Monday, 30 April 2012

That Sinking Feeling...

It doesn't seem likely but the night time is the most inspiring time. It's when I'm lying in bed, desperately trying to sleep, that most of my ideas jump out at me. It is also a time of realisation. And last night I finally realised what a comment on a certain piece of coursework meant. For one of my sketches The Armani Assassin I wrote a somewhat ambiguous ending. I wanted to keep the audience guessing. But I now realise that sketches are supposed to be self-contained pieces. They have to make sense on their own. I was kind of writing as if it would be part of a bigger story. But that's wrong. And the piece has already been handed in and marked...

This is why I try not to think of my writing once it has been handed in as I always realise what I could have done better. I am really dreading getting my grades back at the moment, particularly my Fiction for Children piece. If I get a rubbish mark for it I am going to feel really dejected and my enthusiasm for my ECP is going to plummet. I want to write a Young Adult Novel for my ECP and if I'm crap at writing for children then what's the point?

It's only a week away and I guess the nerves are building. It doesn't help that I still have three assignments to complete and hand in by next Tuesday. I love being at home but it is not an inspiring place to write. I'm too lazy here.

But positive thinking, that will help get me through it! I might post some drafts of these three assignments so tell me what you think. Work shopping is key!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Jacqueline Wilson's Lola Rose

This is somewhat of a rant, so apologies. I recently reread Jacqueline Wilson's Lola Rose, which was one of my favourite books as a young teenager. It's about a young girl, Jayni, and her family. After her mum wins the lottery (£10,000) Jayni, her younger brother Kenny, and her mum run away from the  abusive dad who beats up Jayni's mum regularly. Once they run away they start a new life and Jayni chooses a new name, Lola Rose. Sadly, it's not as easy as they expected and many bad things befall them, especially when the lottery money runs out. Anyway, you can read it if you really want.

Here comes the ranty bit.

So, I thought I would reread it as I have read quite a few adult books recently, not necessarily hard but ones that can be a bit wearing, basically Dan Brown. It's nice to take a break and read something easy, and you don't get any easier than children's books. I have only kept a few of my Jacqueline Wilson books, mainly the more young adult ones. As Lola Rose was one of my favourites I was excited to read it again. When I was younger I always thought that Lola Rose was about 12 - 13 years old. I was surprised when halfway through the book it is said that she was going to primary school with her brother. Primary school? She's only in year six? That makes her 10 going on 11. No way. Her voice sounds like she is at least a teenager. I thought Wilson always had a child's voice to a T but I'm starting to doubt it now.

When Lola Rose arrives at her new year six class her first thoughts are 'I thought I was quite tall but lots of the girls were much bigger than me, and so grown-up! They wore tight designer tops that showed their figures, and they had elaborate plaited hairstyles and nose rings and fantastic fingernails.' Now, this may be a reflection of where the school is located; I imagine London children might be more grown-up than the kids are where I live in Devon. If not, then why are these ten year old girls wearing figure showing clothes and have piercings? That's a bit worrying to me.

In the first chapter her mum wins the lottery. Lola Rose, or Jayni as she's called then, says that they shouldn't tell dad as he'll just spend it or ruin it. She then says she always has to be the sensible one in the family. It seems weird that a ten year old is more mature than a mother.

Lola Rose is also already obsessed with her weight. What kind of ten year old is worried about their weight? She talks about how good looking her ex-model mum is, she then goes on to say 'I've tried locking the bathroom door and stripping down to my knickers and trying out some of those poses myself. I look  ridiculous. I'm as tall as my mum but I haven't got a proper figure. It doesn't go in and out in the right places.' Does that really sound like something a ten year old says? I don't think I even considered those types of things at that age. After her dad hits her, spurring them to finally run away, Jayni says 'My teeth felt funny too. I hoped they weren't going to fall out. Still, it might make my cheeks look hollow.' Why would a child care about their fat face? It's crazy.

Another passage says that she is getting too big for children's clothes and they buy her a new jackets from the women's section, which implies that she is not a child any more. She also buys a pair of new shoes. 'Oh, those new shoes - wonderful, strappy sling-back stilettos for Mum and my first pair of proper grown-up heels too. They were only little heels but I still couldn't cross the room in them without twisting my ankles.' Do children care much about shoes, it seems more like a teenager obsession.

Lola Rose knows a lot about sex and relationships too. A bit too much. When her mum has a fling with a footballer Lola Rose knows it is wrong and has to tell her mum to stop before her dad finds out and does something bad. Once her mum gets a job at a pub she seems to get chummy with the pub owner.  Lola Rose doesn't like this and says 'It sounds like this Barry guy is more interested in your nice bum.' A bit of an adult comment. Then her mum gets a new boyfriend Jake. Lola Rose states 'I wasn't in any hurry to meet him. I was very glad that we only had one bedroom , and Kendell and I were sprawled right across the only bed.' It would never have crossed my ten year old mind that adults did naughty things on a bed. Lola Rose even puts on a lot of make-up, she knows how to apply it better than I do now, and goes out in her mum's clothes to meet boys. She even wants to snog. I'm pretty sure at that age boys are still icky.

