in A Level, English Language, Writing Skills

The piece below, GCSE Narrative Writing, was completed by one of my students. It’s not done in timed conditions though, but it is about the length that you would expect for a real GCSE Descriptive Writing or Narrative Writing exam answer. This was written for the AQA English GCSE Exam, but it would suit any other Creative Writing GCSE questions – such as those on OCR, CIE / Cambridge, Edexcel, WJEC and Eduqas exams.


Thanks for reading! If you find this piece useful, take a look at our full writing courses here:

Basic Descriptive Writing

Advanced Descriptive Writing

To see all our English courses (including GCSE English exams), click here.


PLAN

1) an old man sitting in a wheelchair
2) he died and his soul heard a sound
3) he follows the sound and into a forest
4) he saw a figure sitting beside the lake
5) he found that the woman wasn’t human and tries to run away

THE ANSWER:

It was a dark and peaceful night, with only the calls of owls and birds. The lake reflected the bright moon. The blowing wind cracked the window of a small cottage. Beneath the window stood an old and shabby wheelchair. The old man sat on the wheelchair, looking at the shining and lonely moon in the sky, and closed his eyes.
The old man opened his eyes. He was enveloped in darkness, he suddenly saw a bright light, light of hope and wonder. Curiously the man followed the light, he felt warmth in his heart and walked faster. The light got closer and closer to him, he sprinted towards the light, trying to grab it with his hands. Just when he reached the light, he floated through the air so lightly like a piece of paper drifting in the wind. He landed in a dark, colorless and dingy forest. The tall pine trees blocked the bright and golden sunlight. It was so silent that you could even hear a thin pin drop on the ground. Fireflies flew across the air like little lanterns and lit up the dim, dusty forest. Shiny red flowers and fungi grew on the logs. A thick and impenetrable mist blocked the old man’s sight of this forest beauty. Suddenly he heard a sound of laughter. The laughter seemed to get closer and closer to him, but it disappeared. The forest became quiet again as before. But then he heard the jingling laughter again and again, it didn’t stop at all. It was so warm and so familiar. A little girl holding an adorable teddy bear appeared in front of him. She reached out a hand at the old man. “Follow me, follow me…” The girl whispered to the old man. The old man ignored her and kept walking. Suddenly the old man felt the touch of icy fingers on his neck. A beautiful woman sitting on a log, picks up a flower. The flower burst into flames, rose in the air and became a beautiful firework, so warm and wonderful in the cold forest. The woman wore a dress woven from moonlight and mist. She glanced at the old man, and walked towards him. “Stop going further, it is very dangerous”. She said softly, “Stay here, with me and you will be safe”. The old man tried to ignore her, but he couldn’t control himself and started walking towards the pretty woman. Suddenly a picture flashed in his mind. The beautiful woman turned into a wicked and ugly witch with a pickled head. She had wrinkles on her face and sharp, yellow teeth. Her smile was horrifying. The old man was terrified, deeply gulped. He ran away from the scary woman, as fast as he could. He ran and ran as the sneaky and unkind witch followed him, trying to drag him back in her forest, but she missed. “Stop! Come back!” cried the evil witch. The old man had never been so scared nor ran so fast, eventually he escaped out of the forest. He was so tired that he fell down on the outskirts of the forest and fainted. Again darkness trapped him.

FEEDBACK:

Excellent features: 

  • There are lots of ideas in this text that feel like a clear story, with a good progression of structure 
  • Really interesting concept! I like the characters and the setting 
  • Some excellent vocabulary choices e.g. impenetrable, dingy, colorless 
  • Some excellent imagery – particularly the visual imagery is very strong here – good use of dialogue – you could offset this into a separate paragraph 
  • Some excellent poetic devices – I love the ‘lonely moon’, ‘red flowers and fungi’, the ‘moonlight and mist’ dress of the woman, really beautiful imagery!
  • Good paragraph structures with a sense of progression in each section 


Things to improve: 

  • It feels a little bit in between a descriptive and narrative piece, so make sure to be clear about whether it’s descriptive (no story) or narrative (a full story with a message)
  • Try to use ‘show don’t tell’ a little more – for example when the beautiful woman turns into a witch, don’t tell us that happens until later – describe her transformation first. It will be more frightening that way! 
  • Get an even greater range of poetic techniques in there – try to make a huge list of features and cross them off as you go – be careful about tense changes
  • If you start in past tense, stick to that the whole way through – it’s not quite clear that the man dies from your description, so with that part perhaps try to make it a little more explicit 
  • Sometimes your descriptions are a little simplistic or very much what we would expect in a creative piece – try to use more experimental and personal images if you can – this is something that very top grades do 
  • Occasional grammatical errors e.g. ‘deeply gulped’ instead of ‘gulped deeply’
  • You must use a greater range of punctuation to achieve a higher ‘technical’ level 

GRADE:

  • Content + Organisation: Level 3 16/24 
  • Content: Communication is consistently clear
  • Tone, style and register are clearly and consistently matched to purpose and audience
  • Increasingly sophisticated vocabulary and phrasing, chosen for effect with a range of successful linguistic devices
  • Organisation
  • Effective use of structural features
  • Writing is engaging, using a range of clear, connected ideas
  • Coherent paragraphs with integrated discourse markers
  • Technical Accuracy: Level 3 11/16 
  • Sentence demarcation is mostly secure and mostly accurate
  • Range of punctuation is used, mostly with success
  • Uses a variety of sentence forms for effect
  • Mostly uses Standard English appropriately with mostly controlled grammatical structures
  • Generally accurate spelling, including complex and irregular words
  • Increasingly sophisticated use of vocabulary
  • Total: 27/40 67.5%
  • Borderline B/A grade – this is an excellent grade for your first attempt, very well done! 

Thanks for reading! If you find this piece useful, take a look at our full writing courses here:

Basic Descriptive Writing

Advanced Descriptive Writing

To see all our English courses (including GCSE English exams), click here.

Write a Comment

Comment