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Leaving Cert English: Constructive criticism?

  • 09-10-2012 8:16pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭✭ fishnetsxD


    Hey I am new here! I have noticed upon my experience on the internet that this website has interesting/helpful threads. This is particularly regarding Leaving Cert English. I am now in fifth year but I am longing for an A1 in English. My last assignment was a personal response on Emily Dickinson. I got an A1 in that and was delighted. It was my first A1 in English. We have a short story (which I am finding difficult as I am a complicated person) due on Thursday. I am a perfectionist and I want to perfect all of my English assignments. Could all you lovely people on the internet respond with some constructive critism. I haven't written a short story in a long time and I find the title is very difficult to write on.


    Our teacher gave us the short story question from 2012; iv) an inferior rock band howling for fame.

    I have managed to complete the story. It is probably too long for Leaving cert English. I mean, story wise. Anyways here it is :)



    Summer of 2009 had faded; a long summer of ever-lasting sleep and countless thoughts of girls had come to an end. School was back in action. The nuisance of waking up everyday to head into a school where nobody liked me approached once again. Crisp autumn leaves would fall on a daily basis, making a crackling sound as people strolled across them. I hated this time of year; the new schedules always took too long to adjust to. It was also the time when colds were caught. The only things that kept me sane were rain and music. I loved the trickling of a drizzle and how cold the fresh air felt on my face after rainfall. Most of all I loved listening to the stunning sound of it in boredom. However, I loved my music even more than rain. I played the bass guitar and was a member of a rock band with my friends, Derek, Cain and Andrew. I hoped that my music could help me cope this year.

    Not a lot had changed this year. People would still call me names. During the years I had a lot of nicknames, ranging from ‘Pizza Face’ to ‘Volcano Eruption’. This was mostly aimed at me for having acne. My skin had a horrible uneven and lumpy feel to it. I longed for clear skin like others. However it had improved drastically after I started taking tablets. I wasn’t the only one picked on. The majority of pupils pick on my band members also. We were a labelled as a nerdy group. People made snide comments about us because we were slightly different. We all had an unusual style from long oily hair covering our faces to crazy band t-shirts. These were bands that a lot of people hadn’t even heard of. It was routine for us to hear ridiculous stories and laughter about us or our music. I didn’t mind being tormented about being weird, but I detested the comments on our music. They never even heard us play, yet they still commented. I was neither smart nor funny. Music was all I had to be proud of. To have that pride ridiculed with was beyond crossing the line. I could never stand up for myself or my beliefs. As I overheard the spiteful comments, I felt a lump in my throat and lost my sense of taste. The comments would never stop the band’s dreams. We were an inferior rock band howling for fame; nothing could stop our dreams.

    Our band practice was on every Wednesday. By now the band had been together at least a year and rehearsals were always the same. We practiced every week at Derek’s house because he had a soundproof room. We found that it was easier to hear ourselves in there. Every time we began, we played improvised songs with our instruments. These were used as ideas for original songs. Sometimes our improvised jamming sounded like a traditional rock concert. Other times it sounded like a boisterous blob of junk. Time was still on our side for improvement. Our instruments sat in place with us as we played. My mahogany bass hung under me as I held it securely. They were like our best friends and never let us down, unless unprepared. My bass never altered tune during a performance. It was as though the instruments were actually people and understood the band’s stress. Mistakes were made seldom. Cain was an amazing drummer. The drum sticks were never still. Never during a performance, had Cain let them down. The wooden sticks were beaten a lot and could take a fight. They moved rapidly on the rose red drum kit. It was impossible to keep your eyes fixated on them as they were constantly moving. Derek, Andrew and I all played a guitar of some sort. I was on bass, Derek on lead and Andrew on rhythm. These guitars had to work as a team in many aspects. We had perfected the team work with these guitars. A dependency for each instrument was created by us. My electric blue bass was hopeless without Derek’s black lead or Andrew’s multicoloured rhythm guitar. A song wouldn’t sound as superior without the bass or rhythm which was why our attendance of rehearsal was vital. Rarely rehearsals were missed or cancelled. Dedication was important in our band.

