Can you believe it?

Read the following narrative. Note what you feel may be seen as weaknesses in the plot.

  • You are not assessing the use of variety of sentences, verb tenses or stylistic features.
  • Concentrate on the plot weaknesses!

It was cold and windy in the park so we all decided to go to our other mate’s house. Our mate is called Karl and he is usually OK for a laugh but today was different. He lived on the other side of town which was a long way to go at that time of night. We had a race there and I was fourth but at least I wasn’t last!

When we got there it was still windy and cold and we knocked on the door but there was no answer. So we wondered what to do then and Sam said we could go to the woods. We all thought it was a great idea but I was a bit worried because it was cold and windy and the trees looked like they had scary hands when you saw them.

We were in the woods in no time and then we agreed to split up so that we could see what was going on there. I went down one path and the others all chose different ones. But we all secretly knew that something was going to go wrong. But what? Just then, I heard a noise in the cold wind and it was a horrible voice. It sounded like someone was after me. But who was it? I ran deeper in to the dark woods and then I heard Sam shouting. I ran to find him but he was dead with blood all over the place when I got there and I read my name written in blood on a tree saying I was next.

My phone was dead so I knew I had to hide somewhere quick. I suddenly saw and abandoned old shack in the trees and went inside. There was a note on the table saying ‘Welcome to your nightmare’. Then I saw a knife flashing in the candlelight and I just got away but it caught me on the hand and nearly cut it off. Now I was in trouble - so I ran away again. But then I suddenly found my mum and dad standing in the middle of the path.

They had come to find me in the woods and guessed that was where I would be because I always loved to go there when I was little. Just then, a voice shouted ‘I will kill you all then’ and I saw the knife again but my dad quickly shot him dead with the gun he used to have in the army and never gave back. ‘I think we’ll be alright now son,’ he said. I felt safe with him and we went home. It turned out that a mad man with a knife had killed hundreds of people and all my friends too. Karl said he was glad he was out when we called or he would be dead in the woods with all our other mates. We agreed never to talk about it again and we still don’t.

I never went to those woods again and I always tell everyone not to go there because of what happened.

  • Now you have your own list of weaknesses. Click to find some of the more obvious problems highlighted for you.
  • Alter the colour of the highlight to match the questions below.
  • Who?
  • Why?
  • Where?
  • How?
  • Really?

It was cold and windy in the park so we all decided to go to our other mate’s house. Our mate is called Karl and he is usually OK for a laugh but today was different. He lived on the other side of town which was a long way to go at that time of night. We had a race there and I was fourth but at least I wasn’t last!

When we got there it was still windy and cold and we knocked on the door but there was no answer. So we wondered what to do then and Sam said we could go to the woods. We all thought it was a great idea but I was a bit worried because it was cold and windy and the trees looked like they had scary hands when you saw them.

We were in the woods in no time and then we agreed to split up so that we could see what was going on there. I went down one path and the others all chose different ones. But we all secretly knew that something was going to go wrong. But what? Just then, I heard a noise in the cold wind and it was a horrible voice. It sounded like someone was after me. But who was it? I ran deeper in to the dark woods and then I heard Sam shouting. I ran to find him but he was dead with blood all over the place when I got there and I read my name written in blood on a tree saying I was next.

My phone was dead so I knew I had to hide somewhere quick. I suddenly saw and abandoned old shack in the trees and went inside. There was a note on the table saying ‘Welcome to your nightmare’. Then I saw a knife flashing in the candlelight and I just got away but it caught me on the hand and nearly cut it off. Now I was in trouble - so I ran away again. But then I suddenly found my mum and dad standing in the middle of the path.

They had come to find me in the woods and guessed that was where I would be because I always loved to go there when I was little. Just then, a voice shouted ‘I will kill you all then’ and I saw the knife again but my dad quickly shot him dead with the gun he used to have in the army and never gave back. ‘I think we’ll be alright now son,’ he said. I felt safe with him and we went home. It turned out that a mad man with a knife had killed hundreds of people and all my friends too. Karl said he was glad he was out when we called or he would be dead in the woods with all our other mates. We agreed never to talk about it again and we still don’t.

I never went to those woods again and I always tell everyone not to go there because of what happened.

It was cold and windy in the park so we all decided to go to our other mate’s house. Our mate is called Karl and he is usually OK for a laugh but today was different. He lived on the other side of town which was a long way to go at that time of night but we went anyway. We had a race there and I was fourth but at least I wasn’t last!

When we got there it was still windy and cold and we knocked on the door but there was no answer. So we wondered what to do then and Sam said we could go to the woods. We all thought it was a great idea but I was a bit worried because it was cold and windy and the trees looked like they had scary hands when you saw them. Anyway, I didn’t go home.

We were in the woods in no time and then we agreed to split up so that we could see what was going on there. I went down one path and the others all chose different ones. But we all secretly knew that something was going to go wrong. But what? Just then, I heard a noise in the cold wind and it was a horrible voice. It sounded like someone was after me. But who was it? I ran deeper in to the dark woods and then I heard Sam shouting. I ran to find him in the pitch dark but he was dead with blood all over the place when I got there and I read my name written in blood on a tree saying I was next.

My phone was dead so I knew I had to hide somewhere quick. I suddenly found an abandoned old shack in the trees and went inside. There was a note on the table saying ‘Welcome to your nightmare’. Then I saw a knife flashing in the candlelight and I just got away but it caught me on the hand and it was just hanging off but I stopped it bleeding. Now I was in trouble - so I ran away again. But then I suddenly found my mum and dad standing in the middle of the path.

They had come to find me in the woods and guessed that was where I would be because I always loved to go there when I was little. Just then, a voice shouted ‘I will kill you all then’ and I saw the knife again but my dad quickly shot him dead with the gun he used to have in the army and never gave back. ‘I think we’ll be alright now son’ he said. I felt safe with him and we went home. We found out that a mad man with a knife had killed hundreds of people and all my friends too. Karl said he was glad he was out when we called or he would be dead in the woods with all our other mates. We agreed never to talk about it again and we still don’t.

I never went to those woods again and I always tell everyone not to go there because of what happened.

There are a lot of problems with this plot. As well as all the highlighted points, there are a lot of questions left unanswered. Note a few of the questions you still have in the box below. Click when you have finished - to see some example questions you may have asked.

Unanswered questions

  • How many friends went with him – were there four?
  • What happened to the others – apart from Sam?
  • Were they all killed?
  • How did he recover from the severe hand injury?
  • What happened to the gun?
  • Were the police ever informed?
  • What about the parents of his friends – did they care?
  • How did the killer get away with it for so long?
  • What happened to his mum?
  • Why was she so quiet?

How would you describe the plot of this narrative? What key points have you learned about writing narrative plot from analysing this narrative? Write your response in the box below – maximum 75 words.

When finished, click on the key points button to compare ideas.

Key Points

  • This is not an effective piece of narrative writing.
  • This narrative has been created from a series of scenes from a horror film. There is too little to learn about the characters to make the reader empathise or care about what happens.
  • Leaving questions unanswered is all part of creating suspense and interest in a narrative – but too many questions makes a narrative implausible.