I'm not sure if this is a statement on what a bad parent the mum is or what, but she often leaves Lola Rose on her own for long periods of time. Is this a usual thing for mums to do? My mum never left me alone at night when I was ten but then some others might have. I may just have a nice mum.

Now you tell me, does this sound like something a ten year old would say; 'You've been down the pub drinking while I've been worrying myself sick wondering where you are!' Is this just Wilson trying to get across that Lola Rose is very grown-up, because she's made her point heavily. Obviously, Lola Rose had to grow up quickly because her mum wasn't being very grown up but it seems to be getting a bit ridiculous now.

The worst thing to happen in the book is Lola Rose's mum gets breast cancer. I don't think I knew what cancer was at her age. I mean, I probably heard of it before but Lola Rose seems to know everything about it, like how bad it is and what could happen. It surprised me a bit.

There are so many examples of a much older voice in this book and I can't mention them all. I'm planning on doing a young adult novel for my Extended Creative Piece (the Creative Writing version of a dissertation) and I always thought Wilson's work was a good example of how to write a child's voice. I not so sure any more. Or maybe being a ten year old is a lot different to how I remembered it. I will have to read more of Wilson's work again to gage if all of them have off-putting voices.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Character Profile Sheet - Maggie

Character Profile Sheets seem to be very popular at the moment and I did say I would do another one for a new character. So here is a character profile for my new character Maggie, not to be confused with Margaret Jones. I won't bother explaining her or her story as hopefully the profile will. I may make my own character profile as this one feels a bit lacking. I might combine the two that I already have. Some of the headings don't apply to some characters though; like Princess Prudence from Royalteen doesn't have a favourite TV programme as she doesn't even have a TV. I think I prefer my other character profile sheet, which can be found here. Anyway, enjoy finding out about my new character Maggie. 

Character's Name:
Maggie, short for Marjorie. It's a bit embarrassing.  
Gender: Female
Date of Birth: March 18th
Age: 16 going on 17
Marital Status: Single, always have been. But it doesn't really bother me. I think I'm going to be a career woman rather than a housewife.
Nationality: British, but my Dad is part French, hence the awful name.
Social Class: Probably working to middle, but Mum says class doesn't matter, it's just society trying to control us. Right.
Morals: Those are pretty hard to write down aren't they? I would say I am somewhat environmentalist, is that a moral? I'm not one of those crazy environmentalists though, just world concious. My parents are the more dedicated type. It can be a little embarrassing sometimes. They always seem to have an opinion on everything.
Ambitions: My short-term ambition is to become head writer on the school newspaper. You may think that sounds a bit naff but my long-term ambition is to become a big time journalist, and I have to start somewhere. I've been working on the paper for a while, nearly two years now, and this year I am planning on going for the head writer's position. I only have a little column, Maggie's Messages. It's a column about world problems and what we can do to help. I just discuss the rainforest, pollution, human rights, charities, those sorts of things. I sometimes worry people may think I'm pious. I'm not, I guess my parent's interests have rubbed off on me after all. 
Education: Obviously I went to primary school. I have been at the same mixed secondary school for the past six years as it's also a sixth-form college. It's all right, I mean, it gets outstanding from Ofsted, but what does that really say?  Most sixth-form colleges get to wear their own clothes but we still have uniforms. The grey pleated skirt, blouse, and a navy cardigan or jumper. I do feel a bit like I'm going to a fifties boarding school sometimes.
Favourite Subject: It has to be English, particularly the creative side not necessarily the essays and exams. I don't mind Social Studies either, everyone else seems to hate it though.
Most Hated Subject: I confess, I'm rubbish at Art, Science, and Maths. I don't really like Drama or Sports but at least I'm not awful at them.
Family Background: So, my Dad is part French, my Grandmother was from France, and he lived and studied there. That's where my Mum and Dad actually met. My Mum was doing some sort of protest about fashion, skinny models, sweatshop clothing or something. While protesting my Mum bumped into my Dad who was only out doing his shopping. They saw each other across the rioting crowd and knew it was love. They used to tell me the story all the time but I think they realised that I didn't find it that interesting. Who wants to hear about their parents getting together, really? 
We're not really in touch with my Grandparents any more. My Dad's Mum is frail and can't really travel from France, and I don't think my Dad's too bothered about seeing her either. She can be a bit snooty. My Mum's parents didn't appreciate her 'radical' ways. They all fell out when she was a teenager. I think I've seen them once or twice throughout my whole life. Both my parents were single children so I don't even have any aunties, uncles or cousins. And unsurprisingly I'm a single child myself. It can get pretty lonely. And don't think I'm the spoilt type, I'd be lucky to get anything from my parents; all my clothing comes from charity shops, though  I don't tell anyone.