    We played gigs on occasion. Battle of the band gigs were a big trend, partially because of prize money. Winning one of those competitions was like winning the lottery in our minds. I could buy all the drugs I wanted and perhaps a car accompanied by strippers in body cons. My imagination always went wild upon day dreaming. Two hundred euro couldn’t buy much. Every two months we would recount the money we had. We had been saving for what seemed like forever. With an addition of ninety euro we’d have a decent amount of recording time. The decision to enter another Battle of the Bands was made shortly after the recount. After smashing the last of our piggy banks to pieces, the amount of money we had seemed impressive. Still, it wasn’t enough. Our duty was to win Battle of the bands in order to obtain the money.

    On February 14th 2010, we played a battle of the bands gig. The competition was fierce. The other groups were very competitive. They yelled aggressive remarks to seem threatening. Although they were bigger and tougher than us; we weren’t scared. The gig was hosted in a youth centre which put safety first. Fights never started in youth centres. I didn’t feel that the others were intimidating or any better than us for that fact. The foolish tactics of terrorisation didn’t work for the other musicians. It filled our souls with determination. An atmosphere of power was in my mind through playing. I felt I had the power to control the public’s emotions. The enjoyment of others happiness built up my confidence. Multicoloured and gothic teenagers would wave their arms and dance as we played our songs. We gained a boost, knowing that our music was appreciated. The lit up faces of teenagers were ecstatic. Pleads for more songs were heard, but it was against the competition rules. After finishing, nervously we watched the other competitors perform. I longed to hear the results but patience was essential. Tasting my own breath with anxiety, I fiddled with my fingers uncontrollably. The body of mine shaking was obvious. However, the bright lively colours of the room calmed me. I looked out on the clear blue sky and a rainbow was in the sky. Momentarily I was distracted when out of the blue the results were in. The host stood up on the stage to announce the results. Somehow he took forever to announce the winners. He seemed keen on speaking of the quality of the groups instead of proclaiming the victors.

    “The winner of the Valentines Battle of the bands is…” He began smirking. He knew he had the power to prolong the wait. Silence was in the building. Young people were captivated was on the man’s face with both optimism and worry. The man was flushed with slight embarrassment. He was annoying me at this point. The power to mess with our minds was in his hands. I wanted to feel the joy or the disappointment already. I just wanted a clear emotion. He looked down at the piece or paper clenched tightly in his hands. “Beauty broke the Mirror” he exclaimed.

    My hands shook in pure exhilaration. We had won our first battle of the bands. All of our practice had payed off. I ran towards Derek, Andrew and Cain, completing the winning group hug. Graciously we walked up onto the stage and accepted the prize. A photo of us was taken. I was wearing a red checked shirt and black skin tight jeans. The others were in similar jeans and band t-shirts. We beamed a proud grin as this event would be a great memory in years to come. As the picture was taken we could hear the supportive applause from the crowd. The host gave us all a manly hand shake with his sweaty gigantic fists as congratulations. Best wishes were made humbly from our competition. We finally received the attention we deserved.

    We invested the prize money into three hours of recording. It was a great experience. We met Martin Bridgeman whom assisted us with recording in the KCLR studio. A CD full of all our memories and music was created. It was an unforgettable experience. Playing in a studio was one of my dreams and to accomplish it at such a young age was a terrific achievement. Derek’s lead guitar composed its usual stunning sounds. The bass and rhythm guitars were bonding well with the lead. They gelled just as well as in the soundproof room in Derek’s house. It was almost the exact same as our practice. The one difference was that we would be played on radio and have CDs to sell. The cover photo was the picture taken on the day of the Battle of the bands. A very valuable memory was produced. Nothing could replace this experience. When the CDs were in the shops; they were sold out. Instantly, they were a trend. Teenagers mainly purchased and listened to the music. I never thought I would use the word popular to describe any aspect of my life. However my music was popular, and remained so for years after the release of our first CD.

    Throughout the years our fame improved drastically. The first memories of a band’s success are always the most exciting. I am now twenty two years old and I still have a passion for playing the bass. Our band is still together and still existent. In fact we are recognised now. We are an admired band with an immense group of supporters. Life improved immensely over time. We are living in a massive pent house on a roof top that overlooks the city of Manhattan. A thrilling life style would describe ours. Parties are attended on a weekly basis. Worries are rarely in my head. As for mocking, after my first success I was never teased again in my life. I am thinking back to memories of my childhood. In my hand I hold a cigarette and a letter. The room smells of marijuana and tobacco as I read the letter. The letter is from my secondary school. It is a letter inviting me to a class reunion. I can’t wait to attend this reunion because I can show that I proved the mocking assholes wrong. I finish my cigarette with a final drag leaving an after taste in my mouth and laugh as I think back.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 121 ✭✭ JackTheGrinder


