Advice and techniques for improving writing (TRAWL) Recounts Narrative Reports Explanations Letters Instructions Journalistic Formal Argument Auto-/biography Diary entry Play scripts Literacy devices -brief Literary devices- detailed Writer’s check list Words to replace ‘said’ Punctuating speech Connectives Complexsentences Response partners Sentence punctuation
Recounts • Recounts retellevents either to inform the reader (Story of the Titanic) or to entertain (Mother saw a dancing bear) • Special features of recounts: • an orientation telling who was involved, what happened and where and when it happened • all the events are in chronological order • at the end there is a reorientation connecting future actions or the thoughts of the narrator’s feelings • Language • written in the past tense • chronological order • usually about a how something happens/is done/works. • use of time connectives e.g. first…. next…once…later, afterwards…. • use other connectives e.g. although, whenever, never the less • uses techniques from the writer’s toolkit • if appropriate use dashes (-) and ellipses (….)
Biography • A biography is the story of someone’s life • Special features of biographies: • lively opening to get reader’s interest • authorised – subject has given permission for their story to be written • unauthorised – subject has not given permission for their story to be written • the biographer (you, the writer) tells a true story or selects parts of the person’s life that will interest and entertain the reader (exciting events, main achievements, hardships and difficulties, opinions of others - quotations – stories from friends). • at the end there is paragraph tobring the work to a close (details about death, summing up life’s work, how they have affected others) • written in paragraphs or sections • factual information • Language • written in the past tense • written in the 3rd person • chronological order often starting at the point where they become famous • descriptive and interesting language Cont.
Autobiography • An autobiography is the story of your life • Special features of recounts: • lively opening to get reader’s interest • you, the writer, tell the true story or selects parts of your life that will interest and entertain the reader (exciting events, main achievements, overcoming hardships and difficulties, opinions of others - quotations – stories from friends). • at the end there is paragraph to bring the work to a close ( a review, where you intend to go/do now). • can be biased accounts – telling events from your point of view, putting on a rosy gloss on events, leaving out boring details • written in paragraphs or sections • Language • written in the past tense • written in 1st person • chronological order not necessarily including details of childhood but perhaps with flashbacks • descriptive and interesting language Back
Explanations • Explanations describe how something happens (Frog’s life cycle), how something works (fairground ride) or how something is done (making a cake). • Special features of explanations: • a general statement to introduce the topic • a series of steps explaining how, when or why something happens • set out in paragraphs each containing specific information possibly with sub-headings • uses bullet points • Language • written in the past tense • chorological order • usually about a person/people or thing • logical connections, e.g. while, during, after, because, due to, only when, so; • uses time connectives e.g. first…. next…once…later, afterwards…. • uses dashes, colons and semi-colons
Narrative • Narratives tell a story • Special features of narrative: • a constant structure beginning, build-up, climax and resolution • needs to have a convincing ending • written in paragraphs (new paragraph when story/action or time moves on) • includes feelings, sounds, sights • needs to include characterisation and setting details • Language • usually written in the past tense in the 3rd person by a narrator • uses language to create settings • uses devices (dialogue, description, action and authorial comment) to create characters • a mixture of direct (using “… ”) and indirect speech • formal style by narrator but can have informal/dialect by characters • uses a range of techniques for the writer’s toolkit • uses a range of punctuation ( - …… ! :)
Reports • Reports describe the way things are (Spanish culture or Micro-organisms) • Special features of reports: • a short opening paragraph/sentence introducing the topic • factual information • material broken down into ‘subject paragraphs’ which contain specific information - perhaps with side-headings e.g Education, Food, Entertainment • use of bullet points • Language • written mostly in the present tense • uses language to describe (adjectives, adverbs) • uses impersonal and formal language • clear language but sometimes technical- needing explanation (glossary) • uses dashes, colons and semi-colons • Also see journalistic writing
