20+ A-Level English Language Original Writing NEA Ideas

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The NEA or non-exam assessment for A-Level English Language is one of the most varied parts, especially when it comes to what you actually do based on your exam board. However, even within the same exam board, the level of independence means that what each person does can be incredibly different compared to what others, even people in the same class are doing.

This is what I personally loved about doing the NEA for A-Level English Language, particularly for the original writing or creative writing section that some exam boards do. However, while the extent of creative freedom was enjoyable, it could also be overwhelming trying to narrow down the many, many different things you could do within the guidelines into the 1 (or 2 depending on the exam board) final idea that was needed.

In this article, we’ll be getting you started in the right direction with some ideas that you can use for the A-Level English Language original writing NEA. This article will explain what the requirements are for this NEA and help you understand what makes a good idea.

What is the A-Level English Language original writing NEA?

For A-Level English Language, the structure of the course, can vary greatly based on the exam board. This can be particularly clear when it comes to the NEA in comparison to exams.

For the original writing NEA, which may also be known as the creative writing NEA, the only exam boards that do this for A-Level English Language are AQA and Pearson Edexcel. The other exams boards instead do the language investigation NEA and the AQA exam board does both of these NEAs. If you would like to learn more about this NEA and to get some ideas for this instead, have a look at this Think Student article.

While only these 2 exam boards do the original/creative writing NEA, how they offer this form of coursework is still fairly different. This is especially as it is only half of the coursework requirements for the AQA exam board, but it is the whole of the coursework requirements for Pearson Edexcel.

Have a look at the following sections to see what the specific requirements are for this NEA for each exam board.

What is the A-Level English Language original writing NEA for AQA?

The AQA A-Level English Language original writing NEA is as previously mentioned, only half of the coursework that students need to do as a part of the course. In total, the coursework makes up 20% of the whole A-Level. However, this means that the original writing NEA only makes up 10% of the whole A-Level.

For the original writing NEA for AQA, student need to complete a piece of original writing based of a style model and then produce a commentary. This commentary will need to reflect on their choices in writing, the similarities and differences compared to the style model and how their writing fits into the genre and in the category of writing.

For the AQA exam board’s original writing NEA, by the category of writing, I’m referring to the 3 categories that AQA sets out for students to pick the original writing pieces within. There are 3 categories; these are the power of persuasion, the power of storytelling and the power of information.

The piece of original writing and the commentary are worth 25 marks each and should be around 750 words each with a maximum of 1,500 words together.

What is the A-Level English Language original writing NEA for Pearson Edexcel?

For the Pearson Edexcel A-Level English Language course, the creative writing is the only form of coursework that students will have to do. Due to this, for this creative writing NEA there is a bit more required than for the AQA one as it is worth the whole 20% of A-Level English Language coursework requirements.

Students will need to research a genre, complete 2 pieces of original writing and produce a commentary on these. The 2 pieces need to be in the same genre but need to differ due to the audience and/or the purpose of the piece. The commentary will need to delve into comparing these and the student’s choices as well as commenting on the research that the student did and how this applies to what they produced.

Altogether, the 2 pieces of writing need to be between 1,500 and 2,000 words long and the commentary needs to be 1,000 words on its own. All in all, this should come to 50 marks in total, with the original writing having 30 marks together and the commentary having 20 marks.

What makes a good A-Level English Language original writing NEA idea?

There are so many different ideas that you could choose for the A-Level English Language original writing NEA, that I couldn’t possibly go through all of them in this article. Due to this, it’s important to know what a good idea is and how to come up with one for yourself.

The main thing to consider when coming up with your original writing NEA idea is to make sure that it allows you to meet the requirements. These are of word count, having and being able to annotate your style guide and use it as a basis and being able to research into the genre to make sure your piece is assuredly a form of that kind of writing. Plus, for AQA, you will need to produce a form of writing that is in one of the categories: persuasion, storytelling or information.

Making sure that your idea is doable is the most thing for a good idea as regardless of the idea, you can elevate your writing using advanced technique and “sophisticated” vocabulary and writing devices.

A-Level English Language original writing NEA ideas

The following subsections will give you some ideas of the genres and writing types that you can do for your original writing NEA. These sections will explain how you can differentiate them, whether that’s from your style model to show off your own intentions in writing or between your 2 pieces for the Pearson Edexcel exam board.

1.Travel brochure

While a travel brochure may seem like a restrictive genre with little variation, there are a wide range of smaller ideas. You could diversify the purpose by picking either persuasion or information. Also, you could diversify the audience due to the place or type of travel you pick.

