Present the first four paragraphs of the text as continuous prose, without any punctuation or paragraph breaks, and read it to the pupils.
Ask the pupils to add punctuation and structure to this piece to make it more effective. Try out several ways by asking the pupils to read their suggestions out andor annotate a copy on an OHT or interactive whiteboard.
Discuss the decisions and the effects created. Project the actual text on to the screen so the pupils can see it and discuss any differences that might exist. Why has the writer made certain decisions? What effects do the length of sentences, paragraphing, start of sentences create?
Routes through the story
In pairs, the pupils are to pick a line from the text which they think provides specific information about the character. This might be something the character says or does, or something they describe. Project a picture of a tree and superimpose the writer's name on the tree. Ask the pupils to stand as if on a path that leads to the tree. As the reader, explain that you are walking through the wood of text to find the tree that represents the true character. As you become level with them, they are to read out the extract. When you reach the tree (screen), ask them if the quoteline that is nearest to the truth, or the reader's view of the truth, is now closest to the tree. If not, ask them to adjust the route or the path so a line of continuum is created. If the author took the route, would it change? What techniques does the writer use to provide the route to a character? Discuss the choices, asking the pupils to give evidence to back up their choices.
Use the structure provided by this piece as a writing frame. Begin with, "It happened I years ago, but if I shut my eyes I can still see every detail. Fear does that to you..." and include the line, "suddenly everything changed". Encourage the pupils to think about their earlier analysis of the structure of the writing and consider how they might use varied sentence lengths and sentence beginnings for particular effect in their own writing.
About the author
Wolf Brother, is the first in a series of six, The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness (Orion Children's Books). The second title, Spirit Walker, is published this month. Michelle believes in researching thoroughly for her fiction and tries to live and eat much as her boy-hero,Torak, did when she is preparing stories.