • Emotions and feelings - Many stories require descriptions of emotions like fear, joy, or the experience of being lost or alone. Titles like "My Brilliant Day" or "Lost!" and "Alone!" can provide a clear direction for your writing.
  • Enjoyable activities - Describing the activities you love, from mountaineering to gardening, is an opportunity to convey both the activity itself and the emotions it elicits.
  • The natural world - Whether it's hills, mountains, rivers, streams, or weather phenomena like lightning, rain, and sunshine, describing the natural world can add depth and richness to your writing.
  • The built environment - From houses and office blocks to cottages, castles, roads, bridges, churches, and sheds, it's useful to develop a vocabulary for describing the built environment.

Some examples of story titles are given below:

  • The Day Trip
  • The Broken Window
  • The Abandoned House
  • The Voice in the Darkness
  • Alone - Craft a story with the title "Alone," where you suddenly realize that you are on your own. Your story can be true or entirely made up. Ensure that it includes your thoughts and feelings, as well as what happened.
  • Visiting Relatives - Write a story, whether true or made up, about a visit you make to some of your relatives.
  • Cousin's Visit - Compose a letter to a cousin inviting them to stay with you. In the letter, try to interest them in some of the varied and unusual activities they can participate in.
  • Magical Moment - Describe a situation you've experienced that might be considered a "Magical Moment." Show what your thoughts and feelings were during that experience.
  • Animal Description - Provide a detailed description of an animal you know well. Be sure to include what it does, how it behaves, and what it looks like.
  • I prefer Winter to Spring
  • The door and what was behind it.
  • Ash on an old man’s sleeve.
  • The Prince of Darkness is a Gentleman.
  • Write a story that begins with the phrase – I had been waiting for such a long time for this to happen.
  • Write a description of someone you admire.  (You may choose someone you actually know, or someone you have never met.  Describe them and explain why you admire them).

It was a calm day as I ______

The sun was smiling in the ______________

I felt ______________ because ___________

After I ________, I _________

The ____ was like  a _________ because _______

There was an atmosphere of __________

Suddenly, _____________

My heart was filled with _________

Unless I ________, I would surely _________

Thankfully, ________

I managed to _______ because _______

After ________, I ______

I learned that ___________

In future I would be more careful of ________

Happily, I went off to ________


sense language



exclamation mark

check SPAG - spelling, punctuation and grammar

Write a story where a character goes into a shop and finds something unexpected

Rosie strolled happily into the pristine store; today was her birthday and her heart was bursting with expectation. It was time to receive the gift her parents had promised her: a new phone. The atmosphere in the store was bustling as the Saturday shoppers streamed in out of the sunshine.

As Rosie was browsing she noticed an odd looking man lingering near the back of the store. She didn’t pay him much attention but this discovery was soon to have devastating consequences. Rosie was gleefully talking to one of the staff members when caught a movement out of the corner of her eye….

“Everyone get down!” screamed the man, his face red with fury. “I want everyone’s phones and valuables on the floor. If you refuse you will regret it!’ Everyone scattered through the shop, tripping in panic. The man was a stealthy lion prowling among his prey. Rosie’s heart was filled with fear and horror - she would have to relinquish the phone she had just paid for. The cruelty of the situation twisted her stomach like a razor ripping into her flesh. The man had begun to grab the valuables in a dirty looking backpack and was about to confidently exit the store…..

Suddenly there was an explosion of movement outside the shop on the busy street. Fortunately, a local police car had been patrolling outside and the officers had caught a glimpse of the man’s odd behaviour. They had sprung into action! Grabbing the man boisterously, they took him to the floor and confiscated the precise valuables. Rosie breathed a sigh of relief - her phone was saved.

Eventually, order was restored as the sun smiled overhead. Shocked onlookers relayed the story to one another. Everyone graciously thanked the police for their brave intervention. Rosie now knew to expect the unexpected after her unpleasant discovery….

