# Lesson video

In progress...

Hi, everyone.

It's Mr. Brown here, and it's your English lesson.

And it's a big one today, we're going to be writing the opening.

So we haven't got any time to waste.

Let's get started.

And our learning objective for today is simply to write the opening.

In this lesson, you are going to need an exercise book or a piece of paper, a pencil, a pen, something to write with, and your brain.

Our agenda for today.

We're going to start with a writing warm up, we're then going to prepare to write, have a good think about what we're actually going to be doing in this lesson.

And then it's writing time.

So let's get warmed up.

We use past tense to talk about things that have happened.

The two main ones are the simple past and the continuous past.

An example of simple past tense is, the boy walked into the scrapyard to search through the discarded objects.

An example of continuous past is, the boy was walking into the scrapyard to search through the discarded objects.

That's past tense.

Present tense, we use this to talk about things that are happening now.

Things that are happening right now.

The two main ones are simple present and continuous present.

The boy walks into the scrapyard to search through the discarded objects.

That's simple present.

The boy is walking into the scrapyard to search through the discarded objects is continuous present.

And finally, we have the future tense, and we use future tense to talk about things that will happen.

The two main ones are the simple future and the continuous future.

The boy will walk into the scrapyard to search for the discarded objects.

That's an example of simple future, and the boy will be walking into the scrapyard to search through the discarded objects is continuous future.

So my question to you is, can you match the definitions of past tense, present tense, and future tense in this slide here? So you can see you've got three definitions.

They match each of those, which one matches with which? I'll give you a bit of time here.

You can pause the lesson if you want to have a think.

Okay, let's have a look at which were the right answers.

So the past tense is, we use this tense to talk about things that have happened, they're in the past.

Present tense, we use this tense to talk about things that are happening now.

And then of course, future tense is, will happen.

Things that will happen.

So my question to you now is which tense will we use when writing the opening of "The Viewer"? Is it future tense, present tense or past tense? Of course, it's past tense.

We don't know exactly when it's happened but we know it's happened before now.

It's not in the future, and it's not happening right now.

Okay, let's prepare to write.

Big lesson.

We are writing the opening of "The Viewer" by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan.

Here's our story mountain.

We are going to be writing the opening.

And the job of an opening needs to do three things.

It needs to describe the setting so the reader can picture it.

You have the setting in your head, you have to use words to put the setting in your reader's head, and that's all that being a good writer is.

You need to describe any characters, so the reader can picture them.

And then set the atmosphere for the story.

That's what an opening will do.

It will set the tone for the story.

If this is going to be a comedy story then we need to get that across in the opening.

Of course, "The Viewer" is not.

It's full of mystery and suspense.

And you know.

there's a lot of anxiousness and confusion.

That's what we need to set the tone for.

And we do all of this so that we can hook the reader in.

How many times have you picked up a book, read the first couple of pages and then put it down because it hasn't hooked you? That's what we need to do.

We need to make sure that once the reader starts reading our opening, there is no way they are going to be able to put our writing down.

Here's what we're focusing on, the opening.

We went through and we picked out the nouns like factories, the boy, machinery, clock, and car.

We went and generated adjectives for them.

So we're ready to describe them, to put those images that Shaun Tan has drawn so beautifully in our reader's head.

So our plan, the first thing we must do with our opening is describe the setting.

Let the reader know what time of day it is, what the weather's like, the location, where we are, and in detail, talk about the place where the first scene takes place.

We're then going to describe the characters, talk about what they look like and what they're doing.

And we'll then look at the action.

And our action in the opening of "The Viewer" is the boy searching through the scrapyard.

Here is our success criteria, these are the things we need to do to ensure that our writing is as successful as it can possibly be.

First thing.

I have used adjectives before my nouns to describe them in a more detailed way.

The level that we're writing at, we need to make sure that a noun is not just a noun, it is a noun with detailed description before it.

Next, I have used verbs and adverbs to describe what people and things are doing.

Do you remember when we went back to our verbs in our verbs lesson, and we looked closely at how we could add verbs and adverbs to objects that aren't even doing anything.

That's what we'll be doing today.

I have used a variety of simple, of sentence types, sorry.

I've used a variety of sentence types.

Simple, compound and complex, with a relative clause.

I'd love to see some of that work we did on relative clauses appearing in your writing today.

And then for those of you that love to push yourself who want to go above and beyond, which is pretty much everyone watching this right now, including you, and you know who you are.

Use a non-finite clause to start a sentence.

Remember we did that lesson on non-finite clauses? We're going to use some of those to start our sentences too.

Ready? Deep breath, let's go for it.

Okay, first thing we need to do is describe the setting.

Time of day, weather, location.

Right, I have started with a fronted adverbial and I know that this fronted adverbial can tell me straight away what the weather is like and what time of day it is.

And that is on a warm, humid evening.

Perfect.

Tells the reader that it's evening.

And if we know it's warm and humid, is it going to be winter? No.

Really clever, just by using the weather and what time of day it is, I have really started to paint a picture already.