    Nice, good luck getting your A1


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 33,043 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pickarooney


    Summer of 2009 had faded; a long summer of ever-lasting sleep and countless thoughts of girls had come to an end. School was back in action.
    Bit of a flat opening.
    The nuisance of waking up everyday to head into a school where nobody liked me approached once again.
    Nuisance... approached. I'm not gone on the use of these together.
    Crisp autumn leaves would fall on a daily basis, making a crackling sound as people strolled across them. I hated this time of year; the new schedules always took too long to adjust to
    Again, a bit flat. Strive for something a little more unusual to make your story pop.
    It was also the time when colds were caught.
    Bit of a non-sequitur and the passive voice is clumsy here. People get colds in autumn; common knowlege and not relevant to the story as far as I can see.
    The only things that kept me sane were rain and music. I loved the trickling of a drizzle and how cold the fresh air felt on my face after rainfall.
    Does drizzle trickle? Maybe once it hits a window and runs down but it's not clear here.
    Most of all I loved listening to the stunning sound of it in boredom.
    Are you stunned or bored? Light rainfall is hardly stunning.
    However, I loved my music even more than rain. I played the bass guitar and was a member of a rock band with my friends, Derek, Cain and Andrew. I hoped that my music could help me cope this year.
    This is the first bit of actual story. It could be brought forward. It could also be shortened. If you play bass you're bound to be in a band; it's not much of a solo instrument. At the very least give us the band's name.
    Not a lot had changed this year. People would still call me names. During the years I had a lot of nicknames, ranging from ‘Pizza Face’ to ‘Volcano Eruption’. This was mostly aimed at me for having acne.
    You don't need to spell out why you're called these names.
    My skin had a horrible uneven and lumpy feel to it. I longed for clear skin like others. However it had improved drastically after I started taking tablets. I wasn’t the only one picked on. The majority of pupils pick on my band members also. We were a labelled as a nerdy group. People made snide comments about us because we were slightly different. We all had an unusual style from long oily hair covering our faces to crazy band t-shirts. These were bands that a lot of people hadn’t even heard of. It was routine for us to hear ridiculous stories and laughter about us or our music. I didn’t mind being tormented about being weird, but I detested the comments on our music. They never even heard us play, yet they still commented. I was neither smart nor funny. Music was all I had to be proud of. To have that pride ridiculed with was beyond crossing the line. I could never stand up for myself or my beliefs. As I overheard the spiteful comments, I felt a lump in my throat and lost my sense of taste. The comments would never stop the band’s dreams. We were an inferior rock band howling for fame; nothing could stop our dreams.

    Shorten it down for impact. Add something to make it stand out from a normal teenager's life. If the narrator and his friends are the butt of all these jokes, what have the other kids got going for them? Surely being in a band is kind of cool, at least better than being on the chess team or being top of the class in maths. Tell us something about the kids who are mocking the protagonist so we know where they're coming from. The use of the theme given by your teacher feels forced and unnecessary.
    Our band practice was on every Wednesday. By now the band had been together at least a year and rehearsals were always the same. We practiced every week at Derek’s house because he had a soundproof room. We found that it was easier to hear ourselves in there.
    How does Derek come to have a soundproof room? Is his Dad a rock star or is he obscenely rich? These are details that could spice up the story.
    Every time we began, we played improvised songs with our instruments. These were used as ideas for original songs. Sometimes our improvised jamming sounded like a traditional rock concert. Other times it sounded like a boisterous blob of junk. Time was still on our side for improvement. Our instruments sat in place with us as we played. My mahogany bass hung under me as I held it securely. They were like our best friends and never let us down, unless unprepared. My bass never altered tune during a performance. It was as though the instruments were actually people and understood the band’s stress. Mistakes were made seldom. Cain was an amazing drummer. The drum sticks were never still. Never during a performance, had Cain let them down. The wooden sticks were beaten a lot and could take a fight. They moved rapidly on the rose red drum kit. It was impossible to keep your eyes fixated on them as they were constantly moving. Derek, Andrew and I all played a guitar of some sort. I was on bass, Derek on lead and Andrew on rhythm. These guitars had to work as a team in many aspects. We had perfected the team work with these guitars. A dependency for each instrument was created by us. My electric blue bass was hopeless without Derek’s black lead or Andrew’s multicoloured rhythm guitar. A song wouldn’t sound as superior without the bass or rhythm which was why our attendance of rehearsal was vital. Rarely rehearsals were missed or cancelled. Dedication was important in our band.
    This is all just saying "we practised playing a bit" and there's far too much passive voice. You're nearly half way through the story and nothing of note has happened yet.
    We played gigs on occasion. Battle of the band gigs were a big trend, partially because of prize money. Winning one of those competitions was like winning the lottery in our minds. I could buy all the drugs I wanted and perhaps a car accompanied by strippers in body cons. My imagination always went wild upon day dreaming. Two hundred euro couldn’t buy much. Every two months we would recount the money we had. We had been saving for what seemed like forever. With an addition of ninety euro we’d have a decent amount of recording time. The decision to enter another Battle of the Bands was made shortly after the recount. After smashing the last of our piggy banks to pieces, the amount of money we had seemed impressive. Still, it wasn’t enough. Our duty was to win Battle of the bands in order to obtain the money.

