Personal writing
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Personal Writing. Folio Workshop. Planning and Structuring. First of all, you should have a copy of my plan in front of you. It details the main purpose of each paragraph. Have a read through and see if I have met the purpose of each one. Now look at your essay.

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Personal writing

Personal Writing

Folio Workshop


Planning and structuring

Planning and Structuring

  • First of all, you should have a copy of my plan in front of you. It details the main purpose of each paragraph.

  • Have a read through and see if I have met the purpose of each one.

  • Now look at your essay.

  • Does your essay have a clear structure as laid out in the plan?

  • Yes, there will be times when you have chopped paragraphs up but do they still map out a clear line of thought?


Titles

Titles

  • If I was a lazy person, I might call my essay Personal Reflective Folio Piece.

  • If I was unimaginative, I might call it Why Video Games Matter to Me.

  • Instead, I might aim for something witty like Press Start or Player One: Ready. The kinds of phrases I might see in a video game.

  • Look at the title of your essay. Is it something that will impress a marker or will they have seen it before?

  • Come up with a new title for your essay.


My first introduction

My First Introduction

  • A thing I am a big fan of is video games. I have been playing games for a long time but it always annoyed me that when I was a kid my family would always assume that it was my little brother that loved games the most so he would always get loads of games for his birthday and Christmas and I wouldnt. That really hurt me but now that I live on my own I have loads of consoles. I have an X-Box 360, a PS3, a Wii, a handful of handheld consoles and have just treated myself to a PS4 but I will always love my PC the most. Its amazing and was the start of me taking gaming seriously. I just think video games are amazing and I think they show a lot of my personality.


My first introduction1

Most of all, this intro is just pretty damn boring. Vocabulary is unimpressive and the tone is dull. If this sets the tone for the whole essay, its going to be awful.

My First Introduction

Incredibly weak opening.

  • A thing I am a big fan of is video games. I have been playing games for a long time but it always annoyed me that when I was a kid my family would always assume that it was my little brother that loved games the most so he would always get loads of games for his birthday and Christmas and I wouldnt. That really hurt me but now that I live on my own I have loads of consoles. I have an X-Box 360, a PS3, a Wii, a handful of handheld consoles and have just treated myself to a PS4 but I will always love my PC the most. Its amazing and was the start of me taking gaming seriously. I just think video games are amazing and I think they show a lot of my personality.

Sentence is far too long

Weak use of emotive language

Way too vague hasnt gone into any detail about this. How do they show this?

An intro like this would be more suited for an Int 1 essay, not Higher.


My next attempt

My Next Attempt

  • I think its safe to say that Im not your typical gamer. When people hear the word gamer, they instantly think of teenage boys locked in sweaty bedrooms with their eyes glued to the latest incarnation of FIFA or Call of Duty. Well, they couldnt be more wrong. Ive had to fight gamer stereotypes since my childhood, when I had to prove to my family that I loved games as much as my clich-defining little brother. For two years I even worked in the high-street store Game in order to show that I was every bit as much of a video game fan as my male counterparts. Now that I live in my own place though I dont need to prove my worth to anyone and I play whatever I like. I am a gamer and I dont care what anyone else says.


My next attempt1

This draft is a bit better but still not perfect. This person would still aim to better it before handing in their final draft.

My Next Attempt

Jargon is explained clearly

  • I think its safe to say that Im not your typical gamer. When people hear the word gamer, they instantly think of teenage boys locked in sweaty bedrooms with their eyes glued to the latest incarnation of FIFA or Call of Duty. Well, they couldnt be more wrong. Ive had to fight gamer stereotypes since my childhood, when I had to prove to my family that I loved games as much as my clich-defining little brother. For two years I even worked in the high-street store Game in order to show that I was every bit as much of a video game fan as my male counterparts. Now that I live in my own place though I dont need to prove my worth to anyone and I play whatever I like. I am a gamer and I dont care what anyone else says.

Nice bit of descriptive writing

Links to previous ideas

Final sentence lets this down its pretty petty.

Main points of essay are clearly mapped out family work future.

An essay like this would probably pass but certainly wouldnt get an A


The final draft

The Final Draft

  • Now obviously, the second introduction was still not perfect.

  • It felt a little contrived in places and still could have been more stylish.

  • Before you hand in your second draft you must do a final FINAL draft for yourself another version where you ensure that what you have produced is the very best you can possibly achieve.

  • If I was a Higher pupil, I would ensure that I have another go before even thinking about giving it to my teacher.