Write a story about a childhood experience 

The pensive sky was filled with rushing grey clouds, illuminated by the lights of the fun fair below. I stood wearily in the bitter cold, flanked by my shivering parents as we stood in the cramped queue.

Winter Wonderland was the highlight of the festive season; families and tourists flocked eagerly from all over London, sampling the seasonal delights and treats, marvelling at the whirling dervish of colours and excitement. This year, 1999, was bigger than ever – it seemed as if the fair was engulfing the whole of Hyde Park, growing onwards as if greedily consuming the whole city in celebration.

Finally, we crossed the threshold. The murmuring of the masses filled my ears like chanting. My nose was smothered with the sweet smells of candy floss and waffles. Drunken tourists stumbled blindly from bar to bar, eagerly gulping down glass after glass of beer and blood red mulled wine.

I tugged at my mother’s arm and pointed. Past the roller coasters and cafes the lake shone like an icy lance of steel, cutting cleanly through the park. Jubilant children rushed backwards and forwards, skimming over its surface like polished stones.

“Are you sure, dear?” enquired my mother. “The lake looks very cold. We wouldn’t want you to fall in or have an accident”. She frowned nervously but could see the resolute expression on my face; my mind was made up! Moments later I was in the queue, looking out over the vast tapestry of the lake, framed by trees and illuminated by the faint moon.

My breath fogged like steam around me as the lake attendant fixed my boots on. They sternly clamped my feet; all of a sudden my limbs became turgid lumps of rock, pulling me into the ground. My mother and father laughed at my fumbling.

“We’ll be watching dear. Try not to fall over!” said my father. He tried to smile but a hint of nervousness crept into his face. After all, I was being pushed out into the great unknown of the lake, with only my fellow skaters for company.

Once I was on the lake, my stiff limbs scampered with short, awkward steps. I briefly lost my balance, grasped at the empty air and then corrected myself. In a few moments I was gliding effortlessly through the darkness, faster and faster, the children around me brief shadows that flitted from side to side. As I flew through the night the chilled air stung my face but I couldn’t help grinning.

A noise distracted me. I was far from the shore now – the dark of the park and surrounding trees had swallowed me, the twinkling beacons of the fair were a distant memory. It sounded like a shout but it was muffled by the piercing wind. I could see the faint outline of two figures. Were they my mother and father? I couldn’t see in the gloom, but their faces wore an expression of panic, for the ice had begun to crack near the shore. Within a few moments all the skaters might be plunged hopelessly into the icy depths, with no hope of rescue. At this stage I knew nothing of the danger, and continued to loop and spin through the air.

It was only when I got closer to the shore that I heard another sound. This was definitely one of fear. A young blond child was crying, tears streaming down her red face. Her mother was hugging her and shouting violently at the members of staff. I now knew something was terribly wrong.

It was then that I heard the first sound, like a faint clicking or scratching. Then through the gloom, I could see a faint line growing beneath me, tracing its way between me and the shore. The ice was breaking! I had no time to think and so just reacted, making my way to the nearest section of shore, stumbling spasmodically. With relief I grasped the rough branches of the hedge and could see, through sweat drenched eyes, my parents rushing along the bank side.

“That was a lucky escape, son” gasped my father. A few more seconds and we might have lost you.

“You’re never going skating again!” screamed my mother.

We made our way solemnly back along the banks of the river, eyeing the contrite staff who were being questioned by security.

As the gloom darkened into thick night, I looked back on the pristine lake and marvelled on how lucky I was to escape with my life……….

The Accident 

I woke up. I walked down the road to get some food. I was tired.

I was hungry so I went to a Mcdonald’s. The queue was very very very big.

I didn’t want to wait so I went to the toilet. Inside the toilet it smelled very very bad. When I flushed the toilet the water came out and I was sucked into the toilet. I was being sucked into the toilet! I was sad.

A couple of hours later, someone heard me crying from in the sewer and helped me out. I smelled bad.

