Sharon Penn reports:
"When writing a speculative essay, the student is presented with a writing prompt that presents a brief scenario. Students use this scenario to write an original story based on personal experiences and stories they have heard or read. Sometimes the speculative writing prompt is a picture. The student can use creativity and imagination, but the resulting story should remain connected with the writing prompt by referring to elements in the prompt...The paper should have a focus and a clear organizational pattern. The story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, and it should follow a logical progression. Transitions from one thought to another should be appropriate, and details should be plentiful and varied...Use words that are grammatically correct, including proper tenses, pronoun agreement and subject-verb agreement. Word choices should be meaningful and vivid. Use varied sentence types that are clear. Sentences should not be fragmented, repetitive or rambling. Pay attention to the mechanics of the speculative essay. Correct any errors in spelling, capitalization or punctuation...Introduce only [one] or two characters in a short, speculative essay such as those found on standardized tests. Characters should have distinctive personalities, points of view and appearances. A key element in telling a story is the plot. To have a plot, there must be some kind of conflict or problem to be solved. An interesting or distinctive setting enhances a speculative essay. Include enough detail to make the setting believable and real. The point of view should be consistent throughout the story. Make sure the characters, plot, setting and point of view relate to the speculative writing prompt...If the speculative essay is a homework assignment, write a first draft, edit and produce another draft until you are satisfied with the result. Ask someone else to read your essay and comment. If the essay is part of a test, try to save a few minutes to look over your work and make corrections...Don't plan a long essay. Keep the story short and to the point. If you want to add to it, add more detail after it is written."
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