Scholarship test Writing Skills: Responding with “Originality”

This is yet another 15 min short piece, this time in response to the image/prompt of “I stood outside the door, my pulse racing. Summoning my greatest store of courage, I took a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped inside…”. This seems immediately to be a prompt for a creative piece. My purpose here was to demonstrate a response in a style and form that was not that for a narrative, but was still demonstrative of creative writing skills. “Originality” is rare and uncommon, but the trick might simply be to aim for difference at the outset. Here all I’ve done is avoid the most obvious form and style of narrative expression, and pursued a reflective/discursive piece of writing instead for the prompt. If, however, you are going to pursue a path of difference in your response, you absolutely must be careful and sure that you still have a clear and direct link made to the prompt – you might look for the links that have been carefully presented throughout this submission (I count 5, although on reflection I might have added “my pulse racing” in the first paragraph). Note that I made a quick writing plan too – for a word document version of much better presentation and formatting than what is shown here email me at

Prompt: “I stood outside the door, my pulse racing. Summoning my greatest store of courage, I took a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped inside…”.

1. Fear and courage – rhetoric, sphere of PP, imagery
2. Social support – appeals to community
3. Individual strength – strong terms


Have you ever known fear? I have – it was awful. I was awake and tossing and turning in bed all night, even though I was absolutely mentally exhausted at the time. Demons assailed my thoughts, my stomach heaved like an angry sea in a storm, my skin was cold and clammy and I felt green and deathly sick. It was the worst and strangest feeling to be beaten about by my own imagination, but I was sooooooooo scared about what the morrow would bring. Have you ever experienced the same? No really – if you haven’t, there is a terrible physical sensation to accompany the most dramatic imagined fears, as described in film and literature, and you don’t want to know!

I only ever had that feeling once, although during my life I might have had it more often if not for the support of others. Without a doubt, the best way to deal with one’s problems is to try to solve them, rather than to hide beneath the covers, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have many people I can turn to and rely upon when the going gets tough. These people have heard me out when I need to talk about the things that trouble me, and they have offered kindness and compassion and sage advice. Bringing problems into the light of day with the help of others is the key to gaining insight and awareness of what is wrong and what to do about it.

It takes true strength of character though to present one’s fears openly and honestly. If I had a secret so big and terrible, so great and shameful that it had to be hidden behind closed doors, I might not be writing this piece today. Perhaps I have been fortunate not to face that test. As it is, the problems that have tested me have sometimes made me want to remain silent, or ignore the reality and truth of the situation, but that’s not the kind of person I have developed to become. I do not stand outside a closed door looking over my shoulder to run away, but I take a deep breath, summon my courage, and turn the handle. That is the benefit of knowing fear in the past and facing it – I have not locked out of life or looked back in loneliness since, and instead have had the support of others to stand firm and stare triumph and disaster squarely in the face.
(15 minutes) 

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