John says ...

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 October, 2009, 12:00am


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Wai-tung's tale is not only moving, it's also very well written and contains the key ingredients of most good stories:

A main character we care about and whose problems we can understand - even if we've never felt quite so distant from our own parents as Nancy does.

An opening section that introduces that character and sets out their problem (Nancy doesn't feel valued by her family).

A middle section that adds complications which make things worse for the character (Nancy damages the mobile phone, she is accused of stealing).

An ending which brings the character's problems to a peak (Nancy's mother comes to her bedroom) and then resolves them (her mother has the HK$2,000 for her and, more importantly, she tells Nancy she does love her).

And the whole story has a message. I think it's telling us we should trust in the love of parents and talk to them about our problems.

Wai-tung can feel very proud of the story she's written. But, as with nearly all pieces of writing, it could be improved. Here are a couple of areas to look at:

The opening of a story often has more energy if it shows rather than tells. In other words, if the opening describes our character, or characters, in the act of doing something, rather than telling us what they usually do, or what usually happens.

A story will often seem to have a faster pace and feel more believable if the events that happen are linked together. By linked together, I mean when an event happens, it causes or affects what happens next.

There are some other minor changes in the following version, but let's just concentrate on how these two ideas have been put into practice ...