Physical Appearance 
Height: I think I'm about 5 ft 6 inches? I haven't done my height in a while. We have a height chart in the kitchen, on the door frame, that has all my heights from when I was five years old. I'm just an average height person.
Weight: Geez, I don't know. I don't even think about weighing myself. I'm not one of those girls who's obsessed with looks and all that stuff. I just know that I'm not obese and that's good enough.
Hair Colour: Brown, relatively dark but in  the summer it goes lighter. It's shoulder length and very curly around the bottom. If I were to have it any shorter I would probably have an afro. I understand that I could do more with it, but I find it easier to just wear a headband and be done with it.
Eye Colour: Simply ordinary blue. Nothing particularly special.
Tattoos or Piercings: My parents are pretty lenient but I still don't think they would like me getting a tattoo. I don't have my ears pierced as I've never been fussed about jewellery.
Any Other Info: Do glasses count as Other Info? I'm long sighted so I only wear them while I write or read, which is a lot. They're not dorky ones or anything, probably the most stylish thing about me, my parents didn't make me get them from a charity shop, thank goodness!

Personal Information
Hobbies or Pastimes: So, you've probably gathered that I like to write. I also like to read, and I like to watch films too. My parents prefer independent or foreign films, but I don't mind any genre, just not too keen on horrors.
Favourite Films: Oh, this links to the last question, doesn't it? My favourite film has to, this is way too hard. I don't have a favourite film, I like them all equally.
Favourite Books: I really love The Secret Garden, I used to read it all the time as a child. If I ever feel down I read it then, too. Do magazines and newspapers count? I try to read a varying amount to broaden my horizons. The only thing I don't read are women's magazines. My Mum hates them. She says they're to blame for today's body image problems. I can see where she is coming from but if I know the problem surely I won't be sucked in by it? She also thinks they're too sexual and are forcing young girls to grow up too quickly. That shouldn't really affect me now as I am nearly 17.
Favourite Album: Music isn't really my thing. I don't mind a bit of pop but I really don't like rapping, it's so offensive.
Favourite TV Programme: Don't really watch television. I do like watching detective shows, I used to watch CSI quite a bit but my parents thought it was too 'adult' for me.
Favourite Sport and Team: Sports? Okay, I said I didn't mind doing it, that doesn't mean I actually know anything about it. I'll have to pass on this one.
Favourite Food: What else can it be other than pizza, really? My parents love veggie food so I get that quite a bit, it's not my favourite but it's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
Favourite Drink: I'm too young for alcohol if that's what it means. Otherwise, I like orange juice.
Perfect Weekend: Probably getting up late; I do like lie ins. Then, a really big breakfast, maybe a fry up, not likely with my parents around. I'd probably go for a walk after that, like in the countryside, to work off the huge meal. Then maybe watch a film or two, do some writing and finish the day with a giant pizza with all the toppings. Hmm, my perfect weekend seems to be all about food...
Ideal Holiday Destination: I'm not a fuzzy holiday goer, I guess because we don't go on holiday much. Anywhere in Britain is fine with me. I'm not a beach person or a skier, I wouldn't mind seeing some historical sights though.
Accommodation: On holiday or where I live? I'll go for where I live now. We live in a semi-detached house, it's not the biggest but then again there are only three of us. From the way my Dad goes on I would guess that we have a big mortgage, but I don't really understand that sort of stuff. We have an overgrown garden, my Mum wants it to be 'free'. My room is medium sized, it's a bit bland, most of our house is beige and that means my room too. I like my house, but sometimes it's not very inspiring. We live in a relatively rural area, around ten miles from the biggest city, and it can feel a bit dead end.  

Best Point: It's a bit hard to say the best thing about your own personality. I think I'm rather caring, I listen to others and do try to help. Sometimes I get told I should do the advice column instead.
Worst Point: I can be shy and people can see that as being rude. I don't talk to people because I'm nervous or don't know what to say and people think I'm ignoring them or something. I know this is a bad trait to have, especially as I want to be a journalist. I'm working hard on being more outgoing.
Mannerisms: I fiddle with my hair a lot. I stare into space a bit, too. It's awkward when it seems like I'm staring at someone. I can't think of any mannerisms I really have, this is something someone else needs to say about me. My parents could probably pick out a tonne of my mannerism, most of them bad.
Fears: I'm scared of not becoming a journalist. It's all I've ever wanted to be. If I don't get into a journalism course or never get published, I'll be devastated. I'll probably end up working in Tesco or worse McDonalds.
Looks Forward To: The first time I see my name published in a newspaper. Hopefully it will be in the Guardian or The Times not The Daily Mail. I wouldn't mind writing for a geographic magazine either, you know something specialised. But not something boring like gardening or clouds.
Temperament: I would say I am rather calm, I rarely raise my voice or snap at people. I'm patient too and don't get easily frustrated, which is a talent considering my parents.

