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April 22, 2021, 09:28:28 am

Author Topic: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!  (Read 26893 times)

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stephjones

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #60 on: July 29, 2017, 07:40:59 pm »
Hi Steph - I'm incredibly sorry this took too long. I completely missed this in the rush we had and Jamon pointed it out to me before. So I'm really sorry! I hope this is still handy for you :) In saying this, I didn't study sci-fi so there may be particular conventions you need to adhere to that I'm not 100% up with, but nonetheless I'll look for grammar, structure, engagement, development, etc... :)


Spoiler
“There is no human life more sacred than another, just as there exists no human life qualitatively more meaningful than another.” – Pope Francis.
 Love this quote, but also love the love the way it's planted at the beginning before the story begins.
* * *

Artificial moonlight trickled through the gap in the beige curtains, casting mottled shadows over the bleached marble floor. The man woke as pain assaulted his chest, a hoarse groan of agony slipping from his throat. He struggled into a sitting position, eyes watering as the ache intensified with each gasp of air he took in attempt to placate it. Shaking fingers found the red button on the side of his cot, desperation forcing his fingers to clench as pain laced through his abdomen.

The light over his head glared crimson, the siren interrupting the silence of the ward. Immediately, the wall beside his bed folded outwards, an indistinct figure speeding towards him, a blur of silver and white. The bitter scent of chemicals was overwhelming, agonising, and pinpoints of black began to obscure his vision, and his screams drowned out the blaring siren and he didn’t know what was real anymore except for the pain, the darkness that blanketed him, the shadows that crept in from the corners of his vision, suffocating him. 

And then suddenly, it was as if he was floating.

The man blinked, forcing his vision to come back into focus, barely noting the lifelines now stapled to his chest, a white tube pumping liquid that disappeared into smooth skin. A nurse hovered over him, its just not sure about its - unless there's a reason that gender cannot be assigned to certain characters in this story. In which case, I'll find out shortly blonde hair spilling over thin, metal shoulders as its unblinking cerulean eyes scanned the length of his body. He was numb, and the shadows were almost too bright as he gazed, disorientated, around his room, flinching from the icy fingers that ran over his forehead.

The curve of each nurses’ body was designed to calm the men, but they never could manage to get the body temperature right. But it was a price he was willing to pay – the Domestic Services Act of 2034 had retired human women from high-stress occupations, to spare them from the potential of emotionally-provoked errors.

The nurse made no noise as it grabbed a clipboard from the desk, scrawling indecipherably along thin black lines. “The sedatives won’t last much longer, Mr Archibald. This is it,” it informed him, and the voice was clipped, indifferent, dispassionate. The man swallowed, as a hollowness settled deep within his chest. “Your body is effectively eating itself.” It's not dialogue, but I think this would resonate more if it were put on its own line, the quotation.

The man’s vision began to blur, and he blinked furiously to fend away the shadows lurking at the edges of his gaze. His mind flooded with images, a photo album of the previous thirty years, of a family, of a dishevelled two-year-old boy waiting stubbornly by the window for him, of the desperation settled deep within his wife’s blue gaze as she kissed his knuckles.

He took in a trembling breath, eyes flicking desperately around the ward, yearning for the warmth of human comfort, but the sterile walls ignored him as he felt the images, the life slip from his grasp.

“Of course, you are eligible for a Life Extension,” the nurse continued, “The serum has a ninety-eight per cent success rate – exposing the body cells to cryogenic environments decelerates the aging process and destroys tumours, and has the potential to double the average human life expectancy. The population surplus is dealt with accordingly and immediately, and for a small price, it’s as though your body never malfunctioned.” It listed the benefits methodically, monotonous, voice a drone against the unnatural silence of the ward. This last sentence doesn't make sense. "It listed the benefits methodically and monotonously, the voice was a drone again the unnatural silence of the ward." Perhaps this works better? He thought again of his family, of tears he would be unable to catch, of dreams never realised. What was the value of his life, his family, his family’s future, to the value of a man he’d never met? But still his heart clenched painfully. The shadows continued to writhe, waiting in his peripheral vision.

“Surplus? Someone… killed…” But his eyes were drifting shut, voice slurring as his head sagged back to the pillow. The nurse finished printing details, placing the clipboard in front of him. The letters swam before his eyes, “ExtendiLife™ - Your life is too valuable to lose!” An excellent contrast to the quote at the beginning! Love this! His hands began to shake, and the ache began to blossom in his chest once more, an agony that ran deeper than his illness.

“Retired, yes,” the nurse corrected, “But someone less significant than you, Mr Archibald – someone from the colonies. Two things here - I'm wondering if it should be capitalised, and also wondering if it isn't wise to use the same name as Atwood does in the Handmaid's Tale. Get your teacher's opinion on this - I don't know if it borders into being unoriginal or it works as creative textual integration. As useful to our society as an ant is,” the nurse assured, pressing the pen into the man’s limp fingers, guiding his hands to the signature line, and it was all too much. And as the pressure built within his chest again, and the shadows reached greedily across his vision, the last thing he saw was the cold, silver hand signing his name.

