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Passing ‘The Writing Skill’ Onto Students

Creative Writing from My students

The following story was written by one of my students

One of the joys of being a novelist is being able to inspire the next generation of writers (students) through my creative writing courses, on line through Zoom. Here is a a Year 7 student’s description of a storm.

Above the shore, the sky was a gloomy, grey blanket of depression, herring gulls searched for food, their eyes constantly scouring the dark blue, murky waters below. Crashing on the rocks and clawing at the coast, the waves furiously persisted in battering the beach. Looming ominously over the soft sand, the clouds cast a shadow over the landscape.

The cliffs

Rocky cliffs rose dramatically from the seabed, towering triumphantly over the sea. Holing viciously, the wind swept swiftly across the coast, carrying a smell of salt, seaweed and fish in its wake.

Slightly inland, stood a lonely cottage perched precariously on a rocky outcrop, with whitewashed walls and a leaden, slate roof as shiny as a pencil tip. Even if though it may have looked small and fragile. It had endured the harsh bitter conditions of the bitter, unforgiving weather for two hundred years. Its two anxious occupants were gazing worriedly through the window towards the sea; a dark, sinister mass of cumulus clouds had been forming for hours. The storm was heading their way. The windows rattled as the wind grew stronger and the bushes and grasses trembled.

A shower of rain battered persistently against the weatherworn walls whilst drumming on the roof and splattering on the window, rolling down the glass panes like tears. The worst was yet to come. Flooding the gutters rainwater gushed down the drainpipes and gurgled down the drain. Rain transformed the garden into a bog, creating puddles like shards of broken mirror, reflecting the sombre skies. Wailing wildly, the wind slammed against the doors with such force, the hinges creaked. At the mercy of the storm the windows rattled, resisting the relentless onslaught of the elements.

Meanwhile inside the house, the two nervous occupants sat on a sofa

The occupants were trying to find comfort in a roaring fire. Staring into the hearth, they watched the flames flicker as they danced around the crackling logs. Emanating heat, the fire fought the chill draughts of air, providing much needed warmth and comfort. As the storm intensified, the arctic air encircled the house, seeping into all the nooks and crannies.

The beach 

Eventually the storm raged and the wind started to grew stronger and stronger, disturbing the shells and stones, shaking the signs and making the telegraph poles sway precariously, stretching the lines to their limits. Savagely battering the coast, the waves upturned all the shore stones in a vortex of wrath. Out to sea, an unfortunate fishing boat was being thrown around like a rag doll by the ruthless, omnipotent waves. Mountainous waves towered above the small, vulnerable vessel. It’s bow cutting through the water, swinging. However, it efforts to resist the waves were in vain.

The next day, the entire landscape had changed.

All the pebbles, shells and stones that it had possessed had been stripped from the beach. Then, the colony of seagulls had departed, abandoning their stormy home for fresh fields further inland. And yet, calmer, the wind had died down, but its effects were clearly visible in broken branches, fallen fencing and tattered flags. Flying defiantly as if nothing had ever happened, they flapped and danced.

Lapping gently against the soft sand, the sea seemed a different beast. Even further out, the white horses seemed fewer, subdued, and the water surface looked a smooth as a pancake from the cottage window.

Inside the cottage

The smell of ash and woodsmoke filled the air and only the sound of a clock ticking disturbed the silence. Finally, slumbering, the couple dreamed of the storm of the night before. In the grate, white ash bore testament to a ferocious fire.

From a student.

Published by Finnian Fitzpatrick
Author, Creative Writing Teacher, Entrance Examination Tutor for 11 plus and 13 plus.-
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A well respected author

Michael Fitzalan was born in Clapham, South London where his mother had established a doctor’s surgery in a house which she filled with children.

With three sisters, two brothers and a library full of books, a love of literature was imbued in him from an early age.

Michael Fitzalan comes from Irish parents were doctors and they settled on the West Side of Clapham Common and had six children in quick succession.

A story by Michael Fitzalan

Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

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