Job Description: I don't have a job right now, but clearly my dream job is journalist.
Salary: A lot? I'm no good with money or counting or any sort of maths. But I'm not in it for the money. But then, does everyone say that when they start off?
Hours Worked: None for a job. I do put in a lot of work for the school newspaper though. I usually hang out in the library in my free time to write. It's easier away from my family. I never miss a meeting either, hopefully this will show when it comes to electing head writer.
Job Satisfaction: I'm very satisfied with the school newspaper, everyone else thinks it's not doing too well though. Mr Harring, he's the teacher in charge, says we need to get some new ideas or the principal's thinking of cutting it, something about saving the trees. Sure.
Reputation at Work: I am a bit of a know-it-all with the school newspaper group. I don't mind that though because I know they respect me and aren't being mean when they poke fun. In class I'm just the quiet one. I do my work and only answer questions when I have to or when no one else puts their hand up. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Intervention

This was actually from last term's Textual Intervention. I didn't post it before as I did not like it very much, I prefer writing contemporary rather than period pieces, which is worrying as I chose to do history writing module next year. Anyway, this is rather obviously inspired by the Gothic novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and is about what would happen to a woman if she were to take Dr Jekyll's concoction. It also has a little hint of a Succubus, a female demon who seduces men and does demony things.

The Strange Case of Lady Jacqueline and Mistress Heidi 

17 November 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

The wedding is now less than a month away and I am dreadfully excited. Roger has been sweet and kind, and his family have been so generous; they have allowed me to stay with them until the day of the wedding. I cannot wait to become part of their family as Mrs Dr Roger Stevenson. He has asked after you and I have assured him that you will be coming to the wedding; I know you would not want to miss it. You’ll also get to meet all of Roger’s eligible bachelor friends, they’re mostly doctors. I think you’ll particularly like Dr Jekyll; he would be the perfect match for you. He’s quiet but has a good heart.

Last week Dr Jekyll had an odd proposition for me, he asked me to take part in a scientific experiment, he apparently needed a well-bred female, which I thought was a peculiar variable for an experiment. Of course, I asked Roger about it first, he has such high respect for Dr Jekyll that he didn’t think anything of it and gladly accepted on my behalf. Roger says that I should feel honoured to be chosen for such an experiment and I Assured him I was.

Dr Jekyll gave me a vial of clear liquid and said to take a tablespoon of it every evening before bed. He says I must tell him if I have any adverse side effects. I have been taking this liquid for a week now and everything had been going fine. But Stephanie, something quite queer happened this morning; I awoke in my bed with absolutely no memory of the last evening, I do not even remember going to my bedchamber. The oddest thing was that I was still fully clothed, but the outfit I was wearing, oh Stephanie! it was shameful! The bodice was cut so low, my skirt was short enough to expose my calf and I wasn’t even wearing any undergarments. I am ashamed to think that someone may have seen me like this. And when I undressed myself this morning, for I dare not call in a maid, I found a man’s handkerchief tucked down the front of my bodice, it was monogrammed with the initials H.G. I was so shocked I threw it into the fire right away. I am dreadfully worried about what has happened to me. I shall have to contact Dr Jekyll immediately.

Much love Jacqueline.

20 November 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

It has been three days since my last letter and I am afraid that no one has seen or heard from Dr Jekyll for five days. Roger is terribly worried about him and as am I, though for different reasons. I have not told Roger anything about the other night; I dread what he may say.

Stephanie, something worse has happened. Roger has told me that one of his close friends was murdered three days ago and no one knows who could have done it. His name was Mr Henry Groome. The same initials that were on the handkerchief I had. I fear I have done something rotten. What should I do, Stephanie? I am so worried.

Much love Jacqueline.

23 November 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

It has happened again! I awoke this morning with no recollection of last night. I was dressed as wanton as before, in fact my lips were still heavily rouged. I have tried desperately to get in contact with Dr Jekyll but he is still missing; it’s been over a week now. Roger keeps asking me what is wrong but I simply cannot tell him. I am sure if he knew about what I think I have done he would call off the wedding immediately. Oh, Stephanie I desperately need your help.

Much love Jacqueline.

