Creative Writing CA for 2015 Coursework

‘Of Mice and Men’ takes its title from an old Scottish poem. Use an idea from a poem as the basis of a piece of your own writing. Use the title of the poem as the title of your piece of writing.

Just how does one go about such a task as this?

In one sense it is an easy thought. I could take the title “Havisham” by Carol Ann Duffy and then write almost anything. It could be what should have happened to Miss Havisham on her wedding day, describing in extreme detail the wedding, her dress, the day, the venue, the guests. I could use lots of similes and personification, making the whole thing come to life on such a joyous occasion, even though that is not the way of the poem or Dickens’ character.

Or I could use the title of the poem by Simon Armitage that starts with “Those bastards in their Mansions” and you can guess what might come next; a story of lust and woe that would make Downton Abbey look like Peyton Place, or Eastenders. The things I could get the Mitchell clan doing would be beyond description. Oh the fun I could have with Phil Mitchell.

But the writing of it depends largely upon the poetry you have looked at. So, here are a few tips for you to consider if you get this project to do from your nasty little teacher:

  1. Look through the entire anthology at all the poems. There will be some in there that you have not studied as such, with your teacher. Just because you have not read and annotated a poem does not mean to say you cannot use it.
  2. Then, think about the poem because your writing needs to be of a similar theme. So says the title.
  3. With that done, ask yourself, do you need to change to tone? Can Havisham become a happy story in your writing? Or does it destroy the idea? In the Dickens novel she is a shrivelled old lady ditched at the altar. Can you do the same? Maybe a monologue from Edith [Downton Abbey] after she is jilted at the altar is doable.
  4. Then, with title and idea, PLAN IT THOROUGHLY.
  5. In the CA you are not allowed a draft but you are allowed a diagram of notes. Said spider-gram can relate to what is in each paragraph you know, as a hint for your creative writing.
  6. One final thing to think about: be as creative as possible. Show off your skills and enjoy the creative process of writing and creating this totally new art work.

And above all, enjoy the process. This is one where you can have some fun and fun at the expense of others. Maybe your teacher can be transposed into Miss Havisham after all, assuming she is female of course.

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Moving Images CA Title For 2014-15 GCSE

This year’s GCSE Task Bank has a task in it that I am sure lots of teachers will jump at when they see it. If the teacher does not then they have no passion for anything. It is part of a moving images section and is about how film or films have influenced you.

Here is my example. I was challenged by one of my students from last year, who got the C and said I could not do this inside the 750 words word count. So Fiona, here it is, especially for you. Oh, by the way, it is 750 words EXACTLY! It took me 15 minutes to complete as well.

A local newspaper is inviting people to write about films that have played an important part in their life. Write a piece about the film/s that has/have been important to you.

When it comes to films, there are several that can fit the bill as being substantially important in one’s life, the sort of film that shapes and changes you, the ones that leave a mark on you forever, making you think about life from a totally new perspective. Back in 1984, I saw for the first time the film version of the life of Jesus Christ, starring Robert Powell as Jesus and called Jesus of Nazareth. It shaped the rest of my life for I remember sitting there on Easter Sunday and crying my tears of joy as I realised I had a new found friend.

But that is not the film that has shaped my thinking since its arrival into the theatres of our hearts and minds. No. That accolade belongs to a film that depicts the life and times of one man as he grows from being a boy with straight legs and a “back as crooked as a politician,” to a US Marine, a star of college football in the United States and an all-round hero for the modern age. I refer, of course, to the one and the only, Mr Forrest Gump.

Starring Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, it portrays the idealisation of the American Dream in one person, but this is a person who is picked on by his peers, laughed at by his new Headteacher, mocked and made fun at throughout his life and someone who through all this, manages not only to keep his head above water, but love the woman of his dreams as he walks his sometimes, lone walk through life.

He meets and inspires Elvis Presley. He helps to bring down the government of Richard Nixon, albeit inadvertently. He even goes to Vietnam where he saves the lives of his fellow soldiers, including his Lieutenant, who we all know as “Lieutenant Dan” [did you say that with an accent?] in an ambush where his platoon is nearly wiped out. He has a best friend called Bubba who he holds tightly whilst he passes away. He experiences the whole gamut of events and experiences and in the end manages to rise above all the negativity that life brings because he is extremely good at doing one thing; loving others.

And this is why this film is so influential in my life. For you see, in my spare time, I am voluntarily employed as someone who leads worship in churches near where I live. I am asked to preach a message on a regular basis and do so happily, serving the people in the pews and as I do so, I try to get the people present to love their fellows in the ways that the Bible tells us to do so. Such is my understanding and passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So in Forrest Gump, I see someone who is an example to us all, the sort of person depicted in the filmic genre who although considered by society as a ‘simpleton’ or to use a more modern phrase, someone with ‘special needs,’ is someone who can continue to show love for others as well as his lady friend, Jenny. He even names a shrimp boat after her after she walks out on his life.

His love is a pure love. His love is the sort of love that covers a multitude of sin. His love is the sort we should all have for each other. When all else goes wrong, his love moves him forward. When all things around him seem to be going against him, he remembers his love for Jenny and when that love is not reciprocated, he still continues to show love and affection for her.

This is why this is such an influential film in my life. Not only does it show a man who stands as the epitome of what it is to be human, but it also teaches a moral in this hating, terror filled world where man seems to loathe his neighbour to the point where he is prepared to kill him. It is such a powerful and at times, emotive film and one that should not only be watched by everyone in the world, but also studied at GCSE by every student who has to or can take the course. By doing so, they too will begin to understand just where their life is going wrong and be able to make the changes in their life that are sadly needed.