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Alex Martin

Working with the extract

This piece provides the opportunity to look at the diary as a form for autobiographical writing. The main linguistic features of autobiographical writing still hold true:

* first person narrative

* a story about the key incidents in the writer's life

* an expression of the writer's feelings, thoughts, reactions, beliefs

* description of main influences - people, places, events - on the writer

* description of interactions between the writer and important people in his or her life

This deceptively simple piece from another of last year's winners is in the form of a diary. It is funny on a number of levels, not least because it subverts the form and makes fun of autobiographical writing, by writing about how he has nothing to write about because his life is so dull! The PS additions are very funny and hint at a life that may not be quite so boring. Humorous writing is tricky but the writer handles it here with confidence.

Suggestions for writing

Use the diary format to write about a significant event or person in your life.

Write a humorous piece about something that has happened to you. Think carefully about where the humour will come from - the incident itself andor how you tell it? Test it out on a partner and use their feedback to improve the final version.

About the author

Alex says he doesn't always know where to take ideas for stories, but he'd like to "go into writing", and enjoyed meeting author Geraldine McCaughrean last year. "I normally read Terry Pratchett, and I like Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I like fantasy, but it's harder to write now because so many people are influenced by The Lord of the Rings - which I think is really good." Alex plays the saxophone and enjoys football and says the "tips" he gives refer to incidents that happened that day.

Alex's teacher, Amanda Mason, ran a Write Away club for more able students in Years 8 and 9 and discussed the stimulus material published in TES Teacher last year with them.

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