Guest Post by Jess
(The photo is a still from the 2010 movie adaption)

“Ways to Live Forever” a book written by Sally Nicholls.  This happens to be my favorite book of all time! The book is about a boy named Sam fighting Leukemia (Cancer to the blood), and he finds a friend named Felix.  Together they try and live out their goals before they both die.

“Things I Want to Happen After I die: You’re allowed to be sad, but you’re not allowed to be too sad. If you’re always sad when you think about me, then how can you remember me?”
[If you all had to write two more sentences in this paragraph, what would they be?]


Guest Post by Tanatswa
(Photo credit: Ben Zank)

This is an extract from Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

“It was a coffin.
Something told me it was empty.
I was sure that I would see a familiar face in that coffin. I was sure I
would see myself. But why would I be lying in a church that was no church?

Cold fingers of horror squeezed my heart, wrung the blood from it and left
me gasping for air. Each inhalation was a sniffle, each exhalation a
shudder. My fingernails pressed into my palms and the pain of it was prod
that I was alive, or something like alive and yet I knew, I knew what I
would see in that coffin.

I took another step.


What can you guys say about the tone, genre, vocabulary and writers

David and Goliath

A Poem

Dawn broke with a bright

Breaking the design.

I knew it would never work but decided to give it a


Patrice always said:

“Enjoy life and have a dash of everything!”

Unsurprisingly, it came like a loud and sudden

I was in prison, locked up in chains,
my shirt was covered in

Which reminds me!
She always said:

“These boys are so hot, but most of them are pains.”

She was right. The amendments could wash out the stains.
But he said he wasn’t sorry.

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

He never meant it.
He                              continued.
and all I did was ignore him.

Then again, she said

“Ignore all the negativity!”


The design was superb! A giant lattice.

Lattice. Woven. Circular.

Patrice always used to say that the circle of life never mattered.
“What matters is what you do when you are alive!”

[What do you think, class? I’ve edited it slightly from our rough version; mainly adding punctuation and cohesive elements. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts! I’m particularly interested in the interplay between fracture and wholeness and how diction contributes to this sensation. It is especially interesting when you think that we made this poem out of parts, so it is, in itself, a whole made out of fractured bits. How does the title affect the poem? Does it add a layer of covert meaning? An example of the iceberg effect? Let me know in the comments!]

Show and (don’t) Tell

Hello class!

I hope you all managed with the exercise in “Show, don’t tell” today! There are lots of resources on this topic and I encourage you to have a look around for articles and blogs for pointers on how to improve your writing using this tactic.

Here is but one:

I want you all to think about how a setting can even “show” the atmosphere you’re trying to create. For instance, if you’re trying to develop tension in your narrative essays, there are many ways to go about it without stating “It was tense”. Sometimes, developing your setting in a particular way can help do that work for you.

Have a look at the following extract. It’s from Bryony Rheam’s This September Sun (2009).

[So I was trying to think of a terrible pun for this blog post. Best I could do was “This September Pun”. Weak sauce. I’ve spared you all.]

“December came. Hints of unrest and further economic instability breathed uneasily through parched, rainless days. I had never known such a dry end of year. Storm clouds gathered often, then dispersed. At night we tossed in sweat-drenched sheets and woke exhausted in the early morning heat. I slept with just a sheet to cover me and the windows open on the clear star-filled skies. The wind hardly moved and often, when I couldn’t sleep, I would go and sit outside and think, the night thick and warm around me. Talk of people emigrating hung above us like the sky that stretched white-blue and unrelenting, a never-ending migraine”

What can you say about how the setting produces a particular effect? Are vocabulary choices working to help it along? What is being indirectly said?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


