Look at the following examples of potential stylistic features and judge how well you can use each in your writing:

You probably know a great deal more than you think!
Click on the features you use.

Read the following extract from a narrative based on the title: A devastating day.

You are going to look for some stylistic features at work in this narrative.

Highlight the features according to the key.

Key Features

An opening paragraph which deals with a character’s thoughts and feelings will focus on emotions and can use a variety of verbs tenses to achieve particular effects on the reader in the following ways:

  • setting/place
  • metaphor
  • simile
  • personification
  • repetition
  • alliteration
  • indirect speech
  • direct speech

The sunlight cascaded through the gaps between the leaves and created a pattern that danced across the blanket of green foliage that lay stretched out beneath my feet. I shuffled further into the graveyard, trying my best to stave off the aching in my chest that always surfaced on this particular weekend. Come to think of it, it never really left; it was always stronger at that time of year. The love I had. The love I lost. The love that I could not let go.

You can never predict what life has in store for you. What is life anyway? It’s a car-crash of crazy coincidences that spits you out with no remorse. I imagine that, like a mirror to my soul, you will have reflected on my raw emotions by now and concluded that I need to see a psychiatrist. You may be correct in that assumption – but let me continue.

I never thought that I would be unable to forget the day she told me that she loved me. The day she held me in her arms, the day her grip loosened and her hand fell. The day she died. ‘Life’ has a strange way of treating someone who was as harmless as the fragile butterfly I could see that day just hovering near my hand. The blue pattern on its wings reminded me of her iridescent eyes – the eyes that had closed for ever twenty years before.

“Fly away my love. Fly away.” The wind gently caressed her wings and she drifted slowly away until I could see nothing but the blue sky and felt the heavy tears finally fall.

The sunlight cascaded through the gaps between the leaves and created a pattern that danced across the blanket of green foliage that lay stretched out beneath my feet. I shuffled further into the graveyard, trying my best to stave off the aching in my chest that always surfaced on this particular weekend. Come to think of it, it never really left; it was always stronger at that time of year. The love I had. The love I lost. The love that I could not let go.

You can never predict what life has in store for you. What is life anyway? It’s a car-crash of crazy coincidences that spits you out with no remorse. I imagine that, like a mirror to my soul, you will have reflected on my raw emotions by now and concluded that I need to see a psychiatrist. You may be correct in that assumption – but let me continue.

I never thought that I would be unable to forget the day she told me that she loved me. The day she held me in her arms, the day her grip loosened and her hand fell. The day she died. ‘Life’ has a strange way of treating someone who was as harmless as the fragile butterfly I could see that day just hovering near my hand. The blue pattern on its wings reminded me of her iridescent eyes – the eyes that had closed for ever twenty years before.

“Fly away my love. Fly away.” The wind gently caressed her wings and she drifted slowly away until I could see nothing but the blue sky and felt the heavy tears finally fall.

Remember!
There is no 'checklist' of stylistic features that should be used in a piece of writing in the assessment. It is useful to practise using some of them to include them in your writing when you feel it is appropriate to achieve a particular effect.

Choose one of the titles below. Practise using different stylistic features appropriately in a text of similar length.

  • The long weekend.
  • Escape.
  • The recurring nightmare.

Work with a partner to check that you have both used the features appropriately.

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