1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Novelist's corner

Discussion in 'Book club' started by In_You_Go_Jones, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    I don't think you really need worry. I don't see how any self respecting English teacher could set that as an exercise without knowing it to be pretty awful. My guess is that he's given you something you can shred into tatters and then laugh at the individual snippets of stupidity. No doubt the next piece you get will be far more difficult to fault. Maybe a bit like this:
    Sunlight glittered off the falling dust, as it streamed through the moth-nibbled holes in the heavy curtains of the old farmhouse. She awoke besides him in bed, it was the first time they had shared a bed for a quarter of a century. Sharing a bed with any man had been unusual to her over that time and now she found herself back besides her first lover. She looked at the back of his head, now more grey than blond, on the pillow and she recalled how he had turned hers when she was a young girl, how dashing he looked in his officer’s uniform, the polished boots, the medals and braid, even the silver insignia on his lapel like two bolts of lightening. She thought back to the officers’ balls in the château and the gifts of chocolate, real chocolate- not the wartime version, perfume and ration tokens. The sorts of things that made her friends envious and made the local boys recognise that she was out of their league. He was still oblivious to the world. She slowly swung her legs out from under the white cotton sheets and padded across the floor boards and rugs to the darkly varnished wooden door, and from there down to the kitchen to make breakfast. She decided that she’d wake him once it was ready. The kitchen was bright, the light pouring through the un-shuttered windows and bouncing between the white walls. She tore some slabs of brioche and put them besides strawberry jam blobs on two plates, then while waiting for the water to boil she started lazily picking bits of brioche and dipping the edge into the jam as she thought back through the month up to last night.
     
  2. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    Sorry- lost the formatting there.
    Sunlight glittered off the falling dust, as it streamed through the moth-nibbled holes in the heavy curtains of the old farmhouse. She awoke besides him in bed, it was the first time they had shared a bed for a quarter of a century. Sharing a bed with any man had been unusual to her over that time and now she found herself back besides her first lover. She looked at the back of his head, now more grey than blond, on the pillow and she recalled how he had turned hers when she was a young girl, how dashing he looked in his officer’s uniform, the polished boots, the medals and braid, even the silver insignia on his lapel like two bolts of lightening. She thought back to the officers’ balls in the château and the gifts of chocolate, real chocolate- not the wartime version, perfume and ration tokens. The sorts of things that made her friends envious and made the local boys recognise that she was out of their league.
    He was still oblivious to the world. She slowly swung her legs out from under the white cotton sheets and padded across the floor boards and rugs to the darkly varnished wooden door, and from there down to the kitchen to make breakfast. She decided that she’d wake him once it was ready. The kitchen was bright, the light pouring through the un-shuttered windows and bouncing between the white walls. She tore some slabs of brioche and put them besides strawberry jam blobs on two plates, then while waiting for the water to boil she started lazily picking bits of brioche and dipping the edge into the jam as she thought back through the month up to last night.
     
  3. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    A masterpiece BP, you must finish the novel and get it published immediately.
     
  4. Did you write that?
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    I think any reference to Onan (Biblical character) marks this little masterpiece out as an exercise in seeing if you can recognise bad writing, and to see if you can critique honestly, and fearlessly. IMO you should let rip with both barrels. What's the worst that could happen?
    http://behaviourguru.blogspot.com/
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    "besideS" = usually means "apart from"

    If something is next to something else it's beside it...
     
  8. In that case, may I say how much I detest 'critique' used as a verb?
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    Picky picky.[​IMG]

    Thanks (seriously).
     
  10. The truth is that Jeffrey Archer is a much better writer than Iris Murdoch. I can hear the 'intellectuals' on here grinding their teeth in fury - but it's true. No less a writer tham Graham Greene thought so!
     
  11. Thank you all for your responses - I think perhaps our teacher was taking the mickey, but not just out of us but the bloke who wrote this. For some reason while we were doing this exercise in class the school assistant caretaker [a really obnoxious little creep who some of us think is a fully paid up member of the dirty mac brigade - he spends an awful lot of time reckoning to walk his dog on the canal towpath - kept going past the classroom and peering in at us - he's always leching at us girls] and I saw our teacher out of the corner of my eye holding his nose and pulling an imaginary chain so I wonder if it might be the caretaker's work. He's one of these pretentious types with five quid each way on himself - he once told my sister Jean that he had a PhD in physics, but when Jean asked him what Boyle's Law was he said that it was legislation designed to stop gay men adopting children.
    Anyway I will rewrite my critique using both barrels as Tom Bennett suggests, and I've thought of a good title as well:
    "Writing by numbers when you can't count: notes from round the U Bend."
    Thanks everyone - pip pip!
     
  12. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    At least you've given up on your earlier attempts to be classed as intellectual then.

    I'll count that as progress.
     
  13. Oh, Mr Jones, could you source that quote for me please? I'm half way through a piece of coursework and that would fit in really well. It's based on Orwell's famous quote about Evelyn Waugh - "as good as novelist as it is possible to be whilst holding untenable opinions" and I'm looking at Graham Greene and David Lodge - two brilliant novelists despite their being Catholics - and I want to put in a short chapter based on their critical writings.
    Please give me a link to the Graham Greene/Iris Murdoch idea.
    All good wishes
    LCG.



     
  14. <u>More snippets:</u>
    I thought this one showed promise but got lost on the way:
    The snow, falling upon the Grand Union Canal at Uxbtidge becomes a metaphor for isolation, the inability to know others, even those with whom we are intimate. Ironically, the snow also functions as a symbol for the death that comes indiscriminately. This is the genius of intoducing the former boxer Kevin Finnegan at this point.
    The snow falling so thickly will obliterate beyond recognition all that is familiar, It masks all behind a shield of white, isolating each thing, while also reminding us that the same mortality that has caught up with Kevin Finnegan awaits all souls.
    I can see where this novel is going.
    Letitia Sharples
     
  15. <u>Another snippet:</u>
    ... This passage has reached deep into the hidden recesses of my soul. Awesome. Just awesome.
    Lalla Ward-Robertson
     
  16. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    Comments from year 9 on my chocolate cake:

    Awesome
    Delicious
    Scrummy
    Can we make one, Miss?
    More please
     
  17. In You Go is a Dr Who geek.
    Lalla Ward is the assistant who married Tom Baker and who is now married to Richard Dawkins.
    Lit Crit Girl, you are right about the dirty mac. Give him a very wide berth.
     
  18. UXB is the WW2 acronym for an unexploded bomb. To say the least, this work is a damp squib.
    The snow metaphor has been copied from Joyce's story The Dead but sadly In You Go didn't understand the metaphor in the first place.
    on its journey to the tip. The bin men have arrived for the weekly collection.
     
  19. <u>Yet another snippet</u>
    George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" details the notion that tautology should be avoided when writing; i.e don't use many words, choose carefully and avoid what is unnecessary. This wonderful passage adheres to this principle and points to a novel that may well be a life-changing experience in philosophy/literature. I won't go into any detailed analysis, other than to say: "Simply spine-chilling."

    Daphne du Mainwaring
     
  20. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    Well since reading it I've been so depressed at the low standards in literature that I've been unable to make any progress with my own writing.
    If that's the standard of the competition, why should I bother drafting and redrafting, looking for just the right word which will foreshadow later events while giving a sense of place for current ones and also actually do the job of saying what needs to be said- eg the "slabs of brioche"- which also helps enhance the impression of a rough stone built farmhouse, and that of the woman, an honest salt of the Earth type who wouldn't dream of slicing it.
     

Share This Page