Creative Writing Auditions

for Grades 7

 

 

Magnet Overview

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 which 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, opportunity for application and publication.

Program Goals

Step-By-Step Audition Process

The 1 hour and 30 minute Creative Writing audition consists of the following:

1. Survey Questions (15 minutes for survey and instructions)
     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?
2. Plot Summary (25 minutes)
Three objects will be placed in the center of the room, and you will choose one as a prompt. Your task is to tell the summary of a story you create in which that object plays an important part. The object can be depicted as real, symbolic, or magical. The story you describe should be creative, clearly explained, have a deep message, and be fully developed with a beginning, middle, and end. Be careful that you just summarize the story rather than write it out with details and dialogue, or you will not have time to complete all required tasks. This summary should be 2-4 paragraphs. 
3. Sensory Scene (25 minutes)
Write a “sensory scene” (a short scene of 1-2 paragraphs) that is an excerpt (small part) of the plot you created. You do not have to start at the beginning of the story; dive into any part of the story that calls for vivid description. Your goal is to write a part of the story that gives us a unique sensory experience so that we feel immersed in the world of the story you imagined. Feel free to use dialogue, but it is not required. Try to give the scene a sense of closure, but that does not need to be the end of the story. You will also be graded on language complexity (word choice/ sentence structures/ grammar.) 
4. Poetic Lines and Share Aloud (10 minutes to write / 15 minutes to share)
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 student willingness to participate in a collaborative writing community. 
5. 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 do 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.   

Important Notes:

Audition Scoring

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

 

Poor: 0-1

Average: 2-3

Superior: 4-5

Score

Plot Summary: Creativity/ Clarity

The plot concept is overused/ bland AND not clearly explained. 

The plot concept is unique OR clearly explained. 

The plot concept is unique AND clearly explained.

 

Plot Summary: Development and 

Thematic Depth

The plot is underdeveloped AND does not have a deep message.

The plot is developed but does not have a deep message. OR

The plot is underdeveloped but does have a deep message.

The plot is developed AND has a deep message.

 

Sensory Scene:

Fresh Detail

Basic detail gives us only need to know information without making us feel that we are immersed in a scene. 

 

“Poor” Example: Meeting a Bear  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. 

Sensory detail makes us feel like we can  see/experience something in the story as if it were real.

 

“Good” Example: Meeting a Bear  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.  

Fresh sensory detail makes us  feel that we can experience it in a new way. Great ways to achieve this include using juxtaposition or figurative language. 

 

“Great” Example: Meeting a Bear   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.  

 

Sensory Scene:

Complexity of Language (Sentence Structure/ Word Choice/  Grammar) 

Poor: 

Particularly juvenile= 0

Combination of major errors = 1

Major Categories

  • Write in paragraphs

  • Capitalization

Minor Categories

  • Use interesting vocabulary  

  • Sentences should not repeatedly begin with the same word

  • Use sentence length variation 

Average: 

One major error = 2

No major errors, not advanced = 3

 

See Categories Left

Advanced: 

Advanced, few minor errors = 4

Particularly advanced, very few errors = 5

 

See Categories Left

 

Poetic Lines: Quality

0-1 creative lines that stir emotion

2-3 creative lines that stir emotion

4-5 creative lines that stir emotion

 

Poetic Lines: Share Aloud

Auditioner is unwilling to read aloud = 0

Auditioner does not read all lines aloud = 1

Auditioner reads their lines aloud, but it is too difficult to hear due to volume or speed = 3

Auditioner reads their piece aloud loudly and slowly enough for others to hear = 5

 

Total

     

      /30               

 

How to Prepare for the Audition

Model Audition for Part 2 and 3 (See Parts 1 and 4 in Practice Document)

3 Object Prompts: a fountain pen, a wheelbarrow, and an oven mitt. 

Object Chosen: a fountain pen

Part 2: Plot Summary: 
     
A child watches her teacher use a pen to grade papers when she is supposed to be taking a quiz during class. She bemoans her own handwriting and wishes that she could only capture the grace and elegance of her teacher, so she steals the pen. She is surprised when the pen does magically seem to improve her handwriting, but she watches with growing guilt as the teacher’s handwriting deteriorates and then, over the course of several days, the teacher begins to deteriorate herself. The young teacher’s once ruddy complexion pales, she develops a back problem that makes her hunch, and she gets an inky, dark gray streak in her blonde hair.
     The girl breaks down with guilt and confesses to the teacher, returning the pen with apologies and tears, only to learn that she was not the only one with a secret. The pen was not just a pen, but the teacher’s magic wand, and the teacher was not just a teacher, but a witch. And apparently, a witch separated from her wand grows unwell very quickly. Thankfully, the witch is a good witch, and thankfully, she is rejuvenated when reunited with her wand. The little girl is delighted that the teacher shares her secret with her and does a few tricks for her, making the chalkboards clean themselves and the chairs push themselves in, for instance.
      But she can’t help but ask the teacher, “Why did you share your secret with me?” And the teacher responds, “Because I saw great improvement in your handwriting also.” The little girl looks confused until her teacher/ the witch finishes, “Wands only work for witches. It would seem I have more to teach you than reading, writing, and arithmetic.” The story finishes as the little girl writes in her journal (in perfect handwriting) that her self-confidence issues had been totally unfounded because she had magical things inside of her all along.   

Part 3: Sensory Scene
     You can tell a lot about a person by their handwriting. And that is why Andy sat in the middle of class journaling time writing absolutely nothing. Her handwriting reminded her of someone crossing their legs and trying not to go to the bathroom -- it was awkwardly crisscrossed and forced. During journaling time, she preferred to zone out and dwell morosely on the perfection of her classmates: Zoey’s sassy elbow snaps as she whipped out her Z or Olivia’s rolling cursive that finished with flourishing hearts and seemed to lower to kiss the name on both cheeks. Andy liked to try to will the light that came through the slats in the blinds that shone on her paper to slice radiant impressions into her blank page; she felt that she would have been successful in this feat had writing time been longer than ten minutes, but alas, she found herself with blank paper after blank paper. And it pained her to disappoint her teacher who she adored and who had the best handwriting of all. 

Practice Document for Creative Writing Audition

Your practice writing should not be brought with you to the audition. You may want to set a timer on your phone for the allotted amount of time: you get an hour for Parts 2, 3, and 4. The other 30 minutes will be spent on the survey, directions, and reading aloud your poetic lines at the end. You may also get further practice by writing plot summaries based upon any objects that you use as prompts; the objects in the audition will be different than those in the practice document. 

Calendar