My English creative writingWatch
Okay so, I’m just going to go through your piece and give my thoughts etc and tips and tricks to help achieve those top marks, so lets go.
Side note: I love your handwriting!
Right so, we’ll break it down into the 3 paragraphs you’ve written. As an overall, your first paragraph has some simply beautiful descriptions, really really gorgeous, particularly ones about the sun. (this piece overall is really lovely, you should be proud of yourself, I know I’m very proud of your rn!)
What I would say, (you don’t have to do any of these btw, I just wanted to include some suggestions of how you can strengthen those descriptive ideas etc), is especially since it is a description, it would be lovely to see some grouped zooming in and out; just pulling together those ideas some more. For example, you have some gorgeous descriptions about the sun, from which you could almost group together some of those points, almost like your eyes are moving round the beach – so you see this sunset, then x and then finally back to the sinking sun. Zooming in and out with description is a fantastic way to create this parallel to what you can see and your imagination.
Also, a lovely way to just switch around and vary your ideas is by alternating your sentences as well. For example, there were a few examples where you opened with ‘the a few times; it would be great if you switched around some, just to add that little extra variety. So, ‘the salty sea air whooshed past me past me’ could become, ‘whooshing past me the salty sea air combed my hair, as the orange sun melted into…’ It’s all just about adding those little extra details and phrases, swapping bits in and around to ensure you are working at the highest level – sentence starters is always a great way to go.
I like this concept you’ve created that the world they’re seeing is their own paradise – really beautifully idea, it would be lovely to just develop that parallel a little more, exploring and describing their feelings as surrounded by this beauty, maybe some metaphors as to how it has become an escape to them. Remember descriptions don’t just have to be physical, of the environment, surroundings etc, it encompasses that whole world of feelings, emotions and thoughts which can be great things to explore within a piece. Similarly the aromatic mention of the fish and chips, all those extra little details just help to create that picture, remembering you are painting this world for the reader, all those small things, descriptions of the shells, to a beautiful sunset, work together.
The paragraph describing the man is also really well written, love you choices and phrases for description, the only thing I’d say, is that it seems a little out of place in terms of linking with your previous description of the beach. Otherwise honestly you have some great descriptive points, just those last to paragraphs are a little ambiguous with how they link back. Overall however, this is a great piece of writing, main points for improvement would be varying sentence starters and using a zoom in and out structure to help with describing events, feelings – all those senses!
I don’t know if I’ve sent this or anything like this to your before as we haven’t officially started looking at creative writing yet, but these are some tips I’ve sent to people before, just on the creative writing question in general, may or may not be useful to you but I thought I’d include them anyways.
The creative writing section is all giving you the freedom to write, it’s more open than any other question. Now that is important, because you have to go into this section of the exam with an open mind, you’re not following a structure now, you are creating the structure. By keeping your mind open, you can think more deeply about the picture of story you have chosen. I know a lot of teachers say the story is the easiest option to do, but personally I would say the picture is a lot easier, as you can incorporate a high level of technique and figurative language more easily and without worrying about forming a structure and plot of a story, which can sometimes, especially under time pressure become a little confusing - but it’s totally up to you and what works best for you, that’s just my opinion.
Now the writing itself is your opportunity to shine. First, start by planning out your response, and I don’t mean a 30 second rough idea - spend a good but no more than, five minutes. Here you can choose the themes of your work. So if you are choosing the description, how I would suggest you plan is by choosing themes, certain areas of the picture you can focus on for a paragraph, zoom in and out of the image, and don’t just go with what you can see. English is all about creating feeling, playing with words, to truly write, you must immerse yourself in what you are saying. Believe in your writing, belief in what you are writing are key. Your planning is a key stage in reflecting your choices, what you want to talk about, the themes you can read into. So for example, you are given a picture of a tree. Zoom into the branches, what are they like, what’s the story behind them, what do they feel, then go to the leaves, how are they living, what is their story, and then to the tree itself, what is the dream, what does the tree think, look like, feel.