* * *

The sky outside was an angry kaleidoscope of charcoals and greys as large droplets pelted relentlessly against the window, the smog suffocating the city, pressing up against the glass. A skeleton of skyscrapers loomed over the small house, the plethora of wires entangling them within the rubble that littered the ground. Hundreds of people scurried over the dusty hillside, as frightened insects in a foreign nest. The woman turned away.

“Mama, I did it!”

The child beamed up at her, a toothless grin that made his wide hazel eyes sparkle as he held the dusty, coloured cube triumphantly in his hand. The old wheelchair whined to a halt as he stopped in front of the woman, panting, exhilarated, pressing the puzzle into her palm, and his smile was infectious. She knelt, sweeping the auburn hair from the side of his face tenderly.

“Jimmy said you gotta be really, really smart to make the sides the same colours and I did!” he repeated, voice a squeal, a giggle bursting from his lips that lit the shadowy grey world beyond the window. “I’m gonna be a space man, Mama, because you gotta be smart to be a space man! Mr Abacus at school said I couldn’t because I can’t walk, but I read a book that said in space you fly so I wouldn’t even need my chair!”

And as the boy chattered on her thoughts turned to the cities that floated, invisible, miles above the industrial smog, where the stars were painted in the sky, where the space man was the man in the tie who sat on his throne and watched the ants scurry below. But she smiled, again, at the innocence of dreams which threatened to break the cover of clouds and nodded sincerely. “You can be whatever you want to be, Toby,” she affirmed, a lie, and the grin that split his face overshadowed the twisting anguish in her gut.

((I'm trying to include something here bc next para is too sudden imo))

The ancient telecommunications machine behind her whirred to life, spluttering as it spat out the clean, white paper. A government seal branded the top right corner, long cursive letters decorating the pristine page. Her stomach dropped as the bitter scent of chemicals wafted from the document, blood turning to ice at the boy’s excited cry of recognition of his own name penned in the scathing black ink.

“We regret to inform you that the individual TOBIUS BROWN is to be retired at noon tomorrow as a result of the population surplus. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Kind regards,
Archibald Enterprises.”

And suddenly the walls of the small home were suffocating, the dust that rose from the wooden floorboards choking her throat as the boy watched on, brows furrowed in an innocent frown of confusion. Her knees buckled, the toy cube thudding to the floor, the manuscript trembling in her hand as her mind flashed forward, to the tears she would never be able to catch, to dreams never realised. How could the value of one man’s life overshadow the dreams, the future of a family?

And miles above them, the space man raised his foot above the ants, and stepped down.

What I love about this piece:
-The way the initial quote comes from an authority like the Pope, because it's powerful yet also comes from an authority that's been criticised for hypocrisy before. Then, the way it's referenced and explored implicitly and explicitly throughout is just wonderful!
-The comparison between the two narratives is clever enough that I'm never thinking, wait, what happened to that first guy?
-It definitely explores speculative fiction in all the right ways.

What I want to suggest for improvements:
-I struggled to understand the nurse. Was it a woman dressed as a man? Why did she or he have silver hands? And from what I noticed, the nurse was only referenced as an "it" twice, meaning that I wasn't ready to commit to the fact that this was a genderless being instead of a potential typo.
-The legislation that is put in earlier, it also confused me a bit. I definitely like the implementation of the legislation, but it didn't answer questions for me, nor prompt them, but just kind of confused me. When it came to looking closely at the nurse figure, I was unsure of what to make of the nurse in general. So the act kind of just made it a little bit more muddy for me.

The second half of the story was very clear to me, although you said you felt like it jumped too far in that one bit where you want to add something else, I didn't particularly read it that way. I do wonder that when she receives the note about the termination, should it perhaps use some kind of hypocritical statement in there that's a little ironic? The inconvenience thing threw me a bit - because although it works in its own calculated and callous way, I wonder if something like, "We trust that you understand the needs of the nation." Or something like this...I wonder if this prompts more questions about the national needs about the individual needs, which in itself is another link to the original quote.

I hope this gives you another valuable perspective!

Thank you so so much! I absolutely get that you guys are getting hammered at the moment, so it's all good haha (: Definitely in time though, my extension trial isn't until next week so its fine!

I totally get what you mean in terms of the legislation/nurse (it was supposed to be a robot, kind of to show the way that technology has the potential to subjugate humans etc etc), it was a bit of a last ditch attempt to add in a more technologically-based sci-fi convention because I was told that it was very soft science-fiction, but I'll definitely work on clarifying that or figuring something else out around that!

Also I totally did not even realise that I'd ripped off Atwood, but I'll probably change that as well!

Thank you so so much for your feedback, it was really helpful!! xx
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elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2017, 07:53:29 pm »
Thank you so so much! I absolutely get that you guys are getting hammered at the moment, so it's all good haha (: Definitely in time though, my extension trial isn't until next week so its fine!

