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The dreaded structure question!

Many exam boards ask a question about how a writer structures a text to engage the interest of the reader. What do they actually mean by the term 'structure'? Does this demand writing about more than paragraphs? What do you think? How would you define structure?

When considering the structure of a story/text, try to look at the overall arc of how it has been written.  In a newspaper article or headline column for example, the main point will usually appear in the first few lines in order to instantly engage with the reader.  Paragraph lengths will also affect a reader's attention, and this is why often the lengths vary between short one liners to a more detailed paragraph.  A reader is instantly put off when they can see masses of writing.  Structure can also refer to the content - for example is it ABA? Or ABAC? Does the point made at the start return at the end or is it contradicted?  So overall, try to consider structure visually as well as through the content of the text.  I hope that has been helpful. 
Jessica S.
17 September 2019
Great question! Structure is simply defined as how a text is organised, how the information is arranged in a particular way by the author. This differs whether the text is narrative or non-fiction. Exam boards often ask the question about how a writer structures a text to engage the interest of the reader in order to test knowledge of the test taker’s knowledge of literary devices. For example, if asked this question about a literary excerpt you could write about the following: -What the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning of the text: refer to irony, word choice, sentence structure, tone, foreshadowing statements -How and why the writer changes the focus as the extract develops-flashback devices, metaphors, implications-Any other structural features that interest you as the text closes.I think structure also can refer to the writer’s style as this relates to creating an interest for the reader. So you might discuss the point of view of the character or about the writer’s purpose or use of particular words etc. Hope this helps and sorry if it is a bit after the fact.
Kara C.
08 October 2019
Hi Peter,the "structure"is about what ties the piece of writing together.I am going to try not to repeat what my colleagues have already said.Basically what you are referring to is the 8 mark question in the English Language paper,and you need to pick out any 3 structural features only to get a high mark. A paragraph for each one is adequate.So.... you are looking at how the extract is joined together.Does the same word or phrase or idea come up in both the first and the last paragraph? If so, what does this REMIND the reader? Does it interest the reader because it is scary? amusing? frightening? they want an answer to what is happening? This is called having a cohesive structure.Does the name of the protagonist  or anything else  keep being repeated in different parts of the article?  What is the narrator trying to make the reader think about by doing this? Is it making the reader feel anxious and making them interested in finding out what will happen next?Does any dialogue take place? This can be used as a structural feature to demonstrate to the reader how people are feeling/thinking etc  It can interest the reader by letting them see for themselves what is happening and allowing them to have their  own reactions rather than being guided by the narrator.You do not need to talk about language features in this question,  unless  they are repeated in different paragraphs...usually to create suspense.Terrie
Therese T.
13 October 2019
Oh dear,I thought that you were a student.Terrie
Therese T.
13 October 2019
Hi Peter! It does mean writing about more than paragraphs!When a question talks about structure it's usually asking you to look at these elements: the syntax (how sentences are formed, are they short? long? is there a certain pattern you can spot? does the sentence end or begin with an important word?)punctuation (are there multiple uses of exclamation points for example? or does the writer over use the comma?)the form of the text as a whole (configuration of stanzas if its a poem or chapters/acts if it's a novel/play)literary devices concerning the pattern of words e.g.ascending / descending tricolons (lists of three going up/down in importance) or enjambement (where the line of a poem runs on to the next)Hope this helps! 
Aoife M.
05 November 2019
Thank you all for your wonderful answers! Really helpful!Peter
Peter W.
06 November 2019
The writer engages the reader by appealing to as many of the five senses as possible in their writing (Seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting), also by writing about something that engages the readers emotions. Therefore writing characters that the reader will identify with, or sympathise with can engage readers.
Trecie R.
20 January 2020
These are things that you are going to look for. Please take it from me, I am examiner and an English Teacher. Structure: -The opening of text. - The writer's focus in a text and how it changes. - The shift in ideas, attitudes, mood or opinion. - The contrast between two things (differences). - Repetition of something for deliberate effect. - The pace of a text- how quick and slow events occur in a text. - The order of events.- The ending of a text and how a story concludes. -Paragraph lengths. I am happy to help you out! Check out my profile!
Yolanda N.
12 February 2020
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