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Anyone experienced willing to critique my GCSE Q5 of English Language Paper 1?

Hey, all,
I'm a Y11 student who aspires to reach a grade 9 in English (Lit and Lang) by the time GCSEs come around. This is a creative writing piece I wrote myself under timed conditions, with an extra 10 minutes to plan. I have already shown my teacher, but was just wondering to see if there is any more helpful advice I could implement going forward? Thanks!


Write a story on something that shocked or surprised you.
Story name: The Bullet of Sonder


The streets of Iraq were barren and desolate; dust-riddled debris peppered its ground. Fallen trees, ravaged homes, fragmented shrapnel…and bodies. Blood-drenched corpses were anchored to the ground. Organs were dried and dispelled too, for they were swept up accordingly to the inexorable sandstorm which followed the battle. A malicious mixture of amber fog, sand, and pungent stench formed a quagmire of death for all to see, an amalgamation of despair, a wave of cruel sorrow. But the atmosphere of war was rudely penetrated by a single tear. It was a globule of hope which glinted in the radiance of the riding, golden chariot above, invigorating the war-torn rubble beneath.

It came from a soldier, but certainly not a hopeful one at that. For he was disgusted at the state of this place. Brashly, he wiped what remained of the tear off his skin in one sweep. He no longer reminisced about his life back home, but instead craved it, yearned for it. Nothing could compare to the horrors he had witnessed during this war, yet he still had a duty to serve. He must make "Uncle Sam" proud. Years of fighting had rusted his heart, leaving him as a dastardly, wicked malefactor of ruin. A job was made for him to be done, and he always completed the mission.

The bolt-actioned rifle was brought automatically to his sight when he saw a child in front of him, draped in a tattered vest with an ivory-coloured bandana encumbering its forehead. The sniper’s lens made its face more clear, yet unsurprisingly indistinguishable. Though the stifling heat had an effect on the man, the child seemed untouched, with its olive face, in fact, gleaming through the sand. The soldier didn’t care, his duty would stay irreconcilable, seeming proven through his finger muscles tensing around the trigger.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The soldier’s focus swerved towards his watch impulsively, but the child luckily stayed as still as brick. It was smart enough not to move, for this was like a Western shoot-off, but with only one gun. The soldier looked back, and decided to articulate further. It wasn’t his own choice, but it seemed he had been shot first- with a bullet of sonder.

He was supposed to be a valiant, fearless hero, but was helplessly fixed upon a child’s almond eyes instead, as if he had known them forever.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

He didn’t care, he just saw a scared, feeble child ahead. It probably grew up from a fair household with a loving mother, enlaced with compassion and endearment; with a gracious, judicious father; with a family which made it feel embraced. Populated with experiences just like his own, enthralled with laughter and content. The child looked so frail, but so saintly at the same time. Its white shirt was imbued with bliss, and although it was torn, it still harmonised with the ethereal essence of this child, this angel.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

The man’s watch pervaded his thoughts, but the bullet left him wounded, or healed. Although the watch rang like the tintinnabulation of brass bells, he now imagined it moving mellifluously through his mind. Conflictive thoughts in his head acted as its own battle for him- it was beautifully terrible. This bullet had hit him rashly through his heart, rejuvenating him but also reminding him of his duty at the same time. He was terrified, knowing not what to do. He was assertively uncertain as he looked at this ochre, sickening heaven that lay in front of him, this mirage of doom and fate.

Time was up.
Reply 1
Original post by elliotc2308
Hey, all,
I'm a Y11 student who aspires to reach a grade 9 in English (Lit and Lang) by the time GCSEs come around. This is a creative writing piece I wrote myself under timed conditions, with an extra 10 minutes to plan. I have already shown my teacher, but was just wondering to see if there is any more helpful advice I could implement going forward? Thanks!


