Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Length Remember that you do not have a long time to write your story. You should aim to write two pages of A4. You only have 35 minutes at the very most to do this task, as in an hour you have to fit in both the descriptive and the narrative pieces.
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Types of task set in earlier papers 1)A title - ‘First Day at School’, ‘Living in the Past’, ‘A Holiday to Remember’, ‘A Perfect Lie’, ‘The Journey’ 2) Personal writing - ‘Write about a time you upset your best friend’ 3) A photograph printed on the paper to use as a stimulus 4) A beginning or (harder) an ending. It is essential to plan the bones of your story. Take a few minutes (maximum of 5) to consider the title and decide how you will tackle what you have been asked to do. Plan for 6 paragraphs, decide your verb tense and whether first or third person is appropriate. You do NOT have time for drafting
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Analysing a Task Task – Write about a time when you upset your best friend you Must be first person (a time when you upset…) Can be invented Make it funny/ serious? Planning tips You DO NOT have to write down your plan, but if you decide to - use abbreviations! Its purpose is to help you stick to time and write a good story! Know where you are going before you start!
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Possible structure for: Write about a time when you upset your best friend Paragraph 1 - explain relationship with friend – what they are like, how long known them etc. Brief description. Paragraph 2 – When and where the incident happened Paragraph 3 – what happened? Paragraph 4 – how did you know your friend was upset? How did he/she react? Paragraph 5 – how did you feel? What did you do to mend it? Paragraph 6 - outcome, reflection, resolution.
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Framework This gives you a simple framework which you can adapt to most tasks. It also reminds you to use paragraphs according to the rules. It helps you time your story, as you know roughly how long to spend on each paragraph. P1 - Oldest friend. Very slim, curly hair in plaits. P2 – Infants, playtime. P3 – I said she was too skinny. P4 – didn’t know she was there. She walked off, wouldn’t speak to me, was crying. P5 – felt awful, ran after her. Wrote her a card. P6 - She forgave me. I tried not to show off again.
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Plot: Think Small! Keep events in the story to a minimum by focusing on one main event Do not try to include too many characters - 2 or 3 is enough Try to keep everything realistic Don’t include graphic violence – it is better to focus on how characters feel. Overview of the plot: Think about the outline of your story in three parts: Equilibrium - how things are Event which disturbs this and changes things A new equilibrium
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Style Remember: examiners have to read hundreds of responses, so make yours stand out from the crowd. You can use humour, pathos, irony Consider using structures like flashback if you feel confident Tips for using dialogue You must: use speech marks to mark off any speech. “It’s brilliant to meet you, Sir.” remember that you must punctuate the sentences within the dialogue. go onto a new line for each new speaker. If you do this correctly, you can sometimes do without saying ‘he said’ etc. ensure that you NEVER have closing and opening speech marks next to each other on the same line.
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk You can introduce speech with a comma, then the speech within the speech marks begins with a capital letter: He said crossly, “You must put that down right now”. “Why?” she replied. “It is mine, after all.” Where the end of a sentence is within the speech, put the full stop INSIDE the speech marks. If your speech is embedded into the sentence, put your full stop AFTER the closing speech marks. She said, “I won’t be late”, before slamming the door behind her. Dialogue- Punctuation
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Word Choices Always choose the most precise and interesting words you can Include metaphors and similes if you can but don’t strain too much for effect Try to avoid clichés Remember to use the senses Make sure your writing is controlled and thoughtful.
Copyright 2009 www.englishteaching.co.uk Practice Write a story which ends with: “I shivered with the thrill of it all.” OR Continue the following: “I never liked mobile phones and now I knew why.”