Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Question paper 2009


Writing in Practice
Time: 2 hours Full marks: 30
Answer any one question. All questions carry equal marks.

1. Here is a character’s curriculum vitae. Using all of these facts, make up additional details, personal quirks and life events to create a backstory for the character, taking care to fill in the holes in her history.

Name: Shamim Durrani, Age: 38, Height: 5’7”, Weight: 55kg, Distinguishing marks: scar on right knee from fall from a horse at fourteen when out riding with father in the mountains of Peshawar. Place of birth: Peshawar. Parents: big landowners in Peshawar, father killed in a riot, mother remarried widower with two younger children. Relationship with stepfamily cordial but distant. Place of residence: Amritsar. Education: Mathematics honours, diploma in chartered accountancy from private college in Chandigarh. Marital status: Unmarried, has a boyfriend who has moved to Dubai whom she hasn’t seen for a year. Income: 6.5 lakhs per year. Occupation: freelance stock market trader; has set up a small firm of her own, breaks even but yet to hit the big time.

2. Create a plot outline choosing one character, location, mood and object from the lists below. You may add other elements and characters, but the four things you choose must figure prominently. State your four choices at the head of your answer.
a. Characters: anaesthetist, construction worker, policewoman, cabaret artist
b. Locations: swimming pool, coral island, soup kitchen, car park
c. Moods: suspicious, frustrated, vengeful, exalted
d. Objects: keyring, boarding pass, lipstick, wheelchair

3. In each of these passages, two characters are implied. Choose any one passage and make up names and backstories for each of the two characters implied by the passage.

a. Her slippers lay by the bed, one slightly at an angle to the other, as if she had just stepped out of them while dancing and vanished into thin air. I raised an edge of the curtain, but the room beyond it was empty. From somewhere, I could hear the sound of water running.
b. She rummaged nervously in her bag for the pass card that would allow her to enter his inner office. He always hated her to be late; he’d rung her this morning at six am to remind her to be on time. Today the Ukrainians were coming to clinch the deal on the soft-nosed repeater rounds and the double-barrelled automatic cannon. She’d worked all night on the papers; her shoulders ached, and the expensive carpet sucked at her feet.
c. He stuck his head out of the open door and winced as the wind tore at his hair. The urn with her ashes was clutched in his right hand. As the helicopter danced on its column of air, he opened the urn and let the dark dust fly out upon the wind and fall towards the glittering ocean below. Goodbye, my love, he thought. I kept my promise. Nothing will ever imprison you again.