Composition writing can be a tough component for many students and an equally tricky lesson to teach in English Tuition. There is no one fixed, or correct, method to constructing a model composition to refer to. This means some may struggle to properly compose their compositions as the content they need to produce would always vary from topic to topic.
Despite its difficulty, composition writing is something a student should most definitely not neglect since writing will forever remain an essential life skill. Working life and beyond. As such, let us learn how to sharpen our composition writing by using our five vital writing techniques.
One way to improve our writing is to adopt one of the most important techniques in storytelling – and that is to show, not tell.
While it may be tempting to simply tell readers what happens in a story since it is easier and much faster, doing so makes our composition pieces rote and unmemorable. Showing the emotions of a character through their actions makes a much more of an indelible impact on the reader as opposed to telling.
With this in mind, let us compare two phrases: between saying ‘The boy looked sad’ compared to ‘hot tears were brimming at the corner of his eyes’. Painting this vivid picture using the show-not-tell technique helps readers visualise how the story plays out, and with much stronger emotions!
Effective descriptions are the best way to make your characters stand out, and be memorable. But how would one go about describing a character in a captivating manner? The absolute best way to go about it, is to first possess an excellent vocabulary. This would bolster our descriptive capabilities of any character we want to write about!
Apart from knowing a wide array of words, students should also memorise a variety of descriptive phrases that suit different contexts, so that they are prepared to describe any kind of character required for the topic.
We can have even more effective character descriptions by using Show-Not-Tell. For instance, what are the actions that characters take? How did the characters look? What did the characters say? What were the characters’ thoughts? Writing the answers to these questions can bring our characters to life, and fleshes them out meaningfully.
If you’re ever unsure of how to describe a place or setting, always remember to use your 5 senses, and place yourself in the shoes of the characters in the stories. In that particular situation, how would they feel? What are they able to smell, touch and hear?
For instance, when describing a garden, describe the sights you may see! Are there beautiful flowers, or tall, luscious grass surrounding the characters? Is there a fragrance in the air? Might the characters hear the evening wind, and feel it gently caressing their face? The possibilities are endless!
English writing is filled with all sorts of interesting prose and limiting ourselves to bland descriptions would be a shame. Don’t say the shopping mall is crowded, write how it is packed like sardines, and that excited chatter could be made out all over the place! Don’t just say the weather was hot, but write that the characters could feel the scorching sun beating down on their sweaty backs!
It’s always wise to have your characters reflect on their actions or the situation that occurs around them. This shows a high level of maturity, and that one is not merely frivolous with little to no meaning.
Great stories should always strive to encourage readers to reflect along with the characters, glean a bit of new insight, or learn a good lesson.
In order to have a mature reflection, it can be helpful to keep in mind these 6 points:
One, what are the short or long-term impacts of what happened? Two, have a reflection of your character’s thoughts. Put yourself in your character’s shoes – who or what was affected in the story? Three, what are the characters feeling? Four, what are the lessons you can learn from the story? Five, what appropriate proverbs, phrases or sayings can be included? And finally, to link back, summarise and note once more the topic in the ending.
Just be careful not to be overbearing by beating the message in the readers’ head, or be too on the nose when explaining the reflection or lesson!
It can be dull or predictable if a composition is written in an entirely straightforward manner. After all, if everything goes as a reader expects, then there’s little incentive to continue reading on!
That is why students should strive to, whenever possible, create suspense in their compositions!
Start with an introduction that hints at something is amiss, or create a mystery that slowly unravels itself to hook the readers in from the get-go. This would ensure that anyone who reads the composition will have the motivation to keep on going in order to discover what really happened, and thus remain invested in the story and its characters!
And those are the 5 writing techniques to improve primary composition writing! While it is a good idea to pick these techniques up, students should also be reminded themselves to be flexible, and not be overly fixated on sticking to them. After all, writing has no set rules. Improvise and adapt to the topic and context whenever necessary and let your creative juices flow freely! The sky is your limit!
While this freedom is daunting and what makes composition potentially difficult, it is also what makes the English language, and composition writing, never dull, and eternally exciting!
If such a task remains too difficult, always remember that students can always consider picking up Secondary English Tuition, or online English class to brush up their composition writing skills!