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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Mini sagas

The English Faculty at Cirencester Deer Park School recently issued pupils in Key Stage 3 with a challenge – to write a mini saga in only 100 words, based on the theme of ‘Wonderland’.

The quality of stories that pupils produced was so impressive that we shared these with our Patron of Reading and Writing, author Joffre White. Joffre told us I’m impressed at the diverse styles of writing that have been produced by everyone who took up this challenge, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all.”

We asked him to choose some prize winners for us and he selected the following three entries written by Amy, Alexander and May.

The Message – Amy (age 12)

“I really love this piece, it creates instant atmosphere and draws the reader into the situation - exactly what a writer aims for. More please!”

It just didn’t add up.  She must have fallen unless there was something they had missed?  Nico looked at the photo again, only to realise that something white and smudged was protruding from the corner of her cardigan as she lay; pale and lifeless, blood stained.  Ten minutes later he was galloping across the field towards the taped off area; the scene of the tragedy.  Darkness was falling now and a strange chill unsettled him because he knew that it was some sort of note; a suicide note?  A clue?  Or was it a warning?  He could not be sure…

The Circus – Alexander  (age 13)

“Good, strong original intro, which pulls you into an unnerving situation. It has all the ingredients of suspense and intrigue, and the promise to develop into a full-blown horror story!”

I could hear muffled sounds, partially audible but not enough to understand.  I was being thrown about, like a doll owned by a little girl.  Then the bag came off my head.  I saw a man standing in front of me, partially kneeling as I am very short, to look me in the eyes.  To my left and right, humongous monstrosities who’s only human like feature was the shape of the body, pinning me by my arms.  “Hello my lovely specimen!” the doctor with small fingers said.  “This is my home, it’s not much I know.  But welcome to Wonderland."

Pills are Happiness – May (age 13)

“A really original piece of first person writing, I would love to see this expanded, and for the writer to build on their confidence and let the rest of the story evolve.”

Liberty – the war is over.  We, with our painted faces and our masks of gaiety, are the supreme race.  We have no woe, no history, and a wise government.  Those who disobey must suffer.  Their life will be spent in isolation in the ruins of the Beyond.  Those who end their lives will be forever shamed.  Their festering corpses will suffice for fuel.  The user reinforced our minds and eliminated the weak.  No, our lives are not extravagant, but they are satisfactory.  We are young, we are free, and we are unstoppable.  And we owe it all to a pill.


Joffre also recommended that two further entries be awarded ‘Highly Commended.’

“Good impact and competent writing style which has produced a nice stand alone, dystopian theme.”

World 24 – Isobel (age 13)

If I look back, I can remember what life used to be like.  Sun, happiness, immortality.  But now?  Darkness, misery, living in fear of death every second of every day.  After the killers came, that’s when it started.  They came and the world began to die.  Nature, people, order, all cast into myth.  Now we just do what we can to survive, scavenge and fight to find what we need to get through another long and weary day.  We can hear the screams of victims every day.  They don’t shock us any more.  The killers came, and they’re never leaving.

Great descriptive writing which allowed me to ‘see’ the game in my mind’s eye - good, original piece of work.”

James (age 13)

Sharp blue sky, graced with rainbows slicing through random clouds filled the air, not blighted with plane tails.  Green glass, greener than any I’d seen covered the ground in a prickled blanket; no dead patches nor breaks in the constant stunning colour.  I could run faster; I could jump, higher.  All my body was stronger than I knew possible allowing me to achieve unreachable goals that called for me in all directions though my time was up.  I hovered my cursor over “quit game” but quickly moved it away, immersed myself.  Why would I want to leave?

The English teachers feel very proud that Joffre commented so favourably on the pupils’ writing. He is currently featuring their stories on the Patron’s page on his website. On Thursday 16 March, BBC News School Report Day, Joffre came in to Deer Park to run two writing workshops with specific groups of pupils. Read more...