Rise of the Frankenstuffies


That’s my fault but let’s back up. This project was called Rise of the Frankenstuffies and it was our most English-focused project so far (I’m not complaining). The driving question was:

How do we as writers make our message clear and engaging to an audience?

I was very excited to read this because I love writing and I have a lot of ideas but I find it hard at times to clearly communicate what’s in my head (even harder when it’s a video but I’ll get to that later). Before we could even begin to our stories we needed characters, which brings me to the most hands-on part of this project.

Our first investigation was about character and to this we ripped apart stuffed animals and sewed them into morphed animals, Frankenstuffies. This was important because we would be using these characters for the rest of the project, we needed to keep in mind how we would communicate with them.

Then we started developing our hero’s journeys. This is a plot outline that shows up in pretty much every epic hero story. You can the video we were shown in class here.

Here’s my outline. After creating this We all had to pick one section to right. We were told to write about a page. Of course, I went and wrote double that (sorry Ms Willemse). I ended up changing my story a bit but I think it made the character’s arc much clearer and less confusing out of context from the rest of the outline. You can read it here. (Tap it for drop down)

The lights glare down at my face, but I am determined not to blink. She wouldn’t tolerate it. I can hear her claws dragging across the marble floors, a slithering, grating sound getting closer, and closer, with every given moment. I hold my breath trying not to move a single muscle. I learned the hard way last week what that brings. I look at the morph beside me. He’s different than me, with a long lizard's tail and ram horns, good for heavy fighting. He’ll probably be sent to the frontlines as soon as our training is over. It’s a death sentence but she’s looking in his eyes in a way that makes me worry his life is due to end much sooner than that. All too soon she gets to us ‘You’re out of line Officer Raek” Her voice is steely as she looms over us all, glaring down watching for anyone else., “This won’t be tolerated. I have given you all everything. Food, a home and all I ask is for you to be loyal to me. Is that too much to ask?!” He bows his head to her “ Of course not Your Majesty. I am sincerely sorry for any accidental disrespect to you and our empire” But it is too late, and no amount of grovelling will save him from this. She pushes him to the ground with such force that I’m sure he’s unconscious The light pours in through the training hall windows illuminating his body in a circle of light. It’s blinding reflecting off the polished floors. You would never guess a place this beautiful is a place of such pain. She takes a heavy step forward, her shadows eclipsing his form which is twisted in many unnatural ways that make me want to recoil but I can’t. Not if I don’t want that to happen to me. “Watch.” She demands. “This is an example. I expect all of you will learn your lesson from this. Do not forget where you came from. You are all nothing, and can and will be replaced. Your families won't like that very much will they? Without you here they will rot on the streets like they deserve. I am GENEROUS to give you this opportunity and this wealth. I could have chosen any other street rats, but I chose YOU and I will not tolerate disrespect or imperfection in this grand empire! Go back to training before I become sick of you again” She leaves in a huff, followed by her guards, dragonic morphs like me though with giant bat wings instead of ladybugs. I’m a newer model in a way improved and faster. Another one of her toys. That’s all we are to her. Toys. Her Morphs. Perfect soldier war machines, made of different parts of creatures from across the continent. Perfectly suited to her desires. To fight the war outside while she sits in her castle of gold. I’m a dragon morph. A new edition was created in her labs, the strength of a dragon, the mind of a unicorn, the wings of a ladybird, and the additional tail of a bear for balance. My body is strong and unbreakable, but I lost everything to have it, left everything. I return to the training grounds and spar with a couple of other morphs before the bell rings to go to bed. We trudge back to our quarters, muscles sore and full of thirst. The bunks are lined in a row indistinguishable from one another. I find my mine and lay down on the mat. When no one is looking I pull a photo out from under it as quietly as possible. I’m not supposed to have it. Nothing from our homes is allowed but it took too long and was too expensive to leave behind. It’s a family portrait, my parents my little sister and me. It’s funny to think it was taken a year ago, just before I was offered this opportunity. It took ages to save for, photos are expensive, but it was worth it to now be able to see their faces. My little sister is dressed in her best clothes though they’re not very nice compared to the things in the capital here. Still, she looks pretty, in green garments across her pink body, though you can’t tell through the black-and-white picture. My parents stand behind us, tired eyes looking at the camera exhausted from long hours at the factory pulling the machines. And then.. there’s me. Younger than now and of course I look completely different. I look just like the rest of them a unicorn. I miss those days. I wouldn’t change my decision to leave, it's the only way they’re alive now but I miss my old body. I was approached by an official a year ago working at the corner shop. He told me I would be compensated for my