Planning Is Everything!

Recently I challenged a GCSE student in Year 10 to a competition. He had had the privilege of my tutoring on the June 2021 Paper 1, the one with Rosie and The Silk Factory novel, which I have bought and will read soon.

I said that he, as well as all the rest, had to do the section B task where they write about an event that cannot be explained. It was the second task, not the one with the picture.

I said that I wanted to see his plan of action, so he did this. He needed me to do the writing and then he could have a go at writing the descriptive story. These are his planning words and my poor and feeble attempt at neat hand writing!

I’d make a good Doctor, I know!

His planning told of a man driving a GLE Mercedes to the MOT when he sees something odd, a man in dark clothes, ugly as sin and with a melting face.

The lad is clearly into the horror genre with a BANG!

So I challenged him. He writes one for next week. I write one as well and we see whose is best.

So, Rohan, this one is mine! Fill your boots young man!

Did I Really See That? 

Did I really see that just now?
The irony of having a hallucination is that you never know if your experience is real, or some sort of message for you to consider as your mind becomes increasingly addled, trying to work out the dilemma before you. 
You see, what you think you see may not always be the sight you want to see and the sight you want to see might evade you or arrive in a confused and immersed state of self consciousness.  Either way, it might make very little sense.   
My story began when I was driving my car, my wonderful Bugatti Veyron, that had been gifted to me by my Uncle before his death. Gleaming, in opulent white, shining on every corner and turn, the car was my pride and joy, a gift beyond surpassing, a vehicle so varied from any other I had owned before. Just seeing it in all its glowing radiance, sat in my double garage, with its amorous contours; she made for a figure a 1940s model would envy; all the right curves in all the right places. 
I was driving to get the car to its first ever MOT, at the specialist dealership for supercars, M. T. Chandler & Sons. As I drove, I couldn’t help but see the heads turn by those who envied me for owning such an elegant and extravagant beauty as this.
As the supercar slid gracefully and effortlessly through the staid and stagnant traffic, I could sense in the distance that there was something that would make my journey much longer than anticipated. I drove on, towards the final roundabout, where something to my right made me take my eyes off the road, for one short, brief moment. 
In the road stood a dark, disheveled and frankly, dirty young man, with straggly hair and dark clothing that looked tattered and torn. His dark clothes belied an equally dark demeanor. He had his arms outstretched and I could see that he wore some form of hood. I could see he was male, but not see any real form or reason why he should be there, especially as that is where the traffic should be coming from. 
Gladly, the roundabout had no vehicular activity on it that day. But he appeared to be neither male nor female, which was odd and as for his face, hidden under that gross, derelict hood, it was a slanted mix of scars and melting flesh that seemed to constantly be moving as he stared blankly out into the oncoming traffic. His eyes moved in conjunction with his face, as if trapped in some sordid, sick game with the rest of his body. 
As the covered eyes moved, so did the flesh, dripping downwards to the tarmac as he seemed to melt before my very eyes in that fraction of a second. He was as ugly as sin and three times more alarming to look at, even if only for that very brief moment, making him appear evil, as if the Devil himself had dredged up a macabre monster fit for the local roads and deposited him there as a warning to other motorists. 
As I began to move my fingers towards my face, his arms and hands reached out to me, bending and flailing forward, as if about to collapse, when I rubbed my eyes in hopeful anticipation that it had just been a trick of my imagination, a figment that had appeared to scare me! 
As I opened my eyes again to squint in his direction, he was gone! 
He had vanished as quickly as he had appeared. I was both hopeful and petrified at the same time; a dichotomy of emotions raging inside me as I tried to make some form of cerebral sense of what I had just witnessed. But in a matter of seconds, the traffic freed and we were moving once again and before too long, the MOT station rose into view on the top of the promontory and I had arrived at my destination, to be greeted by the lovely Janine in Reception. 
Only then was I told that the day before, there had been an accident with a car and a motorcycle, that the motorcyclist had received the worst of the encounter and that he had succumbed to his wounds on the spot after the car had collided with him and a fire had started, engulfing the young man in a ball of flames. When Janine said that it had happened where I saw the young man, just minutes before, I sat, shocked and stunned, quietly contemplating.
“Did I really see that just now?”

