Creative Writing Auditions
for Grades 8-12
Creative Writing is a 6-year program designed for students interested in exploring writing as an art form and for publication. Students will examine a variety of writing genres that requires them to understand, analyze, imitate and produce writing which reflects these genres. Each year of study is foundational for the following year. At the end of the program, students will have a vast knowledge of writing technique and skill, proficiency in a preferred style, a portfolio of their work, exposure to successful published writers in all genres, an opportunity for application and publication.
- To study a variety of genres, authors and styles through reading, discussion, and analysis.
- To experiment with a variety of writing genres, including but not limited to the short story, poetry, creative nonfiction, and performance.
- To encourage writers to develop a love for words and figurative language.
- To use the writing process of multiple drafts, revision, editing and response in composing their written pieces.
- To practice critical skills by giving and receiving criticism of their own and peer writings.
- To discover their creative voice as they explore the art of written expression.
- To create a portfolio that provides examples and evidence of growth in each of the four forms.
- To learn about and participate in the yearly opportunity to publish their work.
STEP-BY-STEP AUDITION PROCESS
The 1 hour and 30-minute Creative Writing audition consists of the following:
(10 minutes allotted for sign in and instructions)
1. Poetic Lines and Read Aloud (15 minutes to write poetic lines, 10 minutes to share them aloud at the end of the audition)
Students will be given a starting phrase such as, “I love it when you glow like…” They will be asked to come up with 5 poetic lines that begin with the given phrase. The goal is to come up with unique descriptions that stir emotions. At the end of the audition, students will alternate reading aloud all of their poetic lines one at a circle to create a group poem. This part of the audition measures students' willingness to participate in a collaborative writing community.
2. Two Sensory Scenes (20 minutes each for 40 minutes total in this section)
Choose 2 prompts from the options listed below to write a scene with fresh sensory detail. It is “sensory” if you make the reader feel like they are present in the scene because you reference some or all of the senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. It is “fresh” if you help your reader to experience this scene in a new, unexpected way; using similes, metaphors, personification, and other writing devices helps to create this freshness. This scene does not need to be a full story, rather a descriptive 2-3 paragraphs. Time recommended: 20 mins or less for each scene.
3. Questionnaire (15 minutes for the survey)
1. What is your spirit animal? (This would be the animal that you think you are most like.) Explain why you think you are like this animal.
2. What is the best thing you have written? Quote or paraphrase it if you can recall any good lines.
3. Tell us something about you that would make us want to choose you to be a member of the Creative Writing family and Stivers School for the Arts community.
a. Are you auditioning for other magnets? If yes, which ones?
b. Is this your first time auditioning?
c. Do you have any siblings who are attending or have attended Stivers?
4. Optional Portfolio (No time allotted - bring to the audition ready to submit)
You may bring 1-3 samples of your best writing that is either typed or nicely written in your best handwriting. You may submit copies of short story fiction, poetry, narrative, or memoir. You will not receive these pieces back, so they should be copies. The portfolio does not have a formal effect on your final score, but if we are undecided about an audition, then these supplementary materials may help sway our decision, and we look positively upon the extra effort and preparation.
- Pencil and paper will be provided.
- Cell phones and use of any electronic devices during the audition is prohibited (wearing a quiet watch is acceptable)
- Please be on time for your session so that you can hear all the directions and benefit from the full writing time.
- Due to a large number of auditions, none will be returned.
Auditions will be scored according to the following rubric. Your audition will be read by at least 2 readers. Evaluation of your audition is based on a 5 point scale with 5 points being the highest and on 1 point being the lowest. The highest possible score is 30 points. The rubric is below:
Creative Writing Audition Grading Rubric
Sensory Scene Examples of Meeting a Bear in the Forest: representing levels of writing quality rather than length desired
“Poor” Example: One of the most terrifying experiences of my life was meeting a bear in the forest. When I saw the large black bear standing feet away from me, I thought that I was going to die. My life flashed before my eyes. I shut my eyes, braced myself, and waited for the bear to eat me. Thank goodness the forest ranger walked up at that moment and saved my life. I will never go into the forest alone again.
“Good” Example: I was crunching along in the leaves of the forest, and then I saw him. Suddenly, my feet were silent, but the bear scrambled forward so that it sounded like the whole forest floor was rising up with leaves. He was running towards me. I could first see only this large brown mass framed in a red and yellow haze. Then, suddenly, he was so close I could see the rolls of fat and fur bouncing with each stride he made towards me. Then, I could smell his odor; the odor of his last victim, a fish, flung forward with strings of his drool. Then, the drool was on my face, wet, slimy and hot. He was on top of me, and I braced myself for the last thing I believed I would ever feel.
“Great” Example: Resting against a rock in the forest, I felt as if I was being supported by the whole earth as I gazed up, admiring the trees’ constellations, each canopy creating its own formation of twinkly light. But then, tremors in the earth around me jolted me upward on the rocky axis, and I saw blackness emerging from within the stretchy bands of forest light. The bear was a black hole tunneling towards me. The forest dirt, leaves, and branches were consumed by the bear’s mass, and I even felt my breath being sucked inward by the growing shape of the bear. The gravity I needed to move escaped me, and then the bear’s cavernous roar drew me in.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE AUDITION
Refer to the practice document attached below. Your practice writing should not be brought with you to the audition. You may want to set a timer on your phone to see if you can adhere to the recommended amount of time: a total of 70 minutes to complete the five lines of poetry and two sensory scenes; completing the questionnaire at that time also is ideal.