Journalistic writing • Journalistic writing relays information to its reader. It is another form of report writing The type of material printed – content, language - is dependant on the type of publication (newspaper, magazines, radio). • Special features of journalistic writing: • ‘The inverted pyramid’ - the most important items in the story appear first in the article • first paragraph (topic sentence) –Who, what, where, when, why, how: Second paragraph – story details: Third paragraph – background, eye witness comments: Final paragraph – closing remarks e.g. The case continues • contain either a balanced or biased reports • has a striking headline, written in columns, short paragraphs, different fonts, quotations • Language • uses language to describe (adjectives, adverbs) • minimum words – maximum information • standard, formal language, usually in the past tense • uses words to help the paragraphs flow e.g. ‘It appears that…’, ‘It is believed…’ • uses language of persuasion when writer is trying to make you believe their point of view • uses dashes, colons and semi-colons and speech marks for quotations
Instructions • Instructions describe how something is done • Special features of instructions: • written in a clear, logical order • introductory paragraph saying what your instructions are about • bold headings • use of bullet points, numbered points, headings/sub-headings • concluding paragraph including phrases such as ‘If you follow these instructions…’ • Language • written mostly in the present tense • plain language • keep sentences brief and to the point • time connectives e.g. Firstly, Secondly, Following this, Once you have done, In addition • imperative verbs e.g. Cut, blend, move, replace, jump, place • can include illustrations to help show your reader what you mean
Informal Letters • Letters are a means of communicating with family or friends • Special features of informal letters: • should be friendly/chatty/informal as written to a friend or relative • set format: your address and date in the top left-hand corner: Dear …(person’s name), should be on the next line against the right-hand margin with the letter beginning on the next line • write about only 2 or 3 subjects in detail, using paragraphs • closing paragraph should sum up what you have said in main body of the letter. • finish with closing phrase e.g. Give my love to, Don’t forget to write, See you soon…’ l before signing off with ‘Love …’ for family or ‘Best wishes/regards….’ for friends • can also have a P.S. but this is a sign that it has not been planned carefully or it could be used as a feature • Language • use slang e.g. mates, telly, contractions e.g. You didn’t, I’ll, and humour/jokes e.g. ‘It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen • ask questions e.g. I had a great time in the hols. What about you? Cont.
Formal Letters • Letters are a means of communicating with another person/persons • Special features of letters: • letters should be written formally when written to someone in authorityor someone unknown to you • set format (see Informal Letters) • they begin with Dear…., followed by the person’s name and have a definite ending Yours faithfully (Dear Sir – if you don’t know their name)/Your sincerely (Dear Mr Amies); • written in paragraphs (when the subject changes) • Language • formal/standard language e.g. I am not I’m • be precise, accurate and clear using the appropriate tone for the purpose of the letter • if complaining: statethe nature of the problem, be reasonable, use business like vocabulary e.g. ‘ I would like to refer to../ With reference to../I would be grateful if… Don’t forget to say what you want done about the situation • if writing to persuade: state why you are writing – to persuade the reader to adopt your point of view or course of action. Give good reasons and suggestions as to what to do. Be pleasant and use a persuasive tone Back
Writer’s tool Kit – include at least 2 from each box in your work. See other pages for many more ideas • Other literary devices to make your work stand out • Pathetic fallacy • Repetition • Stream of conciseness • Foreshadowing • Broken speech • Personification • Alliteration • Negative description • Onomatopoeia Punctuation can create effects -full stops -commas -semicolons -colons -dashes -brackets -ellipses - apostrophes -question exclamation & speech marks Sentence variety: A variety of sentence lengths add interest Minor – no verb: Can stop the story dead, quicken the pace by adding tension e.g. Then. Silence. Short or simple: Can quicken the pace of the story e.g. There was no going back. Complex – using commas: tends to slow the story down and adds extra information e.g. The dog, who’s bowl I’d just tipped over, was growling in the corner. Compound – using and, but: He wanted to go out but it was raining. Connectives: To add interest later, the next day, until then, however, although, also, plus Passive and active voice: examples are Active- the subjectis the focus of the verb: Jimate the bun. Passive – the object is the focus of the verb: The bunwas eaten by Jim. REMEMBER - Paragraphs - New speaker, new line Effective word/descriptive choices: to help with characterisation and setting Adjectives - adventurous and mature adjectives: The scarred face turned from the flickering candle light. Adverbs – well matched to the verb: The hunter bellowed loudly and ran swiftly to disturb his prey. Verbs – powerful verbs bring work alive: clashed, bounded, whimpered, simmering Similes – comparing 2 things: The sea was raging like a wild dog. Metaphor – saying something is something else: The sea was a raging dog.