Write a story on something that shocked or surprised you.
Story name: The Bullet of Sonder


The streets of Iraq were barren and desolate; dust-riddled debris peppered its ground. Fallen trees, ravaged homes, fragmented shrapnel…and bodies. Blood-drenched corpses were anchored to the ground. Organs were dried and dispelled too, for they were swept up accordingly to the inexorable sandstorm which followed the battle. A malicious mixture of amber fog, sand, and pungent stench formed a quagmire of death for all to see, an amalgamation of despair, a wave of cruel sorrow. But the atmosphere of war was rudely penetrated by a single tear. It was a globule of hope which glinted in the radiance of the riding, golden chariot above, invigorating the war-torn rubble beneath.

It came from a soldier, but certainly not a hopeful one at that. For he was disgusted at the state of this place. Brashly, he wiped what remained of the tear off his skin in one sweep. He no longer reminisced about his life back home, but instead craved it, yearned for it. Nothing could compare to the horrors he had witnessed during this war, yet he still had a duty to serve. He must make "Uncle Sam" proud. Years of fighting had rusted his heart, leaving him as a dastardly, wicked malefactor of ruin. A job was made for him to be done, and he always completed the mission.

The bolt-actioned rifle was brought automatically to his sight when he saw a child in front of him, draped in a tattered vest with an ivory-coloured bandana encumbering its forehead. The sniper’s lens made its face more clear, yet unsurprisingly indistinguishable. Though the stifling heat had an effect on the man, the child seemed untouched, with its olive face, in fact, gleaming through the sand. The soldier didn’t care, his duty would stay irreconcilable, seeming proven through his finger muscles tensing around the trigger.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The soldier’s focus swerved towards his watch impulsively, but the child luckily stayed as still as brick. It was smart enough not to move, for this was like a Western shoot-off, but with only one gun. The soldier looked back, and decided to articulate further. It wasn’t his own choice, but it seemed he had been shot first- with a bullet of sonder.

He was supposed to be a valiant, fearless hero, but was helplessly fixed upon a child’s almond eyes instead, as if he had known them forever.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

He didn’t care, he just saw a scared, feeble child ahead. It probably grew up from a fair household with a loving mother, enlaced with compassion and endearment; with a gracious, judicious father; with a family which made it feel embraced. Populated with experiences just like his own, enthralled with laughter and content. The child looked so frail, but so saintly at the same time. Its white shirt was imbued with bliss, and although it was torn, it still harmonised with the ethereal essence of this child, this angel.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

The man’s watch pervaded his thoughts, but the bullet left him wounded, or healed. Although the watch rang like the tintinnabulation of brass bells, he now imagined it moving mellifluously through his mind. Conflictive thoughts in his head acted as its own battle for him- it was beautifully terrible. This bullet had hit him rashly through his heart, rejuvenating him but also reminding him of his duty at the same time. He was terrified, knowing not what to do. He was assertively uncertain as he looked at this ochre, sickening heaven that lay in front of him, this mirage of doom and fate.

Time was up.

This essay is amazing,it has all the key element and is very concise.I love the vocabulary used like malicious,valiant and this shows how well you understand your own writing.This text wants to make the reader to keep reading which is very important when writing.I would say to make this even better you should use more of a variety of language techniques and explore them.Make sure at the start to to tell the reader where you are and wait until they have created and image in their head.(IRAQ)
Technique of Show not tell.I also think you can create compelling characters as for the higher marks you want to also see perspectives of characters.I love this essay and the amount of tension in it and this essay is one of the most intriguing essays I have ever seen.Wish you the best of luck in your GCSE.
Reply 2
Original post by Smessi
This essay is amazing,it has all the key element and is very concise.I love the vocabulary used like malicious,valiant and this shows how well you understand your own writing.This text wants to make the reader to keep reading which is very important when writing.I would say to make this even better you should use more of a variety of language techniques and explore them.Make sure at the start to to tell the reader where you are and wait until they have created and image in their head.(IRAQ)
Technique of Show not tell.I also think you can create compelling characters as for the higher marks you want to also see perspectives of characters.I love this essay and the amount of tension in it and this essay is one of the most intriguing essays I have ever seen.Wish you the best of luck in your GCSE.

Thank you very much! I'll make sure to work on the advice you have given :smile:

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