The craft of the writer
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The craft of the writer. Understanding how writers create meaning. Lesson objective:. To explore techniques used to analyse the way in which writers create particular effects. What kind of text do you think the following words are taken from?. worst brownfieldsdreams

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The craft of the writer

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The craft of the writer

Understanding how writers create meaning

Lesson objective:

  • To explore techniques used to analyse the way in which writers create particular effects

What kind of text do you think the following words are taken from?

worst brownfieldsdreams

gunships low flat wounds wolves so grievous traumatic gaping sweat glossy lavender sky bizarre cruel diabolic history images decaying innocent suffering beautiful forces nature blast storm memory live empower drunk noble oddities abandonment

How do writers make meaning?

  • Whenever you read a text, you need to understand that everything you read about has been crafted by a writer with a specific PURPOSE in mind….

  • You’ll need to think about how a writer:


I want to write a story that is full of drama and suspense with a theme of war…

My worst dreams have always contained images of brown water and fields of elephant grass and the downdraft of helicopter blades. The dreams are in color but they contain no sound, not of drowned voices in the river or explosions under the hooches in the village we burned…

What has happened to this man to give him such terrible dreams?

Death, misery, helplessness

How will his experiences affect his future?

  • Being able to read and write about a text successfully, relies on you being able to explain how meaning is passed from writer to text to reader.

  • Whenever you are trying to explain how a writer does something, you need to find evidence from the text:

    • CONTENT- what happens

    • EFFECT OF LANGUAGE- particular words, phrases

    • STRUCTURE- how the story has been organised, use of narrative techniques like viewpoint, dialogues and flashback





What effect is writer

trying to achieve?

What evidence can

we find in the text

to support this?


What effect does this

have on the


powerful opening

creates atmosphere


‘worst dreams’

‘drowned voices’


‘brown water’

Feeling of futile


No escape

Clear war theme


  • Using this framework, go through the extract and answer the following question:

  • How does the writer convey a sense of horror in the extract?

Which of the following sentences do you think are the most successful?

  • Smith introduces an atmosphere of unease as he describes how ‘the wind dropped’ and ‘a breath of cloud crept in front of the moon, covering it completely.’

  • The writer creates suspense by using third person and a lot of adjectives.

  • The writer creates suspense by slowly letting the reader know pieces of information about the man’s past, which gradually builds a picture of where and who he is.

  • There is an effective metaphor used in line 12.

  • The writer uses a mixture of short and long sentences to create variety.

  • The writer uses contrasting characteristics like ‘sharp’ and ‘sensuous’ to describe the man at the station, which might suggest that he has two sides to him- something which also makes us wary of what he will do next.

  • The writer uses a lot of superlatives such as ‘you’ and ‘me’.

  • It’s very realistic and makes you want to read on.

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