There is no doubt, that creative writing is one of the key areas within English learning that both students and even some teachers struggle with. However, it is not helped by some of the dull material out there that make kids go cross-eyed with frustration. Luckily, there are easier ways to make the learning process a more enjoyable experience. Continue reading to find out how you can incorporate these vital steps within the classroom, and even at home too.
1. The Main Focuses Of Writing
When looking at creative writing, a simple learning technique would be to promote no strict writing rules, instead have your students unsubscribe from the notion that all good stories must consist of an attention-grabbing opening, a turning point, etc. Sometimes if this is forced into a storyline, then it could mean that the whole story will fail. Pupils should still know the basics and have knowledgeable techniques of story writing, and understand how they can incorporate their own additions to turn their writing into a powerful read.
There are still areas that should be followed in order to help them understand the small techniques that can make their proofreading more effective. For example, something as simple as reading the story out loud can help your students realise where they need to make changes, or even make powerful additions in order to make the story even better.
Why not write down a selection of sentences, and have your students add in powerful language techniques that can transform an ordinary sentence, into something highly captivating. For example, the sentence “the man was angry” could turn into “the man clenched his fists and hissed beneath his breath.” This is an excellent example to show your students when it comes to individual sentence exploration.
2. Video Clips
It is a known fact that visual learning is a great technique for students of all ages, it is also a great way of breaking up a similar routine that happens within the classroom. Make sure they are highly related to the lesson or learning topic, for example, find videos that promote writers talking about their writing career, thought processes and daily routines. Plus, if you can find a specific writer whose work you’re using for study, then this can really help students engage on another level between the writer’s personality and written work.
If you are looking for a useful video resource, then you cannot ignore YouTube, you will be able to find interviews, recordings and book readings from almost any writer you are looking for. It may also be useful to look across educational websites, or even sites dedicated to the writer themselves.
If you are a teacher or parent, this is also perfect for finding updated research, where you will be able to receive an even more personal insight into what you are teaching, whilst also enhancing a (sometimes) much needed confidence boost towards the new teaching topic you’re faced with.
3. Narrative Distance
Narrative distance is defined as being the distance between the narrator and the other elements of the fictional world, so, for example, the story’s setting, characters or events, that overall allow us to try and capture the essence of what the reader will experience.
To try and incorporate this into learning can be simple, you could model this by projecting your work onto the whiteboard and having your students read it in their heads, and then read it out loud yourself with emphasis on certain areas. In some cases, most pupils will assume that once they have chosen a narrative perspective, then the narrative voice will take care of itself.
It might sound like a lot, and it can be quite a complicated area to understand, and mastering narrative distance can take considerable time and effort. It is more than worth it when your pupils begin to get to grips with themselves being comfortable and developing powerful writing abilities.
4. Certain Language Techniques
Talk to your students about synonyms and adjectives, give them a list of “bad words” to refer from that they cannot use within their writing, so, for example, generic words such as big, small, nice etc. Then with this resource, have them make posters that outlaw these words, this not only helps their writing knowledge but also helps to enlighten their creative strengths. It is a good idea to find an extract from a book, and have your students find words that they can improve on, for example, instead of “said” they could write “whispered” or “shrieked”.
Strong verbs are just as important, an easy 10-minute task could be to ask your kids to think about better substitutes for everyday words. Add a little competitiveness, try and get them to outdo each other by coming up with exciting new words for simple actions. Poems are also the perfect writing material to try and find strong verbs from, as you are guaranteed to find areas where the author has deliberately used emphasised words for effect.
5. Sentence Exploration
It can be easy to add boring sentences into a story, but it is much more simple than you think to transform these sentences into something really effective. In your class, teach them how to turn generic sentences into something exciting by using strong verbs, as we have recommended above. It is so easy to incorporate these things into the classroom.
Make sure that you return to this task, again and again, to keep it fresh in your pupil’s minds. Try to do this on a scheduled basis, so maybe once a week, or is even ideal for an easy welcoming task for students.
If you’re a teacher or even a parent, these techniques can be easily used to help anyone who is in need of some additional help with their creative writing, but these can also be helpful for us adults too! Make sure to incorporate these wherever you are, and help ensure your pupils receive the best marks possible for their English work.