A real writer

A Real Writer

  • At this point it's probably worth stating that in real life I'm so squeamish I have to close my eyes while browning mince, and so cowardly I'd urinate myself to death if anyone started on me in a pub, even a nine-year-old. I can state with 100% confidence that I will never kill anyone with a sniper rifle in the real world, although I reserve the right to revise that position when it's the year 2029 and I'm defending my water tower from the Brotherhood of the Raven. But it's fair to say a fondness for sniping games marks me out as a coward who'd rather take potshots from a distance than actually climb down from the tree and enter the fray like a man, a theory backed up by the fact that while I love sniping, I detest "stealth games" (because it's scary when you get caught) and "boss fights" where you have to battle some gargantuan show-off 10 times your height who keeps knocking you on your arse with his tail. That's way too hands-on. I'm 42: I don't have the energy for that. I just want to hide up a tree gently killing people who don't exist. And the market for dedicated sniping games proves I'm far from alone.

  • Charlie Brooker Dont Judge Me But I Love Sniping Games

  • http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/17/dont-judge-me-i-love-sniping-games


So what did evil mr brooker do

So What Did Evil Mr Brooker Do?

  • He used hyperboleoften.

  • He had a clear tone all the way through (self-deprecating and a little ashamed of himself).

  • He used descriptive writing (the little sci-fi bit)

  • An impressive vocabulary think about saying a fondness for sniping games rather than just liking sniping games.

  • He also presents how others might think of him (as a coward) and then explains how he really does feel about it.


Learn from the professionals

Learn from the Professionals

  • In order to improve your writing style, you must start reading.

  • If you wanted to do any other kind of skill, youd learn from the best:

    • You want to make a good Victoria Sponge? Watch the Great British Bake-off.

    • You want to be a good footballer? You watch your favourite players and then try to copy their tricks.

    • Even if you just wanted to work out how to do something, think of how many times youve watched a tutorial on YouTube and then tried it yourself.

  • This is how writing works, too. In order to improve, you need to get reading


The body of your essay part one

The Body of Your Essay Part One

  • The first real games I ever played were the Worms games on the original Playstation. My dad bought one and brought it home and it was put into the room my brother and I shared once we were allowed to get a TV for our room. Then we upgraded to a PS2 and thats when my little brother took over. Everybody assumed that he was the gamer in our house and that I wasnt. I was just there for when he wanted to play two-player games. After each of his birthdays, I would get his old console when he got a new one. I still play his old blue Gameboy Advance SP. He thinks he lost Pokemon Yellow Version at some point during 2002. He didnt I stole it when I was handed the SP and he got a brand new DS. Of course there were games that we played together but they often resulted in a screaming match when I wanted a shot and he kept arguing Just wait til I get to a save point. Things didnt change even when I started working in Game when I was eighteen. Instead, I was continually asked Can I use your staff discount?


Personal writing

This comes across as simply a bit of a moan and telling a wee story about how annoying the writers brother is (which he is of course)

This statement is completely irrelevant to the rest of the paragraph.

Long way of saying that there have been consoles in family for a long time.

No real comment on how this made the writer feel.

The first real games I ever played were the Worms games on the original Playstation. My dad bought one and brought it home and it was put into the room my brother and I shared once we were allowed to get a TV for our room. Then we upgraded to a PS2 and thats when my little brother took over. Everybody assumed that he was the gamer in our house and that I wasnt. I was just there for when he wanted to play two-player games. After each of his birthdays, I would get his old console when he got a new one. I still play his old blue Gameboy Advance SP. He thinks he lost Pokemon Yellow Version at some point during 2002. He didnt I stole it when I was handed the SP and he got a brand new DS. Of course there were games that we played together but they often resulted in a screaming match when I wanted a shot and he kept arguing Just wait til I get to a save point. Things didnt change even when I started working in Game when I was eighteen. Instead, I was continually asked Can I use your staff discount?

This is actually quite funny but doesnt fit in with the tone of the rest of it.

The latter half of this paragraph is much better than the first. Its more amusing and does capture some of the writers frustrations.


My next attempt2

My Next Attempt

  • If asked about the origins of my love-affair with gaming, Id have to say that it was a rocky start. The early consoles that were brought into my home were placed there under the ruse of being family consoles but it was quickly clear that they became property of my little brother. This fact was not questioned and he became the gaming overlord of our family. I was just his servant there to fill in when his friends couldnt take on the role of Player Two. Even my job at Game didnt change this and I became the family gift mule, smuggling in presents for my (male) family members and using my staff discount to its maximum advantage.


