“Parting is such sweet sorrow?”
“Yes – what’s wrong with that?”
“It’s just a bit…well, naff to be honest. What about something like: Parting is like tearing my soul in two. One jagged piece resides within my breast; the other, brighter part remains with you. Each part yearns constantly for the other until those precious moments when we are reunited. Only then is my spirit complete once more.”
“I still like my idea better. It’s more subtle.”
“Oh come on, Will! It’s not subtle. It’s forgettable. Four hundred years from now, nobody is going to be quoting ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’.”
This post is written for the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups.
The first thing Jack noticed when he awoke was the smell of smoke. The second thing was the daylight, streaming through the window. The daylight scared him more. His mouth felt furry, but there would be nothing to drink until he got to the water standpoint, and over-sleeping had cost him a place near the front of the queue.
Carrying his two-litre bottle, his allowance for the day, he joined the back of the line, estimating a three hour wait till his turn came. Clive from three doors down staggered up behind him. “Can you smell the smoke? They reckon the fires are only about 12 miles away now.”
“It’s not the fires that scare me. It’s the people. I heard they closed another two canning factories – not enough water to power them.” Jack nodded towards the line of people snaking round the corner. “If it doesn’t rain soon, they’ll be fighting each other for food and water long before the fires get to us.”
Suddenly two shots rang out from near the front, followed by a high-pitched screaming. It didn’t take long for the news to travel back through the line. “The armed guards shot some kid who was trying to steal water. Drinking straight from the tap – brazen as anything. Serves him right. You can’t just go stealing water”
“He didn’t understand.” The woman stumbled, almost dropping the child in her arms. “He was thirsty and he just didn’t understand.” She fell to the ground, cradling the limp body, sobbing. “He’s two years old and they shot him for having a drink.”
X is for…eXtra help. Sometimes people need a little extra help to learn this. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it can be tricky to learn in a class with 29 other children. This is where private tutors can help. Private tuition is usually for an hour a week, but it can be more or less depending on what your family wants for you. It will probably happen in your own home, where you feel comfortable. It can be short term, just to help you catch up on one or two particular things you missed in school, or longer term if you find lots of things difficult. If you live in north Birmingham you could ask you parents or carers to have a look at my website to see how I could help you. If you live in other parts of the country I may be able to recommend someone, or if not there is always Google.
Related post: W is for…
W is for…Writing. There are already lots of tips in this A-Z of learning for making your writing better. Have another look at A is for…Adjectives, C is for…Connectives, O is for…Openers, Q is for…Quality and Quantity and V is for…Vocabulary.
However, the best thing you can do to become a good writer, besides practise, is to read. If you haven’t already read R is for…Reading, have a look at that now. When you read, have a notebook next to you and if you find any words or phrases that you like, write them in your notebook. This will help you to remember them and then you can use them in your own writing. This isn’t cheating (as long as you don’t copy a whole story into your book)! It’s called being a magpie (because magpies like to take anything they like the look of and use it themselves). If you tell your teacher that you have started a magpie book they will know exactly what you mean and they will be impressed that you have taken a big step towards improving your writing.
V is for…Vocabulary. One of the most important things to help improve your writing is a thesaurus. This isn’t a type of dinosaur, but a book of words. It’s written in alphabetical order, just like a dictionary, but instead of telling you what words mean, it gives you a list of other words that mean the same thing.
Most classrooms have them, but if yours doesn’t, think about asking your parents or carers to buy one for you. You can pick them up quite cheaply in bargain bookshops – sometimes for as little as 99p. It’s not cheating to use these in class (apart from when your teacher tells you that it’s a test)! In fact your teacher will be really happy that you are making an effort to improve your writing.
When using a thesaurus you just need to be careful to choose a word that makes sense. When you look at word up in the thesaurus you will see each word has n or v next to it. This tells you whether the word is a noun (object) or verb (doing word) and will help you decide which words to use. Have a look at these sentences, each of which have the word ‘help’ in, and see if you can choose an alternative word from the ones below that will make sense.
- Can you help me with my homework?
- I’ve eaten 20 chocolate biscuits today. I just couldn’t help it.
- The charity gave help to the victims of the earthquake.
aid assist resist
She arched her back and shook her blonde silky hair, putting on a show for the paparazzi lining the shore. As her manicured hands rubbed in more sun lotion, she wondered whether they would notice the fake engagement ring. She stretched out smugly on the yacht’s sundeck, knowing she was the most beautiful creature here.
Beneath the surface, a carnival was taking place. Large neon fish chased smaller ones into the dancing coral, while sea anemones waved their brightly-coloured skirts in the whirling currents. All of them went about their lives, unaware that they were in the presence of such beauty.