I totally get what you mean in terms of the legislation/nurse (it was supposed to be a robot, kind of to show the way that technology has the potential to subjugate humans etc etc), it was a bit of a last ditch attempt to add in a more technologically-based sci-fi convention because I was told that it was very soft science-fiction, but I'll definitely work on clarifying that or figuring something else out around that!

Also I totally did not even realise that I'd ripped off Atwood, but I'll probably change that as well!

Thank you so so much for your feedback, it was really helpful!! xx

So glad to hear this Steph! All the best with it :)
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #62 on: August 08, 2017, 03:53:46 pm »
Thank you so so much! I absolutely get that you guys are getting hammered at the moment, so it's all good haha (: Definitely in time though, my extension trial isn't until next week so its fine!

I totally get what you mean in terms of the legislation/nurse (it was supposed to be a robot, kind of to show the way that technology has the potential to subjugate humans etc etc), it was a bit of a last ditch attempt to add in a more technologically-based sci-fi convention because I was told that it was very soft science-fiction, but I'll definitely work on clarifying that or figuring something else out around that!

Also I totally did not even realise that I'd ripped off Atwood, but I'll probably change that as well!

Thank you so so much for your feedback, it was really helpful!! xx

I don't do your unit of work but wow I really enjoyed that story    :D
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stephjones

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #63 on: August 08, 2017, 05:19:34 pm »
I don't do your unit of work but wow I really enjoyed that story    :D

ahh thank you so much ! (:
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #64 on: August 08, 2017, 06:11:37 pm »
The creative writing I am planning to use for trials fits into a whole lot of themes, but if it asked for a specific location I would be screwed!! Any predictions for what this year's ATB creative question could be? And should I be preparing a more general story
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dancing phalanges

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #65 on: August 08, 2017, 06:15:07 pm »
The creative writing I am planning to use for trials fits into a whole lot of themes, but if it asked for a specific location I would be screwed!! Any predictions for what this year's ATB creative question could be? And should I be preparing a more general story

I have the exact same issue as my Romantic story is set on a boat and the plot depends on that setting (the boat is destroyed by the storm at the end as a symbol of nature's retribution against man's greed) so I am just going to try think of another way of doing my story just in case! Here's to hoping the stimulus is anything BUT a setting for both of us ahah :)
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #66 on: August 08, 2017, 06:23:21 pm »
I have the exact same issue as my Romantic story is set on a boat and the plot depends on that setting (the boat is destroyed by the storm at the end as a symbol of nature's retribution against man's greed) so I am just going to try think of another way of doing my story just in case! Here's to hoping the stimulus is anything BUT a setting for both of us ahah :)

Yeah mine is in Berlin all about the Berlin Wall so I am stuck of what to do! Cause I really wanna keep developing this story to make it of a high standard but at the back of my mind I know I probably should try and begin a more general one before HSC
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LetsBeCats

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #67 on: August 23, 2017, 03:00:57 pm »
Is there anyone who could help me scaffold a navigating the global creative piece? I have two basic ones but I'm struggling to get a solid concept through in my story and there are not many sample response to look at....
PS: the story for Life Writing above is amazing!! Defs an E4 at least!

diesxel

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #68 on: August 23, 2017, 10:32:33 pm »
Hello! I've attached my Romanticism creative and I was hoping someone could mark it?

I want to use it in my trial (which is on Friday) but feedback would also be appreciated because I want to use it in HSC

Any advice or suggestions will 100% be appreciated! Thank you so much  :)
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ruponti.atiq

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #69 on: October 27, 2017, 08:04:19 pm »
Do we have to implicitly mention paradigms in our creative or can they be explicit?

elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #70 on: October 27, 2017, 08:59:27 pm »
Do we have to implicitly mention paradigms in our creative or can they be explicit?

They can be explicit :)
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justwannawish

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Re: English Extension One Creative Writing Thread!
« Reply #71 on: October 27, 2017, 11:00:08 pm »
Hey, for the historical figure one, I was planning on doing Oppheinmer for my creative and substituiting him in the place of my protagonist, and having him make a ficticious discovery of the bomb. Does that sound reasonable or would I have to stick to historical accuracy?

Secondly, for an historical event, I have a story about the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, it's in the background (main plot is the head of the Stasi department gets an unexpected visitor who claims she has information about American spies.Turns out that she is actually a spy for the West and is confessing because of Schabowski's announcement earlier that day, glad she can finally achieve her purpose. But she also knows the Stasi guard is actually a spy himself, and his mission is also over with the fall of the wall. And the story ends with the Wall falling and the people being reunited as one.) Would I need to foreground the historical event more? Maybe integrate a section where random workers in the street are huddled around a radio and cheering and the protagonist can only decipher a couple of words about "Gates are open" and thinking nothing of it. Or would it depend on the question itself? Does anyone have any ideas of what to include as a subtle feature?

Thirdly, does anyone know any Western spies in East Berlin?  :)

(PS Good luck Elyse for your assessment! Thank you so much for doing so much for on Extension when you have a busy uni life! Hope the good karma strikes you thrice  ;D)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 11:16:18 pm by justwannawish »