This is a creative writing / descriptive writing piece to help with the GCSE and IGCSE English Language exam, for non-fiction (autobiographical) writing, and fiction. If you’re super bright, or applying for a scholarship, you may also find this helpful for preparing the Common Entrance English Writing Paper. Please note, the content of the story is fiction, and is a little more adult. She’s out dancing, and doesn’t feel too great the next morning.

Don’t copy it, please. Analyse it and read the notes below on the techniques used and why. It’s first draft and would be improved by a bit more editing.

‘Before the Storm…’

Dusk softened the air to charcoal, smudging the light into velvet. I was breathless, beautiful, glowing. My body was electric. Nothing would ever be more perfect than this.

Anna’s mascara had streaked down her face and her bra strap was showing. Zoey looked like she fell into the punch; a brilliant green bit of mint stuck to her front teeth and Henry and Matt were looking at her in revulsion.

I pushed my chest out, flicked my hair, fingers sticking in the hairspray. My hair was the biggest in the room, bigger than a blimp, reaching for the ceiling of the sticky, low room. Light died on the walls. As I primped, my fingers tangled in my hair, but I swooshed it over. Matt was looking straight at me. My fingers caught something hard and heavy, and it dropped, but whatever it was, it was irrelevant. I held him in my eyes. He was mine.


When I woke, the room was upside down. There was a weird low moan, like an old, sick monster that was being poked with a stick. 

It was me.

I’m inhuman, non-human, submarine. The world is washed away, and all that’s left is me, groaning on the shore of the morning after. When I put my hand to my head – partly to check it was still there – I felt the earring, my sister’s birthday present – which she wouldn’t lend me, so I borrowed – cool and heavy and beautiful. On the other side – nothing.
Only my pink, soft ear, and one thought. She’s going to kill me.

Author Notes:
I tried to get across the chatty voice of the girl, and wrote it first in the present tense, which sounded weird so I changed it to past tense. Aaah! Much better.

Then I realised because the main character’s not that bright, my writing wasn’t so bright either, so I put some oomph into her language with a few crazy metaphors and hyperbole which get across her character without making my writing seem dumb. Then I added a few complex words. Genius!

Techniques used:

You might notice I’m obsessed with short sentences. I use them a lot. For effect. But I make sure not to use too many fragments so it doesn’t look like I can’t puncutate. Like this.
‘My body was electric.’
‘He was mine.’
‘It was me.’
Simple sentences sweeten the reader’s experience, giving them a break from too many complex sentences.

This piece uses a lot of the possessive pronoun ‘my’ to get across the narrator’s self-obsessed character: ‘my body’, ‘my chest’, ‘my hair’. She’s all about surfaces – just like the self-obsessed Duke in Browning’s ‘My Last Duchess’.

I gave my main character a lot of hyperbole and lists to create an excited breathless feel too:
Hyperbole: ‘my hair’s … bigger than words’, ‘the room was upside down’ ‘an old, sick monster’ ‘I’m inhuman, non-human’ ‘the world is washed away’
Lists: ‘I was breathless, beautiful, glowing.’
‘I pushed my chest out, flicked my hair, fingers sticking in the hairspray.’

The metaphors I chose are sometimes surreal, but I was quite pleased with most of them:
‘I held him in my eyes’ (she’s possessive)
‘Dusk softened the air to charcoal, smudging the light into velvet.’
‘My body is electric’
I think I did a little bit of personification with her hair too: ‘reaching for the ceiling of the sticky, low room’, ‘light dies on the walls’
Can you spot the rest?

Internal Rhyme
‘an old sick monster being poked with a stick

Sensory Language
‘charcoal’, ‘velvet’, ‘glowing’, ‘electric’, ‘sticky’, ‘hard and heavy’