How to write good: stories, poems and essays

Posted by Studentbox user
on 08/11/2018 at in  English

Writing good stories.

First get an idea

-       A song

-       Movie

-       Image

-       Quote

-       Idiom + pick a culture to get it from

-       Anecdote = non-fiction

-       Advice

-       Fable

-       Novel

-       Bible

-       Historical event = historical fiction

-       A ‘what if?’ = science fiction or dystopian

Then write one as quick as you can

1.     Start with an in-depth description of the setting

2.     Then introduce the characters (without explicitly stating what or who they are)

-       By describing behaviour

-       By using description of appearance

-       By using dialogue:


-       By using what others think of the character

-       By using 3rd person omniscient point of view to describe their thoughts

3.     Have an exciting, tense, suspenseful, mysterious, spooky or dangerous etc. beginning (after the description of the setting) and explain the situation Again by using:

-       What the characters are using (objects) (e.g. bring their bathers, or their ski’s, holding a get well soon card)

-       Who the characters are with (e.g. a tour guide, their friends, a celebrant)

-       Whether they are nervous, excited etc. (her hands quivered, he laughed nervously)

4.     Have the climax

-       An event (car crash)

-       An issue (I had the wrong shoes on!)

-       An idea (why don’t I go down the hill in the shopping basket?)

-       A new person (the police car came around the corner)

-       Suspense (she clung to the edge of the rock face)

-       Something is revealed (the balaclava was removed)

-       Something is going to be decided (resolved or worsened)

5.     Resolved/not

-       Yay!

-       Not yay!

-       DO NOT (teachers hate it) when you do a cliff-hanger. It makes you seen like you’re too stupid to come up with a decent ending and they probably won’t read any of the novels you publish when you’re an adult.



Writing good poems:

1.     I find it easier to write a poem to the tune of a favourite song. E.g. when I had to write a poem inspired by war I hummed ‘Where is the Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas for a week and eventually wrote a smashing poem;)

2.     Find some of the following relating to your topic by researching or listening to your teacher:

-       A metaphor = the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

-       A symbol = a dove symbolises peace

-       A simile = as lonely as a cloud

-       A reference to a well-known historical event = Martin Luther King Jr. speech ‘I have a dream’

-       Some really good imagery = the knife glinted menacingly in his strong hand

3.     Then, you don’t have to, but generally you should try to find a poem structure with some words that rhyme. This is easier if you are humming a song because you know when to have words that link.

4.     Good luck!


Writing good essays:

Advice: when you are in year 11 and 12 you get a book called a ‘Good Answer Guide’, this will save your life!


An essay first has an introduction:

1.     Topic sentence: Must have the following but can be in any order you choose:

-       The author (first name and last name

-       The title (underlined)

-       The text type (novel, short story, documentary, movie etc.)

-       The year (if you know it)

-       A quick summary relating to the question (if you have room within the first sentence)(if the question is about values, attitudes, representations, construction etc. then mention it)

For example,

-       I am David is a novel written by Anne Holm in 1963 and follows the David on his journey to find his identity. (with an essay question about identity)

-       OR, The 1963 novel, I am David, written by Anne holm is a novel portrays the protagonist David as a voice of innocence. (with an essay question about voice)

2.     If you didn’t include a quick summary of what the (story, movie, documentary etc.) is, then in this next sentence you do this.

For example,

-       The novel follows the journey of David in finding his identity

-       The novel challenges stereotypes on the independence of children

-       The novel raises questions…

-       The novel represents…

-       The novel is constructed with short syntax in order to…

(use language from the question or use a synonym of the words in the question, for example if it says ‘conventions are manipulated’ in the question say in your essay that the ‘conventions were purposefully constructed to…’

3.     List what you are going to talk about (3 things, one for each body paragraph):

-       Symbolism, characterisation and plot

-       Written codes, camera angles, camera shot

-       Setting, characterisation and plot

-       The generic conventions of the Science Fiction genre of an alienated character, a remote setting and a futuristic setting

The basic structure is,

Through the use of __1__, __2__, and __3__ the author (answer the question with different words than those in the question).

For example,

Through the use of setting, characterisation and plot Anne Holm causes her readers to recognise David’s innocence and vulnerability and to feel sympathy for him.


Body Paragraph:

1.     Answer the question

2.     State what your point is and list what you’re going to talk about:

Through the descriptive language and imagery, the reader’s values are challenged.

3.     Introduce your quote but first tell your teacher where in the movie/book/documentary it is:

In the beginning of the novel Steinbeck introduces Lennie as mimicking George’s movements when he explains: ‘behind him Lennie repeated the movement, removing his hat, just as George did, and placing it carefully on the ground. Looking to George for approval’

4.     Then analyse. Say what the author has used:

The detailed and descriptive language of his actions as ‘careful’ illustrates Lennie as somewhat childlike in his imitation and effort to pleasing George

5.     Then explain what this does:

Such language suggests that Steinbeck’s perspective on disability is that people who are mentally challenged are harmless and innocent in his representation of Lennie.

6.     Then explain what this does for the reader:

People are often wary of the unknown and those readers who are not familiar with the nature of disabled people are presented with the representation of them as not threatening and with simple, good intentions. Readers are influenced by Steinbeck positive representation of disability to align their perspective with his and therefore in valuing innocence are reassured of Lennie’s good intentions.



1.     List what you talked about concisely (basically reword the thesis statement)

2.     Explain the effect of readers/viewers/the audience

3.     Link to an event in the news:

-       North Korean hostility

-       Manus island detainees

-       Natural disaster relief

4.     State how you were affected by the text and why (your context)

5.     Propose some questions:

-       How loyal is our family?

-       Does the eye-for-an-eye concept override human rights?

-       How widespread is the corruption?

-       What is the price of fame?



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