One of the biggest changes in the new HSC English syllabus is the introduction of a new writing-focused Module C, aptly named ‘The Craft of Writing’.
Common to both Advanced and Standard English, the module assesses a student’s ability to craft effective pieces of writing in relation to a given audience and purpose.
Unlike the other modules, the focus here is not as much on what you’ve written but more so a combination of what you’ve written and how you’ve written it.
The module takes up approximately 20 hours of course time and is assessed in one section in English Paper 2 in the HSC external examination block held in October, through one question containing up to two parts.
What will the Module C Question ask me to do?
Let’s take a look at one section in particular from the rubric for Module C. Although we’re using the Advanced rubric here as an example, what we’ll be focusing on is the same across Advanced and Standard.
From this, we can see that within this module, you will be required to write in four different text types:
Going by the Module C sections of sample papers put out by NESA (here), you will likely be given a choice as to which type you will use. That being said, it’s just as likely that you won’t be given such a choice.
Don’t get too confident thinking you can prepare one text type and be fine for Module C in the HSC English exam! We don’t know what’s going to be in the exam, nor do we have anything to base exam predictions off (yet!).
Alongside these text types, the question will likely contain some element of reflective writing as well, but more on that later.
In this article, we will break down imaginative, discursive, persuasive and informative writing for HSC English Module C: The Craft of Writing so that you can easily decide which one is the best for you to use in your examination, in the case that you are able to pick your text type.
1. Imaginative writing
Imaginative writing is likely to be a text type that you already know well. Also known as creative writing, which featured heavily in the previous HSC English course in the form of the Discovery common module.
Often taking the form of a narrative, imaginative writing requires you to combine plot, setting and character to create a short story.
|- You have a lot of freedom here. As you are effectively writing a fictional text, you can pretty much make things up how you want to.|
- You can get away with being a lot more casual in your language - you can attribute it to characterisation.
- You don’t have to worry about analysing something within your writing.
- Easy to write from your own experiences, while also giving you the opportunity to explore another world.
- Has dominated previous HSC syllabuses when it comes to creative writing - meaning lots of pre-existing resources you can use to develop a good story.
|- Can be incredibly subjective when it comes to marking - at least, it has been in past years.
- As a fictional text type, what you can write about is virtually limitless… this means that coming up with a good idea can be rather time-consuming!
- More unstructured than other text types, this can sometimes be overwhelming - especially if you’re prone to indecision!
- As many students (and teachers/tutors) are likely to already be familiar with imaginative writing, it may be a safe option.
2. Discursive writing
Discursive writing is a new text type to appear on the syllabus. It encompasses forms such as creative non-fiction, travel blogs, discussion essays, speeches and personal essays, amongst others.
The purpose behind discursive writing is for you to engage in a deeply relatable, thought-provoking discussion by exploring multiple perspectives on a topic. It is not argumentative nor is it imaginative.
|- Has the capacity to be incredibly personal; you can write and explore your own genuine thoughts, opinions and life experiences rather than those that simply look good in an essay.|
- The intended writing style is one that reflects your own personal voice - not as an author of a story or as an essayist, but your voice as a person. This means that you have the freedom to write both formally and informally, figuratively and factually. It’s up to you!
- You can leave it open-ended.
|- The amount of freedom you have in this text type can be intimidating. It’s hard to know whether or not you’re doing it right!
- This text type is relatively new in the syllabus so you may not have had as much practice in writing it as you would have had with the other types.
- I anticipate that, like imaginative writing, this one will also be marked rather subjectively.
Stay tuned for our upcoming article on writing and scoring a Band 6 in Discursive Writing!
3. Persuasive writing
You should already know this text type all too well.
Persuasive writing is writing that aims to convince its reader of a particular argument or idea. It can take the form of an academic essay, personal essay or speech, amongst others.
Structurally, persuasive writing can overlap with discursive writing. The difference is in the purpose.
Discursive writing simply aims to explore a number of perspectives; persuasive writing aims to convince the reader of the validity of one perspective.
That said, you don’t just want to write another English essay.
Find a way, through language, to put your own personal spin on your persuasive writing. How can you bring out your own voice as a writer? How can you balance the persuasive with the creative?
|- You should already be familiar with writing persuasively from having to write essays - this will help you in terms of structuring and in terms of using language.|
- Not as subjective as other text types (*ahem* imaginative writing).
- You don’t have to think up an entire plot, setting or character - all you have to do is come up with a convincing argument.
- If you’re already opinionated about the topic at hand then this text type will be a piece of cake - consider it as an extended rant, if you will.
|- Hard to avoid writing yet another essay…
- A lot more rigid than other text types - you don’t have as much freedom so you may not be able to get away with as much.
- Easy to blur the lines with discursive writing - this may work against you if one text type is specifically asked for in the question.
- As you’re not using your imagination and as you may not be writing from your own personal experiences, this text type may come across as a little more boring to some students.
4. Informative writing
Word on the HSC English street is that this text type will likely not be included in exams all that much.
That said, it’s still worthwhile knowing about in the rare case that it actually is asked.
Informative writing is writing that informs its reader about a particular topic. It most commonly takes the form of reports, explanations or descriptions. You will be required to present specific factual evidence about a topic and may need to use precise language and technical jargon.
|- Can be incredibly easy if you know the topic well.|
- A good option for those who often get told that their essays are descriptive or that they contain too much storytelling.
- Incredibly straightforward; you don’t need to use your imagination as much as you would in other text types.
|- It can be difficult to make informative writing interesting or engaging to read - especially if it contains a lot of technical jargon. This presents the possibility of alienating your reader.
- It can be difficult to write informatively about a topic you don’t really know that well.
- You probably haven’t written in this text type for English since you were in primary school, writing explanations, recounts, information reports, procedures… how does informative writing look in Year 12?
So there you have it! The four main text types for Craft of Writing broken down and assessed according to their pros and cons.
Realistically, no one text type is going to prevail over the others.
Every student will prefer a different text type and likewise, some questions will lend themselves better to different text types on the day. That said, it’s good to be clued up so you know you’re making the best decision for you.
Keep an eye out for the rest of our articles in our Craft of Writing series, which will break the text types down into even more detail and give you some stellar tips on cracking that Band 6!
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