Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Storytelling part 2

30th March 2020

This is a continuation of the previous post. This time, we will concentrate on the first couple, create personality backgrounds and start to prepare a rudimentary dialogue. You can find said post here:

To recap, we have two young Asians:


The two young people are cousins

First, physical descriptions so you will need to utilise your knowledge of adjectives … and learn more (ABL … always be learning).

With adjectives, we always start with our opinion; what do YOU think of Boram ? How does she look ?

For me, I think she is beautiful … oh my God, she is BEAUTIFUL !

Do you see how the second sentence is so powerful. It not only tells you about Boram, but also about the writer !

Having said that, ‘beautiful’ is a basic word, learnt early, so we need to be more creative. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms:

Beautiful: cute, gorgeous, adorable, breathe-taking, sensational … have a check:

Synonyms for beautiful

Wow, hot dog ! What a list, extensive, exhaustive, exhilarating. See how your language can improve. However, it is always a good idea to check the definition first, as the words are all slightly different, and some may not be appropriate. For example, ‘foxy’ and ‘shapely’ are more sensual, while ‘refined’ and ‘angelic’ are more innocent.

You may be as descriptive as you wish, for example, Boram has:

stunning, high cheek bones / luscious almond-shaped eyes / long wavy brown hair, enticingly and charmingly wrapped in a soft pink bow.

Continue by describing her clothes and setting (where she is). Now, compare this with Leon. Follow the pattern, tell me what you think of Leon, what he looks like, how he’s attired (dressed), where he might be and what that tells us about his character.

Next: personality

In a standard lesson, I would emphasis that we DON’T know the person, so we cannot say, for example, Boram is sweet and cheerful. Instead, we have to use expressions such as:

In my opinion / I feel Boram is / Boram seems to me / I get the impression that Boram is …

But we are now in the realms of creative English and this is YOUR story … use your imagination … tell me what Boram is like.

The following are my thoughts – you may well disagree, in fact I hope you do. I want YOU to think and create your own character.

In MY story, Boram is incredibly sweet and thoughtful. She is such a caring lady, the radiance of her face is a physical manifestation of the purity and honesty of her heart.

However, she will often put other people first and can be disarmingly vulnerable and perilously innocent.

Do you see how the adjectives were intensified by adverbs – ‘disarmingly vulnerable’, ‘incredibly sweet’. By now, you should be able to use basic adverbs such as:

very / so / extremely / unbelievably / incredibly /

Therefore, try to find new adverbs. Watch out for adverbs as you listen to music, watch films or TV, read books, newspapers, online media and even this humble blog.

Now, repeat with Leon. This is YOUR story, so Leon can be whatever you decide.

Finally today, think about the story. Boram lives in Seoul (but you are free to change her name, location etc) and her cousin Leon (again, change his name if YOU wish) is coming to visit.

Boram is worried that Leon will be lost in the big city when he arrives (by bus, or train, or even plane), so she insists on meeting him, despite having commitments (she is a musician and needs to rehearse with her orchestra in the afternoon).

They meet at, for example, the train station. Leon is very hungry and tired, so Boram takes him to a cafe for some food and coffee. Here they have a chance to catch up (to talk about what they have been doing). What do they say ? What phrases or expressions could they use ? Is Leon grateful or arrogant ? Will be look after Boram, or exploit her kindness ?

Inside Seoul station, Seoul - Picture of KTX (Korea Train Express ...

We can decide that in the next blog … so get thinking !

Stay safe, stay healthy. From Thay Paul in Sai Gon … Goodnight and good luck

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