In future, I learned not to be flushed down the toilet.

Ealing High School

Uxbridge Road

23rd June 2012

Dear Head teacher,

I am writing this letter because I believe that more equipment is needed for the school gym. I hope you will consider my point of view. The most important items we need are running machines and a trampoline.

The first reason I believe this is because exercise makes a big difference to the way that people feel. 80% of students have said that exercise makes them happier and gives them more energy. Surely you can see why more equipment is a good idea?

The second reason I believe this is because lots of young people are overweight these days. For example, 1 in 4 young people in the UK are obese. This is a clearly a disgrace - getting more exercise at school would be an ideal way of tackling this problem.

It is true that some people disagree with me. They say that the new equipment will cost a lot of money, and that the school could use this money to buy more computers or books. However, this is not correct. If the students aren’t feeling happy and healthy then it doesn’t matter what other resources they have. They won’t be motivated to use them – that’s why the gym equipment is more important!

In conclusion, gym equipment is a priority for the school. I know that many other students feel the same. I hope that you will consider this letter when you look at the spending budget for the school.

Yours sincerely,

(Student name)

Carefully choosing their places among the sea of sunbathers, the new arrivals to the beach lay down their towels on the glistening sand as a red-faced toddler chants, "I want ice cream, I want ice cream!" as he passes the multicoloured van with his already exasperated mother.

Lounging on their luxurious houseboats, the wealthy residents of the marina gaze out to sea, watching the gentle waves move against weathered rocky outcrops.  On one of the larger houseboats, a family of five dine on a bronzed lobster talking happily to each other.

Scuttling along the sea-stained sand, crabs of all shapes and sizes frantically make their escape from determined rock poolers.

Wielding her flimsy pink net, a young girl of around five perches on a boulder, laughing joyously as she scatters shrimp and prawns alike. Staring happily at his collection of shells, a young boy laughs as the waves lap at his feet.

Ice cream in hand, his mother watches him lazily from under the cheap, colourful umbrella.  As if on a mission, a younger boy of around three digs at the sand, sweating as the sun beats down on him.

On a cliff, high above the beach, stands an aged man, grimacing at the inferior beings below.  Clad in a huge overcoat, heavy black boots and a scarf wrapped around his neck, the greying individual turns and begins his journey home. Carelessly floating on a pair of lilos, two teenagers talk ceaselessly - breaking out in laughter and falling off their bright pink lilos every so often.  The scent of hotdogs makes them hungry as they drag their lilos to the shore, intent on coercing their parents into

opening their wallets. Rain begins to fall on the beach, awakening sunbathers and scattering beach goers.   As people start to pack up and leave, the rain grows heavier, causing bikini-clad girls to scream and take cover under umbrellas and food stalls.  Engines roar in to life, and the beach is completely empty.

A busy airport 

Shops and cafes filled everywhere. People were very busy and noisy. I was hungry but didn’t know where to go. A woman was running around screaming, saying I want a burger!  Outside a plane roared by, like a fish. The toilets were full of people. In a cafe some children were playing football and annoying everyone. Outside the plane crashed - boom! The woman came to talk to me saying she was lost, but she still needed a burger. The day was hot and sticky. Lots of flashing lights lit up the departure gate like a christmas tree. There was the smell of smelly chickens and burning burgers.

  • Write a thank you letter for a present you didn’t want.
  • Write a thank you letter for a holiday you didn’t enjoy.
  • Describe a person who is important to you.
  • Describe your pet or an animal you know well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Describe the room you are in.

Checklist for story writing

  • make sure you answer the question

Checklist for letter writing 

  • Letter heading
  • complex sentences
  • ESCAPE Paragraphs
  • formal tone / language

Checklist for descriptive writing 

Checklist for continuing the story 

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I am passionate about travelling and currently live and work in Paris. I like to spend my time reading, gardening, running, learning languages and exploring new places.