24 November 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

I have overheard from the maids that one of Roger’s friends, Dr Hastie Lanyon, has also been murdered. Apparently he was found in his bedchamber and no one even knows how he died; there were no marks but he was completely naked. The rumour is he was seen that evening with an immoral woman that seduced him and took his soul. Am I that woman? I wish Dr Jekyll was here for me to talk to. Is this what he meant by ‘adverse side effects’? I shall stop taking the liquid that he gave me, hopefully that will stop these strange and horrifying occurrences.

Much love Jacqueline.

30 November 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

I thought it could not get any worse. I do not remember the past three days at all. Roger says that I have been in bed sick, he says he’s been awfully worried about me, he does not want me to catch a fever so close to the wedding. He cautiously asked me if the liquid Dr Jekyll gave me had anything to do with this sickness. I said that I have stopped taking it and he seemed relieved. He has me bundled up in bed with many blankets and the maids bring me warm broth regularly. I am so grateful but I still cannot tell him the truth. I asked about Dr Jekyll again today but Roger says that he is still missing and that his friend Mr Utterson has been looking for him for days to no avail. The wedding is less than two weeks away and I hope that all this madness stops soon.

Much love Jacqueline.

1 December 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

Last night I remembered what happened over the past three days. I keep getting flashes of it when I close my eyes. I remember lying to the maids, saying that I was feeling ill but then changing into such shameless clothing and climbing out of the window. I remember this but I do not feel like myself, it is as if it is someone else using my body. I see myself in a bedchamber with a man that isn’t Roger; I do not know who he is. Oh, Stephanie, I did terrible things to him. Such terrible things that I cannot bring myself to repeat. I pray that God shall not punish me for such sinful acts. If Roger was to find out he would not dare to marry me, or even talk to me again. But Stephanie, I know now. It was me. I was the one that killed Henry Groome and Dr Hastie Lanyon. It was me but at the same time not me. It seems that this immoral woman and I are the same person, using the same vessel but for different purposes. I do not understand; I have tried to live a life of purity and now this other side of me has developed. If only Dr Jekyll were here. Did he know something like this might happen? If so, why did he give it to me? Why would he bestow these horrors upon me? He is truly a cruel man. But how I wish he could be found! I know I should tell Roger the truth now, but I simply cannot. Revealing this sordid truth would devastate him. If only you were here, you would know what to do.

Much love Jacqueline.

6 December 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

Since my last letter there have been two more deaths. These men were all honest, hard-working people, Stephanie, and I have killed them. I remember it all this time. I remember going to these men, seducing them, killing them. But it wasn’t fully me. It was this other woman using my body, my own consciousness forced back for this other woman to take over. She steals their souls, she devours them whole, and she gains pleasure from this. She sickens me. I sicken me. Roger asks me many times if I am okay, he worries about me greatly. I feel deep shame that I do not have the courage to tell him the truth. I do hope Dr Jekyll is found soon.

Much love Jacqueline.

11 December 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

Dr Jekyll has finally been found, dead. I have no fears that it was me for now I remember every moment that this wanton woman robs from me. Roger told me this morning that Mr Utterson found Dr Jekyll dead in his study; apparently he had been there the whole time. They suspect that a seedy fellow by the name of Mr Hyde had been harassing him and might have murdered him, too. I hope that my next victim is this Mr Hyde.

Oh no, Stephanie! That was not me thinking, that was her, the other woman. She is seeping into my normal life; the day is mine and the night is hers but not anymore. Despite the fact that I have not taken the liquid in weeks this madness is getting worse. More and more I am having unholy and wicked thoughts. Her thoughts. This murdering harlot is trying to steal my body for her own demonic ways, but I shall not let her. I fear the worst now that Dr Jekyll is dead. I fear the worst because my wedding day is tomorrow. But I have a plan. I shall lock myself in my room, I shall tell the maids to not let me out, I shall tell the gardener to keep a look out around my window. I will not let this demon out to kill another man. I will be the strongest being. I shall win back my body and mind.

Much love Jacqueline.

12 December 18—

Dearest Stephanie,

Oh I pray for much forgiveness as truly there is no more hope. I thought my plan would work, and in a way I suppose it did. I did not leave my room to kill. This time the man came to me. And oh Lord, it was Roger! Oh, Stephanie! I did it, I killed him! I killed the only man I have ever loved.

I felt her. I felt the shift from my mind to hers; my soul to hers. I felt her anger when she realised the door was locked from the outside, her fury when she saw the gardener patrolling beneath the window. Her rage was terrifying and yet I felt satisfaction in the power I had over her. But later in the darkness of night, there was a soft knock at the door and I felt her excitement. When the door opened and we saw Roger enter I wanted to scream at him, yell at him to go away. How had he gotten in, I thought, the door was locked and the maids were meant to keep watch.

Oh, but Stephanie, I was pushed further from my body; this other woman was in charge now. She greeted him as sweetly as I would have. And when he said that he could not wait another day to share a bed she blushed so prettily. But I knew what she was really thinking. She was thinking about all the ways to seduce him and to take his soul. I felt her take over fully then. My mind and body was lost to her completely. I don’t remember what I did to him, Stephanie. I woke up this morning and his body was lying in bed next to me, stone cold. His face was already as waxy as a corpse’s and frozen in an expression of pure fear.

I shall have to confess, there is no way of escaping this. I shall do it now. I will tell Mr and Mrs Stevenson that I killed their son and all those other men. I will accept the punishment gladly, for I know that the real murderer will also be suffering. Stephanie, this is the last you will ever hear of me.


Much love Jacqueline.

13 December 18—

Dear Stephanie Campbell,

As you are no doubt aware, your sister Jacqueline Campbell was supposed to marry our son Roger Stevenson yesterday. Only that morning we found our dear son dead in your sister’s bedchamber and Jacqueline missing, as well as most of our silverware and jewellery. If you are in contact with your deceitful, murdering sister please inform us as the police are very interested in finding her. These letters were the only thing left in her bedchamber, and as we are decent well-meaning people, not only did we not read them, even though there may be clues to her whereabouts, we have also sent them to you.

Again, if you hear from Jacqueline, contact us immediately.

Mr and Mrs Stevenson.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Sketch - Your Housemate Hitler

This is the final sketch out of the four and is based on voice. We were given the task of writing from different perspectives. First, we had to think of a situation we had been in involving lots of people. I chose a time that was very stressful and upsetting for me and it involved all my housemates. We then had to write about that situation from another person's point of view and in the first person...if that made any sense! After that we had to write the same situation but in the second person (you). Lastly, we had to write it again from our perspective but in the third person, and I'll tell you now, it's weird writing your own name in a creative piece!

So this piece is expanded from the second person one. It is very off-putting writing in the second person for the first time, but also a little bit enjoyable. It's new and different. Tell me if you think it works/you like it. It's also a little bit bitchy (apologies) but it is how I really felt about this situation.

Your Housemate Hitler

You and your housemates have been called into a house meeting. You know you shouldn’t be there but one of your housemates has caused a fuss. She doesn’t like her room and you’re the one to blame. Yes, it doesn’t make sense but that’s life for you. She says that you and your boyfriend have the two biggest rooms and it’s not fair. You tell her you’ve measured the rooms and that yours isn’t the biggest, in fact, it’s only one foot bigger than hers. She doesn’t even have the smallest room. She sits in silence before saying it’s not about the room size. It’s about her condition. She says it’s too dark, she gets SAD, you know, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and she needs a big window, like your one, to get more sun.


You stare at her across the table, finding it hard to believe what you’re hearing. Last week she was an insomniac, then she was depressed, and now she has SAD too? You say if she wants sunlight that badly she can go sit outside. She doesn’t take that well. She changes tact. She says she doesn’t mind her room at all, what she really hates is your unaccommodating attitude. She thinks you’ve been horrible to her all term; you haven’t met her emotional needs. You tell her it’s only one week into term; you’ve barely even seen her, so how could you have time to be horrible to her as well? Your hands shake from the injustice. You’ve never wanted to hit someone this badly before and you’re not even the aggressive type. There is an awkward silence when no one says anything. Then she comes out with the killer strike.

You are a dictator.

She says everyone thinks it too; they’re just too cowardly to say anything. You look at the rest of your housemates, the ones you thought were your friends; they look down at the floor. Your blood boils and the temptation to leap across the table and throttle your bitch of a housemate is just too strong. You didn’t realise that telling people to do their washing up was on par with Hitler committing mass genocide.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Goffered by Ann Foulds

My Auntie Ann has recently published her very first book through eBooks on Kindle and I advise you to go out and buy it. It only cost 77p so it won't break the bank and it will also be a very enjoyable read.

Buy Goffered by Ann Foulds from Amazon.

I hope to get something published soon and my Auntie Ann gives me hope. She had worked at BT since she left school at around 16 and then one day many years later she just quit and decided to write a book. It just shows if you have a story to write and the determination, you can definitely get published. Look out for me on Kindle soon!

(Also, if you don't have a Kindle yet, get one! They are awesome!)

Here is a little more about self-publishing via @AdviceToWriters How Amazon Made Self-Publishing Cool.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Sketch - Agricolaphobia

Here is my third sketch, it is also the longest one at 828 words. It was originally called Farmerphobia but I realised after I have handed it in that it would have been more clever to do it Latin, hence Agricolaphobia.

