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The SPM English paper has an option of writing stories. Many students write terrible stories, or are terrified that they will write a terrible story.
One of the most common characteristics of bad stories written by students is neglecting Chekhov's Gun.
So a character in a student's story is getting ready to go out with friends. He puts on some clothes, sprays some perfume, and puts on a pair of limited edition pearly white Nike hightop sneakers. Notice the extra detailed description of the shoes. This is a Chekhov's Gun.
Chekhov's Gun is when a thing, person, place or concept is introduced in an early part of the story and given special attention, because it will play a role in the story later on.
In a written story, a Chekhov's Gun gets special attention by extra description (like the Nike sneakers). In movies, the camera lingers slightly longer on a Chekhov's Gun than other things in the scene.
So we know that in the beginning of a horror movie, we KNOW an innocent looking doll might turn out be haunted later in the movie, just because the camera lingers slightly longer on it as it sweeps through the entire room.
Back to our sneakers, because the student describes it in extra detail compared to other things, the reader (aka examiner) expects the sneakers to play a role later in the story.
Maybe it's a pair of magic sneakers. Maybe it turned out to be a dead man's sneakers. Maybe it turns out to be the clue to a murder. Maybe it's the sneakers that remind a girl of her past lover.
Well guess what, after the scene describing the sneakers in detail, the student never mentions the sneakers again in the story. None at all.
So what's the point of describing the sneakers in detail? It's like the camera lingering on the innocent looking doll in the beginning of the movie, only for us to realize later in the movie that it is the SPATULA that is actually haunted.
This is a blatant violation of basic storytelling.
So there's no wonder students write bad stories. And when it's SPM, you can't afford to write bad stories.
And that is why also I dislike the option of narrative writing in SPM, because it imposes an additional burden on students to know and apply narrative theory ON TOP OF having to struggle with the English language itself.
But I'm woolgathering.
So to write better stories, if you describe something in extra detail in a story, that thing better be mentioned again later in the story with a role to play in the plot.
Don't describe something or someone in so much detail just because you like to write descriptions. In which case you're attempting the wrong question. There's a descriptive option in SPM Paper 1.
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