For example, you might want to write a brochure for a cruise holiday, which is more likely to appeal to a specific audience that will generally have savings and are normally older, or you could write a brochure for a known party destination, such as Ibiza or even Cancun to appeal to a specific audience that will generally be younger. I personally did this idea and went for a mythical destination, so the choice really is all yours.

2. Website page

A website page is a great option for your NEA as they already come with a limited number of words while still being made for specific purposes and aimed to appeal to specific audiences. The design isn’t actually as difficult as it seems, as you could use Word or PowerPoint to make your page look like an actual website.

You could write a donation page for a charity or you could even write the about page for an author or even the information page for a specific product. These all have very specific target audiences and very different purposes, so it would be fairly easy to diversify, even within these kinds of subcategory.

3. Sales email

This style of writing is very niche but if done well it could be an incredibly unique and creative idea. Sales emails are everywhere, and you could probably even find your style model by going through your own emails.

They have some very specific features, so it’s definitely possible to create a piece that looks exactly like a sales email, even if you decide to differ your piece from the style model. You may wish to write one for a restaurant or even some kind of subscription service.

4. Newsletter/ email newsletter

Something quite similar to the sales email is the email newsletter or a hard copy version. Newsletters are once again very common instead of being from businesses, they tend to be from bloggers and website, although the purpose will generally be to persuade you to buy something, it may also simply be to connect and to increase brand awareness.

Once again, they have some pretty distinctive features that you can replicate in your own piece(s) to make sure that the link to your style model/ the genre is clear. You may want to do a newsletter from an author’s personal website or even from a kind of blog, such as productivity or even food.

5. Speech

Speeches are great, particularly for the persuasion category, although they can also be a good option for the information category too. As you would have had to do a speech for GCSE English Language, you could even pick the same topic, although you would have to rewrite the speech to better fit the purpose and audience that you’ve chosen.

The great thing about speeches is that they’re easy to find to use one a style model, especially as there are many from political leaders and at many different events. You could even use the Queen’s/ King’s speeches as style models if you wish.

These can be done in a wide variety of topics, especially ones to do with social issues, such as climate change, racism, sexism and homophobia, but on you could do anything, even on food, sharks or your favourite film or TV show.

6. Persuasive letter

Letters are something of a lost art in this day and age, however, there are certain times where they are still quite commonly used. If you’re writing to your local council, an MP or someone else in a position of authority, about an issue that is important to you, a persuasive letter could be the way to go.

The difficulty with this one is that it could be a bit more difficult to find a style model, so you might want to find some kind of activist movement that writes to the council or MPs as they may publish these letters and the responses. Other than that, if your sixth form or college has written to the council, you may be able to ask them if you could use a copy of that letter, if it’s appropriate to do so.

7. Short story

When it comes to storytelling, often the first thing to think of is a book of some kind. For the NEA’s word count, doing a short story is probably the easiest way to do this. While a genre of their own, short stories come in their ow genres from horror to romance and many in between. You could write a short story about a haunted house or even one about the friendship between an elderly woman and a child that lives next door.

8. Extract from biography

While biographies are factual, they are often some of the most interesting stories to read. Many famous people and historical figures have biographies, so there are a range of texts you can use for your style model.

You could write an autobiography, a biography about someone you know, or even write a biography about a fictional character. If you need to write 2, you could write biographies with different purposes, such as to simply inform about the person, so you would want to focus solely on facts and description, and to entertain, so you might want to use humour and other techniques.

9. Extract from a novel

Once again, novels are a staple of storytelling. Obviously, the word count means that you can’t do the entirety of one, although you can write a chapter or maybe even just part of a chapter. Some ideas for this might be the opening or closing of the novel as they are often most engaging and need the least context, you might want to use this to introduce characters or maybe even portray a character’s death.

10. Blog post

There are such a vast range of blogs that you have a vast range of style models to choose from. Plus, it means you get to write about whatever you wish as there are blogs post on virtually everything. This can make it even easier to diversify, if needed from a blog post on social issues to spread awareness to a blog post about food trends to share your personal rating.

11. Extract from film script

If you’re interested in films and film writing, creating your own short film script or writing just a scene of a wider film could be a great idea. Films obviously come in many different genres and are made for many different audiences, from different ages groups to people from different countries and even to different interests. For example, you could write a film script for period drama, introducing the main characters but you could also write a short film script about a modern family on an emotional journey as they move away.