    Again, one line of story spun out.
    On February 14th 2010, we played a battle of the bands gig. The competition was fierce. The other groups were very competitive. They yelled aggressive remarks to seem threatening. Although they were bigger and tougher than us; we weren’t scared. The gig was hosted in a youth centre which put safety first. Fights never started in youth centres. I didn’t feel that the others were intimidating or any better than us for that fact. The foolish tactics of terrorisation didn’t work for the other musicians. It filled our souls with determination. An atmosphere of power was in my mind through playing. I felt I had the power to control the public’s emotions. The enjoyment of others happiness built up my confidence. Multicoloured and gothic teenagers would wave their arms and dance as we played our songs. We gained a boost, knowing that our music was appreciated. The lit up faces of teenagers were ecstatic. Pleads for more songs were heard, but it was against the competition rules. After finishing, nervously we watched the other competitors perform. I longed to hear the results but patience was essential. Tasting my own breath with anxiety, I fiddled with my fingers uncontrollably. The body of mine shaking was obvious. However, the bright lively colours of the room calmed me. I looked out on the clear blue sky and a rainbow was in the sky. Momentarily I was distracted when out of the blue the results were in. The host stood up on the stage to announce the results. Somehow he took forever to announce the winners. He seemed keen on speaking of the quality of the groups instead of proclaiming the victors.
    Finally, a bit of story and some tension. Watch the passive voice here again.
    “The winner of the Valentines Battle of the bands is…” He began smirking. He knew he had the power to prolong the wait. Silence was in the building. Young people were captivated was on the man’s face with both optimism and worry.
    This last sentence doesn't make any sense.
    The man was flushed with slight embarrassment. He was annoying me at this point. The power to mess with our minds was in his hands. I wanted to feel the joy or the disappointment already. I just wanted a clear emotion. He looked down at the piece or paper clenched tightly in his hands. “Beauty broke the Mirror” he exclaimed.

    My hands shook in pure exhilaration. We had won our first battle of the bands. All of our practice had payed off. I ran towards Derek, Andrew and Cain, completing the winning group hug. Graciously we walked up onto the stage and accepted the prize. A photo of us was taken. I was wearing a red checked shirt and black skin tight jeans. The others were in similar jeans and band t-shirts. We beamed a proud grin as this event would be a great memory in years to come. As the picture was taken we could hear the supportive applause from the crowd. The host gave us all a manly hand shake with his sweaty gigantic fists as congratulations. Best wishes were made humbly from our competition. We finally received the attention we deserved.

    We invested the prize money into three hours of recording. It was a great experience. We met Martin Bridgeman whom assisted us with recording in the KCLR studio. A CD full of all our memories and music was created. It was an unforgettable experience. Playing in a studio was one of my dreams and to accomplish it at such a young age was a terrific achievement. Derek’s lead guitar composed its usual stunning sounds. The bass and rhythm guitars were bonding well with the lead. They gelled just as well as in the soundproof room in Derek’s house. It was almost the exact same as our practice. The one difference was that we would be played on radio and have CDs to sell. The cover photo was the picture taken on the day of the Battle of the bands. A very valuable memory was produced. Nothing could replace this experience. When the CDs were in the shops; they were sold out. Instantly, they were a trend. Teenagers mainly purchased and listened to the music. I never thought I would use the word popular to describe any aspect of my life. However my music was popular, and remained so for years after the release of our first CD.