Style • I have used these devices to effect my reader • adjectives to describe • powerful verbs for action • words other than said • adverbs to describe verbs • dashes, ellipses, exclamation marks for impact • repetition e.g. from rock to rock • similes e.g. quashed like a rotten tomato • metaphor e.g. the man was a lion • personification e.g. the wind sang • alliteration e.g. the wild wind whistled • onomatopoeia e.g. slithering snakes • Stream of consciousness • font size and layout Writer's checklist Look at these lists, check through your work and include any of these ideas that you think would improve your work. • Story Framework • Beginning: tells the reader about • the place • the main character • a problem or reason for the story • asks questions The story develops with • the characters feelings, actions, speech, senses • paragraphs when action moves on or when new person speaks • balance between narrative and speech • genre features (tension, adventure, historical, recount) And ends with • convincing resolution • cliffhanger • leaves the reader thinking • Sentence structure • I have used: • full stops • question marls • commas • speech marks (see help sheets) • a range of connectives • conjunctions and connectives • interrupted speech • a variety of sentence lengths - minor, simple, compound and complex sentences (see writer’s toolkit) • different word order- putting the adverb first e.g. Slowly the handle turned
Many forms of punctuation to add interest to your work Colons and semicolons Brackets and dashes Commas and exclamation marks Commas and exclamation marks Speech marks and ellipses
Commas , • Commas are used • between items in a list - use ‘and’ or an ‘or’ between the last two words e.g. I wanted to sing, dance and scream for joy. • to split up long sentences to make them easier to understand – separating the clauses e.g.Andy knocked on the door several times, but nobody answered. • or to give extra informatione.g. With a squeak, the mouse pounced on the cat! • Exclamation marks ! • Replaces a full stop • in sentences which show really strong feelings e.g. I’m not doing that! • if the sentence is acommand e.g.Stop it! Go away! Leave him alone! • replaces the comma if involved in speech when someone is shouting or to show anger or surprise e.g. “I just can’t believe it’s mine!” she cried.
Colons : • A colon is used • when a list is about to begin e.g. We need to know that the school has: a hall, six classroom, a playground and an office. • to divide up a sentence when the second part explains the first part e.g.The school was closed: it was the summer holidays. • Semicolons ; • A semicolon is used • to turn two sentences into one. The sentences must be about the same thing and be of equal importance e.g. The rain battered the windows; it was the worst storm of the year. • to break up lists when the items in the list are long phrases or clauses e.g.There were many items for sale in the market; rosy red apples; fresh baked cakes, too delicious to resist; Mrs Graham’s home-made lemonade; and many other things.
Brackets ( ) • Brackets can be used like , and - • to separate an extra piece of information from the main body of the sentence e.g. Sam went to Alton Towers (a very large theme park) for his birthday. • to interrupt the sentence e.g.The two kittens (Morgan and Holly) were fast asleep. • as something that the narrator had as an afterthought e.g.I wanted Mr Blair to win the election (although I don’t like the ties he wears). • Dashes - • A dash is used • to separate off extra informationlike, and ( ) e.g. The two dogs – Rover and Fido – ran around wildly. • to show a dramatic pausee.g.I peered under the sofa and there I saw – a huge spider. • to mark the beginning of a list e.g.I inspected everything – the chairs, the cupboards, the paintings.
