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MHS Library | Writing

Talking about storytelling

Storytelling is a wonderful skill to develop. These Master Storytellers break down the anatomy of great storytelling. Stories deepen help us reflect on, unfold and understand who we are and shape our view of the world.


Writing Prompts


Creative writing prompts

Five years on: Fukushima residents share their stories. Write from the perspective of one of these people. Show how their past has shaped their present.

The 25 word story

Critical thinking in writing

Critical thinking is a way of interpreting, questioning, analysing, evaluating, inferring, explaining and exploring. Critical thinking shapes the way in which you see information, the way in which you interact with and respond to information, and also the way in which you report information. 

If you want to brush up on your Critical thinking in writing skills, then try some of these activities.

Literary Devices

Essay writing @MHS English website

The MHS English website is an excellent help for essay writing. See more here.

Examining the topic
The first step in writing an essay involves examining the topic so that you understand exactly what is required of you in researching and writing it. Most essay topics include a key word which indicates the approach you are asked to follow. The following explanation will help you to understand what approach each of these key words requires you to take.

Account for: Explain how something came about.

Compare: Look for similarities and differences.

Contrast: Set in opposition in order to bring out differences.

Criticise: Give your judgement about the merit of theories or opinions or about the truth of facts, and back your judgement by a discussion of the evidence.

Define: Set down the precise meaning of a word or phrase. Show that the distinctions implied in the definition are necessary.

Describe: Give a detailed or graphic account.

Discuss: Investigate or examine by argument, sift and debate, giving your reasons for and against.

Evaluate: Make an appraisal of the worth of something, in the light of its truth or utility; include to a lesser degree your personal opinion.

Explain: Make plain, interpret, and account for.

Illustrate: Use a figure or diagram to explain or clarify, or make clear by the use of concrete examples.

Interpret: Expound the meaning of, make clear and explicit, usually giving your own judgement.

Justify: Show adequate grounds for decisions or conclusions.

Outline: Give the main features or general principles of a subject, omitting minor details and emphasising structure and arrangement.

Relate: Show how things are connected to each other, and to what extent they are alike, or affect each other.

Review: Make a survey of, examining the subject critically.

State: Present in brief, clear form.

Summarise: Give a concise account of the chief points or substance of a matter, omitting details and examples.

Trace: Follow the development or history of a topic from some point of origin.

Source: Harry Maddox, How to Study (rev. ed.). London: Pan Books, 1980




You might need to consult dictionaries when you're writing. Here's a list of different dictionaries.

The Australian National Dictionary
The Cambridge Dictionary
Mnemonic Dictionary


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