• Vanita Pal

SECONDARY ENGLISH COMPOSITION WRITING: How to choose your topic



There are several genres for the English composition paper and I have listed them all below. Knowing them is the first step in being able to manage your paper well.

The second step is to understand the methods needed to write each genre.


And I really need to mention this. The narrative genre is not necessarily the easiest. Most students feel that it is ‘story-telling’ but it is a lot more than that. I will mention more of this in my blog below.

There are not any easy choices to make. It only become easy when you start understanding the concerns of each genre and practice them.

COMPOSITION GENRES

  • Descriptive

  • Reflective

  • Argumentative

  • Narrative

  • Hybrid




Select Your Genre


Selecting the correct genre for yourself is of prime importance.

Whether it is argumentative or descriptive, knowing the difference and choosing one accordingly can make all the difference.

First, identify the genre of the essay question. Is it asking you to choose a side? Or is it simply about recounting something that goes on in your society? The former is an argumentative and the latter is reflective.



Looking out for the type of essay you are more suited for will be the first step in writing an essay. As soon as you have made a selection, move on to thinking about the content. Actually, content planning is a fairly straightforward task. The first step is to organise your facts in point form. All you need would be 4 points in writing an expository or reflective essay. You will need 3 pros and 1-2 rebuttals for an argumentative essay. Once you have defined what you want to say, the rest is easy.


Unlike a narrative and reflective essay, you will need evidence to back up your points. The more current your evidence, the better it will be for you. You may start with the most important point first and support it with evidence from a media source or observation. The evidence has to be clear, relevant and accurately written.


For reflective and narrative essays, anecdotal or story form of writing is the norm. Writing clearly is just as important but you will need to think of a strong plot. The plot, which will be explained in the later chapters, has to be watertight. The resolution should offer a way out of the difficulty for the main character or protagonist. There should also be a moral or sense of value being imparted at the end. The narrative or reflective essay will only help a student to score well if both an imaginative plot and value of the lesson learnt is written clearly. If the story is flat and boring, the composition fails to make its mark. So, choosing the correct genre for your exam is very important.


Every composition is accompanied by a guided practice with answers, notes and vocabulary guide. If you follow the steps outlined for every practice, you will be sure to excel in your writing.


IMPORTANT TIPS FOR WRITING DESCRIPTIVE ESSAYS




1. What is descriptive?


It is the observation of people, places or circumstances and padding it with one’s personalised style of describing it.



2. How do you start writing a descriptive essay?


Examine the key words and zoom in on the main word or phrase.



3. How to write the Descriptive Introduction?


The Introduction is the most important paragraph as it tells the marker if you have understood the question or not.


Always start by mentioning the location or the time. If not, start with the most personal feeling you have about the subject or happening.


Elaborate slightly on the effect and a general truth or some words of wisdom regarding it. Keep it brief.


Then lastly, write about how you managed to balance it in your life. This will prepare you to write on the good and bad effects of the object or event you are going to describe.

This also means you will not run out of content.


How to write the Narrative composition.


  • Always Plan the entire composition first.

  • You must always make sure of only ONE FACTOR.

  • The reason why you are telling this story.

  • Make sure that you weave that into your conclusion or the paragraph before that.

  • Once you make sure that there is a reason, a moral factor or a ‘change’ that the experience has effected, the composition will be complete.

I will discuss more of this in my next blog.

In the meanwhile, read through the various genres and become familiar with each one.

That will be a great head start.