Six: If you write a classic narrative, structure it well
If you choose to write a narrative, write it properly. Think about WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHAT, WHY, HOW to develop your storyline. Begin with your orientation-introduce the characters and setting and the details of the back story required to understand where your story is going. Introduce a complication-give your story momentum by introducing a problem/conflict into the story. Reach a climax-build tension in your story up to a point where everything seems to come together. End with a resolution-tie up the loose ends of the story and end with a reflection on the course that events took. The lesson to take out of this kind of structure is that every story needs tension and needs to follow a path that will keep the reader interested.
Seven: Try to write a complex narrative, and if you do, write it well
Complex narratives are narratives that try and mix it up a bit by varying the structure. They may start at the end and then tell the story backwards, or may introduce different perspectives so the same story ends up being told through the eyes of different people. If done well, these can show your ability to write creatively and think about the varied ways the concept of belonging can be represented. However, these are often hard to do. Ensure that your marker will not be confused by making clear distinctions between the perspectives, or by giving enough detail so the marker knows you are starting your story at the end. The easiest way to distinguish perspectives is by an asterik (*) in the space between the separate paragraphs that contain the two different perspectives. A line such as “To understand where I am now, you have to understand where I have been” or similar line will clearly suggest you will tell the story of how you got to the end. Experimenting with narrative structure can really pay off if you do it well, so write a practice story and see if this technique works for you.
Eight: Have some ideas before the exam, but use the stimulus
The stimulus is there for a reason! The Board of Studies does not want you to prepare the best narrative or letter or set of diary entries and simply throw it up word for word on the page in your exam. They want you to respond imaginatively to the task they give you in your time frame of 40 minutes. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to think about creative writing before the exam, it just means that you have to be willing to adapt and change your ideas depending on the stimulus they give you in the exam. Go into the exams with possible ideas about belonging and its consequences for individuals and society and different settings and contexts where you could explore these ideas. Once you see the stimulus, use the ideas you have already thought about that best suit the visual or written stimulus to compose something that is both creative and has solid links to the ideas in the stimulus. This is not easy. The only way to get good at writing creative pieces that adapt to stimulus material is to practice. Look at different past papers and pictures or quotes about belonging and think of stories or creative pieces you could write to respond to those stimuli. Become an expert at adapting your ideas about belonging to different stimuli.
Nine: Get the technical elements right
-Choose first to write in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person. A quick recap
1st person- I
2nd person- You
3rd person- He/She/It/They/Jessica/Sam
Stick with the one narrative point of view throughout your story-otherwise you may confuse the marker.
-Grammar counts. Use complete sentences, the right tense and make sure your writing makes sense
-Use the correct punctuation-full stops and commas never hurt anyone.
-Use paragraphs-the marker does not want to see one continuous body of words
-Use literary devices to enhance your writing. Include descriptive language, lots of adjectives (describing words), similes, metaphors, imagery e.t.c to represent ideas about belonging. Think about how the authors of your prescribed texts may have used these devices to represent belonging and try and reflect them.
-Make sure you properly describe your setting and characters so the marker understands the context of the story and the people it is about
Ten: Do not be afraid to be creative and maintain a distinct voice
This section begs you to think outside the box and write the most outlandishly believable response you possibly can. Write about something out of the ordinary and apply your personal experiences to new and exciting contexts. Maintaining a distinct voice just means writing convincingly from a particular perspective. Pick a point of view and express in every part of the creative piece you compose.