Frame the story with similar characters/ setting/ symbol /comment at beginning and ending Use a limited time frame = sense of urgency (24 hours, one morning, a season, a term, an interview) exploding a moment – 15 minutes
Use a single context or setting
Explore no more than 2 main ideas re belonging
Focus on moments and feelings
Have a ‘twist’ at the end
Show don’t tell (‘She smiles’ = belonging, without further comment() Use flash backs and flash forwards ie non-linear stories
Objects as symbols (eg red hair, ragged appearance show exclusion) Challenge assumptions about belonging (a character responds to exclusion by engaging with situation) Challenge or play with stereotypes (lack of education does not mean lack of intelligence or ability) Use a comment by omniscient author (to reinforce or cast doubt on a character’s actions or attitudes) Multiple voices & perspectives, / points of view-Switch between characters w. opposing pov. Do not start every sentence with “I” if using 1st person narrative Distinctive voice – to maintain consistent language or idiom of the character is essential Use sophisticated language – some 3 and 4 syllable words
AND PLEASE: no ‘dying’ stories, designed to elicit sympathy! DO reflect and practise – Read short stories for ideas -PLAN, PLAN – your beginning and ending – FRAME IT LANGUAGE:
For description of events, characters, places, give details and use: Sensual imagery -size, shape, texture
Smell, touch, sound & vivid, sophisticated expression
Avoid -Bland, overworked, clichéd vocabulary
Mixing tenses in verbs (either present or past tense) s
CREATIVE WRITING ON THE CONCEPT OF BELONGING
Selecting a topic on belonging that deals imaginatively with identity, experience, relationships, acceptance, understanding links with people, community or the larger world
writing imaginatively means writing in a way that is different to the everyday familiar images. but, avoid being philosophical. Show your ideas on isolation through events, actions of characters and dialogue.
write about a topic with which you are most familiar but finding unusual and fresh ways to think about it and describe it.
The first paragraph must engage the reader.
Show – don’t tell. For example, it is better to describe a scene, something like, “I trembled with an expectation that the dark shadow in the moonlit window was inside the room” rather than to say “I was afraid”.
Write metaphorically. For example, “A tiny green seed was planted in my mind and since green is the colour of fertility and growth, the idea sprouted and grew taller than the beanstalk.”
Use Language features to create visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory imagery. Similes- The wind tore at her face, like an angry tiger.
Strong verbs – tore, crashed, gurgled
Metaphors – A tiny green seed was planted in my mind.
adverbs and adjectives – briskly, gruffly
Point of view – a perspective from which the story is told.
A character in the story or, for example, a pair of ballet shoes use of first person “I” for the audience to become engaged use of third person, “he, she, they” for sustained story telling.
the present tense provides a strong sense of immediacy
past tense works well for most stories
a story set in the future is more difficult to achieve
a story told in flashback, starting from the ending, looking back on choices that brought the character to this point – sometimes works well if it is brought back into the present with skill.
Expression – use clear English with correct spelling and fluency of expression. Use the ‘s and contractions (I’m, don’t) correctly.
Use a Thesaurus to broaden your range of vocabulary: Choose words that accurately describe a situation. For example a disaster – crash, panic, caution, explosion, destruction, crisis.
include dialogue – conversations between characters to develop the character, personality, motivation or attitude – only essential details should be included.
punctuate direct speech correctly. For example, “The river moved,” she said, “I don’t recognise this place.” Always write on a new line when quoting direct speech.
introduction – engaging and interesting, for example, begin with a single word or short phrase correct paragraphing – use a new paragraph for each new idea, change of place, time or focus.
link paragraphs to each other
vary sentence lengths to help change tone and add interest.
conclusion should provide a resolution for all the problems or issues in the story which may be surprising or unpredictable
clichés – expressions that are familiar, repeated over and over and therefore lacking in freshness. For example “run of the mill”, “true blue Aussie”. unnecessary dialogue.
being philosophical. Show your ideas on isolation through the events, actions of characters and dialog.
CHECKLIST-Quality writing – aim to have your story stand out
Opening – original / innovative
Ideas – engaging, interesting, different, unusual
Language techniques – similes, metaphors, adverbs, adjectives
Structure – paragraphing, varied sentence lengths, range of punctuation
Clear link / response to the question
Conclusion – surprising / unpredictable
PRACTICE WRITING TASK
Using an event as a trigger for ensuing action, conversation, conflict.
Task: Write a ONE PAGE narrative involving three people where character is revealed. The theme is belonging.
The cup smashed. (This is your opening sentence.)
1. Continue this as a narrative. Imagine 3 characters: describe them. (Include, detail, adjectives, strong verbs and similes.)
2. Imagine a setting. Describe it.
3. Write the ensuing conversation. Complete the story showing subsequent events and choices made by the characters.
(1,2 and 3 may be done in any order. )
4. Provide a resolution of some sort, whether satisfactory or not for each character, perhaps unexpected.
Do NOT use words to denote emotion or attitude such as angry, rude, annoying, bored. Instead – through their actions and words only, have the characters reveal their personalities, attitudes and values.
Note the way these traits are revealed in the lines below (after the trigger event):
Trigger event: A faint noise began rumbling high up in his bony throat beneath the pure white hairs of his old man’s beard. … Nurse Truman squatted down beside the old man. Mrs McDonald glared at her like a kookaburra confronted with a black snake in its nest. Sister Carr folded her arms.
Here, we see that one character is sympathetic, one angry and one does not wish to be involved. Yet, this is only implied or shown through body language and use of strong verbs, not stated outright.
Courtney from Study Moose
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