OU Creative Writing eTMA 01


eTMA 01

Part 1

In 500 words write a complete mini story where the central character is a child.  Write it from the child’s narrative point of view (using “I”), and in the past tense.  Pay attention to the kind of language a child might use and to the observations particular to a child.  Use as your setting a busy city street, where something has just happened, before the story begins.  Use some dialogue.

There were so many different kindsa’ siren!  It sounded like they were arguing with each other:

“Whoop, whoop.  Let me through, I’m a police car, I must get there fast.”

“Eeoiiiww Eeoiiwww. No way, pal, I’m an ambulance, there must be someone left to save, let me past.”

“Honk!  Honk!  You punks, have you seen the size of that fire?  It’s a thousand feet high, I should be first, not last.”

I was covered in dust, from head to toe!  I thought ‘Mom, is goin’ to go crazy over this.’  When I left the apartment to catch the bus to school I was as clean as anythin’ and now look at me!  Still, I kinda’ guessed from all the sirens, the screamin’,  the cryin’,  the dust and the dead bodies that school would be out today.  With everythin’ that happened I know that I shouldn’t’ve thought that but I was glad there was no school!  Anyway, there was no way I could’ve gone lookin’ like that, Miss Marshall would’ve gone crazy too.  I thought that someone was going to go crazy whether I went to school or went home so I stayed right where I was.

Adults were runnin’ everywhere.  You don’t normally see adults runnin’ on the streets.  Most were covered in dust like me, some were covered in blood too which kinda’ mixed with the dust and made a real mess.  Most ran straight past me.  Some stopped:

“Hey kid, you can’t stay here, they say that the second tower is going to come down any second!”

“Son, you gotta move back fast, it’s not safe here – go!”

I kinda’ nodded an’ made as if I were leavin’ and the adults would look behind them, look at me and then start runnin’ again.  I stayed where I was watchin’ the people runnin’ and listening to those sirens.

It took the people fallin’ from the sky to make me start runnin’.  I saw three land at once, bam, bam, bam!  It was like droppin’ eggs on the sidewalk.  That kinda’ woke me up, like I had been daydreamin’.  Miss Marshall says I’m a daydreamer. Anyway, that really woke me up and I started runnin’.  I didn’t know the way home so I just ran the same way as the adults.   I ran and I ran and then I heard a huge noise and somehow there was even more dust than before, there was so much dust that I couldn’t run anymore ‘cause I was chokin’.  I thought I was gonna die and go and live with baby Jesus like Mom says but I didn’t want to live with baby Jesus I wanted to live with Mom and I crawled and I coughed and I heard:

“Chief, there’s a kid here needs some help.”

Then I got to see the inside of an ambulance and listened to the sirens that were just for me!

I was in the hospital for two days before Mom found me, mostly ‘cause I couldn’t really talk much.   She didn’t stop huggin’ me and cryin’ for about a week.


Part 2

In 500 words write a mini portrait of a character, in either past or present tense.  In this story, note there needn’t be any significant plot: concentrate instead on describing both character and place and conveying a particular mood – and state this mood as the title of your story,  (For example:  Happiness:  Jane had short red hair…)

Nostalgia and anticipation:  For Sarah this was a double homecoming; not only was she back in York but she was standing in her favourite place, on top of the Minster, looking down on the city she thought of as her spiritual home.  The October wind ruffled her shoulder length blonde hair and Sarah smiled, breathing in the smell of the place that she had loved so much and hoped to love again, seeking to absorb the atmosphere with all of her senses.

