NCEA 3.4 – Writing Folio – 入乡随俗: Do as the Romans.

“If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it ” -Julius Caesar (original)

Above block 627 circling yellow smog was all that was visible. Dragging with it the crawling smell of rot. It had already taken over most of East Hong Kong; at this rate it would blanket the whole city before third quarter. A warm heavy rain had begun to cascade down the stacks. Causing a swell of rubbish to flow out from Victoria Harbour, and back onto the street platforms from which they had been thrown. Opposite me sat the ‘HUB.’ An imposing structure of slanted glass and uneven geometry. All combined to form a monstrosity of engineering; impenetrable and completely unforgettable. Further up, the rain had blurred the ‘HUB’s’ screens to the point of illegibility, the red neon characters floating across the holo rather than its usual lateral formation. Among these floating characters the face of the Senator flashed up, then began to glitch horribly. Unintentionally mocking the real life tick. The Senator was a gentile looking man with barely any imperfections, and an air of aristocracy about him that couldn’t be placed. He simply exuded a level of importance that could not be taught to common people.

Under the thick smack of rain against the steel, the familiar busy hum of the stacks could be heard. Somewhere an alarm beeped, and a fan whirred to life, people spoke in indiscernible voices, dialects coming from every region, shrill yells from children bustled out of their doors to the Academy. For most of them it was still far too early. Their steps sluggish, little faces sleepy; after each blink their eyelids fell further, leading them back into sleep.  I liked the monsoon season in Hong Kong. It distorted the world for a brief period, like a huge sigh of relief from a city gasping for air. Tipping the umbrella back I allowed the rain to fall every so slightly onto my uncovered Oxfords, tarnishing the leather. Above me the glitching Senator had become stuck on the word “观 (guān).” You would think the Senator would give up and just put the HUB in Cantonese or english, so that his fear mongering could actually be understood. However,  I suppose a man like our almighty Senator must live up to his name-sake.

Marcus!” The yell although muffled by the rain, was unmistakable. “Marcus would you hurry up! the HUB’s gonna close and we cannot get locked out again this block,” exasperated as ever Cas had suddenly appeared under the umbrella. Soaked to the skin and vaguely smelling of cigarettes, (so much for the imposed ban). Cas or Cassius liu Tsai as he was formally known, fixed me with a famous pointed glare. Like myself, Cas was a 2036 baby. Born during the less than formal removal of authoritative power from Hong kong to Mainland China. To spite our new government, our generation had been named  after roman leaders and generals by our scorned families.  Hence the less than traditional Chinese names of Cassius and Marcus. Under the umbrella I began to apologise, before being abruptly cut off by a booming voice ringing out from the hub,”If you break our law, you cannot seize power: in all cases observe it,” It was the Senator himself. Not in flesh and blood. But somehow, the screen glitch had cleared for long enough for him to finally complete his threat.”Would you calm down Cas, I’m sorry alright,” I snipped back, tearing my eyes away from the holo. Cas’s exasperation was contagious whenever he was partially annoyed; I seemed to have caught it this morning. “No I will not calm down Mr Chen,” he knew I hated being called that. “If we get locked out again this block there will be a report made, and I for one will not show up to the Federation with a report against my name.” Cas had a point, reports did not look great when you were a member of the higher federation. Just then we were interrupted again.

The HUB’s doors had slowly begun to swing open. They were the most magnificent thing about the monster, giving the whole building the appearance of stepping into an afterlife. Standing three stories high and made of thick semi opaque glass, the lighting from the interior gave the impressions of a clean white fog extending outwards. Once the doors closed again only the fuzzy black outline of passing figures could be seen; the doors had been aptly nicknamed ‘Heaven’s gates’. “CALL FOR THE HIGHER PARTIES. FEDERATION WILL BEGIN IN SESSION.” The HUB’s tone rolled out of the opening doors and across the mid city. The voice of god, in actuality the Senator, came steadily through the them. Looking away from Cas towards the announcement, I couldn’t help but feel a shiver running down my spine and my grip tighten on the umbrella. Cas took a step back. The rain further soaking his suit. “Lets just go okay,” He looked a little defeated, but that could have just been the fact that his thick hair was matted to his forehead, water droplets slowly rolling tear-like down his face . Reluctant, I turned to face the HUB. “Alright, lets just make it through today’s session then we can go meet Anthony for Char Siu” At the mention of food Cas looked slightly more hopeful. He turned and trudged across the drag, pausing only briefly to raise a hand and beckon me, and my umbrella, to follow him into the rain.

2 Replies to “NCEA 3.4 – Writing Folio – 入乡随俗: Do as the Romans.”

  1. Hi Breagha,

    We discussed three things:

    1) Asserting greater control over your first paragraph. There’s a lot to like – it is rich and detailed, however, at times, it is also hard to penetrate such is the density of descriptive language. I encourage you to break it into two paragraphs and to explore a greater variety of sentence lengths and structures to give your ideas more ‘air’.

    2) The dialogue in the second paragraph has become too ‘expositional’ – try to keep it simply to what is immediately important to that character in that moment. Use the dialogue to establish that character’s nature. In a first chapter, we don’t need anything more than a problem to interest us, the novel will solve it.

    3) Look to break your writing in general into more paragraphs to aid its consumption. If things become too densely-packed you will end up demanding too much of your reader cognitively. Leave your description with room to breathe.

    Hope these pieces of input help you in your editing process. Let me know if you need anything further.


  2. Achievement Achievement with Merit Achievement with Excellence
    Produce a selection of fluent and coherent writing which develops, sustains, and structures ideas. Produce a selection of fluent and coherent writing which develops, sustains, and structures ideas and is convincing. Produce a selection of fluent and coherent writing which develops, sustains, and structures ideas and commands attention.


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