Mr C Is In His Element

If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal from many, it's research.
Wilson Mizner (1876-1933)
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on

When writing I think it is very important to be well read. By this I mean not just in your chosen genre, in which you’re writing but across the board. Try reading outside what you would normally select. I’ve always read a wide range of genres because I tend to be interested in the storyline first, when I pick up a book to read. By doing so you also get to know the difference between what works for you and what doesn’t in the many different styles of writing.

If the plot line is interesting enough I will read the opening paragraph to see if it grabs me. I’m afraid if I don’t get drawn into the action straightway, or it’s too repetitive with too much information dumping I lose interest quick. I love book where the characters sweep you along with them. Books like The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom The Bridges Of Madison County by Robert James Waller The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke are among my top favourite books of all time. They are all very different in writing styles and plotline. They are unique books.

Of course I have read lots of books by the same authors i.e. Stephen Kings, Ian Rankin, Sophie Hannah, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich and Patricia Cornwell etc. The list is endless. I adore Victorian ghost stories too.

Yes, you are right, dear reader I missed out day 10 of my evening class yesterday so here it is.

Mr C seemed a different person when he introduced his class to different styles of writing in day 10 of 32 Brush Up On English.

Photo by Element5 Digital on

Day 10 of 32: Mr. C in his element

Do I have some exciting news for you this week?

Mr C excelled himself.

I really enjoyed the lesson. Only five students arrived this week, plus two classroom assistants. Mr C started by going back over paragraphs, telling us what they were, and how to write one. He had copied two short paragraphs out of a newspaper and told us we must keep things simple.

The first line of the paragraph should mirror the last line, he told us.

Then he went on to talk about how to gather together information to write an article, letter, book etc. He did it by drawing a diagram. In the centre, he put the main subject, and leading off like a spider’s web was interlinking ideas.

“Wasn’t it a bit like brainstorming?” I asked,

I supposed, it is,” he said.

We then had to choose one of 10 subjects to write a short paragraph about. After the smoke break, Mr C gave us a sheet of paper with three examples of different descriptions. One paragraph was by Dean Koontz, one by Ian Rankin and another by Charles Dickens. Mr C seemed to want to take his time talking us through this lesson. I had the feeling he found this sort of lesson far more enjoyable to teach.

He has given us part three of our on-going short story. I was both wrong and surprised to find that other students in my class have been working on their stories.

Mr C took my part two of my story away to read properly. He said he hadn’t brought my short story for the local newspaper competition back yet as he was still reading it but would return it next week.
He did make some comments in the class to me about my second part of my story ‘The Room.’

(Dear Reader I apologies but I didn’t recorded what he said)

More tomorrow.

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