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Thank you, this really helped my child! He is now in Reading Boys!!!

Is creative writing already a lost art? Kids show the joy of the written word still exists.

The request was simple enough: Please come and talk to 11 separate Southern Indiana grade school classes about writing . You know, the thing you do for a living. Rearranging the alphabet into words . Then lining up those words into thoughts and pictures to make a point, tell a story, make a difference.

The request was from Susan Stewart, advanced program coordinator for Greater Clark County Schools . It was instantly appealing. No one had ever come to my grade school to talk about writing. No one had ever told me early on about the absolute joy to be found in putting words and thoughts on paper. It took me 25 years to learn that.

Or, as Susan said in her letter asking me to give it a try:

“I truly believe your presentation will be one of those pivotal moments in some of these kids’ lives where they pinpoint this experience as discovering they are really good at writing and decide they want to pursue a career in writing.”

No pressure there.

So, about a month later I sat down in a low chair in a grade school in downtown Jeffersonville. I had always believed writing classes work best at eye level with the kids. The class sizes varied from two to nine. The kids, selected by aptitude and test scores, had been somewhat prepped, appeared eager to learn and were trying to figure me out.

Are kids so tied to social media that creative writing is already a lost art?

I did somewhat the same. I had no real idea what was on the minds of nine-, ten- and eleven-year-old kids these days. My fear was that they are so tied to social media games that pure creative writing is already a lost art. And what is artificial intelligence going to do to all that?

Follow Diane Porter's example. JCPS board chair was a fierce advocate for Black students.

On the other hand, as I quickly learned, almost all are avid readers. Books. Words used to paint pictures, make a point, tell a story. So there was hope.

But how to further connect? I began by discussing possibilities, the places newspaper writing has taken me in more than 40 years and 4,000 columns and stories, the places they could go.

I told them how I have been to the World Ice Skating Championship in Czechoslovakia, NCAA basketball championships in St. Louis and Indianapolis, being on the sidelines and in press boxes at NFL, NBA and major league baseball games.

Moving away from athletics, I explained how I wrote about classical dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, covered Broadway shows in Louisville, took a trip to Ghana to write of Louisville doctors on a medical mission, spent time inside the U.S. Supreme Court, got caught in the middle of a gun fight between police and a man holed up in his house and wandered Kentucky for a coupled years writing of great forests, country stores and mules.

I have now written or helped with 15 books, so I pushed the conversation a little deeper. I explained the work required over months and years to write a book, the satisfaction derived from holding such a finished product in my hands.

Kids love books and the writing it takes to tell stories

One fifth grader said she had already started.

We began to bond. Several of the kids were eager to answer all my questions, and quickly thrust their hands in the air. I was more interested in those remaining silent and mostly in the back row.

We talked some of keeping personal diaries – and many of them said they do. We talked of the need to write well and clearly at some point in almost any job. We talked about writing letters to friends and family. Many said they already do that. We talked of reading, of sharing books, and having their parents read to them.

Or maybe them reading to their parents.

Their questions about writing, the places I have been, were interesting, fun, welcome and spontaneous, my favorite being “What is your favorite genre?” 

That meant it was time – past time - for the basics. My writing suggestions were simple. I asked the kids to write them down and warned they will be asked to write something with pencil on paper afterward, then read it out loud.

The writer’s job to explain to people who are not there what’s going on

I told them writing is like being a foreign correspondent. It’s the writer’s job to explain to people who are not there what’s going on. That action could be fiction, whatever was on the writer’s mind, or something outside on a playground, or some place on vacation. Use details to make a point, tell a story, describe the situation. With only four simple rules:

Write what you see.

Write what you hear.

Write what you think.

Write what you feel.

That was it. At this point I didn’t get too far into the 10 or 15 revisions required for every paragraph, how excessive use of detail can get in the way of the story. Not to mention the years it can take to get this writing thing fully figured out. With no guarantees of ever being published.