On a warm, humid evening, an amber, cloud-scattered sky stretched out as far as the eye could see.

I wanted to almost lure the reader in at this stage to thinking that this story is going to be warm and cosy, and friendly, there's this amber, cloud-scattered sky stretching out, it's a warm, humid evening.

Then I'm going to be able to take that and start adding the darkness.

Adding the things like the scrapyard, and the factories, and the smoke.

Let's go for it then.

However, its golden glow was slashed apart by tall, thin chimneys, coughing and spluttering thick, black smoke into the atmosphere above.

Wow, what a change.

What a contrast from that lovely positive first sentence.

Bang, we're now in, we're now into the setting.

You've got this golden, beautiful amber sky, and I chose the verb slashed apart.

Something that I thought would really set the tone for perhaps the danger in this scene.

And I chose slashed because I knew that the chimneys were very tall and thin, I tried to think, what else looks like tall, thin streaks like that? And I thought, imagine, you know, a knife cutting through something, it would look a bit like the chimney, it's very tall and thin and straight.

And then I chose the verb coughing and spluttering to describe how the chimneys were producing the smoke.

Instead of just saying smoke was coming out of the chimneys, coughing and spluttering brings those chimneys to life in a positive or a negative way.

Is coughing and sputtering a good thing or a bad thing? Absolutely, it's a bad thing.

I'm starting to set that negative, ominous, dark tone.

These chimneys protruded, which means stuck up, protruded like inky daggers from filthy factories below.

In front of those bulky buildings, lay a grotty scrapyard, which was full of mountains of old, discarded rubbish.

I chose to add that relative clause at the end there talking a bit more about the scrapyard, which was full of mountains of old, discarded rubbish.

I like the inky daggers as well, carrying on that knife theme from the sentence before with that danger.

And then a little bit of alliteration.

You know what alliteration means? When you're using words that start with the same sound.

So, filthy factories and bulky buildings.

Great, let's keep going.

Okay, I've described the factories.

What's next that I need to describe? Of course, a pale, blue car.

I'm now going to describe the car, a pale, blue car, which had a smashed windscreen.

Why have I put commas around, which had a smashed windscreen? Yeah, you've spotted it, it's a relative clause again, isn't it? A pale, blue car, which had a smashed windscreen.

It's almost like a little bit of extra information to the audience.

Rested awkwardly within a pile of broken machinery.

I wanted to get that sense with the verb and adverb of rested awkwardly that the car wasn't comfortable in there, it didn't look like it fitted perfectly.

It was all kind of mangled and squished up.

A circular clock, so I'm now onto the clock.

A circular clock covered in blotches of blood-red rust sat motionlessly next to a metal box overflowing with tangled wires.

Why is motionlessly a very clever language choice for the clock? Why is motionlessly a really good one for the clock? 'Cause I could've used that for the car or for the boxes of tangled wires, but I went for it with the clock because what is a clock never? It's never ever still, is it? Because you always have the second hand tick, tick, tick, ticking around.

So for a clock to be motionless or resting, or what did I say, sat motionlessly, we know that clock is definitely broken.

Good.

Okay, I think we've done the first part of what we've been asked to do.

We've described the time of day, the weather, location.

And we've talked a bit about the place where the first scene takes place.

So we can now have a look at our success criteria.

We're not finished yet.

We're just jumping into our success criteria to see what we've done already, what we might not have done yet.

And that allows us to focus on those things for the rest of this piece of writing.

So, I have used adjectives before my nouns to describe them in a more detailed way.

Yes, definitely.

Wow, look, warm, humid evening, amber, cloud-scattered sky.

I've described the chimneys as tall and thin.

The smoke as thick and black.

The rubbish as old, discarded, and even the car as pale and blue.

All of those have a comma in between, well done.

That's definitely something we can tick off, I'll put a smiley face in the box to show we've done it.

Let's have a look.

I've got rested awkwardly for the car.

And then I've got sat motionlessly for the clock.

Now I've done it twice.

I always have a bit of a rule of three.

I think in my success criteria, I want to do everything three times to show that I absolutely nailed that thing.

I didn't just do it once.

I really make sure I hit that target again and again and again to prove to my teacher that I know how to do that skill inside and out.

So I'm not going to give myself a tick for that one yet.

Okay, next one, variety of sentences, simple, compound and complex, with a relative clause.

Okay, on a warm, humid evening, an amber, cloud scattered sky.

Right, so that's a simple sentence.

I've got a relative cause there, which had a smashed windscreen.

That's good.

Maybe not enough to tick it off quite yet.

Let's look at that later on in the piece we're writing, and then above and beyond, a non-finite clause.

I don't think so, not yet.

Okay, so let's move on to number two.

Describe the characters one at a time and say what they look like and what they're doing.

So let's get to talking about the boy.

There he is, okay.

That's what he's doing, he's bending over.

We said he was searching, hunting, scavenging, looking, examining.

Okay.

As the sun began to set, really important way to start my sentence there because already I'm starting to think about ticking my success criteria and what does as the sun began to set, show that I can do already? As long as I put a main clause next, that's going to be a complex sentence, because as is a subordinated conjunction.

