Updated: May 20
Many would say that a good plot which adheres to the given theme, is the most important element to score well in the Continuous Writing section of the PSLE English. However, this is not completely true. On top of a good plot, your composition must demonstrate life and rigor, through the use of certain essential techniques. In this post, we highlight 3 tips to inject life into your composition and help it to stand out amongst the rest.
Tip #1 - Craft Unique Characters for the Plot
There is no doubt that "characters" play an very important element in every composition. Unfortunately, many students get too engrossed in building the plot, that they neglect crafting unique characters that add flavor to the story. Typical characters used are often students, teachers and parents. While there is no fault in doing so, these characters usually offer no special purpose, and make the composition seem like another regular script.
What students can do, is to introduce characters which are unique and central to the theme discussed. Examples include an elderly and frail person, an individual with special needs or even a child from a poor family. These characters embody unusual characteristics that allow for vivid descriptions and when used appropriately, lends strength to the story. This allows your composition to stand out and not only score a higher score but also makes for an interesting read.
Tip #2 - Including Dialogues in the Plot
Most students fail to realise the power of dialogues when they are used appropriately. Effective dialogues can accomplish many things at once, not just to convey information plainly. They can set the scene, give insight into the personalities of each character, and foreshadow future dramatic actions. These can rejuvenate an otherwise boring plot by making it more exciting to read. Dialogues can either be in the form of a speech or the thoughts of characters in the composition. Insert them at the right time to help readers get into the shoes of the characters and bring your writing to life.
"You really should not have done that. It could have got us into serious trouble" – He whispered.
Tip #3 - Use of ‘Show not Tell’ to Convey Emotions Effectively
‘Show not Tell’ is a popular technique taught in schools. However, many students do not know how and when to use it effectively. In fact, most students simply memorize and regurgitate phrases for the sake of using it - describing actions which do not tally with the emotions of the characters. It is important to note that this technique links the story and characters through sensory details.
When done right, 'Showing' draws the readers into the narrative with truly immersive description. It contributes to story development but also leaves certain elements to the reader’s interpretation. This is way more interesting than making everything explicit.
Simple ways to do this include, but are not limited to:
1) Creating a sense of the setting
2) Use of Dialogue to demonstrate character
3) Describing actions instead of telling what can seen
4) Use of vivid descriptions for stronger details
This technique empowers the reader to visualise what happens in the plot and also showcase the thorough planning that was done prior to writing the composition.
Give These Tips a Try In Your Next Composition
You do not need excessively ornate language to make your writing stand out. Practice incorporating these tips into your writing, by making amendments to a composition you have already written. Progressively, move on to use them regularly in your English Compositions. You will surely see a higher score in both content and language, and start to excel in PSLE Composition Writing!