Writing Crime with Bulwell Academy!
Posted on September 9, 2015 in News & Events
Back in June, I visited Bulwell Academy and held a two hour workshop on Writing Crime in their fabulous Learning Resource Centre (LRC).
The Year 7 students proved to be a very talented group with lots of ideas and we had no shortage of students volunteering to read out their excellent writing.
I was delighted when many of the students said they intended developing their crime stories and character outlines in their own time at home.
I was even more amazed when the students requested that Mrs Stevens, the LRC Manager, help them set up a creative writing after-school club in the autumn term.
I popped back into school just before the end of term and Mrs Stevens presented me with a very impressive pile of the students’ work to read through over the summer. With the students’ permission, I have included some excerpts from their work, below.
During the workshop, we looked at three important elements when writing in crime genre; Plot, Characters, Tension & Pace.
We explored how to build a strong protagonist and the students worked on how to show character through clothing. For this session we chose different footwear and the students came up with some excellent examples.
His shoes. Shiny, black and bright white.
He starts to blink, unsure of why he bought the shoes. Thoughts swarm his mind, trying to think of reasons.
Maybe it’s because they remind him of his father’s old pair, just maybe.
He shook away the thought.
His shoes make him feel powerful and strong. His shoes have to be clean and fresh.
He walks around town, thinking he’s so sick and showing off. His shoes are white and black with bright red laces.
He thinks he’s on top of everyone else and trying to control them.
Sometimes he thinks he is the boss of everything but he’s not.
Every day, Jeffrey wore these trainers for runs to the park, the shop, or just wherever his thoughts took him.
It has been about a week he’s had those thoughts, tried to cover up the knowledge of his brother, who was recently put into a coma.
After about a week, his brother was pronounced dead after heart failure.
That day, Jeffrey went on a run that got faster, until he was sprinting. He ran and ran.
No-one in his town has seen him since.
She loves this pair of shoes a lot because they don’t make her feel shy like she is at school and afraid of the bullies. But when she slips her fave pair of heels on her feet, she doesn’t feel afraid of anything.
The shoes were shiny, black as pitch black. As if she can go to pubs, showing off to others, bringing all the boys to her club. She’s not just showing off but bringing her life as a famous celebrity instead of being a dork without any fashion. Her thoughts. Dreams . . .
She thought of her life, being popular for so long but wished to be back as a dork. What would she end up as . . . a famous celebrity or a dork? Her dreams and hopes ending up as a problem.
My shoes are high because it makes me feel that on top of everyone else. It makes me feel fierce and proud like I can get anything I want.
It makes me look rich and ready for fun. I don’t need any future without fashion. It’s my life.
The shoes are shiny, sleek and dark as night.
As this person walks through the crowd, they feel pride like a lion and power like a cannon.
The power comes from the steel tips on the toes which could break bone if applied with enough force.
Although this person walks like a soldier, they are not as tough as nails, they are soft as a marshmallow.
He wears long, shiny black boots. He polishes them every night without fail.
He has to have bright, white laces. He washes the laces every night and he always has a spare pair in his back pocket.
The boots make him feel big, proud, powerful and strong. They make him feel good about himself.
If he wears any other shoes, they make him feel small and weak.
In the second half of the workshop, we looked at writing our own stories, paying particular attention to using various literary tools – essential to keep the reader turning the page!
Again, there were some great ideas, involving . . .
PLOT TWISTS . . .
‘Phelps, come here, quick,’ Captain Wilson shouted. Detective Cole Phelps came into his office. ‘There has been a house fire, possible casualties.’
Cole drove there to find the street cordoned off. He went in the house to find four people in a begging position, severely burned. Two adults and two children.
Phelps’ partner Briggs, questioned the neighbour because his boot prints matched the ones in the house. The man said he knew nothing about the fire.
They arrested the man on suspicion of being an arsonist. Phelps was still searching when he came across a faulty fuse box and boiler.
THE LANGUAGE OF SUSPENSE . . .
A storm was brewing. Thunder struck.
The harsh wind gushed through the smashed window. The curtains danced like ghosts at a party.
It was like the world had stopped.
TENSION . . .
A dark shadow crept through the children’s bedroom and looks at the little girl.
Their parents walk in . . . but there is nothing there.
EFFECTIVE FIRST LINES . . .
In an innocent town In an innocent road, there was an innocent house that had an innocent little family inside.
And in that innocent family, there is a morbid little girl inside her bedroom.
Three shots to the brain, two to the chest. He fell to the floor, blood-staining the baby blue carpet.
When the creative writing group is up and running, I’m very much looking forward to visiting the academy again to see how this very capable group of year 7 writers are getting on.