P6 Composition tip

P6 Composition tip: Don’t be a Mediacorp scriptwriter

How often have you cringed when you watch our local dramas?

“Man, that’s just predictable!” you would groan.


“That simply doesn’t make sense!”

Why is the bad guy in the show always sneering after an evil act and why is it so coincidental that the protagonist always gets to eavesdrop on their vile plot just as they were mouthing the conspiracy to themselves?

The rule of thumb to my PSLE students NOT TO WRITE like a Mediacorp scriptwriter.

I was going through their essays with them last week and this was what I found from reading the stories.

1. If a person is bad/evil, he is always dressed in black.
(No. It’s not so black and white in the real world, literally and figuratively. Work on the characters. Just because he is the robber doesn’t mean he’s pure evil. Why is he doing this? Is he afraid too? Work on the shades of grey in the real life.)
2. Once the protagonist goes into a dark alley, you know something bad is going to happen.
(Come on, be more creative.)
3. If the topic is “A true friend” and the setting is on a racetrack, the story is most likely about how you were competing with your best friend, you fell, your friend did not care about the trophy and helped you up. *yawn*
4. If the story is themed “An accident” and you start the story with “I woke up late”, I know the rest of the story- you are going to rush, get into a car accident, kill someone or hurt yourself, police and ambulance came, and you regret for the rest of your life.

Always ask yourself: is there a surprise in the story?

While I ask for the story to be different, it has to be logical too. Even though you are just 12, and could lack life experience, you must always ask yourself: is this logical?

Here are a few stories from my students based on the theme: A true friend (a past-year prelim question)

1. My friend lets me win at a card game. Hence he is my true friend! (Is this a bit too simplistic?)

2. I am in a gang. There are too many people in the gang, so the gang leader tried to kill me to allow new members in and a friend saved me. (?!?!?!?!?)

3. A random stranger tried to kill me and my friend took the stab for me.
(But why did the random stranger want to kill you? There must be a reason, else it does not make sense.)

4. My friend is dying. I visited her at her funeral. I praised myself for being a true friend for visiting her (after she died?!)

These are just a few predictable plots and illogical stories.

On PSLE marking day, the teachers are going to mark A LOT of papers.

How do you stand out? Not by writing the same story everyone else is.

If you are writing the same story as everyone else, you won’t stand out and you won’t get the A*. If you are writing something ridiculous, you may even fail the composition.

Hence, today, before you start writing, asking yourself these two questions:

1. Is this plot logical?
2. Is this too predictable?

If you think Mediacorp is going to air such a story, it probably means it’s illogical and/or predictable. You would need to think of another one.

P.S. Look at the attached screenshot. I randomly looked for a recent show. To show the family or friends are happy, what do you do? Get them to lou hei. #cliche from Study Room http://ift.tt/2E5PAsb