Sarah was in her early thirties, single, not classically beautiful but still attractive in the slightly bookish way that had always deterred the younger and crasser.  It had been over ten years since she had last stood here.  She could not believe that so long had passed but, somehow, life had happened and the time had gone.  She was glad that she had come back in the Autumn because that is when she had first arrived here as a 19 year old student and had instantly fallen in love with, this ancient, absorbing, mad, little city.  On Friday and Saturday nights Sarah had always gone drinking and partying with her university friends but the next morning, rather than recovering in front of children’s television clutching endless cups of coffee, Sarah went exploring.  She had started by walking around the city walls, getting on overview of York life from picturesque roofscapes to prosaic ring roads.  Then she went into the heart of the place and found escape from the remaining tourists in what seemed like a thousand snickleways.  Sometimes, on a Sunday morning, if she was in time and her head was sufficiently clear, she would sit in the Minster during the Sung Eucharist and let the words and music wash over her.  She never went up for communion, naturally, but she always found the service somehow soothing.  And, of course, when it was over she would climb the hundreds of steps up the tower and stand in this spot enjoying a bird’s eye view of her domain and feeling this same wind in her hair.

Sarah smiled again at the memories and then found herself touching her dog-collar.  She had only been ordained a few weeks earlier and she still felt incredibly self-conscious in this clerical get up.  It had an amazing effect on other people too: most normal men now seemed to find her unapproachable (worse luck) whilst old ladies and nutters were like iron filings around a magnet.  She supposed that she would get used to it and that others would eventually see past the collar to the real Sarah, perhaps even a decent man!  Still, for now she had other things to look forward to, like moving into her new flat (could she see the building from here, Sarah peered but thought not) and settling into her new job as curate of St Michael le Belfry, which stood below her in the shadow of the Minster.  It was funny how things had worked out.  The wind felt slightly colder now.  Sarah pulled her coat tighter and turned to begin the climb down.

Part 3

 In 500 words write a story or part of a story that fictionalises something that is mentioned on the radio when you go to turn it on now.  Choose a setting which you describe somewhere in your 500 words, and tell this mini story from the narrative point of view of a character whom the story directly affects.  Do not use any dialogue. Write in either past or present tense.  Try to use clear vivid language so that your reader can see the setting and character.  Avoid cliché.

My name is Leif.  I am 43 and I have lived in Sweden all my life.  I live in a small room in a big building on the outskirts of Stockholm.  It’s not so bad.  I see a doctor nearly every day.

Sometimes I like to think that I am descended from the Vikings.  I am certainly big enough.  If I were a Viking then I would be a Berserker.  They were the real warriors.  Most of the Vikings were no more than hungry farmers or fishermen looking for new land to farm or new seas to harvest.  The Berserkers weren’t like that.  They were great bears of men, in every way.  They wore the skins of bears that they had killed and they drank the blood of wolves to give them strength.  The others were scared of them.  At home the Berserkers were shunned but when the ships set out to conquer new territory every clan chief wanted one on his boat.  Before they landed the Berserkers would chant to Odhinn and drink their secret brew.  Woe betide the chief who didn’t get his boat ashore quickly after they did that!  When they went into battle they had no fear and no control; they just killed everyone in their way until the mist of Odhinn lifted.

Stockholm in the summer is incredible.  A paradise.  In June and July the sun hardly goes down and the way it sparkles off the archipelago makes you feel like you are living in a diamond.  I like the summer.  Nothing bad happens in the summer.  The winter is different though.  It gets dark and cold for a long time and it feels like you are living in a coffin.  Bears are allowed to sleep during the winter but not us.  In the winter there is nothing to do except sit at home and drink and think and watch the news and read the papers and get angry and drink and think and read the papers and watch the news and get really really furious.  I don’t like the winter.   I speak to the doctors about the winter a lot.

Sometimes they ask me if I remember what happened and if I know why I am living here in this small room rather than at home.  I tell them I don’t remember but sometimes I do.  A bit.   It was winter.  I kept seeing her face everywhere, on the news and in the papers.  She was some kind of local bigwig.  At first all she said was blah, blah, blah.  But as the winter wore on she started saying ‘Leif you are a loser, you are fat, you are ugly, Leif you are shit.’  On and on like that.  And then one day, when it still seemed like night but I had to venture out for supplies, I saw her in my local food store.  I stared.  I may have dropped my basket.  She looked at me strangely.  I could see her thinking ‘Ah, it is Leif.  He thinks he is a Viking but he is scum.’ She smiled and that is when the mist of Odhinn came down.  I don’t remember what happened next.