12. Dramatic monologue

If you have a flare for drama, this could be a great idea. You could change the genre and the function of this piece quite easily. You may want to make the monologue to introduce a new character through the eyes of another character or may instead want to portray the distress of a character in the midst of making a life-changing decision and there are so many other options for what you could do.

13. Feature article

Feature articles are longer and more in-depth than general news articles, plus they tend to appear in more than just newspaper, such as in magazines or on websites, allowing you to diversify the audience and function more easily. These kinds of articles allow you to talk about a vast range of different topics, such as a “how to” guide, a piece on fashion trends or even an in-depth piece about to do with technology, such as the features of a new phone or a certain kind of camera.

14. Travel writing

Travel writing can come in many different forms and can have its own subgenre, from writing an account to giving advice about travelling and even recommending or reviewing places or styles of travel. You could aim this at different audiences by writing in these different ways, such as reviewing a tourist attraction compared to giving travelling advice, and/or writing about kinds of travel, such as a family holiday in comparison to a backpacking adventure.

15. Poem

There are many different kinds of poetry so this genre can provide you with lots of freedom and can make it easier when deciding on the purpose and audience of your poems. There are also loads of great examples that you can use for your style model.

Some forms of poetry that you might want to do are ballads, limericks, free verse poems and even nonsense poems. These can all easily be made for different age groups or even people from different countries, based on cultural references, if you need to differ these.

16. Children’s book

While a children’s book seems like a narrow and restrictive genre, there’s still plenty of ways of differentiating this. You can choose different age groups to aim the book at or even different purposes, such as informing or entertaining children through storytelling. Someone in my class did this option and they even went as far to design it as a children’s book would be with lots of illustrations and pictures, so it can be a great idea if you’re feeling creative.

17. Leaflet for a museum

Museums provide lots of information, even after people are already there. Creating an information leaflet about a museum and different artefacts there could be a great way to write in the category of information. Although if you’re doing the leaflet as a brochure, you could instead do it with the purpose of persuasion.

Brochures and leaflets can also be done in different formats, so they may only be focusing on certain exhibitions, which may even be focused on different age groups or people with different interests. For example, you might want to create a brochure for children about the fossils exhibition or you could instead write a leaflet focusing on an exhibition about historical fashion.

18. Scripted presentation

While a presentation can seem like a speech, these will often be more information based and would often use props and even things like a PowerPoint document. Due to this, you could either write it as a script or write it directly onto a PowerPoint document, making sure that you print this off in the correct format and may need to still transcribe it.

If you wanted, you could even do a presentation script for something like a YouTube video, or alternatively you could do one for something like a Ted Talk. Due to the nature of presentations, they will tend to have a specific audience and purpose, so these can easily be differentiated.

19. Interview

Interviews are a rather unique form of writing in that they are often found written out, despite literally being a conversation. There are lots of interviews to be found and you could choose to either transcribe one yourself to use as a style model or simply find one already in the right format.

You could differentiate this type of writing by simply choosing different people to interview, as different celebrities have different target audiences and you may even wish to do someone else, such as someone you know or even a fictional character in the same style. You might find it a bit tricky to differentiate the purpose, but this could be done by thinking of the actual contents of the interview and what’s being focused on.

20. News article

Unlike a feature article, a news article is simply about the facts, not the story behind it. You could think about a form of local news, even some from your sixth form or college or even something you’re willing to share about yourself for the topic of this article.

Alternatively, you could just make something up and put it into the style of a news article. While the purpose will generally be to inform, you could try to aim at different age groups or different kinds of readers. For example, you might want to do a tabloid piece and a broadsheet piece.

21. Investigative journalism

An investigative journalism article is a kind of feature article, however, it tends to be even more in-depth and is primarily based on providing information, although there is some storytelling involved. Investigative journalism articles once again have some very distinctive features.

Even if you do a topic that isn’t typically within the investigative journalism genre, you should be quite easily able to still write in this style, as long as you research properly and use the style model. If you have to do more than one piece, you can differentiate by audience, aiming at different age groups, or simply based on different interests.

 

*The information in this article is based off my own experience as a former A-Level English Language student as well as resources from the AQA and Pearson Edexcel exam boards. These are the specifications for the AQA, linked here, and the Pearson Edexcel, linked here, courses as well as the AQA NEA guidance document, linked here, and the Pearson Edexcel ‘Getting Started’ document, linked here.

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