Strong characters and a well-developed plot are two important ingredients for a good piece of creative writing, said educator Nicolette Ng. It is also important to read widely and regularly.
These were among the many tips that Ms Ng, 29, shared with around 4,200 participants in a free Straits Times Masterclass live-streamed on Tuesday. The course was aimed at helping Primary 5 and 6 pupils in their composition writing in the Primary School Leaving Examination.
During the two-hour session, Ms Ng, an English and writing specialist and founder of Write Edge, took the participants through strategies for writing a good composition.
She recommended the show-not-tell technique, which uses sensory details and actions to make a story come to life. She also shared six tips on writing a mature conclusion.
She added that there are no shortcuts to good writing, urging pupils to keep practising until they get the best version of their own writing.
There was also a question-and-answer session where questions such as "how to turn a boring topic into an engaging story" and "how not to write out of point" were addressed.
"It was most fun for me to interact with the pupils, to see their desire to learn and to answer their thoughtful questions," said Ms Ng.
"The main challenge for me as a teacher in conducting virtual classes for large groups is definitely the difficulty in assessing the pupils' learning progress throughout the lesson."
The tutorial concluded with Ms Ng doing live marking of samples of writing that the participants submitted online during the lesson.
The course is among a series of activities that ST has launched to keep readers engaged at home.
The usual $128 course fee was waived in support of the Government's call for people to stay home during the circuit breaker period.
Housewife Jion Ong, 47, who watched the live stream with her 12-year-old daughter Nicole Tan, said the session was very useful.
Nicole, who will be sitting her PSLE this year, said: "I learnt how to do 'show-not-tell' and learnt a lot of good phrases."
The last free course in the Masterclass series will be live streamed at 2pm today. Business presentation coach Steve Dawson will offer tips on how to ace presentations.
- SIGN UP: To sign up for the next course, go to STSKILLS.SG