AS English Language and Literature: Production of Texts
Writing for a Listening Audience: to entertain and inform
|Date for completion||Text||Reading practice||Commentary||Writing practice|
|January 12th 2007||
You must write the opening scenes of a radio play, or the opening segments of a dramatised radio documentary. Your first decision must be whether you are going for the first, the fiction, or the second, the non-fiction.
You will see how you must keep all drafts and refer in your commentary to them and to the way you have revised and adapted them.
Look at the way in which writers address a 'listening audience'.
Can we identify maybe a dozen techniques?
Now, begin your commentary proper by stating succinctly the nature of the task you have set yourself.
|Write in character an opening speech which engages the listener's attention and which uses some of the techniques.|
|January 19th 2007||
You need to choose carefully a style model. This is an example of good and well-achieved writing whose fundamental form and manner you are going to emulate.
You need to choose such a style model explicitly and analyse it precisely in your commentary.
You need to have listened to several actual radio dramas (including at least one 'non-fiction' piece) and made notes about (a) style; (b) techniques; and (c) specific devices used at the beginning.
Use the BBC's on-line 'Radio Player' feature to scan through four or five dramas: use the scroll down menus sensibly and then download. You need broadband for this to work: you can use headphones in the sixth-form library.
|Transcripts: editing them into poetry.||
Continue by analysing carefully the form, structure and style of your style model.
We are particularly keen to look at how language use reflects the features of 'writing for a listening audience' with which we began.
The best commentaries will put the style model briefly into the context of other similar pieces.
You might want to be absolutely clear about how you are going to use the style model to help you compose your own piece.
|Write a 150-word appreciation of a typical 'style model', for example, the BBC Radio Ballads.|
|January 26th 2007||
Consider your brief carefully. Read some advice for writing for radio; an article about what makes radio drama 'different'; some hints on writing for radio.
Make preliminary sketches for the shape and structure of your piece.
|Write 'ten commandments' for writing for the radio.||
Use your reading of the advice pages to make notes about the task confronting you.
Note how radio drama makes certain demands of its listening audience.
This study constitutes the requirement to understand the nature of the genre for which you are writing.
|2nd February 2007||
Write scene notes.
You'll only need very brief scene notes for the scenes you're not writing - there's no need to be stupid! - but you need detailed notes for the scenes you'll be writing.
|Dickens extract: abridging it for the radio.||
Describe the themes and structure of your imagined piece for which you will be writing the opening.
Explain how and why you have used scene notes.
|9th February 2005||
Converting scene notes into a script: dialogue.
Think about these ideas:
scene notes are essential to give direction to your dialogue;
dialogue should be sparky and ambiguous;
the use of idiolect (personal language) is important.
Explain how you composed your dialogue, especially about the way in which you made language choices. Include several examples to show how you have (i) deliberately adapted your writing style to focus on the needs of your listening audience and (ii) made language choices which help the sense of conversation, for example, or to help with the exposition of the story.
This will be a major part of your final commentary.
|Dialogue between two men on a bus.|
|16th February 2007||
Revise dialogue and add details about sound effects.
Find if you can the opportunity to record your piece with friends reading the parts. Listen to the effect and make adjustments as required.
Review all the notes so far.
Comment specifically on changes made in the light of recording 'actors'.
Refamiliarise yourself with the examiners' requirements.
Plan and write a first draft of the final commentary.
Work on texts
Refamiliarise yourself with the specific requirements of the examiners. Check word count.
Polish script and present in a professional form.
9th March 2007: Deadline for submission of work.
NB When the work is handed in, it must be in the following order:
1 clean, final copy of the radio play script
3 bibliography, source material and style model: this will include print-outs of internet material, including the Radio 4 'Listen Again' index page with an additional page describing what you listened to - that will be your 'style model'
4 sheet giving precise word count
5rough drafts of the script starting with the first draft (clearly indicated)
This is our version of the 'well-made play', the so-called 'five-point story design'. You will, of course, only be writing the opening scenes, but you need to have a clear idea about what these are the opening scenes to!
Act IV: "The Act of the Ball": crisis and climax.
Act V: Resolution.
Think too about these key ideas for structuring a play:
The play follows a strict logic of cause and effect.
The plot usually describes the culmination of a long story, most of which has happened before the start of the play. This late point of attack requires that the audience be informed of the antecedent material in exposition in the form of dialogue or monologue.
Action and suspense grow more intense as the play proceeds.
The protagonist is in conflict with an adversary and experiences alternately good and bad turns of fortune. This creates the emotional rhythm of the play.
The lowest point in the hero's fortune occurs just before the highest.
The denouement - literally, the "untying" - (the resolution) is logical and, hence, clear.
The over-all action pattern of the play is reproduced on a small scale in each act. It is, in fact, the principle according to which each minor climax and scene is constructed.
Not all modern plays follow these old-established rules, but, perhaps surprisingly, most do. And nearly all follow most of them. By all means break the rules for a certain effect, but don't disregard them altogether!
This is a plan for a play about an artist and his model. Notice how it follows this shape but also deviates significantly from it. You have to balance the artistic needs of the play against the actual history you're writing or inventing.