    Throughout the years our fame improved drastically. The first memories of a band’s success are always the most exciting. I am now twenty two years old and I still have a passion for playing the bass. Our band is still together and still existent. In fact we are recognised now. We are an admired band with an immense group of supporters. Life improved immensely over time. We are living in a massive pent house on a roof top that overlooks the city of Manhattan. A thrilling life style would describe ours. Parties are attended on a weekly basis. Worries are rarely in my head. As for mocking, after my first success I was never teased again in my life. I am thinking back to memories of my childhood. In my hand I hold a cigarette and a letter. The room smells of marijuana and tobacco as I read the letter. The letter is from my secondary school. It is a letter inviting me to a class reunion. I can’t wait to attend this reunion because I can show that I proved the mocking assholes wrong. I finish my cigarette with a final drag leaving an after taste in my mouth and laugh as I think back.
    [/I]

    One big 'happily ever after'.

    To be honest, there's not much of a story here. There's really only one character and one key event either side of an intro and an outro. It's not really a bad story for leaving cert level but if your aim is to get an A1 you'll have to work on this a lot.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 121 ✭✭ JackTheGrinder


    my hero


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,183 ✭✭✭ Antilles


    fishnetsxD wrote: »
    We have a short story (which I am finding difficult as I am a complicated person)

    You're absolutely right. Most of the great short story writers (in fact, most great writers in general) are dull, uninteresting and most importantly uncomplicated people. Hemingway, Bradbury, Joyce... they all benefited from having nothing to clutter up their minds or get in the way of their writing. I've spent the past few years shedding my more obscure interests and personality traits for this very reason.

    Although I haven't read your story, if you are a complicated person, I'd advise you to give up now because you really don't have the essential straightforward personality to be a writer of any worth.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,312 Daftendirekt


    Towards the end, it starts to read like a very condensed autobiography.

    It really needs a central conflict of some sort to make it a story, rather than a description of stuff that happened. It might be more interesting (for example) to look at a band finding themselves on the brink of success just as relations between the members are breaking down.

    Also, the last couple of paragraphs jump forward in time quite a bit. It's good practice to confine your short stories to as short a time frame as possible. If you want the band to become massively successful, you'd be better off hinting at things to come rather than spelling it out explicitly.

    Best of luck with the LC anyway. I hope you get your A1!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭✭ fishnetsxD


    Nice, good luck getting your A1
    Thanks :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭✭ fishnetsxD


    Towards the end, it starts to read like a very condensed autobiography.

    It really needs a central conflict of some sort to make it a story, rather than a description of stuff that happened. It might be more interesting (for example) to look at a band finding themselves on the brink of success just as relations between the members are breaking down.

    Also, the last couple of paragraphs jump forward in time quite a bit. It's good practice to confine your short stories to as short a time frame as possible. If you want the band to become massively successful, you'd be better off hinting at things to come rather than spelling it out explicitly.

    Best of luck with the LC anyway. I hope you get your A1!


    Got an A2 and changed it slightly :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭✭ fishnetsxD


    Antilles wrote: »
    You're absolutely right. Most of the great short story writers (in fact, most great writers in general) are dull, uninteresting and most importantly uncomplicated people. Hemingway, Bradbury, Joyce... they all benefited from having nothing to clutter up their minds or get in the way of their writing. I've spent the past few years shedding my more obscure interests and personality traits for this very reason.

    Although I haven't read your story, if you are a complicated person, I'd advise you to give up now because you really don't have the essential straightforward personality to be a writer of any worth.


    Well English or writing is what I am considering for college. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭✭ fishnetsxD


    Bit of a flat opening.


    Nuisance... approached. I'm not gone on the use of these together.


    Again, a bit flat. Strive for something a little more unusual to make your story pop.


    Bit of a non-sequitur and the passive voice is clumsy here. People get colds in autumn; common knowlege and not relevant to the story as far as I can see.


    Does drizzle trickle? Maybe once it hits a window and runs down but it's not clear here.


    Are you stunned or bored? Light rainfall is hardly stunning.

    This is the first bit of actual story. It could be brought forward. It could also be shortened. If you play bass you're bound to be in a band; it's not much of a solo instrument. At the very least give us the band's name.


    You don't need to spell out why you're called these names.