In any piece of writing, word choice is key. Words can make you feel happy, sad, inspire, anger. Every word you choose holds a feeling, a connotation. So for example if I said, the tree roared in the wind, it creates this angry ambience whereas if I said, the tree sung in the wing, it seems more peaceful. This links to the idea of having anaphora running through your work, this is simple and easy technique to include but is demonstrative of high level skill. You can easily include this by choosing a theme for your piece as inspired by the picture or story etc, and running it through your work. So for example, I could choose time, and then say the tree ticked like a clock, each wave of the branch followed the passing of a year etc. You don’t have to and it may not always work but can be an effective way of including a technique and structuring your work, as a theme gives it more direction and focus.
Moving on, techniques are extremely important, making sure you demonstrate a wide range of language skills is key in achieving those higher marks. From metaphors and similes to oxymorons, personification, pack your work with technique. But now this is key, when I say pack, you have to be careful no to overload, there has to be a balance between the story of your piece and how you are writing about it in terms of your techniques. Both with the narrative and the description, there must be a story, with the description, this more so forms the construction of the piece, how you link the different parts of the image together and how you read between the lines, and with a narrative this is more specifically the plot and chapter or section structure. However, either way, this is the basis of your writing, how you can read into a story, a photo, then you layer on the techniques. To embellish not to structure. Mixture is key, it gives variety, fluidity. Changing the place of your technique, varying your sentence structures, starting with techniques, starting each sentence differently makes it more interesting for the reader. The key here is combining technique and story, they go hand in hand.
Thinking differently and outside the box is a good way to create a brilliant piece. It’s not just a tree, but a story teller, a house etc..
Make sure you are also varying your punctuation, interesting punctuation such as : - ; ... can all help show higher level skill, as well as using good vocabulary having ‘WOW’ words, words that stand out - an easy way to do this is look up and memorise some ‘fancy’ words and more than certainly you can worm one or two into your writing, same with techniques - you can always pre prepare some good similes and oxymorons etc to include.
Once you have finished writing, making sure also you are sensibly paragraphing your work - try to get some short sentences or even a one line paragraph in there if you can, it is VITAL you check through, for spelling and grammar issues, but also to make sure your work sounds coherent and interesting. If you find it seems to be lacking some fluidity, simply switch up a sentence starter of add a linking sentence, that pulls a previous idea you have written about and links it to a new one. Like if you have written about the branches and then leaves, but your paragraph on leaves seems to jump a little, you could say from the strong tusks of wood, for example, you still holding that referral to a previous idea.
I want to add in a few more things for you here, especially if you are looking for those top top marks. There is something called the Halo effect right, it’s a lot to do with the importance of a good introduction, having a really catching, engaging opening, especially for examiner marking lots of the same question, is key in gaining their attention and them using full concentration when they mark your work - this also goes hand in hand with legible handwriting, it is better to write less and it be of a higher quality and readable than for it not.
Although a lot of it comes down to the techniques and vocab, paragraphing structure (side note, this is very important, always break up your work, particularly if you are following the theme structure I mentioned prior as especially for description and you’re talking about different areas of an image, you want this broken up), a huge amount of it is also about the engagement, this is key and a lot of people forget this, when you are writing, just always trying to make it as exciting and interesting as possible, fitting the purpose of the task. Techniques can come through your words, by layering them, combining them together, changing their position in a sentence, varying your sentence starters most importantly, you combining said techniques with the imagination and passion behind your story, will loose all that static. It’s like when your watching a movie and you get lost in it and you lose track of time, that feeling of engagement can be built through your own writing. Your writing must come from you, you have to believe in what you are saying.
Hope that helped!
I'll try to have a read of your writing later if/when I manage to get on my computer.
A little difficult to read on my phone, but noticed a spelling error in your first sentence. A basic error at the beginning can completely dictate the reader's first impressions. It should be laid and not layed. Keep an eye out for tricky words like this.
I'll try to have a read of your writing later if/when I manage to get on my computer.
I'm not an English teacher but I think that is not a bad attempt for year 10, OP Some nice personification and similes towards the end there. Would love to read more pieces if you have any.