Reflective Commentary

This list about how to do a reflective commentary uses a story that is so spookily similar to the one I’m writing that I just couldn’t help snaffling it to help me to do the commentary that I will have to complete afterwards:

“Imagine that a student-writer has submitted a short story about a homeless teenager rejecting the patronising charity of a passer-by. The commentary for this piece might:

  1. Contemplate a real-life incident that prompted the story and discuss the way the writer reworked his or her observations and feelings in fiction
  2. Discuss the political context for homelessness and the personal anger that inspired this story
  3. Analyse other fictions about homelessness that moved or infuriated the writer and provoked him or her to develop this particular story
  4. Discuss theories of narrative and the ways they help the writer to focus the story
  5. Reflect upon any theories (ethical, historical, philosophical, political, sociological) that inspired the ideas in the fiction
  6. Consider the planning, drafting and rewriting of the story explaining what creative decisions were made by
  7. Unravel any experimental writing in the story and discuss the effects the writer wanted to achieve by writing in this way
  8. Describe and explain the motivations of the characters
  9. Explore the role of the reader in interpreting the story and explain how the writer anticipated the reader’s role when rewriting
  10. Discuss why the writer thought the story submitted didn’t work as he or she had envisaged and suggest why
  11. Explore what the student has learnt as a writer through the experience of writing the story.”

(Taken from Chapter 12 (Speculations in Fiction) of Writing Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Amanda Boulter)


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