Writing: Creative Structure Use
Writing: Creative Structure Use Revision
Creative Structure Use
By the end of this page you should have a good understanding of how to creatively use structure to improve the quality of your writing.
We will cover perspective and point of view, as well as sentence and paragraph structure.
This can help you to create a more complex and sophisticated structure in your entire text.
Perspective and Point of View
As we have covered the basics of perspective and narrative point of view previously, we will now go over how to use it creatively in your writing answers.
A creative use of perspective and point of view is often to subvert the typical way they would be used in a story.
The point of view is often the view of the person the events are happening to.
However, you could switch this up in your creative writing and have a more omniscient (knows everything) narrator tell the story.
Everyone’s perspective is different, so you could include and compare multiple perspectives on the same event to create an interesting narrative.
For example, If you are asked to write a magazine article about funding arts in a local town, you could include opinions from different members of the community on the subject.
The creative use of perspective can be seen in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, where the story is told from the limited perspective of a victim of the Gilead regime and the historians who find her incomplete diaries.
Atwood builds in breaks in the perspective by having the historians questioning the legitimacy of the narrator, and so subverts the traditional use of perspective, where the narrator is usually telling the truth.
This intensifies the effect of surveillance in the text, and makes the reader feel even more uneasy.
You could also use a limited perspective in your own writing in the exam!
Perhaps an alien space craft has crashed in a nearby town.
In this scenario you can make the text much more interesting by providing only the perspective of the aliens.
Creative Structure: Sentence Level
There are multiple ways to vary your sentence structure to improve the creativity of your writing.
We will go over how to use sentences as a whole in the text and break them down to see how you can change the structure from within!
Sentences Within the Text…
Within the text you can vary the types of sentence you use.
A few simple sentences in a row can be impactful and complex sentences can be repeated to provide detailed information.
However, it is a good idea to vary the types of sentences you use, in order to vary the pace of your writing and to avoid it sounding repetitive.
Some ideas could be:
- Using repeated simple sentences for impact
- Complex detailed sentence followed by an impactful simple sentence
- Using an exclamation or question marks can make your sentence feel more lively or give it a more conversational tone.
Let’s Zoom into the Sentence itself a Little Further…
Complex sentences vary the pace and tone of your writing.
You can mix up the order of subordinate clauses and independent clauses in order to hide key plot points and create a sense of mystery for the reader.
‘As he walked through the door, he noticed the shattered window.’
Another simple way to make your work more interesting and creative is to vary your word choice within sentences.
Think of some creative conjunctions and connectives to create interest in your writing and avoid sounding repetitive or rehearsed.
Here are some:
As long as
As soon as
As you can see, temporal references are a good language technique to use as part of your conjunctions too.
As a revision activity, try reading through a few pages of a novel or newspaper article, and highlighting or making note of all the conjunctions or interesting connectives that you can spot!
Alternating the subject of the sentence is a good way to creatively use sentence structure to your advantage.
“Saanvi opened the window and looked out. She decided she should go outside. She considered going to the park or the swimming pool. She wanted to go swimming but the weather was lovely outside and it seemed a shame to waste it.”
As Saanvi is the only subject mentioned in the sentence, this example is repetitive and doesn’t engage the reader.
By varying the subject in your sentences you can make the example, and your work, much more interesting to read…
“Saanvi opened the window and looked out. The sun beat down and a light breeze blew through the house. She considered going to the swimming pool or the park. It would be a shame to waste such beautiful weather.”
Creative Structure: Paragraph Level
You typically build a story or point through paragraphs. Your starting sentence should outline what the rest of the paragraph will be about.
Then, it should explore this point by using plenty of language and structural features for a particular effect.
However there are still ways to use paragraph structure to make it more creative and varied.
You can make your point at the start more vague to intrigue the reader, and reveal the information later in the paragraph to keep their attention.
Sentences standing alone as complete paragraphs are structurally impactful on the page and can draw the reader’s eye further through the text.
Let’s look at an example from a text…
An Inspector Calls, J.B.Priestley:
Birling: Yes, of course. ( clears his throat.) well, Gerald, I know you agreed that we should only have this quiet little family party. It’s a pity sir George and – we – Lady Croft can’t be with us, but they’re abroad and so it can’t be helped. As I told you, they sent me a very nice cable – couldn’t be nicer. I’m not sorry that we’re celebrating quietly like this
Mrs Birling: Much nicer really.
Gerald: I agree
Priestley has used paragraphs in a creative way here to demonstrate Birling’s dominance in the family.
The size of his paragraph of dialogue contrasts with the much shorter dialogue of the other family members, highlighting his sense of self-importance.
Take a look at the image below…
In this example extract, the purpose of the text is to entertain, where the writer makes a conscious effort to build tension.
The student has used shorter paragraphs at the beginning of the extract to achieve this, and hides key information (that the man’s boat is in sight) until half way through the paragraph.
This engages the reader and is a creative use of structure!
Creative Structure at Text Level
Perspective shifts are a useful way to change the structure of your text and guide your paragraphs more carefully.
Think of some popular books that change narrator with each character, the intrigue of who is going to talk next keeps you reading!
There are some classic story structures, for example, the three act structure:
Beginning, middle and end.
On a whole text level, consider switching up the three acts by starting in the middle of the action or even the end of the story then build back to the beginning.
This structure works well with the hidden information in sentences we learnt about above!
A dual narrative is where two points of view on the same events are presented.
A circular narrative is where the last line of the text takes the reader back to where it started.
Be careful with altering the conventional structure of your writing though, do some practice beforehand with exam questions to familiarise yourself with how much you can write in the time given, and how to structure different styles that you’re interested in.
Be aware of how the tone and style asked of you in the question may change or limit your structural ideas, that’s okay- you know multiple ways to experiment creatively with structure now!
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