Producing Written Texts

Commissions

Commissions

GCSE english languageThe title of this task refers to writers receiving a ‘commission’ from a kind of literary publication, such as a newspaper. The commission is a job to write an article or other piece of writing which responds to a set brief. This brief can be detailed and require the writer to produce a text about a specific subject or it could simply ask the writer to take the audience and purpose into consideration. This means adapting style and content to suit the following:

  • The genre -what genre are you writing in? If a newspaper article, look at the conventional layout for an article. You may not have to write in columns but it would show awareness of genre if you included a headline, date and your name as the author of the piece.
  • The audience. You could be writing a newspaper article for a tabloid or a magazine article for a serious environmental publication. You have to think about whether the readers will be interested in your story and find a way to maintain their interest. Consider also what kind of style you should use: formal/informal, technical/non-technical vocabulary,
  • The length of your text. Generally, it should be around 600 words. Once you have considered this, think about how many paragraphs you will have to include, along with the headings and subheadings.
  • Remember, you MUST stick to the brief and include every point they ask for.

Planning

Read the commissions brief and highlight every point you are being asked to include. In addition, highlight any other information given, such as the audience if it is stated. Consider the structure of an article and plan the points you are going to make in each paragraph. If you know exactly where your article is going, it will be easier for you to keep your writing clear and concise and not go off-topic.

Genre

It is likely that you will be asked to write a newspaper article for this task. This genre of writing can be identified by many features which you may include in your article.

  • Article Heading – Your article heading should do two things: explain what the article is about and make the reader want to find out more. Consider what type of article you are writing. If it is for a newspaper, then the heading could contain a pun. However, if it is an online article, you should use key words so that search engines can easily find the article.
  • Subheadings – These are optional and can be used to signpost your work. They make it more clear what is in each paragraph.
  • Clear, concise sentences and paragraphs – Be as clear as possible with your sentences and paragraphs. Remember that people who read newspaper are often in a rush. This means that they want to be able to find out the main points of your article as quickly as possible and not spend time working out exactly what you are saying. Keep sentences short and snappy. Paragraphs have one main point in them and stick to that point.
  • Useful Links – To show that you understand the article genre, you could include helpful websites for you readers if they are relevant to your topic.
  • Content Links – In web articles, you could include hyperlinked words or phrases which would take the reader to a different webpage.