23 Jun 2013

25 Awesome Story Ideas for Creative Writing for GCSE English Language Controlled Assessment

The stories are all based on pictures, with monsters, a chase, a king, or characters. 

Any of these stories can be written first person or third. I recommend you check out this post to make sure that you're showing the story, not just telling it.


All About Character
[1] Old man loses his last picture of himself with his long dead wife. Could link to 'Long Distance' by Tony Harrison. Trying to find it, he goes through her things. This is one for flashback. He discovers secrets, or that she has left him a series of letters/notes for after her death. Start this when he realises he's lost the picture.


[2] Reclusive Grandmother dies. Links to 'Grandmother' by Elizabeth Jennings. The granddaughter - who is feeling guilty for not visiting her - has to go through her things and finds her grandmother is not all she seems (she finds £100,000 in cash, or pictures of another, second family she abandoned, or photos of grandmother with Hitler, etc). Start this when the granddaughter opens the front door. She can't get the key to work at first...
[3] A woman's (or man's) jealousy of her (or his) best friend takes over their life. Could link to 'Othello' or 'Medusa'. Think about why. Start this when the woman is with her friend in a frenzy of jealousy...



[4] A model who has always been obsessed with her looks has acid splashed in her face and is disfigured. Could link to 'Les Grands Seigneurs', or 'Mirror' by Sylvia Plath. Start this with her looking in the mirror then opening her front door...
By the way, this story is true. The woman in the picture is called Katie Piper.

[5] Fear of heights: nine year old with family who are in visiting a famous tall tower for the first time. The rest of her family want to go up the tower, but if the child won't go up, someone will have to stay behind with them. Start this at the foot of the tower...

Want more ideas? Get a complete set plus a teaching scheme with model essays and all resources on my TES Resources shop here.



II
Desire
[6] Small child really wants cake but has been forbidden from taking it down from the shelf. Start this story with the child lusting after the cake, which you should describe - baking, decorating etc - in delicious detail. [read a short, very funny version of this here]


[7] A man is obsessed with a woman who does not love him back (or the other way round). Could link to 'Havisham' by Carol Ann Duffy, 'Give' or 'Alaska' by Simon Armitage or 'The River God' by Stevie Smith. Start this when he realises she doesn't love him back or when he decides to do something about it - get a haircut, stop eating raw onions, go to the gym, pretend that he also loves 'horoscopes' and 'shopping'...





[8] Dangerous Ambition (links to Macbeth). Want the lead role in the school play (or to be head girl/boy)? What will you do to get it? Start this when you realise the lead is up for grabs but you're not the first choice.
Racing Car driver (motorcross, road or drag racer) is up against his old teammate, now his main rival. Driver needs to win this one or it's the end of his career. He sees that one of the mechanics on his rival's car has fixed something up wrong. What does he do?


[9] Jealous woman (or man) chases husband (wife) to find out where they're going. Could link to 'Medusa', 'Havisham', or 'Othello'. Start this story when they decide to chase / follow. Use flashback, or recollection to explain why.






[10] Small child really wants to go to another child's birthday party but there's a problem. He has to go to his dad's that weekend/hasn't been invited/has to go to the dentist instead. How does he deal with or solve it? Start this story at the moment where the child realises he can't go. [read a short, hilarious one here]

III
Lost
[11] An old man, who has never cooked or cleaned for himself, has just got home after his wife died (of old age, in hospital). You could link this to 'Old Age Gets Up' by Ted Hughes. Now he has to try to do housework - cook, etc. Could be comic / tragic.


[12] You go for a forest walk (e.g. on a Geography trip or DofE) with someone you don't like much from school and get lost. Could link to Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken', 'Storm in the Black Forest' by D.H. Lawrence or 'Wind' by Ted Hughes. Start this story just before the main character begins to suspect they are lost. Start funny, ends up scary as it starts to go dark. Get describing words for a forest story here.


[13] Parent-Child: In a busy town centre, a mother loses her child who has previously been annoying her. Link this to 'Mother A Distance Greater...' by Simon Armitage, 'Catrin' by Gillian Clarke or 'My Father Thought it Bloody Queer'. Start this with the child's tantrum, mother's thoughts then quickly move to realising the child is gone.


[14] World famous BMXer (or other sports person, footballer, skateboarder, surfer) is in a car crash - or other accident - and loses his leg. Will he ever ride again? This can link to 'Out, Out-' by Robert Frost. For more on the guy in the photo see this video. Start this story when he wakes up in a hospital bed.






[15] Absent father returns trying to spend time with his kids. How do they react to seeing him after so long? [this idea is done beautifully in the story, 'Compass and Torch' in the AQA anthology Sunlight on the Grass]. You could also link this to 'Follower' by Seamus Heaney. Start this when there's a knock at the front door.


[16] You win a million pounds on the lottery. Everyone you know wants some. What would you buy? Friendships are ruined. Then you are robbed... Start this when you check your bank balance and there are sooooo many noughts at the end it looks like a bank malfunction.

IV
Coming of Age
[17] Death of a pet. Ferociously funny, very short story about a girl and a fish [here]. Start this when you find the pet... dead, or just before. You can use flashback - when you first got the pet, etc.





[18] Learning a secret you wish you'd never found out - e.g. finding texts on your dad's mobile from his girlfriend while your parents are still married - or learning that your mum is planning to secretly leave your dad. Start this when you're just idly messing with the parent's phone or laptop.


[19] falling in love for the first time, as in Romeo and Juliet. Start this when they see each other or their first proper meeting. Link this to 'Sonnet 18 Shall I Compare Thee', 'Sonnet 116 Let Me Not', 'Quickdraw' or 'Hour', by Carol Ann Duffy or 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell.


[20] The first time you have to do a really disgusting piece of housework / cook a meal for yourself and how you tackle it. Start this when you realise that no one else is going to do this foul job except you. Read a description of cooking a meal here.

V
The Chase / Monsters
[21] You're camping with your friend in the woods. Then you hear a noise outside (wolves, person, etc). Start this as you're getting settled to go to sleep - then you hear snuffling (or whatever). Read Bill Bryson's hilarious account of this exact event, and also an account of surviving a bear attack from the OCR exam paper here.


[22] You have something someone else wants - gold, diamonds etc. They chase you to get it. You choose the landscape: city, ruined derelict warehouses, Brazil, forest, cliffs etc. Start this at the moment you realise someone is following you. You can link this to the final chapter of Lord of the Flies.





[23] You are the last surviving human after the zombie/vampire apocalypse. Now they have found you. This is the plot of 'I Am Legend'. You can link this to Edwin Muir's post-apocalyptic poem 'Horses', 'Wind' by Ted Hughes or the final chapter of Lord of the Flies. Start this at the moment you (or the main character) realises someone is coming towards your hiding place.

[24] The King is a tyrant who has killed your family. Now you will take revenge. Start this story as you are just about to go through the city walls.


[25] You wake up and discover you have been turned into a giant insect. How does your family react? This is the plot of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Read this here. Start at the point you wake up, and gradually realise what has happened.

Need more help? Post a question in the comments box below! 
Find resources and essays for all GCSE and A-Level set texts, including Shakespeare and poetry
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.