Just write.

To help the process along, to focus them on a story subject, I asked them to describe me and my mission. Use those four simple rules: see, hear, think, feel. Write it for someone who is not there but needs to know the experience.

What are we going to do? Reading is the greatest civil rights issue of our time.

That got everyone involved, the entire class quickly offering descriptions of a deep voice, large body, a funky shirt, likeable mannerisms and yes, a bald head, although it took them awhile to get around to that.

When in doubt, write the truth

Then I went off point a bit, adding a little culture and sociology. I always on these writing missions bring along a big bag of very distinctive hats, cowboy hat, golfer’s hat, baseball cap, leprechaun’s hat. I put on each in succession and the kids, loving it, went crazy with apt descriptions, even those who had been silent – especially those who had been silent.

The kicker came when I explained they had each described me by the hat I was wearing, but underneath all that I am the same person. Only the hat changed. Point being the biggest mistake any writer can make is to judge a book by its cover.

Lessons learned they all began writing, cranking out words that became sentences that became descriptions and word pictures. Some more quickly than others, They were only allowed about 15 minutes. Afterward, mostly standing up proudly, they read to the others about a big amiable guy with no hair and a deep voice wearing funky clothes and hats as he talked about using see, hear, think and feel to become good writers.

Or words to that effect.

Some of them didn’t want to read their work aloud and I understood – been there, done that. But I did feel – as every teacher must hopefully feel at some point in their day – that I had made a difference, that some kids had learned of the absolute joy to be found in writing and would take that home with them.

And maybe beyond.

It’s a message that should be spread to all students with a hidden interest and ability in writing, not just those who test well. Some immediate satisfaction came when the students in one class offered me “high fives,” asked me to autograph their papers. My finest moment came while walking out of the school through the cafeteria, one of my students, a precocious second grader, walked over and gave me a big hug.

May all teachers find such a moment.

Bob Hill was a Louisville Times and Courier Journal feature writer and columnist for 33 years.


  1. The Ultimate 11 Plus Creative Writing Guide

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  1. 11plus weekly -Creative Writing Class

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  1. 11+ creative writing guide with 50 example topics and prompts

    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 ...

  2. How To Prepare For 11 Plus (11+) Creative Writing

    To succeed at an 11 Plus comprehension task, students need a range of skills, including: Source. 1. Imagination and creativity. One of the most important skills for creative writing is the ability to come up with an original idea which fully answers the given question and uses imaginative language.

  3. 11 Plus Creative Writing Tips & Examples

    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.

  4. 11 Plus Creative Writing: Exam Preparation Guide

    The 11 plus creative writing task usually has a short time frame. Pupils need to draft, write and review their work in under an hour (depending on the school's exam format). What to expect in a creative writing exam. In most creative writing exams, your child will be given an imaginary scenario and 30-45 minutes to write about it.

  5. The Ultimate 11 Plus Creative Writing Guide

    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.

  6. A Guide to 11 Plus Creative Writing Preparation

    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:

  7. 11+ Creative Writing: The Ultimate Guide

    Preparing for your 11+ creative writing exam doesn't have to be a worry. We help you with 11+ creative writing tips and examples to prepare . If your child is preparing for secondary school entrance exams, you may have heard conflicting information about whether there will be a creative writing task. Preparing for your 11+ creative writing ...

  8. 11+ Exam Creative Writing Guide: Help Your Child Write Their Way to

    Unlock your child's creative potential with our comprehensive 11+ Creative Writing Guide. Packed with expert tips, engaging prompts, and practical exercises, this guide empowers parents to help their children excel in the 11+ exams. From mastering storytelling techniques to enhancing descriptive writing and crafting compelling openings, our 11 ...

  9. 11 Plus Creative Writing Success Guide

    Introducing… in January 2020, our new 11 plus Creative Writing Guide! 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 ...