service. He never mentioned the surgery. At least they pay me. I may have become one of those who are the reason my family starved in the first place, but I will do whatever it takes for them to be provided for. So gone is my torso, replaced with the strength of a dragon, gone are my teeth also dragon now, new are the wings on my back, new are the extra horns, new are the bear leg. I am not who I was. I turn over and try to sleep, tomorrow will be my first day as a guard and I need my rest. At the crack of dawn, the bell rings and we get out of bed in uniform, no one out of line today is I guess her speech worked. We walk out into a line and suit up into the starch-white uniforms of guards. It itches along my scales and I struggle to get my wings out. I secure the darts in my pocket (neutralizing) and stand up in line. We trudge out into the cold, it's snowing and get into the trucks. We’re out of the city centre before I realize where we’re headed. Soon the streets become familiar and I am filled with dread. I never thought I would have to police my neighbourhood. Families' faces look up at the bus and I can feel the stares though they can’t see me through the tinted glass. They start calling us off every block or so in pairs to watch. Soon I’m called near my old school. Kids are just starting to arrive and they look so young so innocent. Officer Reak is called with me and we stand on the corner, watching. The kids tense up when they get near us and drop their heads avoiding eye contact. I want to tell them I don't want to hurt them, but I’m not supposed to speak. The snow lands on my head and starts to melt and I try to just focus on that. We’ll be here for hours before they come back. But just as I’ve counted the fourth snowflake, a motion out of the corner of my catches my attention. It’s a figure running fast and being chased by a vendor. I remember that vendor, he had the highest prices around and was always so rude to the people in our neighbourhood, a bully. Then I realize I know the runner as well. He lived in my building he’s my sister’s age. His family struggled more than mine barely getting by. “GUARDS STOP THAT THEIF” the vendor cries into the busy street and suddenly all eyes are on us. Officer Reak darts down the street and time slows down as everything flashes before my eyes. My job is to catch him, but I know him. I went Christmas carolling with his family, and had him over for dinner I know how they struggled to get food on the table. How it may be worse now. But this is my job. My family will get hurt if I don’t do this, I will lose the one reason I do this job for good. They’re everything to me I can’t lose them too. So I join the chase. Twisting down the streets Officer Reak is just in front of me until he trips. I keep going we’ll lose him if I stop. I catch him as we speed around the corner and pin him down. “Lionalial Richards you are under arrest for thievery a personal offence to our great empire and our Queen..” the rest of the memorized speech rattles off without my noticing. I’m too shocked at what I’ve just done to focus at all. Is this right? Is it worth it? Soon enough Officer Reak arrives, running down the pavement out of breath being followed by the vendor. I hand the purse back to him and let him know he can leave, but before he does he gets in one more glare. Officer Reak is cuffing him though I don’t think it will do much, his whole body is so thin they might slip right off his wrists at any given moment. I don’t want to think about what's going to happen to him so I look out at the crowd that’s gathered around. So many faces many vaguely familiar. Lots of kids are just on their way to school, probably starving themselves. And then… and then I catch a face in the crowd. One I didn’t expect It’s… my sister. I inhale sharply and try to look elsewhere anywhere but at the little unicorn staring at me. And then I realize I am looking. Because she isn’t so little anymore and she’s glaring at me. The disdain in her eyes makes me feel like a traitor. I’ve done all of this for them; for her but was it worth losing them? Was it really what they wanted? Was it what I wanted? Through all of this, I had done everything for them but was it the right decision? It’s too late though. Our backup is here loading him into the van and they’re calling me in a way much too celebratory for such a sad day. As I turn for one last look she mouths the words “You’re not my brother anymore” and I know I have lost everything.

Then we adapted them to film. This was tough I’ve never really clicked with working with film. It was hard to adapt my story to film because it was a very internal story. It’s mostly his thoughts. I also had to cut it quite a bit because it was too long when in film. I’m disappointed because of this because I think it took away from the meaning of my story.
You can watch my film here

After all of this, I had an answer to the driving question, if you don’t remember it is this :
How do we as writers make our message clear and engaging to an audience?

I think that to make our message clear we have to come up with an engaging idea first. Only after that can we communicate it. Engaging ideas make people think of themselves and link to their lives ( I did this by adding some tension with family vs duty in this story). If things are engaging and people are interested then they will pay more attention to it. It’s easier to understand then. Making things clear is easy and hard at the same time. I have so many ideas I want to share but I have to share them in a way that makes sense to others. To ensure this you can use peer critique to get others interpretations.

Finally after watching please comment on this padlet.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *