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Part 3, Project 2 – Exercise: A good ending

I have been reading quite a few books over the last few months and I have for this exercise gone back over six of them to remind myself of their endings.  This included the following titles:

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – C.S.Lewis
The Magician’s Nephew – C.S.Lewis
Blood Ties – Sophie McKenzie
Hugo Pepper – Chris Randall
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl #2) – Eoin Colfer

Out of all of them, I think I enjoyed the ending to The Magician’s Nephew the most.  I hadn’t read it for some time and to remind myself how the world of Narnia came to be was wonderful.  I really liked the way that C.S.Lewis literally “sowed the seed” for the next books in the series with his Apple of Youth being eaten and then planted in the garden. 

It suggests not only religious connotations with the Garden of Eden, but also the Circle of Life with Narnian magic; the apple tree grows from a magic apple picked in Narnia.  The tree then blows over in a storn and the professor decides to save the wood and get it made into a wardrobe.  The wood still holds all the original magic, and thus the wardrobe then becomes a “portal” to Narnia when the four children go to stay in the big house during the war.    It’s a charming ending to a wonderful first serial book and sets the reader up for an exciting journey; it wills the reader to discover the wardrobe once more and return to Narnia.

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Part 3, Project 2 – Exercise: Focusing on a character

I enjoyed trying this exercise and I feel that the end result, although short, is really powerful and I want to use this technique in my writing:

Rascal’s breathing quickened into short, sharp pants.  He licked his lips and felt the fur on his neck stand bolt upright.
He knew the boy was there, walking towards him; he could smell him.  He couldn’t seem him, though.  Not yet.
Rascal’s body all at once became rigid, his four legs locking out. 
He couldn’t move.
His vision started to sway as the sound of his heartbeat pounded in his ears, deafening him.

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Part 3, Project 2 – Exercise: Focusing on an object

The door, several feet away:
White
Four long, rectangular panels within inner pannels
Two smaller square panels
Round, brass handle that turns
Dark salmon pink velveteen curtain – stops drafts – draped to right

Observed more closely:
White paint; no grain of wood visible
Three hinges to the right, painted white
Handle appears to be old

Observed even closer:
The door is slightly adjar
Draught coming through, blowing fabric of curtain

The footstool, several feet away:
Cream fabric
Four dark brown legs
One & half foot high, 3ft long approximately

Observed more closely:
Magazines, newspapers on top
Self patterned fabric, diamond shape
Four legs have turned feet at the bottom – Queen Anne style?

Observed even closer:
Teardrop shape inside the diamonds within the fabric
Grain within wood of the legs swirl round
Folds of fabric form tucks at each corner

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Part 3, Project 2 – Exercise: Keeping the reader interested

1) Which of the books that you’ve read so far works best in terms of pace & suspense? Why?
“Blood Ties” by Sophie McKenzie because she uses alternating viewpoints and short chapters, which keeps the story moving.  Each chapter ends at a crucial point in the character’s actions or thoughts which encourages you to keep reading.  The book then becomes addictive and hard to put down.

2) Which “hook” do I prefer?
I enjoy both and I think it depends on the plot and how involved I have become with the story and its characters.  Both types of hook, emotional and action-packed, can be incredibly powerful and can pull you into the story very successfully .  I think it also depends on what mood the reader is in before he starts reading the book as to which hook will appeal.

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Part 3, Project 1 – Exercise: Recognising plot types

Find examples of each plot type:

  • The Quest: “Skulduggery Pleasant”, “Artemis Fowl”
  • Voyage & Return: “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe”
  • Transformation / rebirth: haven’t read one of these plot types yet
  • The Outsider: “Blood Ties”, “Ivan the Terrible”
  • Rags to Riches: “The Little Princess”
  • Romance: haven’t read one of these plot types yet
  • Overcoming the Monster: “Dinosaur Pox” (Jodie overcomes her own daemons

The books that I have read to date that don’t seem to fit the above plot types and which would suit “friendship” more:

“Ivan the Terrible” – Anne Fine
“A Mouse called Wolf” – Dick King-Smith

Invent your own characters, identify the plot type and write a short synopsis of the plot of a story:

Barrie – a young child, no friends
Rascal – a runaway dog, homeless, terrified of people
Plot type – friendship, quest

“Barrie is a loner, a kid down on his luck who has no friends.  Rascal is a border collie who runs away from a cruel owner.  Can this unlikely pair become friends and learn to trust again?”