What are the classic ingredients for a Halloween story? Suspense, tension, intrigue, drama, a secret, a strange and spooky location.
What other elements can you add to the list?
In Part 2 of FCE Paper 2 (writing), you may be asked to write a story of 120-180 words. The story will often be based around a sentence that should be used either at the beginning or end.
To tie in with Halloween, we recently wrote some stories in class based around photos. We started by brainstorming sentences that could either begin or end stories based on the pictures you can find on the following links to flckr:
Here are some ideas for first and / or last lines that we came up with in class.
Can you match them the pictures? Would the following sentences make better first or last lines?
- It all started with a bad idea
- This phone call really changed my life
- If I was there again today, I wouldn’t open that door.
- He wanted to escape but he couldn’t open the door.
- He just wanted to reach the phone.
- Their/his/her eyes were moving.
- He had always wondered what lay behind that door.
- There was something about those faces that captured her attention.
- At the end of the corridor she could make out a figure. Who was it? She was supposed to be alone.
If these lines and photos inspire you, send me your stories via the comments section. I’d love to read what you come up with. If you have your own ideas for first/last lines, feel free to use them.
Here is a fantastic story that the students in class came up with…
At the end of the corridor she could just make out a figure. Who was it? She was supposed to be alone.
Since she had been diagnosed with her disease she had moved into an abandoned house. There she could die alone without anyone noticing it.
When she saw the figure, she thought she was hallucinating. Suddenly it stated moving towards her. She realised it was real. Realising the phone was within reach, she called 911 but she found the line had been cut.
She was really scared, who could have come here and what were his intentions?
“Caroline, Caroline, don’t run away, it’s me. Can’t you remember?” He called.
“No! Leave me alone! Get out of here!” She shouted, picking up a knife that lay on the table beside her and pointing it at him.
Then, he kissed her and she recognised him immediately. It was Charlie, the long-lost love of her life who had disappeared mysteriously years earlier.
He told her that she was beautiful despite her illness and that he wanted to stay by her side even though she was dying.
…and one of my own…
Opening the door to the bedroom I had the sensation that I had been there before. That would have been impossible however. I had never set foot in that house before today.
I had gone there to interview the owner. I’m a journalist and on this occasion I was putting together a piece on historic homes lived in by generations of the same family. It was in bad shape now but it would have been much grander in the past.
The owner, Mr. Manifold, had been delayed so the housekeeper had suggested I stay the night and interview him the following day.
An old photograph stood beside the bed. The couple staring out at me also seemed strangely familiar.
That night, they appeared in my dream. Or at least, the man did. In the dream, I was the woman in the photograph and he was telling me not to leave, that I should never leave. I woke and turned on the light. There, on the wall in front of me, written in red letters were the same words ‘Never leave.’
That’s when I noticed the picture. Her image had vanished. But him! His eyes were moving.
(1) The narrative of stories is often not strictly chronological. From the first story put the following events in a chronological order.
She saw a figure at the end of the corridor.
She was told she was ill.
She moved into a house.
She thought she was hallucinating.
The figure moved towards her.
She realised it was real.
She realised the phone was close to her.
She called 911.
She found the line was dead.
The line was cut.
She was scared.
Somebody came to the house.
She shouted at him.
She picked up a knife.
She pointed the knife at him.
He kissed her.
She recognised him.
He said he wanted to be with her for the rest of her life.
Which events happen simultaneously or almost at the same time.
How does the form of the verbs in the story, reflect the chronology of these events?
(2) Vocabulary: Find words in story one which mean…
- see with difficulty
- be told about an illness
- easy to pick up
- missing for a significant period of time
…and story two…
- go into a place
- not in a good condition / badly preserved
- tomorrow (in reported speech)
Photo one was taken by Strange Kulture and appears on flickr at the following address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/strange-kulture/5899415787/
Photo two was taken by Joe B and can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ofus/2643187861/
Photo three was taken by Angel KP, flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angel_kp/6276400038/in/set-72157627684625993/
Photo four was taken by AndreasS, flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/norue/6281255690/in/pool-47619725@N00/