Writing Competition Winners Announced

Thanks and congratulations to everyone who entered our 2nd Quarter ‘Belonging’ Writing Competition.

Once again we had a large number of very high standard entries in this competition so please don’t be disheartened if you didn’t win a place.

The margin between our first and second place adult entries was so small that we are awarding both Dimity Powell and Daan Spijer a 5 page manuscript assessment each. As winner of the category, Dimity will also receive a book.
Entries that stood out were those with strong characters and voices where there was a piece of action or something to hook the reader in straight away.

It was interesting to see that some of the plot ideas people came up with were quite similar, and this clearly related to the theme of the competition. There were for example at least three stories about stray dogs.

The best stories established what the main character’s problem was very early on or at least the problem the character was having in that scene.

There was some beautiful scene setting and some wonderful descriptions but some stories lacked tension and conflict.

Thanks to Wendy Orr and Amra Pajalic for donating fabulous book prizes for this competion.


PLEASE FOLLOW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES – If you want to be a writer, this is really important. Publishers might not look at your work if it doesn’t follow submission guidelines.

Here are some other tips based on some of the things that prevented stories in this competition from being the best they could be.

  1. Stories must always be submitted according to submission guidelines stated.
  2. Stories MUST BE double spaced and have paragraph breaks. It’s always preferable to attach them to your email as a word document.
  3. Always check your punctuation and spelling before submitting your entry. Read your story out aloud and this will help you pick up places where words have been accidentally missed out or the story doesn’t make sense.
  4. Too much telling and not showing. Don’t talk about what your characters said. Show them talking with dialogue. Don’t tell the reader about the things that have happened to a character, show them happening. This will involve the reader more in your story.
  5. Keep tenses consistent. For example, don’t change from past to present tense and back again.
  6. Try not to overuse adjectives and adverbs. Use active language and be specific with your descriptions. Instead of saying a character is beautiful, try and give the reader a picture of why this character is beautiful and try to incorporate it into the action. For example, “As Lorraine ran, a deep red flush fused her smooth skin and her full lips were pursed with concentration. Her slender legs cut through the grass and her sleek hair had been tied back so it slapped at her back like a thick, dark rope.”
  7. Some introductions had too much telling – recapping what has happened to get to this point. This is called backstory. If you need to include this information, weave it through the story, don’t have big paragraphs of this kind of information, especially at the start. Your reader needs to get to know your main character and what their story problem is as soon as possible.
  8. Try not to jump around with point of view – changing from one character’s head to another. This will confuse your reader.
  9. The start of your story is so important. The reader has to get a clear idea of who your story is about and what kind of story this is.
  10. Look at the sequence of events in your story. Is it logical? Do you jump around too much from past to present and back again? This will confuse the reader?

I hope you find these hints helpful for future writing.

If you want to enter future competitions or submit to publishers, we strongly suggest you follow the submissions guidelines. Judges may mark you down if your manuscript isn’t formatted correctly.

Congratulations to all the worthy winners and to every one who wrote a story and had the courage to enter it.



Age 8-12 

First Place Matthew Dimotakis Heat Attack
Highly Commended Ophilia Kong The Shadow Twin
Highly Commended Sophie Slater Winter Chill
Highly Commended Tabitha Neil Breaking Point
Commended Ang Li Shan Tears
Commended Caitlin Davey Harriet and Henry
Commended Daniela Koulikov Hope
Commended Jeral Lim One Last Look
Commended Kathleen Cuppen Finding Where You Belong
Commended Laila O’Donnell Untitled
Commended Nicholas Dimotakis Blade
Commended Rachel Hughes Dad’s Teddy

Teen Category 

First Place Courtney Gould Everything But
Highly Commended Kim Rance Broken Hour Glass
Highly Commended Jamie Tram Lost and Found
Commended David Athan Loss and Recovery
Commended Nicholas Lim The 6 Fingered Man
Commended Reena Mukherjee Everyone’s Waiting
Commended Warren Lee Expecting the Unexpected

Adult Category 

First Place Dimity Powell The Boy Who Lost His Laugh
Second Place Daan Spijer Diversity
Highly Commended Jackie Tritt Transformation
Commended Kelly McDonald Amazing Grace
Commended Cassandra Wilson The Beginning of Independence

Thanks again for entering our competition. All prize winners certificates will be sent out this week and book winners should receive their prizes shortly. 

First place winners also receive a five-page manuscript assessment. Please email your five pages, double-spaced in 12 point font with 3cm margins all round to dee@deescribe.com.au

Happy writing:) 


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  1. Congrats all winners and placers! How I wish I could read them all. Keep writing!

  2. Courtney Gould says:

    This is honestly the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you so much.

  3. kelly McDonald says:

    oh Dee, I am so very happy to be given the commended award! thank you so much for the encouragement to keep working on this book! I’m a very happy lady!

  4. Thank you Thank you Dee. And sincere congrats to all the place getters and those who entered. Such a brilliant way to share your words. It’s a fabulous way to encourage our writers of tomorrow too Dee. Can’t stop telling others that…:-D

  5. Hi Dee,
    This competition looks amazing! I wish I had heard about it sooner!
    Congrats to all the winners & place-getters!
    Awesome opportunity!
    Karen T:)