This is actually a relatively true story as my friends and I did have dens up by Jo's house. We loved playing in them and many things happened to us while we were up there. One time, we buried a dead mouse and then a few weeks later wanted to look at its skeleton. So, we dug it up only to find piles of maggots. That was not fun. Another time we were climbing in the trees. Well, I wasn't. I hated climbing trees as I thought I would break all the branches. However, Jo and Izzy loved it. Jo was practically at the top of the tallest tree when she fell. It must have been about 30 feet but she only got a scratch on her forehead. It was an impressive feat.

Here's a photo of me and Izzy sitting on the hay bales in the field. We are older in this picture, this was taken when we were about 13. In the sketch we were around 9 years old. 


As a child, Izzy, Jo, and I had a den in the hedges surrounding a field next to Jo’s house. We played in it every day after school, and soon we had made more dens further up the hedges. However, there was one very important rule about these dens. Don’t get caught by the farmer.

Older kids had told us that the farmer had a huge gun and was deadly accurate, and wasn’t afraid to shoot trespassing children on sight. These kids told us that there was a boy that had gone into the farmer’s fields. He’d done it as a dare. Many people had heard the gun shots that day and the boy’s body was never found. We were terrified of these stories but that never stopped us, we thought we were smarter than the farmer.

One day we were messing around right at the top the field. From there you could see the whole of Ivybridge and I loved pointing out my house. This day was particularly pleasant as it was the height of summer; the sky was a cloudless expanse of blue, the recently cut grass was dry and springy, and the sun was comforting on our bare arms and legs. This glorious heat also warmed the drying cowpats; their stench gathered in your nose and settled in the back of your throat. Oversized flies buzzed happily around the dung, their shiny blue bodies flashing in the afternoon sun.

The heat had made us all lazy and we flopped onto the ground, careful to avoid the dollops of cowpat. We shaded our faces with our arms and chatted absently; the sounds of the field lulling us into a doze. The hum of passing bugs, the chirruping of birds from the bushes, and the occasional rustle of wind through the blooming trees. Then, a low grind rumbled in the ground, disturbing us from our day dreaming. My friends and I stared at each other.

‘Farmer!’ we shrieked.

The clanking of metal and the engine’s whine was only a hedgerow away. We leapt to our feet and legged it down the field. I was always the slowest of my friends and was never usually able to keep up; but that day I sped in front of them, terror leaping up my throat. The grind of the tractor was growing louder. With each beat of my racing heart my panic grew. I wished I hadn’t worn such brightly coloured clothing that day; the farmer would be able to see me from miles away.

I made it to the den first, just as the tractor roared into the field. I collapsed onto my hands and knees, and struggled through the gap in the hedgerow. Nettles attacked my arms, twigs scratched at my hair, and thorns bit my legs. I crawled as quickly as I could, but this still wasn’t fast enough for my friends. I could feel their frantic hands pushing me from behind. In my panic I accidentally scraped against the barbed wire that ran through the surrounding hedgerows. It cut into my back, tearing through fabric and skin. I chocked back a scream and fell into the depths of the den, with Izzy and Jo barrelling in after me.

We lay in a bundle, barely breathing, as the monstrous tractor trundled by. Through the branches I could see the farmer; his dark eyes scoured the area intently. I shrunk down into the leafy undergrowth, trying to hide my bright pink t-shirt from his piercing eyes. Silence fell as the tractor left the field. We all let out sighs of relief.

We had survived one more day. 


Two weeks after this terrifying adventure, the farmer came back. We hid deep in our den once more, hardly daring to breathe. I peered through the branches and was shocked to see Jo’s mum walking out to the farmer. I pinched my friends and motioned towards the adults. We all gasped as Jo’s mum turned and pointed directly at us. Busted. The farmer stepped out of his tractor and we shuddered. My heart faltered as he stomped towards us. His hands plunged into the hedgerow, pulling branches apart. Izzy grabbed hold of my arm, squeezing the feeling from it. I wanted to escape, but there was nowhere for me to run to. I stared in horror as the farmer’s head, shoulders, and torso invaded our den.

He didn’t have soulless eyes, pointed teeth, or blood soaked overalls. In fact, he looked like an ordinary man. He smiled at our terrified faces.

‘I hear you like playing in the field, that’s fine as long as you don’t spook the cows,’ he said in a thick Devonshire accent.

My friends and I nodded, too scared to speak. The farmer smiled and gave us a cheerful wink before leaving the den. Once he had driven off and Jo’s mum had gone back inside I finally spoke.

‘Well, what do we do now?’

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sketch - The House at the End of the Road

Here's another one of my sketches. This one is based on setting. We had a task in which we had to describe a person through their rooms. The choices were: a middle aged recluse, a heartthrob actor, a writer with writer's block, or a recently adopted child. I didn't really know what I chose as it ended up like a reclusive writer. Anyway, I developed it further and this is the final outcome. I quite like it myself!

