CREATIVE WRITING Year 10 Narrative Task
Six Tips to Success! • Vary sentence length • Use figurative language • Use present tense to keep story alive • Use direct speech • Orientation = 1 paragraph only • SHOW – Don’t Tell
Vary Sentence Length • Short sentences create tension. The shorter the sentences, the faster the action. Creates a ‘breathless’ effect. • eg • Longer sentences create a calmer more settled effect. They slow the reader down and allow them to absorb the moment – as it were… • eg
Use Figurative Language • Figurative language is language is the use of words, phrases, symbols, and ideas in such as way as to evoke mental images and sense impressions: • Comparative techniques – simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, onomatopoeia • Imagery – evocative of the senses: see, touch, smell, hear & taste
Tense Tense needs to be considered, and used, purposefully: • Past Tense • Narrates events that happened in the past • Can create a reflective tone • Can disengage the reader because a sense of immediacy is lacking. • Present Tense • Creates the sense that the action is happening in the immediate present • The reader feels more involved with the events of the story. • If story entirely in present tense, the urgency conveyed can feel false and distance the reader anyway. • Future Tense • Used when outlining expectations of future events. • Potentially incomprehensible if attempt to narrate whole story in this tense. • Past/Present Combination • MUST be controlled but is perhaps most effective use of narrative time.
Example of Present Tense 'Now they have all gone,' said Louis. 'I am alone. They have gone into the house for breakfast, and I am left standing by the wall among the flowers. It is very early, before lessons. Flower after flower is specked on the depths of green. The petals are harlequins. Stalks rise from the black hollows beneath. The flowers swim like fish made of light upon the dark, green waters. I hold a stalk in my hand. I am the stalk. My roots go down to the depths of the world, through earth dry with brick, and damp earth, through veins of lead and silver. I am all fibre. All tremors shake me, and the weight of the earth is pressed to my ribs. Up here my eyes are green leaves, unseeing. Extract from “The Waves” by Virginia Woolf
Past/Present Combination • Use past tense to convey the narrative context • Use present tense for direct speech • Present tense is also effective when incorporating imagery
Direct Speech • Draws on our aural sense – allows the reader to ‘hear’ the dialogue rather than simply have it reported. • Conveys a sense of immediacy • Avoid ‘he said’, ‘she said’ statements. Use your adjectival vocabulary e.g. • he retorted gleefully. • She nodded. Passive. Disappointed.
SHOW - Don’t Tell The hardest thing to achieve, but the most powerful element in any narrative. • Telling = a summary of events that usually have happened. • Showing = creates a scene and places the reader within that scene. In this way the scene mimics life, and our minds ‘read’ the situation and interpret it for ourselves ie your senses respond to the sights, sounds and smells and you make up your own mind.
SHOW – Don’t Tell • Telling: I have a cold and feel awful. • Showing: Why does that green guck still spawn itself endlessly out of my head, dripping and clinging in my throat, my lungs, blocking in glutinous hunks behind my eyes: I feel sometimes I am blowing out the putrescent remains of my own decayed brains. Sylvia Plath, Journals,pg. 227
SHOW – Don’t Tell • Telling: I lived inland from Freemantle. The afternoon breeze was refreshing. • Showing: I lived five kilometres inland, a blinding limestone road away from the coast. My house had no view; I was landlocked by picket fences and parked cars and homework, but in the afternoon I could feel the Freemantle Doctor coming in across the tree tops, stirring the curtains and copper boiled washing. It came as a sweet relief, cool and merciful, and in the scents of brine and seagrass. The pounding of the swell against the land’s edge was so clear it only seemed the sea was a dune away. Extract from ‘Land’s Edge’ Tim Winton 1993
SHOW – Don’t Tell • Telling: She chopped the tree with an axe. • Showing: Suddenly the axe blade sank softly, the tree’s wounded edges closed on it like a vice. There was a “settling” quiver on its top branches, which the woman heard and understood. The man, encouraged by the sounds of the axe, had returned with an armful of sticks for the billy. He shouted gleefully, “it’s fallin’, look out.” But she waited to free the axe. Extract from ‘Squeaker’s Mate’ by Barbara Baynton
SHOW – Don’t Tell: Your Turn • ‘Show’ lunchtime in the quad to a reader who doesn’t know Stannies.
SHOW – Don’t Tell: Your Turn • She felt alienated from the people around her and because of this she was rude and judgmental to an innocent bystander. • On his good days he was merely selfish. On his bad days he was very cruel. • She was running late for work and tripped down the stairs hurting her arm and her big toe. • The whole town smelt bad because of the smell that came from the sewage works. • She felt tired as she’d been working for many hours now but it was important to get this PowerPoint done. • The storm was wild but the rain had washed the humidity away.