HSC creative writing

So, you’ve written your HSC imaginative writing piece for Module C, but what now?

You may have come across a few issues upon completion of your HSC imaginative writing piece:

What if it doesn’t relate to the question? What if it doesn’t fit the stimulus?

Don’t fret! That’s why we’re here with this article to help you ace the new Module C by being able to adapt your imaginative writing piece to any stimulus!

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s jump into it!

The New Module C
What Kind of Stimuli Will They Throw at You?
How to Interpret a Textual Stimulus
How to Adapt to a Textual Stimulus

The New Module C

Historically, students’ main concern has been that the worst possible exam situation will occur: a stimulus that has nothing to do with your HSC Creative Writing piece.

P.S. HSC Creative Writing and Imaginative Writing are the same thing, and you will see either term used to refer to this text type for Module C!

The new HSC English Module C amplifies this even more, for two key reasons:

Firstly, there is no single focal concept (e.g. Belonging, Discovery), you are instead drawing upon ideas from a range of prescribed texts from both Module C and your other modules.

This means that the range of potential stimuli is incredibly, incredibly broad. Especially so for students sitting the exam in 2019 – Module C has never been assessed in the HSC exams before so they could ask anything really.

Secondly, you may not even be asked to write an HSC imaginative piece for Module C.

Remember, Module C assesses not only imaginative but also discursive, persuasive, informative and reflective writing styles (find out more about the Module C Text Types in this article).


That said, it’s important to be prepared to tackle any stimulus you do encounter for HSC Creative Writing – whether in your in-school assessments or in the HSC exam room.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to adapt your imaginative writing piece to any stimulus thrown your way!

Take a moment to read the first part of my HSC creative writing piece with Jessica…



It was rare to hear silence at the Holmes household. Though only slight, laughter could always be heard from Jessica’s corner of the home. Laughter. Or yelling. The occasional cuss word. But mostly laughter. 


And yet… it was silent.


Boxes were packed and stacked, the furniture was wrapped in canvas, and A Man and a Van was parked in the driveway. 


A last message popped up upon Steam Messenger:


>> ARIStotle[Supremacy]: let us know when you get there so we know you’ll be safe!


A small smile crossed Jessica’s lips as she continued typing. 


>> NuClassiq[Supremacy]: i wont have internet for a bit but as soon as i do ill be back !


>> NuClassiq[Supremacy]: 🙂

Keep this in mind as we explore how we can adapt this to any stimuli!

What Kind of Stimuli Will They Throw at You?

The stimuli given in the sample examination materials for Module C are all textual in nature, and thus it is safe to assume that the stimuli in the exam will take the same form.

According to NESA, stimulus material may include quotes, statements and extracts from texts.

The question will then ask you to use the stimulus in a certain way. As Module C is so broad, it’s important to view (and attempt) a variety of different stimulus types so you can be prepared for whatever they throw at you on the day.

How to Interpret a Textual Stimulus

Textual stimuli will come in the form of quotes, statements and extracts from texts.

HSC creative writing

You won’t have a lot of time so you’ll need to do some quick textual analysis:

  • Is the given stimulus as obvious as it seems?
  • What are two interpretations of the stimulus?

Once you’ve got answers for the above, you can move onto the big question:

How does the stimulus link with a significant concern or idea that you have engaged with in ONE of your prescribed texts from Module A, B or C?

How to Adapt to a Textual Stimulus

When you encounter textual stimuli, they will usually ask you to use them in one of two different ways:

Use as your first sentence; or

Use as a central element

This does not require you to use the quotation or statement itself in your writing, but rather to use it as a starting point.

This means that your analysis of the stimulus and what it means in itself and in relation to key ideas from your prescribed texts is super important!

Let’s return to this question from the sample HSC English Advanced Paper 2 (access the full paper here).

HSC creative writing

Here we have a short stimulus quotation from Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The quote explores the power of speech and expression in shaping the thoughts of both oneself and others.

We might link this to ideas of manipulation, power and authority, and the importance of language and communication, amongst others – ideas which are prevalent across a range of prescribed texts from Modules A, B and C.

Whichever idea you choose to focus on, your imaginative writing must make it very clear.



It was rare to hear silence in the Holmes household. Though only slight, laughter could always be heard from Jessica’s corner of the home. Laughter. Or yelling. The occasional cuss word. But mostly laughter.


But ever since Mrs Holmes had revealed that they would be moving interstate, there had been nothing but silence. Especially since the moving truck had not arrived with Jessica’s computer.


It is clear from the beginning that moving interstate will have an effect on Jessica and the way in which she communicates with others and with the world around her.

Using the stimuli given above, take 5 minutes to write the beginning of your HSC Creative Writing piece.

Afterwards, ask yourself the following questions:

Have I used the stimulus as a central element of my writing?

What elements are common between my imaginative writing and the stimulus?

What ideas from my prescribed texts are being explored in my imaginative writing?

On a scale of 0-10 (0 being none, 10 being couldn’t be any more obvious), how clearly have you explored these points?

If you have not clearly explored any key ideas from your prescribed texts that link to the stimulus, you may need to try again. Markers know when you’re simply regurgitating a prepared piece!

Still need help developing your HSC Creative Writing skills for English Module C?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational coaches and mentors for HSC Creative Writing?

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a large variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today! 

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!

Elizabeth Goh isn’t a fan of writing about herself in third-person, even if she loves writing. Elizabeth decided she didn’t get enough English, History or Legal Studies at Abbotsleigh School for her own HSC in 2010 so she came back to help others survive it with Art of Smart Education. She’s since done a mish-mash of things with her life which includes studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University, working for NSW Parliament, and writing about writing.