  10. How to prepare for Creative Writing

    2. Using you creativity/imagination. Some people are naturally creative with words, story-lines etc. and find this skill easy. However, your imagination can be greatly improved by reading a variety of books. See this suggested reading book list. 3. Fluent writing style. Your writing style is unique to you.

  11. Eleven Plus English Creative Writing Tips

    In today's video we'll be going through Creative Writing which is a topic on English that has frequently come up during the 11+ exam. 11+ Course Free Trial a...

  12. 11 Plus Creative Writing

    11 Plus creative writing example topics list. The following topics and tasks have come up in either in grammar school or independent school 11 plus writing tests: Core themes for creative writing topics and tasks: Many stories have core themes or emotions or feelings within them. When developing your descriptions banks these are useful areas to ...

  13. 11 Plus Creative Writing: Starting a Story

    11 PLUS CREATIVE WRITING (ENGLISH) - STARTING A STORYEasy 11 Plus is LIVE every Tuesday at 6pm. Please like this video and subscribe (and click the bell)!Thi...

  14. 11 Plus Creative Writing Guide: Tips & Techniques for Success

    11+ Revision Weekly Classes. Enrol your child on our weekly 11+ class course and they'll benefit from small groups and individualised learning. Book Now! from just £3.75 per class! Some revision techniques. Although the topics for the creative writing section are unpredictable, they are usually very broad so your child can use their ...

  15. 11 Plus (11+) Creative and Persuasive Writing: Student Model Answers

    Over the years, Exam Coach students have produced some outstanding work . This is, in a way, our hall of fame, home to the greatest examples of creative and persuasive writing submitted by students attending our 11 Plus courses and workshops. Take a look below to see top-tier writing as well as o

  16. 8 Tips for Getting Started With Creative Writing

    8 Tips for Creative Writers. Follow these tips if you want to boost your creativity and improve the way you write: 1. Always be writing. Don't ignore the random ideas that pop into your head. Even bad ideas can inspire good ones, and you never know what will trigger inspiration for a better idea later.

  17. 11+ Creative Writing

    Creative Writing for the 11 plus test is in two ways - either you are asked to write an original story for the given title or complete a continuous prose exercise in the same writing style. Both types of tasks will examine your ability to plan, create and then write in a structured manner using good vocabulary.

  18. 11 Plus Creative Writing Help: How to Ace the Exam

    The 11 Plus exams are meant to test children's understanding of subjects, such as; Maths, English, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. In some 11 Plus English exam papers, children will be asked to complete a creative writing test - an important component that, unfortunately, many students fear. At Tutor Rise, we are dedicated to ...

  19. 11 Plus Creative Writing Checklist to Score Top Marks

    A creative writing checklist is an effective tool to use because…. It guides students to develop the skills needed when writing. It shows reluctant writers a simple way to include the necessary elements. It provides a reference to use throughout the writing process. It helps students stay focused on each step of the process.

  20. 11 Plus Creative Writing Topics

    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.

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    List of 11 Plus Creative Writing Topics. When it comes to developing creative writing topics and tasks, it's helpful to focus on core themes and emotions that often appear in stories. Here are some areas to consider when building your descriptions: Animals - You can use literary devices like personification, exaggeration, and similes to bring ...

  22. 11 Plus Creative Writing Guide for Kids

    1. Three-minute splurge. Start your planning by spending two or three minutes writing down all the ideas that come into your head. This technique is also known as 'free writing' and is a great way to tap into your creativity! Don't worry about punctuation or grammar at this stage - just get your ideas down on paper.

  23. 'Space' by Kyara

    Our Year 5 creative writing student Kyara shares her fantastic story for the title prompt 'Space'. She answers some questions from our tutor Jenny about her ...

  24. Is AI, social media killing creative writing? Kids love books, stories

    The request was simple enough: Please come and talk to 11 separate Southern Indiana grade school classes about writing.You know, the thing you do for a living. Rearranging the alphabet into words.