    Shorten it down for impact. Add something to make it stand out from a normal teenager's life. If the narrator and his friends are the butt of all these jokes, what have the other kids got going for them? Surely being in a band is kind of cool, at least better than being on the chess team or being top of the class in maths. Tell us something about the kids who are mocking the protagonist so we know where they're coming from. The use of the theme given by your teacher feels forced and unnecessary.


    How does Derek come to have a soundproof room? Is his Dad a rock star or is he obscenely rich? These are details that could spice up the story.


    This is all just saying "we practised playing a bit" and there's far too much passive voice. You're nearly half way through the story and nothing of note has happened yet.


    Again, one line of story spun out.


    Finally, a bit of story and some tension. Watch the passive voice here again.


    This last sentence doesn't make any sense.



    One big 'happily ever after'.

    To be honest, there's not much of a story here. There's really only one character and one key event either side of an intro and an outro. It's not really a bad story for leaving cert level but if your aim is to get an A1 you'll have to work on this a lot.



    Well, I changed the story slightly and my teacher gave me an A2.


  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭✭ fishnetsxD


    my hero

    why? :L


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  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ hcass


    Antilles wrote: »
    You're absolutely right. Most of the great short story writers (in fact, most great writers in general) are dull, uninteresting and most importantly uncomplicated people. Hemingway, Bradbury, Joyce... they all benefited from having nothing to clutter up their minds or get in the way of their writing. I've spent the past few years shedding my more obscure interests and personality traits for this very reason.

    Although I haven't read your story, if you are a complicated person, I'd advise you to give up now because you really don't have the essential straightforward personality to be a writer of any worth.

    I have to disagree with you Antilles - I don't see how you can make this assumption. Hemingway blew his head off with a shotgun - I think there'd have to be something rather complicated going on in your head to do that...

    And I wouldn't call Joyce an uninteresting or dull character at all. I can't comment on Bradbury as I'm not familiar with him but I am aware of many writers with very interesting and colourful lives - Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Judy Blume...


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 17,231 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Das Kitty


    hcass wrote: »
    I have to disagree with you Antilles - I don't see how you can make this assumption. Hemingway blew his head off with a shotgun - I think there'd have to be something rather complicated going on in your head to do that...

    And I wouldn't call Joyce an uninteresting or dull character at all. I can't comment on Bradbury as I'm not familiar with him but I am aware of many writers with very interesting and colourful lives - Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Judy Blume...

    I think he was joking. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,183 ✭✭✭ Antilles


    hcass wrote: »
    I have to disagree with you Antilles - I don't see how you can make this assumption. Hemingway blew his head off with a shotgun - I think there'd have to be something rather complicated going on in your head to do that...

    And I wouldn't call Joyce an uninteresting or dull character at all. I can't comment on Bradbury as I'm not familiar with him but I am aware of many writers with very interesting and colourful lives - Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Judy Blume...



    :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,183 ✭✭✭ Antilles


    Oh, and OP: great job on your A2. I was just kidding on the "complicated" thing. I hope you didn't take offense. Non-complicated people don't become writers, or at least don't become good writers. Non-complicated people are boring as hell and in general are the worst people to know.

    I studied Engish in college too. If I was to name one thing that affected my writing the most it would be from Wordsworth.

    "The spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility."

    That was his definition of poetry, but it is relevant to prose as well. Your writing style is good, but nobody except teachers care about style. What readers want is an emotional experience; if you can give them that then they'll forgive any blunders you make.

    Your story is good, but I'd echo a lot of what Pickarooney said; you need more emotional "kick". Your prose is fine, but plotting needs work. Pull on people's heartstrings, don't be afraid to get manipulative. You're taking up ten minutes of your reader's time. Don't be afraid to go out there and earn it. Make them feel something.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2 deepsigh


    "It is probably too long for Leaving cert English. I mean, story wise."

    There is no limit on how long your story can be, there is only a time limit. The most important piece of Leaving Cert advice I can give you is to know before going into the exam is know exactly how much time you have to spend on each question. Also, when preparing for the exams, make sure you time yourself. If it spent you hours to write that story, bear in mind that in the exam you will only have somewhere around forty minutes (I think - it's a couple of years since I did my Leaving.)

    My second piece of advice is - do not write a short story in your exam. This is nothing to do with your skills as a writer; I would give the same advice to J.K. Rowling. It is much, much easier to get a good result from writing an essay. Writing a story is not mandatory. I wrote an essay instead and got an A1. Perhaps I would've achieved an A1 with a story as well, but I think when it comes to important exams like these it's best to play it safe.


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