Understanding Texts

Writing Techniques

Writing Techniques

CaptureCreative writers will establish their settings and present their themes and characters through the subtle use of language. Though some may state outright certain aspects of their story, a lot of the time you should be able to pick up on it through descriptions. It depends on the voice of the narrator.

For example: Jack was an 8 year-old boy living in London during the Second World War.

Jack ran through the street, the elderly postman’s shouts of “Get to the shelter, you little scamp!” echoing in his ear. The skies were streaked with angry black dusk. As he reached the corner, he heard the whiz of planes and saw the first of the bombs smash into buildings and explode.

Characters are established in the following ways:

  • Description of a character’s appearance – unless the character has a reason to hide something, you can analyse how they look and what they are wearing to gain further information about them. You could tell from a smile at someone’s discomfort that a character is not kind or, if someone makes more effort with their appearance in everyday life, you might come to the conclusion that they wanted to look good for someone.
  • Description of their actions – rather than saying someone is naughty or mischievous, give an example of something they have done. This shows the reader what the character is like rather than telling the reader what to think.
  • Presenting what characters say – the words and message of a character can often reveal information about them. How does the character speak? Do they have a certain accent or use a certain dialect? Are they loud? Do they speak often? As well as examining how a character’s speech reveals their identity, consider the reactions of other characters to what they say.
  • Writers could also use imagery and metaphor to describe a character and reveal parts of their identity. For example: In this zoo of an, Ronald was the panda of the group, sitting calmly at his chair carrying on with his work. From this metaphor, you could suggest that Ronald was a more chubby office worker and that he was one of the rare people who carried on with their work when others caused chaos.

When analysing creative writing for English GCSE, consider how every sentence relates to the characters and setting within the story. If your essay is about a character, you MUST use evidence to support what you say about them. This may not be a direct quote saying Fiona is a quiet girl if you wish to describe Fiona as quiet. If you find a quote, such as Surprisingly, it was Fiona who spoke up. Her hands shook slightly as she made her suggestion., you can use this to prove Fiona’s quietness by explaining it: The use of ‘surprisingly’ shows Fiona is quiet because people do not expect her to speak. In addition, her shaking hands suggest that she is nervous, perhaps because she is not used to speaking.

In GCSE English Language remember that all the AFOREST techniques used in non-fiction and for your Speaking and Listening tasks can be used in creative writing to enhance it. If you need reminding about these techniques, refer back to the previous sections.