Ms Roberts

Thriller Night

This picture is from Night of the Living Dead, a 1968 American independent horror film.
Guest post by Nosizwe: 
“The dead walk among us.  Zombies, ghouls- no matter what their label. These somnambulists are the greatest threat to humanity. Other than humanity itself. To call the predators and us pray would be inaccurate. They are a plague, and the human race their host. The lucky victims are devoured, their bones scrapped clean, their flesh consumed. Those not so fortunate join the ranks of their attackers, transformed into putrid, carnivorous monsters. Conventional warfare is useless against the creature, as is conventional thought. The science of like ending development and perfected since the beginning of our existence, cannot protect us from an enemy that has no “life” to end”
This extract was taken from The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
I chose this extract because it widens our knowledge of Zombie Fiction Novels. Having talked about writing zombie Apocalypse I found this as a great Extract. What can you say about the form of writing, the tone, metaphors, writers purpose and the vocabulary used here?

“C’est Angleterre over there?”

Hi class!
(Easy opportunity for puns there! There’s a reward for anyone who can make the best one)

I hope you had an excellent weekend and found time to meditate on the next writing assignment “Ghost Town”. Those preparatory questions are an excellent way to begin such a meditation. Feel free to use your 600 words as creatively as you like!

Thank you to those of you who have already commented on the last blog post. Your observations were great! A lot of you picked up on the clichéd nature of the language choices and were able to pick up the features they had in common with our class discussions. On the subject of clichés, here is a fun article where you can test your knowledge of literary clichés:

By now, we’ve all finished the Common Exercise on Bill Bryson. I thought that I would give you some further examples from his oeuvre (a fancy French word for “Body of Work”) of travel writing. Since we are beginning our journey into English Language studies, it seemed appropriate to begin with travel writing about the small country from whence cometh this language. This extract are is taken from Bill Bryon’s travel book  about Britain: Notes from a Small Island (1995).

“I do find London exciting. Much as I hate to agree with that tedious old git Samuel Johnson, and despite the pompous imbecility of his famous remark about when a man is tired of London he is tired of life…I can’t dispute it […] After seven years of living in the country in the sort of place where a dead cow draws a crowd, London can seem a bit dazzling.

I can never understand why Londoners fail to see that they live in the most wonderful city in the world. It is far more beautiful and interesting than Paris, if you ask me, and more lively than anywhere but New York – and even New York can’t touch it in lots of important ways. It has more history, finer parks, a livelier and more varied press, better theatres, more numerous orchestras and museums, leafier squares, safer streets, and more courteous inhabitants than any other large city in the world” (Bryson 46).

This extract is from A Walk in the Woods (1997), in which Bryson, at the age of 44, decides to hike the 2200 km Appalachian Trail:

“So I decided to do it. More rashly, I announced my intention – told friends and neighbours, confidently informed my publisher, made it common knowledge among those who knew me. Then I bought some books and talked to people who had done the trail in whole or in part and came gradually to realise that this was way beyond – way beyond – anything I had attempted before.

Nearly everyone I talked to had some gruesome story involving a guileless acquaintance who had gone off hiking the trail with high hopes and new boots and come stumbling back two days later with a bobcat attached to his head or dripping blood from an armless sleeve and whispering “Bear!” in a hoarse voice, before sinking into a troubled unconscious.

The woods were full of peril – rattlesnakes and water moccasins and nests of copperheads; bobcats, bears, coyotes, wolves and wild boar; loony hillbillies destabilised by gross quantities of impure corn liquor and generations of profoundly unbiblical sex; rabies-crazed skunks, raccoons and squirrels; merciless fire ants and ravening blackfly; poison ivy, poison sumac, poison salamanders; even a scattering of moose lethally deranged by a parasitic worm that burrows a nest in their brains and befuddles them into chasing hapless hikers through remote, sunny meadows and into glacial lakes” (Bryson 13).

So now you have three examples of written language from the same author! Can you start to see different elements that are common to all three passages?

What can you say of his tone? If you had to venture an opinion on Bill Bryson’s favourite figure of speech, what would you say?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


Ms. Roberts