Now for yours, Rohan!

The November Resit 2021 – Creative Writing!

Exam Paper used: November 2021 English Paper 1 Resit (AQA)

Creative Writing

The insert and the question papers are now on the AQA website for all to download, so go ahead and do so, because the story used for the insert is brilliant; moving, eerie and very well written. If the rest of her novel is half as good, it will be well worth the buying of the book. 

And so, when you look at the question paper, you get the usual questions. 

  1. Select 4 things about Rosie – so easy it is meant to get you started. 
  2. Use of LANGUAGE in a section of the text.
  3. Use of STRUCTURE in the text. 
  4. An opinion question, based on what you think of the opinion. 

All of those are relatively easy, apart from the middle two, because for those, you need BIG answers using those dreaded PEED chains

But you have done them well before now (type in PEED into the search bar on this website and see) so all should be well. 2 pages for questions 2, 3 and 4 should be enough, or more if you can do it. Less would mean a low score and final grade. 

Then you get to section B and the creative writing bit. Here it is below and what a corker it is too! Again, you get a choice. It is an either/or question, so do not do both! 

That would be foolish! 

Section A has all been about what we think is a ghost story, or some sort of vision, whereby we see through Rosie’s eyes, as she sees a mysterious young girl appear and through trickery of her language used, we suspect that the little girl is a ghost, or an echo of another little girl, possibly even an ancestor (left handed like she was) who has lived in that house before now and is playing in the garden. 

So section B continues (as always) with the same theme and asks you to have a go at writing the same. Your teacher, if s/he is any good, should have asked you to write such as this in class, or for homework, before now, so this should be straightforward. 

But just in case, here are a few pointers….

  • This is only meant to be a description, not a story (2-3 sides A4 needed here)
  • It can have the movement of a story, but keep to the description as much as you can
  • Use the picture!!! I cannot stress this enough. 
  • It is like a time portal to me (sci-fi fan here) used on Star Trek, so time travel comes to my mind immediately
  • Perhaps it lights up so you can see something the other side
  • Perhaps it is a portal to the afterlife
  • There are hundreds more ‘perhaps’ in your heads
  • Use the colours; greys, mist swirling, iron gates (typical ghost story starter)
  • The weeds, the trees, the branches, how they are eerily shaped, “like fractured arms set off at different angles, mangled by the evil of time.” (my words)

Those are just some of the ideas from my head but I am sure you have a few more. 

Now, you have to plan the thing. 

So, use the Power of Y (into the search bar at the top if not sure) to get you from the usual 4 or 8 things to write about up to about 24 things or more you could write about. 

Then plan it as shown in that blog piece. 

The planning should take no more than 10 minutes! Remember that!

Section B (other choice)

Then you get this choice…. Do not forget, you do one OR the other. 

They usually give you an either/or and I will always tell my students to use the one with the picture because when you get stuck, you can look at the picture and get another idea and then continue writing, but let’s say you are the brave type and want to do this one. 

How do you do it? 

Write about an event that cannot be explained! (40 marks) (2-3 sides A4)

  • THINK – What cannot be explained? 
  • Miracles?
  • Supernatural things?
  • Things that happen that do not go as planned, or as you’d expect
  • Angels?
  • Demons? 
  • Ghostly stories? 
  • Aliens maybe? 
  • Car crashes where someone survives when they should not
  • Moments where we get a sense of heaven when we die, only to be yanked back by God or paramedics? (this happened to me in 2010) 

Whatever the choice is, the preparation is the same as the one with the picture. 

Plan it using Power of Y and then write it, making sure you do the following: (for whichever you choose, the one with the pic, or not): 

  1. New subject = new paragraph
  2. Movement in time = new paragraph
  3. Speech on its own line for each thing said
  4. Lots of description
  5. Above all, whatever you have found in Section A (simile, repetition, metaphor, alliteration etc) use plenty of that in your piece, so you can show you know what it is and how to use it yourself! 

Happy writing! 

RJ