WRITING WITHOUT RETELLING – SENTENCE TEMPLATES

By Lindsey Dang

Hey guys! I’ve been spending the past weeks marking and editing text response essays for multiple texts such as The Women of Troy, Rear Window, The Crucible, Things Fall Apart, etc and most of the essays that I’ve read contained the following ‘errors’ – they are not actually wrong, they just prevent you from maximising your marks!

  • Quoting without analysing: Your understanding of the text is undoubtedly adequate or even profound – but chucking a bunch of the quotes defeats the whole purpose of this task – EXPLAIN its significance!
  • Retelling the plot: you need to outline your evidence, yes! but do not summarise the plot – your markers know what’s in the text! Contextualise using one sentence or less!
  • Quotes embedding: Integrate your quotes – make them parts of your sentence and make sure they make grammatical sense (Try reading it out loud without the quotation marks)
  • Not knowing how to ‘analyse’: This is the most difficult part and it definitely distinguishes a good student from the rest of their peers.
    • Indirect/ Direct characterisation: Indirect characterisation gets you the marks and they should support the writer’s characterisation. Indirect characterisation is when the writer portrays the personalities of a character through their actions, behaviours rather than directly saying “Abigail is evil” – this is direct characterisation.
    • Narrative devices: The writer may compare A with B; associate object A with B; use an object to symbolise or represent an abstract idea. Pay attention to these! When you see a reference to an animal, think ANIMAL IMAGERY/ ZOOMORPHISM. If you see an abstract idea being given thoughts, it is a PERSONIFICATION.
    • Talk about what the writer is doing, not what the characters are doing!

Anyway, I hope these tips would help you improve the quality of your writing! Let me know if you have questions. These templates might be a good starting point for you guys!


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