Thank you Susan Hill

Strolling desperately for a juicy gothic extract to read with my GSCE students, analyse and then mimic, I came across a trusty old friend.. The Woman in Black. Just as Hill herself had mimicked the Victorian Gothic Melodrama, so were we - with relish. Oh the fun I had (and hopefully my patient students too) in writing a gothic piece based closely on the 'oh... Ohhh... Ohhhhhhh... Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!' structure so delightfully expressed to me by Chris Curtis in his book, 'How to Teach English'. We collected 'juicy' words and phrases from Hill's extract as well as some formidable sentence structures e.g. short simple plus short simple plus rhetorical question. Eh? You might be questioning and understandably - turning creative writing into mathematical formula! Blasphemy to those artisans out there. But trust me... I'm an English teacher (please see earlier blog!). So it goes a bit like this: 'There was no child. I knew that. How could there be?'. Students manipulated it to suit their ghostly narrative, one example being: 'I was alone I knew that. Who could be in such agony?' And there you have it - well some of it. We also experimented with the delayed subject sentence: 'Out of the utter darkness, while the tumultuous storm raged, a scream tore the air into shreds.' Hill or one of my inspired students? You guess.