Caley 4 Eva
Johnny raced past. He was sprinting as fast as he could but they were gaining on him. He was out of breath. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He had to find somewhere to hide and fast. He darted down an alley on the right. If he could get over the wall at the bottom of the alley he could get safely back to his own territory. Johnny was part of a gang called the Dead Runners.
Johnny's rival gang The Hell Fires knew Johnny would do anything to get away. The last time the Hell Fires had chased Johnny, he had jumped right through the front window of the local supermarket. He had sprinted up the aisles and escaped out a fire door. Michael, the leader of the Hell Fires rounded the corner right behind Johnny realising the alley was a dead end. Michael and his cronies started to walk, laughing at Johnny's attempts to climb the wall.
Johnny turned and saw them approach. He knew there was no escape. He couldn't fight off all five of them. He might be able to land a couple of punches here and there but would definately not win any fight today. He had to get away. He gripped the concrete with his fingers and tried again in vain to get up and over the wall. He scrambled as hard as he could manage but he slipped and fell to the ground. He landed badly, pain shot through his body. Michael laughed. He shouted to his mates to stop. Michael approached Johnny, knelt down and punched him in the face. He stayed kneeling over Johnny with his fist wavering above Johnny's face, defying Johnny to get up.
"Help!" Johnny screamed. His nose was bleeding, he could taste blood. A second punch left him on the edge of consciousness. Johnny caught a glimpse of a traffic warden walking past the entrance to the alley. He screamed again but was silenced by a boot connecting with his stomach. The traffic warden had not heard him. Michael dragged Johnny to his feet but Johnny still had some fight left in him. Johnny grabbed Michael and kneed him in the guts. Johnny threw a punch at the side of Michael's head where the skull is weakest. Hitting him right in the temple he knocked him out. Johnny made a run for it, heading straight towards the remaining Hell Fires and charged right through them, knocking one over. He continued running as fast as he possibly could. Johnny did not stop or look back until he was safely back on his home turf.
Johnny went straight to his gangs club house. When he walked in the smell the stale cigarettes and alcohol hit him. There were a few people playing pool but it was pretty dodgy because the cues were missing tips or were split. A few gang members were keeping fit, performing pull ups, push ups and lifting weights. Another was leaning on the pinball machine intently watching his mate playing pinball. Johnny walked straight past everyone ignoring anyone who spoke to him. He walked into the gang leaders office. Every gang member had a nickname and Johnny's was Fists because he used them so often, punching anyone who annoyed him or got in his way. The leader was nicknamed Chief. The Chief was taller and beefier than Johnny but Johnny was tough and much stronger. Johnny was the spitting image of his father, they even shared the same eye and hair colour. One noticable difference was their clothes, the chief wore stylish suits, polished shoes and was never without his trademark sunglasses. Johnny preffered his torn jeans, hoodies, trainers or timberland boots and his trademark item was his baseball cap sporting the Dead Runners badge which always adorned his head backwards. Johnny relayed the details of his Hell Fires encounter to his father. The Chief listened intently, his expression not changing throughout. When Johnny told him about him knocking Michael out The Chief burst into a roaring laugh. He looked as though he was going to fall off his chair.
"Johnny" said the chief. "Why don't you go and ask Teeth if he will sort your nose out and we will deal with Michael later".
"But dad" Johnny protested.
"No buts, get going"
Johnny stormed off in the direction of Teeth. Teeth had been kicked out of medical school for fighting. In the fight he had lost his front teeth, hence his nickname. Johnny was relieved to find his nose was not broken. He might have ripped jeans but he was popular and had a good image. After talking to teeth, who had only given his some paracetamol to ease the pain, he disappeared into his room. Him mum had died in a car crash when he was six years old and his dad spent so much time here that they had just got some rooms at the club house. Johnny's room was a tip. He had no mum to tell him to tidy it so he just threw his stuff everywhere. His walls were covered in posters and his floor was littered with clothes. His bed was covered in x-box 360 games. He walked over and turned on his TV and X-box. He put Forza 3 into the disc tray and waited for it to load. He went on his career and selected his Audi R8 5.4 Litre Turbo. He selected the La Mans circuit and as soon as the race begun he rose six places to 2nd place. He took 1st place round the 5th corner. On the 7th corner he went too far and skidded off. He always got that corner wrong. The computer cars all got it perfectly on the apex. He got mad and lobbed his controller at the wall. It almost hit the Chief as he walked in. It just flew inches past his head. The shock was obvious on the Chiefs face. Johnny sulked over and got his controller. He clicked restart and just ignored the Chief until a phone landed beside him. The number was his friend Joe's mobile number.
