I’ve recently started taking a Creative Writing evening class at a local college. I’m really enjoying it so far, it’s good fun and nice to do something outside the home that’s just for me.
Last week was ‘Plots and Genres’. We did an exercise where you had to write one story in the style of another – an example given was Lord of the Rings in the style of AA Milne!
My assignment was a children’s story or nursery rhyme in the style of a police procedural. The first obstacle was finding out what a police procedural was! I had fun with this exercise, it was good to be a bit silly, playing with genres and seeing where to get ideas for plotlines.
See if you can guess which children’s story I based it on!
It was a cold, December morning and DC Jackalope was sitting down to his first cuppa of the day when the station telephone rang. He started: in the sleepy town of Two Trees Hill, the police were seldom called upon.
“Two Trees Police Station- ” he began, but was cut off by a frantic female voice.
“Please Detective, you must come quickly. It’s little Margaret, she’s gone!”
DC Jackalope recognised the voice, even through the tears. Two Trees Hill was so sparsely populated that everyone knew everyone else by name.
“Now Mrs Jones, what seems to be the problem? I’m sure Margaret is just down the street, playing with her friends. Have you asked your neighbours if they’ve seen her?”
“That’s just it, Detective – the other children have gone, too. They’ve all gone! You must come at once!”
Later that day, DC Jackalope returned to the station, a sombre mood hanging over him. Spending the morning taking the statements of all of the village’s parents had taken a toll. Without warning, every single child in the small village had disappeared. No one had witnessed anything of note; it seemed as if they’d all vanished into thin air. In all Jackalope’s years of experience, he’d never seen anything like it. And being Two Trees Hill’s sole DC, it was his job to delve into the mystery and find the missing children.
Yet no leads had arisen from his interviews with the villagefolk. Where would he start?
“Aha,” he muttered, as a suspicion took hold. Quickly shuffling through the papers covering his desk, he looked for the details of a mysterious fellow who had just moved to the village. There was something suspicious about him, although Jackalope couldn’t quite put his finger on what exactly it was. His ever-present feathered hat and pan pipes, perhaps, so out of place in the typical English rural village?
Jackalope would start with questioning this strange man – could he provide some answers in the case of the disappearing children?