Speech marks “ ” • Speech marks are used • when someone is actually talking, e.g. “ We’re going on holiday,” the boy said. • or The boy said, “We’re going on holiday.” • or “We are going on holiday,” said the boy, “and I’m very excited.” • LOOK VERY CAREFULLY AT THE USE OF PUNCTUATION AND CAPITAL LETTER • reported speech does not need any speech marks e.g. The boy said that he was going on holiday and that he was very excited. • Ellipses ….. • Use to add interest and sentence variety • in sentences to denote that there is something missing e.g. No one had noticed….. • to how someone’s thoughts e.g. Now what was I going to do …..Oh yes. • in cliff-hangers to create tension e.g. “What was that …..It Sounded like……It can’t be….” she cried
Narrative toolkits for different purposes Settings Action Tension Word and sentence variety Characters
Characters 1 Cont.
Characters 2 Back
inquired asked pleaded requested begged beseeched Alternative words for “said” whimpered drawled mumbled grumbled sobbed stammered whinged moaned complained bellowed called exclaimed yelled cried shouted screamed shrieked giggled sniggered chuckled laughed sneered snorted chortled guffawed heckled interrupted retorted protested persisted advised counted objected warned
Opposition however but nevertheless instead in contrast on the other hand Reinforcing Besides away after all Listing first of all secondly finally initially Connectives Concurrent in the meantime simultaneously meanwhile Prior at first Before until then in the beginning Results therefore consequently thanks to this as a result Addition also furthermore moreover Subsequent just then in the end after that later eventually Explaining for example in other words Indicating time later the next day
4. Second piece of bread = ” Speech and pickle sandwich 3. Pickle = Punctuation ( . , ? ! ) 2. Filling = words 1. First piece of bread = “ 4 easy steps to PERFECTLY PUNCTUATED SPEECH 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 ” “ What a perfect punctuation sandwich ! Cont.
Remember, it is important not only punctuate your speech correctly BUT also to set it out correctly – new speaker, new line How many literacy devices can you spot- Repetition, powerful verbs, adjectival phrases, variety of sentence length…. Character begins to speak so, new line Chapter Seven I leaned over the tea chests and shone the torch and there he was. He hadn’t moved. He opened his eyes and closed them again. “You again,” he said in his creaked, squeaky voice. “What are you doing there?” I whispered. He sighed like he was sick to death of everything. “Nothing,” he squeaked. “Nothing, nothing, and nothing.” I watched a spider scrambling across his face. He caught it and popped it in his mouth. Taken from Skellig by David Almond The same character is speaking, so there is no need to start a new line. New speaker, new line The narrator starts to write again, so new line To see the sandwich again, click here
‘Response partners’ are a very effective way of improving your writing. • they help to reinforce the fact that if you are a writer, you have a reader to entertain and thrill. • they encourage you to look for ways to improve your work • they will point out the most effective parts/phrases in your work • they will suggest techniques from the toolkit that will enhance your writing Response partners for other types of writing • However, we write in many other genre and a different approach is needed • When you have checked your work, your partner will read it and • check your WILFs: • check the sheet/display to ensure that you have included all the features that belong to that genre e.g. bullet points for instructions, time connectives for recounts, topic sentences for newspaper reports. • look to see that you have all the correct language points e.g. present tense for reports, chatty/informal language for letters to a friend etc. • they will suggest techniques from the toolkit for ways to interest your reader • finally they will point out punctuation, spelling errors that need to be checked Back
Complex sentences Complex sentences are used by writers for a number of different reasons. For example they can they add variety your writing, slow down the pace of your writing and they can be used to give a lot of information (description, characterisation, creating an atmosphere). Let’s look at ‘simple’ complex sentence…. • A complex sentence is made up of two parts: • a main clause which tells you about the main point of the sentence • and • the dependant or subordinate clause which adds extra information before he had tea. Iqbal took the dog for a walk Notice how need we to take a pause and so we put a comma into the sentence to separate the clauses The sentence can be re-arranged Before he had tea, Iqbal took the dog for a walk. If you take away the subordinate clause the main clause still makes sense but by itself, the subordinate clause does not make sense. Remember: Changing the sentence order gives the sentence a much greater impact! Macbeth washed the blood from his hands after he had killed Duncan. After he had killed Duncan, Macbeth washed the blood from his hands.