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Part 4, Project 2 – Exercise: Contrast & Collusion

Write dialogue between two children talking about a third child.  One child is the dominant with the second flattering the first, reinforcing the dialogue.  Contrast is needed but finish with a revelation:

“Of course, when I played that football match last week, there was no way Charlie Winters would get past me.”
“Yer right, especially with those tackling skills of yours.”
“Well, I have to swerve around a bit to get it right…it’s not as easy as it looks.”
“No, it looks well tricky.  You do make it look easy, though, Martin, and no mistake.”
“Charlie Winters thinks he’s really good though.  I don’t understand it.”
“Yer, well, he’s cocky about playing, Martin, whereas you’re not.  You’re a natural; he has to work at it.”
“You’re right there, Billie.  I’ve always known my way round the pitch.”
“And the way you headed that shot into the net last season, you know, in the Scunthorpe away game…you well impressed me.”
“Cheers.  Yes it’s never all that straightforward for good old Winters…and it won’t get any easier, either.”
“Why?  What d’ya mean?”
“Let’s just say he’s going to be mixing with different company soon.”
“Come on, tell me! I’m hardy likely to spill; you always tell me to keep me gob shut.”
“Yes and you’re right to listen, Billie.  He’s being moved to the top of the Junior league!”
“What?  They’re dropping him from the Seniors?”
“Yes, Billie.  All those hand-balls and fouls last season apparently.  But you didn’t hear this from me, got it?”
“No, Martin, you’re dead right there.  Wow, can’t believe it.”
“Yes, it’s rather good.  Get’s him out of my way at last.”

 

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Part 4, Project 1 – Exercise: Writing in the first person

How does Emily Diamand convey the sense of a child’s voice?  With how she describes Cat, the actions are simple, deliberate.  The language used “yow yow” means nothing but she goes onto say that she knows what it’s saying.  This personification of an animal is very child-like, naive and simplistic.

Write a paragraph in the first person’s perspective of a child who is trapped in a room:

It’s a big room, this is.  Bigger than my room.  The door to my room opens.  The door over there doesn’t; I can’t pull it like my one.  No pictures or crayons.  It’s all dark and shadowy in here.  Nowhere for drawing.  I keep it tidy, my room.  Mummy says so.  Where’s Mummy?  I want my Mummy.  Is it time yet?  Can I go, please?  I’ve been really good.  I didn’t touch anything.  I do as Mummy says.”

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Part 4, Project 1 – Exercise: Looking at narrative voice

Jacqueline Wilson’s tone and use of language shows between the two narrators in “Little Darlings” that Destiny is more fiery and independent.  “Kicking a poster” demonstrates a head-strong personality and she has her own thoughts on life.  Wilson says that she “slams out the door”, slips the door-key on a piece of string down her neck under her blouse; she goes along with things but doesn’t want her friends to see or know.  She’s rebellious, bad-tempered, moody, typical teenager.  She wants to be non-compliant but qualifies it with “I promised Mum”, a nod towards loyalty and respect for her mum.

With Sunset, we get a different picture.  She is embarrassed by her mum.  Wilson shows this by getting her mum insistent on “sorting her out” in a toilet.  Sunset is mortified by her mother’s pandering; “I blush, terrified that the beautiful women outside will think she’s having to help me go to the toilet.”  Whereas Destiny has respect for her mum, Wilson wants the reader to acknowledge that teenagers reach the stage where they can’t bear to have their parents involvement in their lives, especially in public.  Sunset has reached that stage; Destiny has some catching up to do.

How do having two perspectives on events help the plot to unfold?

  • It adds a wealth of insight.
  • It helps to balance the story and stop us potentially getting drawn one way or other.
  • It can help to make one character more likeable and make you side with them.
  • It can create sympathy for one or other character, or both, and help draw you into the story more.
  • We get a clearer idea of what’s going on; “there’s always two sides to every story”
  • It adds drama and pace to the plot and helps drive it forward.
  • Switching between perspectives from the reader’s point of view, gives time to breath from the previous protagonist.
  • It can challenge the reader, make things hard to keep up with.  But as soon as the reader realises that the two perspectives have a commonality/link or bond, it tightens the plot and forges a greater engagement from the reader.
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Part 4, Project 1 – Exercise: Tone & Register

Jonathan Stroud – “Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase”
Difficulty in language: it is fluent and articulate.  It’s more advanced than other books analysed and I would guess that it’s aimed at 13+ age groups.
Words to describe tone: respectful, insightful, informative, revealing, confiding in reader
How does the language style relate to chosen genre: it’s easy to engage with. He draws the reader in, wants them in on the adventure

Enid Blyton – “You’re a Good Friend, Noddy”
Difficulty in language: very simple, short sentences, short words and obvious, descriptive phrases.  Aimed at the very young reader.
Words to describe tone: very relaxed, informal, conversational, obvious, gentle
How does the language style relate to chosen genre: very simplistic, gentle, obvious, very suitable for a young reader.  It reiterates the style of conversation that adults have with children

Jacqueline Wilson – “Little Darlings”
Difficulty in language: quite simple, straightforward
Words to describe tone: chatty, conversational, informal, relaxed, journal-style, observational
How does the language style relate to chosen genre: a diary-style appeals to teenage audiences.  Wilson gets under the skin of her reader.  She writes as they write.

Philip Reeve – “Fever Crumb”
Difficulty in language: more complex than others. Long sentences. Subject matter is not obvious.
Words to describe tone: observational, complex, difficult
How does the language style relates to chosen genre: this is more complex style of writing, nothing is obvious about the story he’s telling which pushes the reader to find out more