The House at the End of the Road

This sketch has been temporarily removed as I have sent it to a short story competition. Hope it wins!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sketch - The Armani Assassin

I have just handed in my last creative piece of the term, I still have three more after Easter but that's four weeks away!

The next few posts will be my sketches from Creative Voice. These are short pieces that explore image, character, setting, and voice.

I have posted this before as The Mumford Man but it has now been workshopped and edited. So, please enjoy!

The Armani Assassin.

Al pierced the plastic cover of his frozen lasagne with a fork and flung it into the microwave. He didn’t have time to eat but he hadn’t had anything substantial for the last two days. Bar peanuts and crackers from hotel mini fridges didn’t count. As he watched the timer count down the minutes his smart phone buzzed. He looked at the screen.

Oh good, the Boss. Probably asking for another ‘favour’. He’d only just finished one of his boss’s favours. Al scanned the text message quickly. He had to be at the Roosevelt Hotel at eight o’clock. He checked his engraved Rolex from his father, ten past seven. He definitely wouldn’t have time to eat. Leaving the kitchen he headed to his bedroom. He picked out a clean suit from his mirrored wardrobe and carried on to his en suite, kicking off his Salvatore Ferragamo shoes as he went.

He stood in front of the bathroom mirror. Tired bags hung underneath his weary grey eyes. Lines pulled down at his lips and his moustache desperately needed a trim. He rubbed a hand across his face and noticed a few drops of blood already turning brown on the cuff of his right sleeve.

‘Fantastic,’ he groaned. He had tried so hard not to get blood on him this time - it was a very expensive shirt.

He slowly undid the buttons. Instead of chucking it into the laundry basket he just left it on the floor, he’d deal with it when he got back tonight. If not, Maria would sort it out tomorrow morning. Al slipped on a clean Georgio Armani shirt and tucked it into his Ralph Lauren trousers. He trimmed his moustache and dabbed on a splash of Clive Christian cologne, the one that drove the ladies wild. He ran his hands through his short dark hair, he hadn’t had time to wash it this morning, but it would have to do for tonight. He’d only had a short amount of time but damn, he looked good. Al winked at his reflection just as the microwave beeped.

He strolled back to the kitchen; the lasagne smelt delicious but there was no point even trying to eat it. He still needed to get across the city and it was now twenty past seven. He took the meal from the microwave and grabbed the bowl with Rodolfo written on the side from the floor. Al didn’t even need to whistle, his golden retriever knew the sound of his bowl being filled with food from across the room. Rodolfo jumped off the black leather sofa, on which he had been curled up on, and ran over to Al, tail wagging. Al tipped the lasagne into the bowl and put it back on floor. Rodolfo licked his lips before shoving his nose into the bowl of steaming Italian food. Al patted him on the head and stroked him behind his furry ears.

‘Careful, it’s hot,’ he warned with a smile. Rodolfo wheezed slightly, his tongue hanging out, before going back for more. ‘I’ll be back in a few hours hopefully; otherwise Maria will have to take you out tomorrow morning. I’ve got work to do.’ Al petted Rodolfo once more before picking up his suit jacket, which he had thrown on the back of the sofa. He then put his phone, keys, and wallet into his pockets before picking up his semi-automatic. This favour was going to be a tough one.

Twitter - Writing Hashtags

So I found out today that these are good hashtags to use if you're a writer and have twitter.

#amediting posts from people who are editing
#amwriting posts from people who are writing
#askagent agent questions and answers
#fridayflash flash fiction on a Friday
#nanowrimo national novel writing month
#pubtip publication tips
#vss very short story
#webfic web fiction
#weblit web literature
#wip work in progress
#writetip writing advice
#writingtips writing advice
#YAF young adult fiction

These came from the website who also have a very helpful twitter account @AdviceToWriters. They frequently quote famous authors who actually have good insights into writing. Having twitter is a great thing to have if you want to be a writer as you really get yourself out there. You can also connect with other authors, I follow Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, and Bret Easton Ellis, who all give you fantastic advice. J.K Rowling has twitter too but she rarely uses it. Another great account to follow is @LitReactor who offer useful tips and interesting book news. 

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Worst Essay Ever - Grade.

Last Friday I recieved my grade for the Worst Essay Ever. Outside the faculty office everyone was upset or mad; their grades weren't very good (but they had also received so Script Writing grades, too) so I was nervous to get my grade.The lady took ages finding my work, I was scared they had lost it again - it happened to me last year. But then, when she handed it to me I saw at the bottom of the page 67% hurray!

The marker was impressed by my bibliography, which she should be, it was a lot of books. And the only bad comment was that I needed to be more judicious with my use of quotes. Admittedly, I put in lots of quotes to make me seems smarter, also because sometimes I just don't know what to say!

Either way I am a very happy bunny. Let's hope that my creative piece is equally good, or better!