They say that patience is a virtue, but I understand completely if you’ve been tearing your hair out waiting to hear the results of the Survival 101 writing challenge. I went to Melbourne and completely forgot to write my judge’s report. Aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh. Unkind FaBo writers might correctly say I had a senior moment.
It’s tough when you’re asked to write to a word limit, but it’s a good skill to have. I used to write for magazines, and the stories were short. Knowing how many words and how much space you have helps you to pace your story. You need a good beginning, middle and a satisfying end.
You all used your imagination and created fabulous creatures – giant armadillos (Kate), hipsomgerflies (Ysabelle), megalodons, a mutated bumblebee (Marina) and a children apocalypse (Cate). Sera Raj even had Miss Peel as a disguised megalodon. Miss Peel brought out the best in your writing. You really built on her character in ways that made me laugh.
I especially liked some of the deeply thought-provoking things you said, such as “This issss real life. People can be idiots sometimes.” So true, Ysabelle.
And this from Holly – Suddenly, the monster came out of the trees. It was small, cute, and furry. “Don’t touch it, don’t sssssniff it, and whatever you do, DON’T LOVE IT. It feedss on love.
Miss Peel shrinks it with hatred and extinguishes it with some of her ‘defeat’ perfume.
I liked the way so many of you played around with words in descriptions.
Out came a leathery foot and an arm as furry as a yeti (Jasleen). The whole class gasped again but, this time, not because they just found out there is a colossal shark somewhere outside but because Miss Peel had just smiled showing off her razor sharp, pearly white teeth! (Sera Raj). The students were as silent as a grave and just as still (Holly). Miss Limone stood shivering in a caliginous cavern wearing a tatty oversized shirt (Honour). He was old and hunched, with soulless black eyes (Indigo). That night I lay awake in the darkness. It was punctured by the silvery light of the moon (Eleanor).
And Bethany, you write great dialogue. In fact, a lot of you were good at combining dialogue and description. I was particularly impressed by how natural it sounded.
Some of you had really good endings, with humour, a surprise or a twist. My favourites were these two – “Ummm well class is over I guess,” Jake said while cleaning the spit off him” (Carter), and this one by Amelie: “At least we got rid of the worlds scariest creature!”
“The Megalodon is still out there roaming the seas!” said Michael in confusion.
“I mean Miss Peel! She’s gone!” said Sandy.
You all wrote well, and there were a handful of you who were very close to winning this week … but the winner is Honour Richardson, aged 9, of St Patrick’s Bryndwr School, for a well-rounded story, good balance between description, action and dialogue, with a surprising twist at the end.
Then all the lights turned off and the blinds closed. Miss Limone stood shivering in a caliginous cavern wearing a tatty oversized shirt. She seemed to flinch at her surroundings. Monty hadn’t noticed before, but truckloads of rattlesnakes slithered hangrily behind her. She did one of those high pitch girly screams and fell to the ground. Trembling behind Monty was Sue, who had gone completely pale. The image changed. An overgrown forest with slippery, muddy grounds was empty, except for a single Kiwi tucked away in a corner. The image changed again. An ocean that looked as if there was previously a shark attack looked empty until giant sharks popped out of the water.
“Megalodons, aren’t they beautiful”? Miss Peel whispered under her breath.
The image changed one last time. It looked like a picture of town – in black and white.
Dinosaurs stomped over buildings chomping on flowers and other plants as they went.
“Yesss, all these animals extinct because of us people. Now the Kiwi isn’t fully extinct, but you people are so selfish, fools you might as well count them as dead.” Miss Peel looked at the clock like it had just killed her parents. “Noooo”! She screeched.
Everyone looked around clueless, Monty thought that nothing good could come from this day until, the lunch bell rang.
The lights flickered but turned on eventually, the blinds slipped up the window. Miss Limone came in still wearing her tatty, oversized clothes. Miss Peel ripped something off her hair and beautiful brown came flowing down. Miss Limone threw her a wipe, and she revealed a tanned face with shining brown eyes. She took off her slimy, polished, ugly green jumpsuit and showed off her charming sky blue dress. Everyone gasped at the sight of their Principal, Mrs Stevens. I hoped you enjoyed your lesson on creatures. I guess it’s time for lunch now. Monty looked at Michael. The class sped out the door. The wig was quite annoying, Mrs Stevens said. The two teachers were left in the class laughing.