As the sun began to set, is a subordinate clause.

Main clause next, a skinny, dark-haired boy could be seen silently shuffling his way into the industrial wasteland.

Perfect.

That makes sure that I have described that industrial wasteland, and the word industrial is when something isn't very rural.

It's not like the countryside.

It's got lots of machinery and smoke and man-made objects, no trees, no grass.

He was wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt.

I think I can describe that as a loose fitting t-shirt.

Yep.

And his hands had dirt on them.

Now I can't really see in that picture enough detail to be 100% sure to say that his hands had dirt on them, but I'm using my artistic licence.

I'm using my imagination.

If he is searching through a scrapyard he's going to have some dirt on his hands.

It's not a clean place, is it? So I can definitely use that.

He was wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt, and his hands had dirt on them.

What type of sentence is that? He was wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt.

That's the main clause, isn't it? That's a piece of information that I could give.

His hands had dirt on them.

That's another main clause, What do we call it when we have main clause and main clause together in a sentence joined by an and? yes, it's a compound, good job.

Compound sentence.

Already keeping that success criteria in mind.

Stepping towards a pile of random objects, the curious child examined each of them one by one.

Is there anything in my success criteria I can tick off with that sentence? Look closely at stepping towards a pile of random objects.

Yeah, yeah, it's a non-finite clause, isn't it? We know stepping has that ing at the end, stepping towards a pile of random objects, that's my non-finite clause.

I'm talking about the curious child, the boy, good job.

He seemed to be searching for something.

And then I've used an ellipsis, a dot, dot, dot.

And I use that when I want the reader to have a moment of what's going on, what's going to happen next? He seemed to be searching for something, and I'm leaving them, I'm not telling them what he's searching for, I'm leaving them.

Okay, I think we made great progress in that chunk of our opening with our success criteria.

Yes.

Silently shuffling, we did the one more, we did two before, that's three.

I'm happy.

Let's put a smiley face in there.

And then simple, compound and complex sentences.

He was wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt and his hands had dirt on them.

So I can tick that one off, good job.

And then above and beyond.

Well, there's a non-finite clause, have I used it anymore, probably not enough for this moment, So I'll just try and get that in a couple more times in the last chunk, which is the action, the boy is searching through the scrapyard.

Holding his breath in anticipation, what's that? Straight away, alarm bells ringing off, what have I done? It's another non-finite clause.

And it's actually one of those that when we did that lesson, we taught you that because you can use that in lots of different scenarios.

It can work in lots of different pieces of writing.

When anyone is holding their breath, it's often because they're excited about the next thing that's going to happen.

Holding their breath in anticipation.

So we know he's anticipating something.

The excited scavenger lifted objects into the air to inspect them closer, but nothing seemed special enough to take home yet.

And I wanted to do a but there, because I hadn't used it yet in my compound sentence, but nothing seemed special enough to take home yet.

Just then, something caught his eye.

And I've chose to use an exclamation mark to start building the excitement.

Whatever is next is probably going to be an important object.

And of course there, I've got my non-finite clause, I can tick that off, 'cause I had done that now as well.

Okay.

So I have described the setting.

I've described the character and I've talked a bit about what the boy is doing.

Here is how it looks as a whole.

What I think is best for you to do in this instance is to pause the lesson and to read this really carefully.

Absorbing, sponging up, remembering anything in here that you liked.

Anything that you were impressed with, because that is writing.

That's all the good writing is, it is reading something and thinking, oh, wow, that was really impressive.

Taking it, remembering it and using it yourself.

All the best writers are actually thieves.

They are stealing things they've heard or read in someone else's writing.

So you can do the same.

You could steal anything you like from my writing.

So pause the lesson, have a read through and write down anything you want to steal from there, might be phrases, might be sentence starters, off you go.

Okay, welcome back.

I hope you managed to steal lots of those ideas because it's your turn now.

I want you to use our plan and success criteria to write your own opening to the viewer, and remember, a good opening needs to do three things.

Describe the setting, so the reader can picture it.

Describe the characters, so the reader can picture them, and set the atmosphere for the story.

And you'll do that with your language choices.

Things like I talked about you know, the knife imagery where I had the slashes of the chimneys going through the sky.

Set the atmosphere.

Okay, I think it's best that you pause on this screen here to be able to see our plan, see an image from the opening and our success criteria.

So it's over to you.

Go for it.

Good luck, off you go.

And welcome back, I am hoping that I'm now joining you about an hour later possibly.

Even longer you might've taken to really take care over it, to write an amazing opening.

And you've done everything in your success criteria, ticked everything off our plan, well done.

We've done our writing warm-up.

We've prepared to write, we've written the opening.

Congratulations.

This was a big lesson for you and you have achieved so much and I think stepped up another level in your writing.

Really impressive.

You can feel very proud of yourself after this.

So, go relax now, do something that you love to do, read a book, play a game, go for a run.

Well done.

I'll see you next time.