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"A Memorable Occasion in my Life"

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Personal Writing Non-fiction - Writing to Inform, Explain, Describe Autobiographical Writing "A Memorable Occasion in my Life" Looking around the blacked-out glass door and past the curtains, I caught a glimpse of the school hall. It had been totally transformed from its usual every day state. There were rows and rows of chairs filling the hall with a large carpeted stage at the very front against a backdrop image of a grand castle in the night's sky with twinkling lights acting as stars. I could hear the idle chat of the parents as they began filing into the hall and choosing what they thought to be a good view of the stage, ensuring that they would be able to see their children from the best possible angle. Behind me, a surge of people were rushing around, fiddling with costumes and putting the finishing touches to the girls' makeup. Panic had started to infiltrate the backstage area. ...read more.


So much eye make up was on my eye lids and lashes that it was a miracle my eyes could stay open for more than two seconds, even though I had to strain them to be able to see clearly. Suddenly, the beads around my neck seemed to be ten times as heavy as before as I was hoping beyond all hope that I could just hide from all the commotion and sink into the floor. I hate the attention. I do not enjoy being the centre of it and I certainly do not like being forced into the spotlight. I could see all the other characters changed in their ridiculous outfits that made even mine look slightly normal. If I closed my eyes, I could pretend I was somewhere else. I always do it when I'm stressed, all I have to do is shut my eyes tight and think of a peaceful, calm place, away from whatever is making me feel uncomfortable and anxious. ...read more.


I had to do it. For me more than anyone else. I closed my eyes and carefully made my legs walk forward a few steps. One last deep breath. I pulled back the curtain with great effort. The heat and brightness of the lights startled me at first. Then applause came crashing into my ears and I walked out bravely and proudly, taking centre stage. There are times in life when we all have to do things we do not want to do. Once in a while, we all have to face our fears. This was one of those times in my life when I had to confront people staring, talking about me and either being loved or hated. I still find public speaking excruciatingly hard to this day, I still hate attention. But mow I have come to accept that it is just something we all have to get on with. As much as we might like, we can not bury our heads in the sand and hope things will go away. Life is just not like that. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kelly Harrison 11v ...read more.

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Response to the question

The is a Writing to Describe task and the candidate her is describing a moment in their life when they felt under immense pressure from speculation of an audience they were performing to. A daunting time for all of us, ...

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Response to the question

The is a Writing to Describe task and the candidate her is describing a moment in their life when they felt under immense pressure from speculation of an audience they were performing to. A daunting time for all of us, the way this candidate writes very successfully recreates the feeling on waiting behind a red velvet curtain before stepping into the spotlight. There are a number of literary techniques used though one could argue that there is not enough to gain higher than a low B for GCSE. The answer is solid and reads smoothly, but the interest can be lost through things we are not told. The use of literary devices is good if not slightly underdeveloped, but the answer as a whole is well-structured and is entirely reflective of the last seconds before show-time, which often feel like much longer periods of time.

Level of analysis

The Level of Description here is fair. The candidate employs a number of literary techniques including personification ("Panic had started to infiltrate the backstage area"), and commentary on sense other than sight, so we as the reader can really imagine being there. Similarly, authenticity of anxiety is achieved with the candidate commenting on insignificant little details like the fraying of her dress hem instead of concentrating on that which is causing her so much anxiety at the time; stepping on the stage, remembering her lines, etc. I would like to have seen much more use of the very easy-to-do simile and the equally as easy and effective metaphor, as the answer lacks any of them. These latter two devices are absolutely imperative for descriptive writing as these and personification are the key devices used in creating powerful imagery. It is important for candidates to realise the tools required with each Writing task, such as the use of emotive language, repetition and Second Person Address in Writing to Advise.
I like the last paragraph, which comes as a pleasant breather from the intensity of the earlier paragraphs. The candidates sits back and empathises with others who have felt the same experience, and widens the demographic relationship between the text and real life, creating a good connection with the audience. It's a very effective ending and a pleasant one considering most creative writing descriptive pieces end suddenly on a cliffhanger or with the candidate simply stopping writing after the event was over.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is very good. Though the majority of the sentences are simple and compound, the candidate adheres well to the expected writing standards of a GCSE English student. I would though, as an improvement, like to see a braver use of more challenging vocabulary and punctuation. Naturally, this candidate is describing a tense moment, so perhaps it is for this reason that they do not use many large words but it would be nice to see, either way, a better use of complex punctuation like semi-colons and parentheses as this strengthens the writing confidence of an answer with the use of higher level writing devices.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 09/04/2012

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