Personal writing

Manages to achieve the same point as the last example but in a shorter space means there is no waffle or fluff

Much nicer use of vocabulary

  • If asked about the origins of my love-affair with gaming, Id have to say that it was a rocky start. The early consoles that were brought into my home were placed there under the ruse of being family consoles but it was quickly clear that they became property of my little brother. This fact was not questioned and he became the gaming overlord of our family. I was just his servant there to fill in when his friends couldnt take on the role of Player Two. Even my job at Game didnt change this and I became the family gift mule, smuggling in presents for my (male) family members and using my staff discount to its maximum advantage.

Good use of an image that ties in with the topic.

Parenthesis used to imply the writers opinion

Another use of imagery not necessarily related this time but it still works

Consistent use of an exasperated tone this is someone who has put up with a fair bit but is over it now.


The body of your essay part two

The Body of Your Essay Part Two

  • But one event changed everything. While still working in Game, an expansion pack for a favourite game of mine Guild Wars was released, with much higher specifications than all the previous ones. After finally getting my own bedroom, Id also claimed my dads old PC, which he was thinking about throwing out. I took it and filled it with my games. However, when I tried to load up the new Guild Wars, I learned that my graphics card couldnt handle it and I lost everything. I was really upset and cried loads about it. Dad saw that I was sad and decided to take me to the little PC repair store around the road. We did it all up and the game worked brilliantly. Dad didnt realise that we shared a love for technology and hadnt known how much Id liked gaming. Instead, he just assumed that my brother had liked it because he was a boy. After that, Dad took my love for games much more seriously. Only last year when I got my new PC, I asked Dad if he wanted to come with me. He did and even managed to talk me into getting a PC even better than the one Id looked at. Its awesome.


Personal writing

Put titles in inverted commas

  • But one event changed everything. While still working in Game, an expansion pack for a favourite game of mine Guild Wars was released, with much higher specifications than all the previous ones. After finally getting my own bedroom, Id also claimed my dads old PC, which he was thinking about throwing out. I took it and filled it with my games. However, when I tried to load up the new Guild Wars, I learned that my graphics card couldnt handle it and I lost everything. I was really upset and cried loads about it. Dad saw that I was sad and decided to take me to the little PC repair store around the road. We did it all up and the game worked brilliantly. Dad didnt realise that we shared a love for technology and hadnt known how much Id liked gaming. Instead, he just assumed that my brother had liked it because he was a boy. After that, Dad took my love for games much more seriously. Only last year when I got my new PC, I asked Dad if he wanted to come with me. He did and even managed to talk me into getting a PC even better than the one Id looked at. Its awesome.

A lengthy aside that could have been put in earlier

Incredibly emotionless for something that was so horrible

What does this even mean?

A very dry piece of narrative

Such a lazy ending


My next attempt3

My Next Attempt

  • However, little did I know that one seemingly unimportant Sunday afternoon would change the entire dynamic of our power struggle. A new expansion pack was released for a favourite PC game of mine Guild Wars (yes, its as cool as it sounds) and I snapped it up as soon as possible. I took it home and installed it on what had become my PC (an old PC of Dads which Id claimed in order to do uni courseworkhonest) and made a mistake that wouldnt even befall the most nave of noobs (new players in gamer-speak). I didnt check the games system requirements and assumed that it would be the same as its predecessors. Much to my horror, after only an hour of gameplay, my graphics card gave up and I lost three years worth of building and developing my character. As much as I should be, Im not ashamed to say that this made me burst into tears. As I mourned the death of my level 20 necromancer, my parents came running into my room to see what was wrong. While Mum claimed Its only a game (words you should never say to a distressed gamer), my Dad finally kicked into action. He bundled me and the computer tower into the car and sped down to the nearest PC repair store where a new graphics card and extra memory brought my little character back to life and let me return to questing. It doesnt seem like a big deal but that moment of digital heroism suddenly made my dad and I see each other differently. My brother was no longer the favourite and my dad and I now had a shared interest. In those minutes when I cradled my wounded hard drive in my arms as Dad explained the situation and I handed over my computer to the experts, everything changed. He saw how much it meant to me and I saw that all I ever really had to do was show him this fact.


Personal writing

Much better use of vocabulary and expression language more controlled

Nice link from previous idea.