Johnny looked up but the chief was gone. He picked up the phone and said hello.
"Hi its Joe."
"Hey Joe whats up?" asked Johnny.
"Just wondering if you were coming out?
"Dunno. Might as well cause i'm just playing my x-box."
"Cool i'm nearby so ill just come past you."
Johnny put down the phone. Joe wouldn't be long. He lived nearby. Johnny turned off his x-box and went to play darts. He was ok but could never get the last double he needed to win. Johnny waited for Joe and the had a game of darts. Johnny won by hitting double 4. Then they played Forza and Johnny won on the Le Mans track when Joe kidded on the 7th corner. Johnny was chuffed and thought that luck was going his way. Although not for long. They decided to take a walk outside and see if anyone was out. Joe thought he saw his older brother but Johnny's luck had run out because it was Michael. He hadnt seen Johnny yet and Joe wasnt known by Michael. Johnny and Michael dived behind a short wall that seperated the houses from one another. They rolled under a spiky shrub but Johnny didnt care about the pain because if Michael caught him the pain would be a lot worse. He could hear laughter and the crunching of gravel under feet. It was gettng louder meaning they were geting closer. At one point Johnny could hear them so close he thought they were going to pull him out.
But when he could barely hear them he risked a breath. He had been holding his breath through the whole time. Joe on the other hand had pricked his hand and it had a thorn in the webbing between his thumb and forefinger. It looked painfull and the expression on Joes face confirmed it. Johnny and Joe went back to the clubhouse. Johnny took Joe to Teeth who extracted the thorn with some tweezers. The pain caused Joes face to screw up. Joe fought off tears. He didn't cry though. Once the thorn was out Joe went home, so Johnny went for a walk avoiding any Hell Fire turfs. On the way he met wheels, who had been a go-kart champion when he was little, who was on the look out for cars to steal. He asked Johnny to tag along. The walked past old hatchbacks into the newer housing district. Untill they came across mercedes and Jaguars's. They spotted a couple of Porches but they were all older. Then Wheels spotted a brand new Ford Shelby GT500 KR that had barely been on sale for a day. Wheels pulled out a few tools to help get into the car. Once they were in Johnny yanked the cover off the wire box. He found the wires and ripped out the wires he needed and rubbed the bare ends together untill the car started . When it rumbled to life the roar of the 500 brake horsepower deafened Johnny. Wheels was sitting behind the wheel. The car lurched forward as the rear wheels smoked off the line. Johnny looked out the window to see the owner standing on his doorstep waving a golf club and cursing. Johnny put his hand out the window and gave the owner the finger as Wheels floored the throttle.
Johnny and Wheels went flying up the motorway at 167 miles per hour. The other cars headlights were just strips of lights. It looked like something off a tv advert advertising neon lights. Johnny could feel the G-force pushing him against the bucket seats as they sped off the motorway slip road. Wheels brought the speed down to about 70 miles per hour and drifted round the corner. The tires were smoking. They were driving to a garage lockup owned by the Dead runners. Johnny's ears were ringing even after he got out the car. He could barely hear Wheels talking to him. He was telling Johnny to get ready to shut the garage door. He went out the front and pulled the garage door shut. Wheels appeared round the side. He told Johnny to walk round the corner and get in a red van that was parked along the street. Wheels handed him a set of keys .
