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Year 7 English
Spooky Stories! Creative Writing
Work pack learning objectives:
To be able to write an imaginative Gothic story which impacts your reader.
To organise the ideas and events in your story so that it builds tension, makes
sense and keeps the reader interested.
To focus on using correct sentence structure, paragraphs, grammar and
We have just finished studying Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Make a mindmap of all the Gothic conventions you can remember (anything that was
frightening, suspenseful, mysterious and dark).
In Frankenstein, you will have become familiar with Gothic old castles with spiralling turrets
and sharp, decaying features.
1. Write down at least three other settings in which a Gothic horror story might be set.
2. Describing the smells, feelings, sights and sounds, write a paragraph detailing each of
3. Can you include similes and metaphors?
1. Study the image of a cemetery above. Note down at least 7 ambitious adjectives to
describe the scene.
2. Imagine you were present at the setting. How might you feel? What thoughts might
run through your mind? How might you move and behave?
3. Zoom in on one feature in the image. Describe it in detail using interesting language
features to create a strong image in the reader's mind. Be as imaginative as you like.
E.g. `The weathered inscription on the crumbling blackened headstone read
`Elizabeth Ribbons 1790-1823, Victim Of The Beast 666'.
1. Read the extract below. How many language techniques can you identify?
The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin.
Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills. The night was as black as
the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you could believe, on which gods moved men
as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm
a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weasel's eye. It
illuminated three hunched figures.
2. Can you come up with an alternative simile to describe the night?
3. Highlight the description you find most effective. Can you copy the style of this
sentence by replacing words to create a different scene? E.g. Waves enveloped the
cliffs hungrily, like a half-starved humpback whale.
CHALLENGE: Can you copy the style of this entire paragraph, replacing words to create an
alternative Gothic setting? (You can label each word by word-class first to replace with
another from that same word-class).
Show, don't tell!
`Show, don't tell' is a writing technique in which story and characters are related through
sensory details and actions rather than exposition. This makes the reader imagine the story
more vividly, feeling as though they are present in the scene.
Simply telling the reader that `Michael was afraid of the dark' is far less interesting than
showing Michael's fear through describing his behaviour: `As his mother switched off the
light and left the room, Michael tensed. He huddled under the covers, gripped the sheets, and
held his breath as the wind brushed past the curtain.'
An effective way to help you show, not tell, is to act out the emotion and note down the body
language which shows that feeling. For example, instead of saying `the dog was angry', think
about how the dog would be physically showing this.
Write a short paragraph using `show, not tell' for the following scenarios, focusing on
descriptive senses (smell, sight, sound) and physical signs. Don't be afraid to include similes
1. You can smell something disgusting coming out of your school bag.
2. The teacher has an irrational fear of pencil cases.
3. A man on the train feels sick.
4. The weather is dark and stormy.
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