Parenthesis used to create humour

  • However, little did I know that one seemingly unimportant Sunday afternoon would change the entire dynamic of our power struggle. A new expansion pack was released for a favourite PC game of mine Guild Wars (yes, its as cool as it sounds) and I snapped it up as soon as possible. I took it home and installed it on what had become my PC (an old PC of Dads which Id claimed in order to do uni courseworkhonest) and made a mistake that wouldnt even befall the most nave of noobs (new players in gamer-speak). I didnt check the games system requirements and assumed that it would be the same as its predecessors. Much to my horror, after only an hour of gameplay, my graphics card gave up and I lost three years worth of building and developing my character. As much as I should be, Im not ashamed to say that this made me burst into tears. As I mourned the death of my level 20 necromancer, my parents came running into my room to see what was wrong. While Mum claimed Its only a game (words you should never say to a distressed gamer), my Dad finally kicked into action. He bundled me and the computer tower into the car and sped down to the nearest PC repair store where a new graphics card and extra memory brought my little character back to life and let me return to questing. It doesnt seem like a big deal but that moment of digital heroism suddenly made my dad and I see each other differently. My brother was no longer the favourite and my dad and I now had a shared interest. In those minutes when I cradled my wounded hard drive in my arms as Dad explained the situation and I handed over my computer to the experts, everything changed. He saw how much it meant to me and I saw that all I ever really had to do was show him this fact.

Jargon explained

Use of hyperbole and some geek humour necromancers use death magic (mourning)

Technical detail is concise but brief

Nice touch that ties in with topic

Hyperbole

Anecdote used to demonstrate love of topic but focuses more on an important relationship


Back to the experts

Back to the experts

I don't want him playing horrible bullshit. I want him mainlining proper games as quickly aspossible. And proper games are played with akeyboard and a mouse, or a weighty controller embellished with an intimidating array of buttons and sticks and triggers one that melts ergonomically into any experienced gamer's hands, but makes newcomers feel like they've just picked upa Rubik's Cube designed by Salvador Dal.

So I handed him a controller. I tried him on Super Mario World, but he didn't understand thatyou could move and jump at the same time, which limited the fun. My fun, not his. He was perfectly happy to press one button repeatedly tomake Mario leap up and down on the spot. But he wouldn't time the jumps properly. He kept getting killed by the same Goomba, endlessly waddling towards him. It was excruciating to watch. So I switched the Nintendo off and tried a different console. He screamed with enthusiasm, or possibly despair. Maybe even hunger. It was getting quite late.

  • Charlie Brooker Want to silence a two-year-old? Try teaching it to ride a motorbike

  • http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/11/want-to-silence-a-two-year-old-charlie-brooker


Why did this work

Why did this work?

  • Focuses on two things:

    • His love of gaming

    • Trying to introduce his son to his hobby

  • Wonderful use of imagery (ergonomically meltsRubiks cube designed by Salvador Dali)

  • Consistent tone one of frustration

  • Clever use of sentence structure to capture the confusion between the two people involved variety of long and short sentences.

  • Demonstrates a wide vocabluary excruciating rather than annoying, waddling instead of moving.


So what should your final draft look like

So What Should Your Final Draft Look Like?

  • Okay, so the technical fussy things:

    • Typed.

    • Sensible font.

    • Size 12 for all of it (i.e. no size 22 title)

  • Double line spacing I will demonstrate this. This does two things:

    • Makes your essay look longer (sneaky, I know)

    • Makes it easier for the marker to read and take notes

  • Snazzy title on the top with your name underneath (its easier than at the end)

  • Word count at the end.

  • Stapled together.


Sqa related stuff i ll moan about

SQA Related Stuff Ill Moan About

  • I need to collect every stage of your folio:

    • The plan

    • The first draft (with my marking on it)

    • 2 printed copies of the final draft

    • An electronic copy (via email or memory stick)

    • This stuff is so that I can prove to the SQA that you have done this work by yourself. Also that youve been given all the guidance you need but that I havent given you extra help.


Sneaky sqa marker s advice

Sneaky SQA Markers Advice

  • Here is what I have learned from a teacher who has marked Higher Folios for the SQA for the last few years:

    • The first major thing that the marker will check is your technical accuracy there must be NO spelling or grammatical errors and you will be penalised for any that are left it.

    • Structure must show a clear line of thought. Badly structured essays will be heavily penalised.

    • You must avoid clichs at all costs.

    • Writing must be consistent and well-controlled.


Sneaky sqa marker s advice1

Sneaky SQA Markers Advice

  • Some advice on personal essays:

    • Personal essays must show clear reflection.

    • There must also be a clear mood throughout the piece.

    • The best essays are the ones where the writers personality shines through.

    • The marker should be entertained.


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