In “Section B: creating and presenting” you will encounter various themes and relate them to a variety of texts. Inspired discussions may revolve around conflict, identity, landscapes and whose reality. Typical prompts that you will encounter are: “Conflict brings out the best or worst in people. “We grow through change”. “People’s true spirit is revealed in difficult times.” “There’s two ways of seeing our world – a right way and a wrong way.”
When writing expository essays relating to these themes you may wish to write a feature article or adopt “hybrid” format. A feature article can be compared with an expository essay with narrative and creative components. Feature writers often take a narrative approach and draw on dialogue, descriptive scenes and varying tones of voice to tell stories. Anecdotes and “people” stories are common and help to bring the theme alive.
Think about an interesting persona: hybrid/feature texts
- Choose an authentic but fresh context/persona. It should be simple and straightforward, but have the potential to include sophisticated examples and quotes. For example, Jason Smith, Youth Leader at the Kyneton Youth Voices Program. Use the “I” as a linking device and one who signposts the key ideas. Exploit the personal dimension. Once you get confident, inject a dash of personality into your persona.
- Make sure you show a progression of ideas. Divide your article into three sections with a beginning, middle (development) and end (food for thought; a complex or ambivalent, contradictory idea.)
- Once you choose a context/persona that you are comfortable with think about how you can link to the set text. This can often be done through a speaker, lecturer, presenter etc.
- Write out your key ideas/points/ paragraphs from the set text that you tend to use for a variety of prompts.
- Then think about some parallel examples that suit your persona and the text. Make sure you have a variety of quotes, real-life examples and sources (poems/people) etc.
- Finally, create an interesting beginning that also suits the persona and foreshadows the text.
The author: feature writers may be newspaper staff writers who have investigated an issue, or they may be freelance writers with particular expertise and seek to contribute to a debate. Personal journalism, or the use of the first-person pronoun, is common. This means that writers, drawing upon their personal or professional observations, often include personal references and their own feelings and attitudes to the subject — sometimes with a “before” and “after” perspective.
The audience: feature articles should appeal to the target audience. For example if a magazine targets middle-aged women, then the articles, advertisements and pictures would reflect the women’s interest in lifestyle, career, money, health and relationships.
The facts: Writers must research their facts and present them in a compelling and interesting manner, including quotes to give a sense of immediacy. They must choose a range of sources to give a balanced perspective. Use a combination of evidence.
Who are you?
You must choose a “persona”, that is you may be an expert or professional in the field, or represent an organisation. Or you may be a staff writer. Your persona is critical to your message. It is also critical to your writing style. If you wish to include a personal slant, establish the “I” persona near the beginning of your article.
Making a start: a template for your first “hybrid” (feature) article
Follow the guidelines below to write a “hybrid” article. As you gain confidence, you can vary your persona, become more sophisticated or model your style on your favourite newspaper writer. (For example, refer to Martin Flanagan, Saturday Reflection, The Age (Insight).
See Sample Plan/Format for expository/ hybrid/ persona-style: Hybrid essay
Also see Writing in Context.
Joey Bloomsfield, Community Reporter, Meredith News
Take on the role of a community reporter at a local magazine and report on the Shire’s Cultural Week. Include some stories about people in the (local) community and refer to your novel or film.
Write down your key points/arguments, starting with the most obvious point. Think about your most compelling evidence for each point. Be sure to establish an emotional and/or a logical context. You must show a progression of ideas: include a problem or a different angle to show the issue’s complexity.
Here we go.
Start with an interesting beginning: a short anecdote or a quote.
Set the scene. Explain your purpose: to cover Meredith Shire’s Cultural Week.
- Show a link to the prompt.
- Refer to a speaker/discussion at the Meredith Library. This is an opportunity for you to discuss aspects of your chosen text and similar examples that shed light on the prompt. For example, you may focus on a discussion by Mr Donavan regarding a relevant theme in your novel.
- Make a comment. Ask a question. Perhaps include a relevant comment from a member of the audience.
- If you wish to refer to a film or a play, include a reference to the Meredith Theatre Company or the Meredith Film Society.
- Ask a question to prompt reflection.
- You may conclude with a reference to a local “people” story, or a reference to your favourite poem that provides another interesting angle on the prompt.
- Round off your discussion.
- Conclude with a final example or refer back to the opening anecdote or quote. Encourage readers to reflect on a problem.
See a sample of Joey’s essay.
See Writing Better Essays for a model essay: pp 70-71.
For sample “hybrid” essays and a variety of styles and contexts, see:
“Different versions of reality” (Whose Reality) (Student Magazine)
Our place in the world and us: Reflection in The Meredith Gazette (“Death of a Salesman”, Two essays on Whose Reality from different persona/context)
How we live in a world created by others, Student Representative (Whose Reality: Death of a Salesman)
Trapped in our subjective world: A prison with no bars (Literary reviewer, Spies)
Looking back can alter our reality: Spencers Film Festival by reviewer Hayden Crong
Speech: Sally Dalton, new age health consultant; How much reality is healthy? (Speech to Spencer Grammar School, The Lot, Death of a Salesman)
Also a Speech by the Author of “Getting a Grip” (Jeremy Springer, who addresses a group of wannabes: Death of a Salesman)
Remembering and forgetting: life-style counsellor and health guide (Death of a Salesman)
See “A Series of Open Letters” (Based on the The Lot/ Whose Reality)
Misrepresenting Reality: an insurance evaluator takes stock: Willy Loman
See Relationships with Place and Community By Jason Smith Youth Leader (The Mind of a Thief)
Dilemmas and choices: a reflection of ourselves (Conflict) (Spencer News)
See “Doing the Right Thing”, by Janie Fitzpatrick, Youth Global Voices Group (Melbourne) and Galileo
See A Clash of views and values and conflict, by Kristy Mendelson (Student representative Hampton Park University)
“The world in which we live shapes us” History Lecturer at Southern Cross University (Imaginary Landscapes)
See Identity as a Story (Mind of a Thief)