Wheels took Johhny home and gave him two 50 pound notes for helping him. He told Johnny to tell his dad that the car was in the lock up. Johnny was tired and went straight to bed. He slept like a log until his alarm woke him the next morning. He stumbled out of bed and found some clean clothes to wear to school if he went. He got a slice of toast and the remainder of a carton of orange juice and headed towards the corner he met Joe at. Together they walked to school. Johnny decided to go because he had P.E and the were doing football. He sulked his way through History and French and as he expected he got screamed at for not doing his science homework. He had French fourth so he went to sickbay saying he had a sore head and waited for the school nurse to get him some parcetmol. He came back five minutes before the bell and didn't have to do any work. He had a ten minute detention for not doing his homework but Joe waited for him. They went down the street to the bakers and got warm sausage rolls and bottles of lilt and doctor pepper. The sat on the bench by the pier and ate them before going to the sweet shop to get something for the rest of lunch break. They wandered back to the school and sat in the dinner hall talking to classmates and friends. Before the bell went Johnny and Joe went to the Changing rooms to get ready early so that they wouldn't get shouted at for being late. They went outside onto the grass pitches and had to do some warm-up laps around the pitch doing side-steps, star jumps and so on round the pitch before getting into some passing drills. He noticed that Michael was walking past the outer fence of the school pitch and was starting to get woried but he just kept walking. They got into a match the second half of the double period. Johnny got stuck out on the wing and barely got a pass. When he got the ball he started running as fast as he could with the ball at his feet towards goal. He took and shot from the edge of the eighteen yard box. He watched in anticipation as the ball went over the defender and started to curl towards the other corner. It looked as though it was going in until Joe who was a defender in the other team ran in and headed the ball over for a corner. The final score was three goals to Joes team and one to Johnny
Feedback for Caley 4 Eva
This is an excellent Day in the Life of a teenage boy who is a gang member. The story begins with Johnny’s exciting escape from a rival gang The Hell Fires. After ‘Teeth’ the gang doctor treats his injuries, Johnny embarks on a mission to steal a car. This is all in a day’s work for schoolboy Johnny who attends school the next day as usual.
Here is the excellent beginning:
‘Johnny raced past. He was sprinting as fast as he could but they were gaining on him. He was out of breath. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He had to find somewhere to hide and fast. He darted down an alley on the right. If he could get over the wall at the bottom of the alley he could get safely back to his own territory. Johnny was part of a gang called the Dead Runners.’
Caley 4 Eva uses short sentences to create drama and excitement. Then the last short sentence in the paragraph gives us the information about Johnny being in an interestingly named gang. This makes us want to read on because the name makes us want to find out more about the gang and we are also hooked by the excitement of the chase. Bravo!
Caley 4 Eva uses names well. All the gang members have gang names that are just one syllable: Teeth, Chief, Fists, Wheels. This is a stylish writing decision by Caley 4 Eva who tells us how his characters came by these names and this makes these people real to his readers.
Caley uses language quite well too. There is some nice description of headlights in the part where Johnny steals a car:
‘Johnny and Wheels went flying up the motorway at 167 miles per hour. The other cars headlights were just strips of lights. It looked like something off a tv advert advertising neon lights. Johnny could feel the G-force pushing him against the bucket seats as they sped off the motorway slip road. Wheels brought the speed down to about 70 miles per hour and drifted round the corner. The tires were smoking.’
What I like about this is that Caley SHOWS us how fast Johnny and Wheels were going by describing the feeling of speed :
‘the G-force pushing him against the bucket seats’
in stead of the BORING TELLING : The car went like a rocket.
Caley is particularly good at choosing interesting verbs:
The car ‘drifted round the corner. The tires were smoking.’
‘When it rumbled to life the roar of the 500 brake horsepower deafened Johnny.’
‘He stayed kneeling over Johnny with his fist wavering above Johnny's face, defying Johnny to get up.
Caley selects his vocabulary carefully:
‘A second punch left him on the edge of consciousness.’
He could have written: The second punch nearly knocked him out.
But that wouldn’t have been nearly so stylish. It really pays to think about the words you use.
Hints for next time:
Plot your story more tightly in advance. The story wanders a bit - like you were not quite sure of your purpose. Think of your title: Round Two - which suggests a boxing story and maybe also a second chance for our hero. I expect if there had been more time you would have made this happen. It would have been fine to see Johnny face a big challenge and overcome it to become a boxing Champion.
Avoid unnecessary dialogue (the conversation between Johnny and his friend is boring and does not push the story along).
Watch the focus in your paragraphs – I am thinking of the last one. Remember to make a new paragraph when you change topic, time, place.
Continue to work on building your characters through thoughts and feelings as well as actions. Your story is told largely from outside Johnny. If you ‘see’ through his eyes more it helps the readers to really be on his sideThe strength of this story is that Caley 4 Eva writes about what he knows. He includes excellent detail on X Box games, cars, school, boxing and football. His protagonist skives off lessons he doesn’t like by pretending illness. He describes Johnny eating warm sausage rolls with his friend after a ten-minute detention has made a whole lesson skive worthwhile. He describes arriving at the games changing rooms early in order to avoid being shouted at for being late. All of this makes his character seem very real. It is a very good idea to include things you know about in a made up story for this reason. The fact that Johnny is beaten up and loses at football because he is not an all-round hero is real and refreshing.